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Archives for Lean / Agile

refining visionaries

At Agile Open California this year, Volker Frank led a session about developing leaders within an agile organization. And it got me thinking: one way to lead is to see a possibility more clearly than anybody else, to describe that vision in a way that helps others see its beauty, and to help guide people […]

responsibly testing in production

(This post was informed by a session at Agile Open California; many thanks to Llewellyn Falco and Matthew Carlson for their discussion and suggestions. But if there’s something in here that sounds wrong to you, blame me, not them!)   Agile software development has always had a strong focus on your software being correct. At […]

amazon and pull systems

Nine years ago, I was thinking about how Amazon Prime enables a more lean approach towards purchasing: if you that you can get whatever you want in two days, then you don’t have to buy things until you need them. For example, I can take a kanban approach towards book buying: if I don’t read […]

brenda romero: jiro dreams of game design

It’s months since GDC, and I’m still trying to unpack my feelings about Brenda Romero’s Jiro Dreams of Game Design talk. Or maybe not so much my feelings about it—it’s an excellent talk, no question—but my emotional reactions to it. Her talk confronts concepts that I care about (greatness, team structure, creation) in contexts that […]

netrunner, systems thinking, rule sets, cynicism

I play a lot of Android: Netrunner at work; other board games, too, but Netrunner is the one that’s sunk its teeth into me most deeply. I mostly play over lunch, but sometimes I play at other times, and occasionally those lunches get pretty long; this makes me wonder: is there any way I can […]

benefit zero of retrospectives

Over the last couple of years, I’ve started to appreciate retrospectives in a way that I hadn’t before: I’d felt for a while that they made sense intellectually, but I was never actually good at them. And, while that hasn’t particularly changed (fortunately, other people on teams I’ve been on are better at them!), I […]

on estimation

It probably would surprise people who have interacted with me recently to hear it, but I actually spent a fair amount of time a few years back trying to get good (as an individual, as part of a team) at estimating: reading the literature (both agile and otherwise), trying it out, and refining and repeating […]

structure within teams

Since my role shift at work, I’ve been thinking about teams: partly being surprised by my reactions to some interactions, partly thinking about ways in which my instincts are a bad fit for some aspects of our house style. And three questions about organizational team structure (in general, not about my current job) that I’ve […]

slack and overwork

I really have fallen off of my blogging rhythm ever since getting back from vacation: the trip left me somewhat sleep-deprived, somewhat frazzled, and with a sequence of small “I finished a game” posts that I felt that I had to get out of the way. That combined to get me out of sync; I’ve […]

inboxes at work

Merlin Mann’s Back to Work podcast recently did a five-part series on GTD (starting with episode 95); good to have an excuse to think about that again, to have my eyes opened to ways in which I can improve my GTD practice. One thing which particularly struck me while listening to the series was the […]

agile, anarchy, and teams

I tend to think of agile as a way of thinking about programming that’s very supportive of individuals, their quirks, desires, and autonomy. As I’ve been tossing some of the ideas behind this post around in my head, though, I’m not entirely sure why I have that attitude. Certainly the lean pillar of Respect for […]

worries as inventory: bug trackers, lean, and gtd

At Agile Open Northern California 2012, I led a session titled “Worries as Inventory: Bug Trackers, Lean, and GTD”. I put up my notes on the conference wiki, but I’m reproducing them here for archival purposes as well. Many thanks to the people who participated in the session, they did a wonderful job of getting […]

set-based design

I went to PSL last month; it was a great experience, and the only reason why I haven’t blogged about it here is that there was so much to think about that I haven’t managed to wrap my brain around it. (Well, that’s not the only reason: I’ve been distracted. But it’s the main reason!) […]

plus ca change

From Thomas Cleary’s introduction to his translation of Zen Lessons: In contrast to the relatively plain and straightforward Zen literature of the Tang dynasty, Song dynasty Zen literature is convoluted and artful. This is not regarded, in Zen terms, as a development in Zen, but as a response to a more complex and pressured society […]

plans of record

My current (mild) bugaboo at work: agreeing on plans. “Bugaboo” is really too strong a term, but it’s something that I’ve been probing a bit. Like a lot of my coworkers, I’m not a big fan of hierarchy (actually, I actively dislike hierarchy, though I won’t speak for others in that regard); also, like a […]

what does “agile” mean to me?

I’ve had a few experiences recently (e.g. at one of the GDC talks that I attended) where somebody uses the word “agile” to describe a process that doesn’t sound particularly agile to me. So I figured I’d take some time to try to understand that difference, and in particular to think about what attributes will […]

bug trackers are anti-agile (though less anti-gtd)

Once again, I find myself at a job that uses bug-tracking software (JIRA this time, as in my previous job; the job before that used Bugzilla); once again, I’m finding that the bug-tracking software gets on my nerves. And, it turns out, gets on my nerves specifically because of ways in which that software seems […]

an apple-focused personal history of computing

When Steve Jobs died, I felt I should write about him. Probably about Apple, really: I don’t know anything about Jobs, but Apple (the company and its products) occupies a surprising amount of my psychic space. It took me quite some time to get around to writing the post, however; and, when I started typing, […]

apple, google, and hp

I don’t normally blog about current events stuff here: that’s just not the kind of blog that this is, and that’s not exactly a niche in desperate need of filling on the internet. But, to somebody in the tech industry who lives in the same town as Google’s home office (they’re about a mile and […]

notes on books

Some tangentially related notes on recent experiences reading books: When I was thinking about getting an iPad, I wondered what format I should buy books in. I was thinking the contenders were Amazon’s proprietary format versus ePub books (sadly largely with encryption in both cases); but when I actually got the iPad, I discovered that […]