I would seem to be more confused than normal these days. Which, in the past, has frequently been a good sign; maybe my brain is figuring something out? Or maybe I’m just clueless. Anyways, I present to you a random collection of thoughts, which may or may not be related to each other in some way.

  • At work, I think we’re doing a reasonable job of adding new features. Though I’m sure there’s room for improvement.
  • I also think we’re doing a reasonable job of fixing bugs: acceptance test failures are way down, and we’re even successfully attacking sporadic bugs and old, thorny bugs.
  • Not so sure about code maintainability: there’s even some evidence to suggest that our code maintainability has, in some areas, gotten worse recently.
  • Code maintainability is harder to measure than features and bugs. And there’s less external pressure to get it right, so not surprising that it’s fallen by the wayside. Because of our successes in other areas, and because we’re doing a better job of planning this release than the last one, though, we have some time to attack it.
  • I wish I were better at helping various teams that I’m part of improve our processes.
  • One-on-ones are a good idea, even (especially?) if you don’t know what you’ll get out of them. And the more frequently you have them, the lower the pressure, which is a big help to everybody.
  • The book I’m currently reading at work is Matthew May’s The Elegant Solution. Which is reminding me of some aspects of lean that I hadn’t been focusing on, especially on the “respect for people” side.
  • Having the team all focused on the same, small-granularity tasks is wonderful in terms of making concrete progress in ways where our work reinforces each other and matches business value. Not necessarily so great in terms of letting people, say, focus on what they do best or define their own job.
  • One thing that May talks about is the power of opposing goals (make a car faster and get better mileage and lighter and cheaper by these specific amounts), and the evils of satisficing. Simultaneous satisfying all your goals sounds wonderful if you can do it; I wish I knew how. I suspect that Toyota has some very useful techniques to this end.
  • Alexia Bowers gave a good examples of meetin opposing goals, if I’m remembering the podcast correctly.
  • The book before last that I read was a guide to the ToC thinking tools. (See also It’s Not Luck.) Do these actually work? My brain is strangely resistant to even giving them a try.
  • I think I’m getting better at not talking in meetings, about chiming in and then letting other people argue for a while. Gratifying that, not infrequently, other people make the arguments that I would have made were I talking.
  • I stayed home on Friday, because Miranda was sick, and called into two meetings. Both of which were very frustrating. I think part of it was that I missed some of the cues of the flow of the meeting, and part of it was that I wasn’t very good at explaining, or even seeing, how we were talking past each other. (I did think of an evaporating cloud to explain one of the conflicts after the fact, for better or for worse.)
  • I wish I spent more time talking to people in other parts of Sun.
  • What do I want to do when I grow up?
  • After taking a break for a few years, I’ve gone to one conference each of the last two years, and gotten a lot out of each of them. I should continue this going forward. (And possibly even ramp it up a bit, since if there are further Agile Open Californias, I’m not going to stop going to them.) Where should I go next year?
  • What communities do I want to be part of? What does it mean to be part of those communities?
  • What teams am I currently part of? Do those teams behave how I think a team should behave? If not, how should I behave?

I could probably ramble on in this vein for quite some time; time to go to bed. Happy Armistice Day, all.

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