I don’t come to you with my problems, do I?

Introducing himself to Bob Dylan at a party, Peter Grant extended his hand and said, “Hi. I’m Peter Grant, manager of Led Zeppelin.”

Dylan looked at him and said, “I don’t come to you with my problems, do I?” then turned and walked away.

This famous anecdote says a lot about Dylan’s dyspeptic personality (Dylan was our Kanye, but with a sense of humor), but it indicates more, and better, I think, about why Peter Grant was a great manager.

Peter Grant

Grant was a former South London wrestler who became one of the most powerful men in the music industry. The formidable 6 foot, 5 inch, ‘Genghis Khan of Rock’ struck fear into the hearts of anyone foolish enough to try to rip off one of his bands.

Across a long career, Grant managed the Yardbirds, Bad Company, Bo Diddley, The Everly Brothers, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, and the Animals, but his reputation was cemented in rock history with Led Zeppelin.

There were many rough edges to this ex-wrestler (who once beat up a security guard who mistakenly cuffed his son), including years of drug abuse and depression when John Bonham (Led Zeppelin’s drummer) died of alcohol abuse.

But, for now, let’s focus on Grant’s positive attributes, the ones we’d like to see in all our managers.

Crossing the Potomac

Sep 15, 2015 by Barc Category: Agile, Agile Executive, Blog 0 comments Tags: agile, scrum, teams

The Agile Alliance attracts over 2,300 project managers, consultants, and what are called ‘Agile Coaches’ from all over the world, who present over 200 presentations on how to fix troubled projects just like mine.

When Do You Know It’s Time to Let an Employee Go?

I’d like to give you a 100 point checklist that will absolutely assure you that you are doing the right thing when you let someone go, but it doesn’t exist.

Take the Blow

Jun 08, 2015 by Barc Category: Blog, Change Managment 0 comments Tags: conflict, mistakes, scrum

The Scene I turned, and wrote the number on the whiteboard. $1.5M In front of me in the small room was the SVP of a large Japanese auto company, his head of the PMO Jason, and all of Jason’s project managers. “Wait,” said the SVP. “$1.5m is the price for the entire project, correct?” I […]

Wherefore Art Thou Multimedia?

May 18, 2015 by Barc Category: Agile UX, Blog, Change Managment, Management 0 comments

It probably sounds passé now, but there once was a technology we thought would be a new way for telling stories, and maybe even creating art.

The Problem with Team-Based Development

Good small product teams become pros in their area of expertise, as they should. But they can also start to think they are the experts in the whole solution, from end to end, not just the one part they are focused on.

Grooming Sessions

May 03, 2015 by Barc Category: Agile, Agile Executive, Blog, Scrum 0 comments

Grooming sessions are a whole lot more effective when the Product Owner kicks the meeting off with a short presentation that shows what the results are of the last release, what the team needs to accomplish in the upcoming quarter, and what are the 3-4 priorities that need to be accomplished in the next sprint.

That’s It. That’s the One.

o be honest, I won’t miss Mad Men, the overwrought fashion show with vellum-thin treatments of politics, feminism, and pop culture we’re asked to nod and wink at. Emotionally, I’m not drawn to Don’s downward spiral like I was with Tony Soprano or Walter White, who seemed to struggle on more fertile and less claustrophobic […]

A Week Later: Reflections on SXSW 2015

Mar 30, 2015 by Barc Category: Agile UX, Blog 0 comments Tags: Privacy, Social media, Story, SXSW

ost of us go to SXSW for the music, the parties, and the brisket. But we come back year after year for the ideas and the connections. The 50,000-some people who come to Austin are like ‘idea marbles’ rolling around in a big bowl. You never know if you’ll actually bump into another that will […]

Play Yourself

Feb 09, 2015 by Barc Category: Blog, Career, Leadership 0 comments

recently read the following passage in Geoffrey Bellman’s “The Consultant’s Calling”, and it rang true to me. I’d add that I think his message applies to employees as well as consultants. Establish a consulting role that asks you to be–to “play”–yourself. Being a consultant is more comfortable than playing one. Even if you play the consultant role […]