Boot Camp Day 1 – Orientation

Boot Camp Improving Enterprises

Whew, long day. Finally got the boot camp kicked off after a month of anticipation!

It looks like we have a great boot camp team, and I’m excited about working through the program with this group of guys. Also happy to be part of the first boot camp group, and a guinea pig for Improving.

We started the day off with the morning Scrum-style conference call. Improvers sound off what they’ve been working on, what they’re doing today, what they have to do next, and what blocks they’re dealing with (if any). The boot campers went up and briefly introduced themselves.

Took a brief tour, got some coffee, headed to the boot camp room to get some paperwork done, got a laptop assigned (beautiful MacBook Airs), and got to work.

We did several team exercises today including a structure building exercise in which we were supposed to build a tower with a bunch of Jenga blocks that was as tall and robust as possible. Of course I wanted to know the definition of Robust, and what tests it would be subject to, but that was part of the game so we were left in the dark. Sam and I built the tallest tower, but ours and Walton/Kevin’s was demolished after removing one key block, so we didn’t quite meet robustness standards. Tradeoffs are important!

After lunch we broke into two teams of three and played the “Consulting Game” which consisted of number-driven choices about bidding for contracts, hiring various types of employees with various skills, dealing with cost/revenue forecasting and tracking, random events(cards), and chance elements (dice rolls) associated with everything we tried to do. It demonstrated the difficulty of the professional consulting services business model, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My side of the table ended up ahead by a tiny margin, and both teams had reasonable success..

We ended the day at dinner with Curtis Hite, CEO, Jef Newsom, VP Consulting, and the whole boot camp team. Highlight of the night for me was the two truths and a lie game, in which I took a risk on Jef’s lie… whew, glad that didn’t backfire. My three tidbits were related to Alaska, My road trip, and getting a PhD.

That’s it for today! I’m looking forward to working with the team and getting into more hands-on coding this week.