Monday, October 24, 2011

Goodbye Sic

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Startup without falldown: strategic planning beyond wishful thinking

The official program for the 8th Italian Agile Day has been officially published. I am really happy (and a bit surprised) to see that my talk has made it to the final 26: I am sure that many of the talks that were left out would have been really interesting, so I'd better work really hard to be up to the task. Even because I know that the conference normally has quite a high bar...

It is always difficult to pick one of the talks that are held at the same time, and this year I will lose one more than I did in the previous years. I hope all sessions will be recorded, as it seems, so I'll be able to see them later.

Meet you there... And don't forget to register and donate :-)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Agile Day: independent, thanks to donations

The Agile Day is an event organized by members of the Italian agile community.

To mantain its independence, and at the same time guarantee both a quality programme and free access to registered attendants, in the last years the Agile Day has chosen a brave strategy: sustain itself with self-financing.

This choice has proven itself effective, and the Agile Day has reached its eighth edition and more than six hundred attendants in 2010.

The donations obtained from participants, enthusiasts and professionals that daily work with agile methods represent the esteem and the affection that the Agile Day has been able to conquer year after year.

All the raised money will allow the organization to reach the organizational targets that will make a great Agile Day.

That's why everyone committment becomes essential, every single donation is a step towards the success of the Agile Day.

The Agile Day will be held in Rome on November 19, 2011.
The access will be, as always, free.
All details can be found on the official site.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

PMBA & The Frankenstein Garage experience

Who we are

We are a small team of IT experts, and we have been working for a while trying to create something of our own, in addition to our daily jobs. We definitively are bootstrappers, because we don’t have so many bucks in our pockets (and even if we had, we’d want to use each penny wisely).

How it started

We knew pretty well that being an expert on a given technical subject is not enough to help you start a business. None of us has an MBA, but we wouldn’t let that hinder us, so we have started reading a lot of business related books - actually devouring them: finance, marketing, business, innovation. We wanted to reach a level of understanding similar to that of an "institutional" and much more expensive MBA. Being technicians, we're really pragmatic and believe in practical and operational knowledge, so we’ve rolled up our sleeves and delved into the groove.

Frankenstein Garage

The project we’re working on is called Frankenstein Garage, and it’s going to be the first FabLab in Milan. FabLab stands for Fabrication Laboratory (but also for Faboulous Laboratory), and it is a place where people can make (almost) anything. The first FabLab was born at the MIT in Boston to support a course held by Neil Gershenfeld. The laboratory, beyond the usual tools you can find in any lab, will have tools for digital fabrication, like 3D printers or CNC machines: this means that the machines will sort of “automagically” build things out of CAD drawings.

We employ waste materials (electronic, electric and mechanical) to develop low cost prototypes and to be green. Our experience in the IT world has taught us that being agile is the right choice almost in everything: that’s why the early stage of our prototypes heavily involves the use of LEGO bricks.

To sustain our activities we have developed our MEVO: the ABNormal, a little micro-controller board, which we’ll be ready to sell in a matter of days.

How PMBA helped us

A few months ago we have found on Google a link to Josh Kaufman's wonderful list of books, to find that we had already read many of them. Obviously we've bought PMBA as soon as it became available, read and re-read it and, most of all, started to use it, putting into good use all the knowledge distilled into it. We consult it almost daily and follow the advices contained in it each and every day: Kaufman's work has proven really useful for very busy startuppers like us.

As PMBA helps us a lot as a quick reference, we have also created some mind-maps from the book, to achieve faster results: seeing all the concepts in a single glance is really effective and a great time saver, as we can now check multiple aspects in just one shot. This has helped us to develop clear concepts and refine our proposals in an acceptable Business Plan (by the way, Business Model Generation has helped us a lot to prepare for the BP, when shall we see it in the list?).

Following the advices found in the book(s) we also won two awards just a few weeks after starting this project: "Dall'Idea all’Impresa" e "Diamo casa a 10 idee creative", which more or less sound like "From idea to business" and "Let’s host 10 creative ideas". That won us, among other services, a free office for year in Milan, and that is really helping us as it means a great saving, leaving our (small) resources for other uses.

Interested? check out the official Frankenstein Garage page!