Who is Michele Sliger

The next person in the #WhoIs serie is a women I don’t think I have met. (Or it would have been in sessions at one of these large agile conferences.) Which is another reason why I selected Michel Sliger. (It’s WhoIs, not WhoHaveIMet ), her book is on my suggestion list for managers learning about agile. I first contacted Michele, when I launched the idea of an agile quiz 11 months ago.  It’s a nice example of a community thing I try to launch that completely failed. Nevertheless, Michele was one of the few people who did answer that mail.



Michele doing volunteer work at the Denver Dumb Friends League, a non-profit animal welfare organization.

What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?
I classify myself as a non-practicing Buddhist. Meaning that I eat meat and don’t meditate regularly, but otherwise feel guided by the Buddhist philosophy and values. I guess you could say I am a bad Buddhist. But I keep at it.

If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?
I’d be in New York working on Broadway productions. Probably not as an actress, since I can’t sing or dance, but certainly as part of the crew. I love the theater! I spent four years in Drama classes in high school (shades of Glee) then volunteered in local community theaters as an actress, props master, and stage manager. The strangest role I had was as the silhouette of the ghost of Elvis, and the strangest crew job I had was as props master for a play that had scenes in a topless bar. The costumer had an easy job on that play, while I had to find and fill over 100 bottles of "liquor". It’s amazing what you can do with food coloring and tea.

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?
I have a lack of patience for the absence of civility and manners. I have met open hostility regarding agile more than once, and while I welcome skepticism and civil discourse, I don’t feel much like engaging with those who can’t be both passionate AND respectful.

I don’t know that it’s been good for me at all, unless it’s as a personal sanity regulator. I would like to be more compassionate and patient, and model calm polite discussion while ignoring these societal slights. I would be a better Buddhist if I could do this, and a better agile advocate. I’m working on it. It’s something I want to overcome.

What drives you ?
The desire to learn. If I won the lotto tomorrow I’d probably go back to school, pursue a PhD, and generally just seek out people to collaborate with and learn from. When I was a kid I saw a Twilight Zone episode called "Time Enough At Last" that I really related to: this notion that if the world ended and one survived, you could sit around and read whatever you wanted, as much as you wanted, for the rest of your life. Bliss.

What is your biggest achievement?
Going it on my own and creating my own company. It’s been a wonderful learning experience! I have a much greater appreciation for folks who work in sales, marketing, accounting, advertising, graphics, legal, content, editing, and so on. I didn’t have a clear sense of all the work that went into supporting me in doing the work I love until I had to do it myself.

What is the last book you have read?
Oo, that’s a tough one. I guess it depends on what you mean by "read". I can’t seem to finish any non-fiction work-related books lately, and instead read portions here and there. So I’ve finished big chunks of

Those are the ones sitting around my house that I continue to iterate through a bit at a time. I clearly have a problem with WIP being set too high.

The last fiction book I read was "The Passage" by Justin Cronin. It’s like Stephen King’s "The Stand" minus the religious aspect plus a hybrid compilation of vampire books minus all the teen angst minus all the "nice" vampires plus a bit of Michael Crichton‘s "Andromeda Strain." Ridley Scott bought the movie rights, so it should be a doozie when it gets made. I’m going to download Robopocalypse next!

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?
If you could have any super power, what would it be? (Will you ask everyone this? I bet the answers would be really interesting!) [Note from Yves: It would have been interesting, but so are most other questions everyone answers. Maybe people can talk about their SuperPower in the comments.]

I think most consultants wish for teleportation, which makes a lot of sense. But I’d wish to stop time. I’ve got an endless backlog of things I need to do and never enough time to make a dent. First thing I’d do is finish all those books I’ve got in process!

Who do you think I should ask next?
Linda Rising! I adore her. She brings such a fresh take on things, and makes learning so much fun you don’t realize it’s even happening.