Lew Platt, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard said it best. “If we knew what we know, we’d be three times as profitable!”
Let’s take a few moments and think about this concept. In my opinion, Platt was conveying that within organizations, there exists “hidden knowledge.” If an organization could find and expose that knowledge, success would be inevitable.
It makes sense and sounds simple … but how do we unlock that hidden knowledge?
One of the exciting Rackspace University projects that I’m a part of is the development of learning communities for Rackers. The purpose of these is to do just that – facilitate conversation to share knowledge, learn what we know and, as a result, increase productivity and innovation.
Last year I partnered with Troy Toman, the Director of Software Development at Rackspace, to kick off a learning community for our developers. Each month, a Racker is invited to speak and open conversation around a topic of their expertise or passion.
This month, we had the opportunity to bring in Jim Highsmith to speak with our developer community. Jim is recognized globally as a founder of Agile methodology and a co-author of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. For more than 30 years, he has consulted IT and software companies across continents to help them adapt to the accelerated pace of change in complex and uncertain environments.
In his conversation with our learning community, Jim touched on a number of important items such as smart ways to introduce and employ an Agile methodology that works, how Agile enables faster time to market, the importance of responsiveness over efficiency in the face of rapidly changing demands and how to take Agile across the board with methods for managing and collaborating across departments.
Ryan Hagan, a Rackspace Software Development Manager attended Jim’s session and had this feedback about the event:
“It was wonderful having Jim on campus talking to us about software development. People don’t tend to think of software development when they think of Rackspace, but we have a very large software development presence across multiple locations, and bringing people of Jim’s caliber in to talk to us helps motivate our developers and underscore the importance of great software development here.”
After his visit and chat with Rackers, I reached out to Jim to get his thoughts about the time he spent here. This is what he had to say:
“My first impression of Rackspace was the cool digs in a shopping center and then the Word Wall and open, team-structured office layout. The surroundings and the people I met reminded me of the two basic tenets of agile software development – high performance and fun.”
At Rackspace, we take collaboration seriously. The learning communities we will continue to develop serve as an excellent opportunity to do just that. I’m excited to be a part of this initiative and look forward to helping unlock the collaborative knowledge of our Rackers!
Originally from Buffalo, NY, Kelly Long joined the Rackspace University team in 2010 as a Project Lead. In this role, Kelly is responsible for a variety of Training, OD and HR projects that impact Rackers. She is also involved with the organization of internal talent communities.
Kelly graduated from the University at Buffalo with a degree in Business and a concentration in Human Resource Management. While at UB, she was the President of the University SHRM Chapter. Read more »Category: Rackspace University Tags: Agile Methodology, Group Collaboration, Jim Highsmith, Learning Community, Manifesto for Agile Software Development, Software Developers