You know, Don, a couple years ago I watched you “join a team” and help them work together better when your charter was actually to get something shipped. You weren’t there to “fix them.” You ended up helping that team and another team be better together.
When I have an entangled situation, Don is the person I go to for helping untangle it. He helps me see where the strings are going and where they have come from. He can see several possible solutions, and facilitates my thinking.
In teams, Don has skill in helping people over the rough spots, keeping the team on track, and helping them complete their work. And, Don has a great sense of humor and is fun to work with!
I worked with Don as part of T-Mobile’s largest software initiative. T-Mobile was attempting to transform their customer service application with a new consolidated application and transform their software delivery practices by implementing an agile-based development methodology. Don’s role was to help the T-Mobile management team with guidance on how to improve the team’s ability to deliver and actively participate in the Development process.
Don helped setup an Agile Practice across the 300+ team members to expose and grow the use of good delivery practices. Through these reviews, he was able to cultivate a positive attitude for the change agile principles were providing T-Mobile. With the teams willingness to grow, he was able to work with management to better align the expectations for delivery and consistently improve the quality of both the ultimate product as well as the environment.
I enjoyed working with Don and the great approach he brought to any discussions. Any chance I have I will work with Don again.
Don will surprise you. Armed with an uncanny skill for seeing things from a different perspective, he brings new, valuable ideas to the process of solving complex problems. Although he started his career solving technical problems, in the past decade he has become an expert at also solving organizational (people) problems. I’ve worked with Don on several projects. I’ve come to take for granted that I can always count on him. Whatever the situation, Don is always willing to lend a hand to help me solve a problem. When you have a nasty technical and organization problem, I recommend that you engage Don. He will help you solve the problem quickly.
Do you think you have to choose between enjoying your work and getting the job done? Guess again! Or don’t just guess, invite Don Gray to show you how to do it.
Don has a nice touch with people. He leads without commanding, teaches without demeaning, both skills that I look for in a Scrum Master. Don also has the rare capability of stepping back, seeing the how the human system is working and using a light touch to steer people in the right direction.
Don has a unique ability to create a cadence of steady progress amidst the noisy chaos that is all too often a part of software development. While Don can walk the walk with his hard skills, he has particularly strong talents in his ability to foster environments in which people and teams can thrive.
Mr. Gray worked for me as an Agile and Scrum coach on 4 separate engagements during the 2008-2009 time period at Autodesk. Initially, he helped train, and then extensively coached a Scrum team for us in Atlanta. I then engaged him to come to San Francisco on two separate occasions, primarily to work with and coach our Product Management and Product Owners, and also to work with my development teams. Additionally, he separately traveled to Shanghai, to work with 2 of our teams there, during a very critical time.
Don is one of the few people with the combined breadth of knowledge, and more importantly _depth_ of understanding of Agile, software development, and organizational dynamics I’ve encountered that enables him to work from the vision/strategy level to the intra- and interpersonal issues and their contexts that can exist on a team, all with a completely deft and elegant touch.
Something relatively few people understand these days is the degree of autonomy and authority that a Captain of a naval vessel had in the age of sail. The Captain literally represented, and could act for, his government, for at least as far as his guns could range. There was a special trust placed in such men.
When Don and I discussed the possibility of his helping in Shanghai, I described the situation in Shanghai and its criticality to our project, and he asked what I wanted him to go and do. I said, simply, “Go and do Good.” He did. The project was a success, and he was a major catalyst in that success. He is one of a *very* small handful of coach/consultants I trust unreservedly.