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Project Management Grammar Hack: Time Words

October 9, 2014

Using time words Projects wander. Customers have unreasonable expectations. We make promises we can’t keep and that our customers misinterpret. Yet a simple grammar hack may help curb all of this. Consider the difference in clarity between these two versions of a project’s “next steps” we might send to a customer: “The project would cost $X,XXX and […]

The Running Test

August 20, 2014

Testing code is one thing, but how do we test our ideas. (I’m not talking about validating ideas with customers as in Lean Startup, but testing an idea against your gut. Is there a way to measure that?) When you’re small, opportunity costs are huge–your best customer is another customer you didn’t meet–so how do you […]

DevCon Meditation Challenge

July 28, 2014

With so much going on at DevCon–and so many friends to catch up with–it can be tempting to put yourself on auto-pilot for the whole conference, just reacting to what’s around you. You can feel a little aimless that way. And you can miss things. You’ve sacrificed a lot to be here so double-down on […]

Schedules and Perfectionism

May 20, 2014

Schedules suck. Each time we make a software development schedule, we do so despite two glaring problems: 1. It’s really tough to estimate or forecast any substantial development project. (That’s the long version of “schedules are useless”.) Looking at any large successful software project in hindsight your estimates and schedules appear naive if not ridiculous 2. We […]

Time Scales, Kaizen, and Urgency

May 1, 2014

Doing some  financial planning a few months ago, I was thinking about how to budget for all the stuff we’re trying to get done next year–remodeling on the house, some travel, finishing the van/mobile-office/surf wagon–and I just couldn’t get the numbers to come out right. I had this spreadsheet showing how much we’d have available […]

Schedules & Teams

April 23, 2014

I’ve been thinking a lot about schedules lately–software production schedules, deadlines, sprint plans, etc.–and I found this from my PauseOnError session 4 years ago: Below, I’ve proposed 8 “blockers” that, if true, seem to reinforce my skepticism that you can’t really share FileMaker development: that anything bigger than “one developer – one project – start […]

Leadership: change the story

March 24, 2014

“Q: How do we change the future? A: Change the story people tell themselves about the future they will live in.” “Seen through this lens, effective leadership is made up of of just two core disciplines: Forging plausible, inspiring stories about the future we wish for ourselves, our families, our companies or our communities, and […]

“Like a sound we can not hear…

November 6, 2013

…there may be thoughts we can not think.” Without new tools. – Richard Hamming via Bret Victor from “Media for Thinking the Unthinkable”. Wonderful stuff. I see a timeline in many of the representations Victor employs and the temporal nature of a system seems to be part of what he’s emphasizing. (I often need to […]

Building Things

September 30, 2013

“The great secret of System Design is to be able to sense what things can be done easily and elegantly by means of a system and what things are hard–and to stay away from the hard things.” – John Gall, Systemantics (out of print)

Wish I remembered where I snapped this.

August 23, 2013

Back from DevCon and refocussing, as I think we all are. I’m trying the “desired outcomes” chart again (worked well when I worked it) and am reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s plan for each day: Pretty cool. The days when I do the most important thing before I start reacting to email are by far the most productive enjoyable. […]

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