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Showing posts from June, 2020

Une Oeuf Blogging

When I started Hiccupps I challenged myself to do 50 posts in the first year. If I could manage one piece a week, I reckoned, I'd have a decent idea whether I really wanted to write and whether the effort I was putting in was worth it.  At the end of that initial 12 months I found that I really did want to write and, that as far as I was concerned, the effort was worth it. In the almost nine years since then I've maintained an annual average of around 50 posts and as I've reached the half-century or October I've taken a moment to reflect on how things are going. This post will be the 456th — with something like the 400th awful pun of a title — and so now seems like a good time as any to look back down the track again. Blog is a contraction of weblog and it occurs to me now, in a way that I'm not sure it has before, that Hiccupps genuinely is a log of stuff I've been pondering or doing or reading or viewing. The posts feel

For Against Method

So I've just given up on Paul Feyerabend's Against Method . It's by no means the first book I've stopped reading; only recently I skipped big chunks of Accelerate by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim, shortly before that I dumped Douglas Rushkoff's Team Human , and further back Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things by George Lakoff moved off my bedside table and back onto the book shelves.  Why? Well sometimes I feel like I know the content already, sometimes I feel like I don't or won't have a context in which the information is useful, sometimes I'm just not feeling it for whatever reason. So I stop, or skip, or cherry-pick, or all three.  What was the problem with Feyerabend's book? It was too dense, referring to too much that I don't know without looking it up, and I have too much on my mind to be able to concentrate at the depth needed to consume it. Also, Feyerabend helpfully provided a summary of his argument, broken down by chapters

Practice Makes Perfect

Drew Pontikis spoke about Leading Communities of Practice at Cambridge Agile Exchange tonight. Some might think it controversial that a CoP should have a leader, but it's one of the four things that Drew thinks are required, along with regularity, a purpose, and the investment of (at least) time. Crucially, though, note that it's leadership rather than management, that Drew wants for a CoP. His own experience is that trying too hard to force things, direct behaviour, or control the structure or content of the group will lead to failure. He told the story of a team where management made CoP attendance mandatory and how awful it was to be interacting with a group who largely would rather be somewhere else. Leadership in a CoP should keep the group grounded during the early stages when motivation is high and motivated during the inevitable downturn in enthusiasm that will come. The leader is a peer with knowledge, respect, and integrity, and also with contacts and the ability t

Billion Bubbles Challenge

Conor Fitzgerald tweeted the picture at the top  the other day along with these words: Testing some new hardware.. It has Turbo Bubble Technology I smiled at the picture because it's sweet, but also because the idea of testing the bubble machine is fun. The "Billion Bubbles" label in particular put me in mind of those interview questions you hear about, how would you test a pen? and the like.  So, how would you test whether Conor's new hardware could support the apparent claim of a billion bubbles? I time-boxed myself at 10 minutes and put some thoughts down in a mind map: Feel free to do the same and dump your thoughts into the comments. Image: Conor Fitzgerald

Managing to Test

Earlier in the year Lena Wiberg posted an interesting challenge on Twitter:  I would like to pair up with other writers and do a series of pair blog posts. So we agree on a topic, we both write a post on our own blogs and publish at the same time. 2 perspectives for 1 topic! Any takers? Swaps are fun, so I signed up and Lena asked me for a topic. After some consideration I proposed "testing skills I use in management" for the selfish reasons that I'm interested to hear what she has to say on it and also to collect thoughts that I've had over the years into one place.  --00-- I spent quite some time early in my managerial career observing how I went about my work, finding what I liked and what I didn't, and deciding what my guiding management principles appeared to be and should be. This is what I came up with: Be clear and present Be congruent  Provide