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Showing posts from September, 2016

I Can Manage

For work reasons, I've recently become interested in resources for those new to line management. I put out an appeal for suggestions on Twitter and  Managing The Unmanageable  was recommended by Thomas Ponnet , with a little cautious reservation: " Hope you enjoy it. I don't agree with everything but that comes with the job description. Not all translates for my context." This quote from the book's preface sets up the authors' intent nicely: There is no methodology for the newly anointed development manager charged with managing, leading, guiding, and reviewing the performance of a team of programmers — often, the team he was on just days before. There are no off-the-shelf approaches. Unlike project managers, who devote hours and hours of study toward certifcation in their chosen career path, development managers often win their management roles primarily from having been stellar coders while displaying a modic

It's Complicated

In a recent episode of Rationally Speaking ,  Samuel Arbesman , a complexity scientist, talks about complexity in technology. Here's a few quotes I particularly enjoyed. On levels of understanding of systems: Technology very broadly is becoming more and more complicated ... actually so complex that no one, whether you're an expert or otherwise, fully understands these things ... They have enormous number of parts that are all interacting in highly nonlinear ways that are subject to emerging phenomena. We're going to have bugs and glitches and failures. And if we think we understand these things well and we don’t, there's going to be tons of gap between how we think we understand the system and how it actually does behave. On modelling reality with a system and then creating a model of that system: ... the world is messy and complex. Therefore, often, in order to capture all that messiness and complexity, you need a system that effectively is often of equ

Giving 'Back

The Test team book club at Linguamatics is currently reading  What Did You Say? The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback . Here's a couple of quotes that I picked out for our last session: If you’re really interested in helping people, you’ll do well to start your feedback by opening your own motives to inspection. Even when it’s given at the receiver’s request, feedback describes the giver more than the receiver. When the data and their model don’t match, most people discard the data. I recall an instance when, engaged in discussion with a colleague I'll call Russell, about the data analysis he was presenting, I spotted an opportunity to offer feedback. It was about something that I knew Russell wanted to change. It was about something that I knew was open to me to give feedback on, because we had talked about it. It was about something that I thought would be beneficial for Russell in multiple ways and, I hoped, would provide some insight into a particular behaviou

Reporting, a Novel Approach

  There's a girl in the park playing with an enormous bunch of balloons. She's running around, clearly very happy to have such a pretty and fun toy. She seems entranced by the way the balloons have life of their own: they hold themselves up, needing no support from her, and animatedly jostle one another as she moves. Her grip on the strings, twined together in her fist, is quite loose, and she's in danger of losing them if she's not careful. And, of course, she isn't and she does.  The balloons float up and up and up from her released grasp, past a tall tree in which two nude men are arm wrestling. On their wrists each sports a watch showing ten minutes past ten, despite the time being 12:57. With their free arms they reach out and catch the balloons as they bobble by, bursting every last one of them, and smiling. In the second exercise of Mira Nair 's Storytelling workshop, which ran at last night's Cambridge Tester Meetup , we were asked to write a s