Aug 262012
 

If you’ve read much of what I’ve written, or if you’ve ever worked with me directly, you know how much I hate the phrase “It’s just a new spin on old technology.” Sometimes we use that phrase when we meet something new – so that we can explain it in terms of other things we know – it can help us build metaphors and more quickly embrace the technology. Sometimes we use the phrase when we want to downplay the significance of something that appears like a fad to us. [read more…]

Feb 082012
 
Padding estimates and promises

A few days ago, we uncovered an opportunity that depended a lot on timing. If we could get it going in five days, we could exploit it… if it took longer than that, the timing was going to impact some other strategic concerns. I asked a developer for an estimate of the effort, and he said it would take ten days to complete. About my own estimates I have always been sensitive to suggest my own estimates to other developers. My estimates nearly always scared others, but I had a [read more…]

Sep 182011
 
Great clarity of thought and more than a little courage...

Why is it so hard at times to move a team toward a shared vision? Having a shared vision is supposed to make coordinating actions easier. It is also one way we avoid becoming victims of circumstance, “drifting in the marketplace”. Producing shared vision, meanwhile, requires effective communication – and the larger the group, the more simple and direct the communication must be, or people won’t “get it”. The challenge of simple and direct communication is that it requires great clarity of thought and more than a little courage. – [read more…]