The Element: Chapter 11


The Element: A series of articles to explore and improve the methods used for meetings between small teams striving to perform at an expert level.

Mission Casino

Rusty cautiously strolled onto the Casino floor, looking for the reason he was called to this location. Alex sent a text for a border crossing meeting, which would allow the 5-Man Team to proceed to the Design Thinking Iterate phase of their mission. And there she was, posing as a blackjack dealer in an unpopulated part of the room, the high stakes table. She lifted her gaze toward Rusty as he approached, no doubt being alerted to his presence by her surveillance team.

“Good afternoon, Rusty,” Alex said. “Ready to gamble with your team’s Mission Element progress?”

“I never gamble unless the stakes are in my favor,” Rusty said.

Alex started filling the card shoe and said, “you understand why you were drugged at our last meeting?”

“It became apparent as soon as I started to fade and lose consciousness,” Rusty said in a humbling tone. “Test Drive had worked very hard on his lunch and learn presentation. It pertained to defense against foul play when an agent is in the field, and I was multitasking instead of listening. I put my own personal priorities above those of the team, and deserved the lesson.”

“Brilliant!” Alex exclaimed. “Now, let’s get down to the business of your mission definition. To be honest, it sucks.”

“At least you are honest,” Rusty said.

“The definition needs a method to document the mission,” Alex said. “We know that you have been developing a method to capture knowledge at different adult learning levels.”

Rusty smiled and said, “I call it Mission Casino. I knew something was up when you chose this as a meeting location. Most of the company knows that I have been working alone on this pet project for months, without too much interest so far. So why now?”

“Your idea is the solution to a very large problem that we have faced for years,“ Alex said.

“The timing must be right?” Rusty asked.

“Rusty, I am here to do the right thing for the Culture Spy Syndicate (CSS),” said Alex. “We need to get everyone on the same page. It is time to test it out. So give me a rundown on how it works.”

“To categorize the knowledge of a topic, I combined something that most are familiar with to create a strong and memorable association,” Rusty said. “I use playing card suits, and matched them to Bloom’s Taxonomy of adult learning. Interesting that the Design Thinking model used for our project work also matches the same adult learning steps.”

“Deal!” Rusty said.

She dealt an Ace of Hearts from the card shoe.

“Bloom’s Remembering phase #1. The red heart symbol, chosen to represent the most basic instincts of knowledge, when we are capable of remembering the general terms that makeup the parts and pieces of the topic.

She dealt an Ace of Clubs from the card shoe.

“Bloom’s Understanding phase #2. The black club was chosen to represent the need to beat these items into memory, understanding how parts are related and fit together to make a whole topic assembly.

She dealt an Ace of Spades from the card shoe.

“Bloom’s Applying phase #3. The spade was chosen to represent a tool used to dig for information, knowing how and when to apply topic standards. At this stage we begin to display action, capable of applying the pieces of knowledge that we understand to produce project output.”

She dealt an Ace of Diamonds from the card shoe.

“Bloom’s Analyzing phase #4. The diamond indicates the action of analyzing and creating professional output for a topic, where good behavior shines like a diamond.

She dealt an Ace of Diamonds, black in color, from the card shoe.

“Bloom’s Evaluating phase #5. The black diamond is indicative to a pro taken from relationship of ski slopes, able to evaluate and create solutions that are not common, new or unique. Not everyone becomes a expert until they have been down the slopes so many times that they can break their own trail.”

“Don’t you think the guys in the surveillance booth will think that 5 aces are a little odd?” Rusty asked. “Not to mention a black diamond.”

Alex smirked and said, “we are wired into their video system. Right now they are watching a recording of an empty table, and non the wiser about what is truly happening down here.”

Mission Casino Table

“We need to classify all our future work. So much of our documentation focuses on a certain knowledge level, and that does not create experts. It only creates a task-master that can perform work at only a single level, not able to view the depth created by all 5 levels together. It is like a symphony with only the woodwinds being audible. Bring Mission Casino into the light Rusty.”

“If I do this, I need two things from you. Number one, to finalize the project definition,” Rusty said.

Alex paused, and then said, “how might we define and document the 5-phases of learning necessary to develop an Element from a 5-Man Team?”

“Number two,” Rusty said, “we will need permission for a future feedback loop method that is accepted by the entire CSS. I would suggest Human Performance Improvement (HPI), a process that provides a simple guide for project error analysis. This would allow us to capture responses as part of the documented knowledge, to update or make additions.”

“Done,” Alex said.

“Then you have a deal,” Rusty said.

Alex threw out two 8’s, and combined with the five aces totaled twenty-one.

“Blackjack!” Alex exclaimed. “You win five-large.”

Rusty grinned and said, “not ethical,” as he walked away from the table waving his hand in a dismissive fashion.

Alex thought you can’t help but respect someone that would walk away from money.

Design Thinking [Ideate] Chapter 12 is up in our next issue.  You are on the team, so please comment on this issue to add additional experiences that can be drawn from to create a solid project definition.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s