A bad tradesman always blames his tools…

Odyessy3How many times have you heard that? I’d rather think of it as a good tradesman always uses the best tools, or at least looks after his tools.

Reading the title of this post you’d be excused for thinking it’s about DIY when in fact it’s about golf.

A few years ago I was proud of the fact that I’d played with the same set of clubs for 10 or so years before I met someone who taught me otherwise. Technology advances in golf have been massive over the past few years and I benefitted from upgrading my trusty old clubs to a set that helped rather than hindered my game. If you can afford it I’d also recommend you get some custom fitted. That way when you play a bad shot then you know it’s the tradesman and not the tools.

However that said, the basic science of golf club design is the same as it’s always been, i.e. the more loft you have on the club, the higher it flies, and the longer the club the further it goes.

So why am I stating the obvious, well only recently I discovered that one of the most important, if not the most important, clubs in my bag… the putter, wasn’t working correctly and it was a problem with the tool rather than the tradesman (albeit it might have been the tradesman as well but please humour me).

Since buying a new putter (Odyessy #7) a few months back I found that it was great from about 10 feet in, but anything longer was inconsistent in that sometimes it would leave the ball way short whilst other times it would fly the ball past the hole, and yet I felt like I was making the same stroke. The other thing I found was that it didn’t work at all from just off the green (the so called Texas wedge).

Anyway, I thought to myself it’s time for a new putter but before I went to buy one I browsed the web and came across this article on the science of putters and in particular how loft works on putters.

I discovered that my putter had a -1 degree loft whereas the textbook loft should be +4 degrees. So earlier today I popped into my local pro shop and they adjusted the loft for me.

Having spent an hour or so on the practice green tonight I have to say it feels like a different putter. Long puts are more consistent and out of the fringe around the green it is much more consistent.

And the moral of the story is, sometimes it’s okay to blame the tools… but if you do then make sure you get them checked out.

How difficult should it be to buy a car?

Porsche Macan More difficult than you might think. Earlier this week Liz and I went to look for a replacement for her Ford S Max. The S Max has been a good car but it’s time for a change and Liz had in mind the Audi Q5.

So off we went to the local Audi garage to peruse the Audi Q5. However, we were disappointed to find they didn’t have one in the showroom. The salesman was very apologetic and explained they were a very popular car and how he could have one available to look at in a day or two. He gave us a business card and asked that we contact him if we wanted more information.

Next stop was the BMW garage which was nearby. This time we’re wanting to look at the X3, but guess what? Once again they didn’t have one in the showroom. However, the salesmen were somewhat different, in that two of them ignored us completely and the third said he had some used ones outside. He escorted us to the used X3’s pointed them out to us and then disappeared back into the showroom. We started to have a look only to find both were locked and we couldn’t get inside to have a proper look. Now, I have to say this is the third such experience (arrogance personified) that I’ve had from BMW dealers, so it will come as no surprise that I will never buy one.

What next, two of the so called prestige car manufacturers have nothing to look at in their showrooms… a bit of an oxymoron to call their premises showrooms when they have nothing to show, but there you go. Anyway, over to the Ford showroom to look at the Ford Kuga.

A much better experience here, for starters they had one in and the salesman was very polite and helpful. We had a good look round the car and left with brochures and all the information we needed.

We’re all out of options for Liz and as its close by (cough!) I suggest we drop into the local Porsche dealership as I’ve been hankering after a Cayenne. Comparing the Porsche dealer to the others, they had a Cayenne in (tick) and we were greeted by a very helpful salesman who showed us the car, answered lots of questions and supplied us with the relevant collateral. What’s more when we mentioned that we were looking for a car for Liz and the Audi Q5 was the benchmark, he informed us of the Porsche Macan which is due for release later this year. The Macan is smaller version of the Cayenne, and just as the Cayenne shares a chassis with the Audi Q7 the Macan is built on the Q5 platform and therefore the same size… albeit Porsche claim it’s the other way around and that Audi use Porsche chassis.

This story is almost finished other than to say that Liz went to a different Audi dealership the next day and they didn’t have a Q5 in either. How can anyone expect to sell cars if they don’t have any in the showroom?

In summary then, we’ll be giving BMW a wide berth, Audi have nothing for us to see, Ford were solid, but the winner hands down was the Porsche dealer and I fear that Liz may be the first Porsche owner in the Lynn household.

Picture from http://www.motorvision.com/news/porsche-macan-soll-in-funf-varianten-kommen/

How to make Agile work for product development… It’s all about the people

Technology Matters

Some background before I get into the detail, I’ve been developing small, medium and large ‘shrink wrapped’ products for the past 12 years and before that I worked on large multi-million pound in house projects.

Why do I give this background? Well it’s to set context in relation to this post from @Martijnlinssen where Martijn questions whether Agile can be used effectively for product development. I read into Martijn post that whilst Agile might work for project development it doesn’t work as well (if at all?) for Product development. I chose to disagree with Martijn on this point and responded with the comment:

I’m not sure from reading this that you actually get agile (sorry Martijn).. Whilst I agree Agile is not for everything, Agile can be a highly effective way to deliver software (and even commercial business) projects.

What it isn’t is throw all control in the bin…

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You need to hire for Innovation

Innovation is a topic very close to my heart and a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending an excellent workshop delivered by Dr Anne Stevens the VP of Design at Kone elevators.

The session was hugely insightful and very educational… and whilst I’m not going to share the details verbatim, I thought I would share some of the very thought provoking statements like:

“The same old thinking gets the same old results … you need new thinking to get new results”

“Creativity must be present at every level of every technical part of the organisation”

“Even a mature innovative team need a coach otherwise it’s easy to innovate badly”

“A common mistake is to just let people loose with innovation”

“No great website is conceived by more than three people”

“Passionate creatures do not follow scripts”

Towards the end of the session Anne went on to share what she looks for when recruiting innovative people for Kone and how these qualities differ from the traditional qualities that many businesses still seek today:

Traditional Qualities Innovative Qualities
Knowledgeable Imaginative
Pragmatic Enthusiastic
Risk adverse (No, can’t do that because) Let’s have a go
Process Champion Visionaries
Comfort Zone Trailblazer
Conformist Explorer
Specialists Creative Minds
Leadership Stereotype Passionate Creatives

This really was an excellent session that struck a chord with me, which qualities do you look for?

How ironic that the Red Bull team are relaxed, did they know they were going to win?

Another video post from my visit to the British GP at Silverstone this year. This time it’s looking into the Red Bull garage.

Of all the teams in the pit lane they looked (and sounded) the most relaxed. Surely you would expect the opposite effect with Red Bull!

Did they know Mark Webber was going to win?

Memories from Silverstone with the Marussia Team (Turn up the volume the sound is awesome)

Following on from my “Petrolhead Dream Heaven” post a few days ago I promised to share some of the videos I took from inside the Marussia garage. The first is of the mechanics making some last minute changes to the cars before practice starts:

Not long after here’s Charles Pic leaving the garage (how clean is that floor?)

I think everyone who attended the British GP or watched it on TV will remember just how wet it was and this next clip shows the Marussia following a Sauber around Club corner… it was might slippery

A few laps later and Charles was back into the garage, whereby an army of mechanics armed with paper towels had the car dried off in a flash:

I have to say these videos were taken using and iPhone and are pretty good.

I think if I had rocked up with a full blown camera rig they might not have let me into the garage.