I learnt about …

  • Leaving Well

    When someone leaves a company there are two sides to it. The first side is the way the employee behaves and handles themselves. I always aim to be professional and work hard until the moment I leave the office for the last time. I like to think that is one of the reasons my last four roles have involved word of mouth recommendations. I have seen some people, who were excellent up to that point, almost switch off once they have announced they are leaving.

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  • Real v Artificial Deadlines

    This excellent article looks at the different types of deadlines and the impact they have. The key point for me, and not something I had seen previously defined, is the distinction between real and artificial deadlines: Real deadlines have a direct (and often large) economic consequence. Not meeting the deadline will seriously jeopardize some future outcome. Artificial deadlines don’t work like that. There may be an economic impact, but the link between “hitting the date” and the economic impact will be a lot more subtle and abstract.

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  • Planning Workshop

    We have just completed a two week exercise with the whole development team to identify, design and estimate the next phase of work. It started as an organic process as we found the best way to do this and then developed into a repeatable process for the latter functionality. Before starting on the individual breakdowns we produced a list of things to consider for everything we were estimating. This mostly consisted of a list of functional requirements like logging, testing, documentation, etc.

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  • Naming Resources

    This one is just for future reference for me that I may find useful one day - a website full of resources that may be useful for naming things. Links Onym

  • Meeting Costs

    We had a meeting recently with 16 people on the video conference call. Due to poor planning and technical issues it took nearly half an hour to decide to postpone the meeting. That is eight man hours wasted - a whole day of work! This article proposes an add-on to the calendar that informs the person booking the meeting how much the meeting will effectively cost the company. Love it!

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  • The value of throwing code away

    We had a discussion at work about “throw away” code. One of our developers was very against developing any code that would be thrown away afterwards. He referred to this as a waste. In my view sometimes the biggest gain can be in developing code that is meant to be thrown away. It can be used to try things and, more importantly, learn things that can shape the code that is kept.

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  • Why Now?

    I have used the “5 whys” approach multiple times to get to the root of some question. This article advocates adding a time dimension to the decision. Not only should we consider why we are doing something, we should also consider why we are doing something at a specific point in time. It also twists this around and suggests we should consider “What is the danger of not doing this right now?

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  • Gurus and Experts

    This is an old post (March 2009) that someone retweeted but still holds true on how to work out if an expert is really an expert. It also is a guide how not to fall into common traps that so-called experts fall into. Links How to Call Bullshit on a Guru or Expert

  • 3D animation from a 2D photo

    This is a pretty amazing demonstration of animating an aspect of a 2d photo. This even includes pulling out bodies and animating them moving away from their original scene. If we can simulate video in this way then can we ever still believe video as proof of what has happened? Links Photo Wake-Up: 3D Character Animation from a Single Photo

  • Black Mirror - Technology Ethics

    Nearly every technology that has been developed has been used for both good and bad. Developments that look like they could have a massive impact on civilization have usually also spun off a side effect that has a detrimental effect. This could be the latest technologies such as genetic engineering and artificial intelligence or older technologies such as the automobile. This article discusses using an exercise during the development of the technology to identify these wrong uses and how/if they can be alleviated.

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