Five for Friday – September 13, 2019

It’s the Friday the 13th edition of FfF. Here’s some stuff to read.

Five for Friday – September 6, 2019

As you may or may not have noticed, I took a few weeks off from FfF. I moved houses, then I traveled, then I went on a short vacation, and then I got sick. But now I’m mostly settled in and back on my regular routine.

Here’s some stuff I found.

  • I’m reading Drift Into Failure – and it’s fascinating. Here’s the first of what probably won’t be the last of quotes I’ll share from the book.
    But in stories of drift into failure, organizations fail precisely because they are doing well – on a narrow range of performance criteria, that is – the ones that they get rewarded on in their current political or economic or commercial configuration. In the drift into failure, accidents can happen without anything breaking, without anybody erring, without anybody violating the rules they consider relevant.
  • For numerous reasons, I’ve been talking more and more about testing without testers. This is a post from a few years ago (but new to me) that speaks to my cause. The Breakup
  • Most of you know this, but a lot of teams do bad things under the guise of ‘Agile‘, and fail. Here are some reasons why – How Agile Fails In Practice
  • Now that you know you have things to fix, read John Culter’s post on So You Want To Fix Something
  • While I recommend you just read all of Johanna Rothman’s posts, her post on the fit of management in Agile recently is quite good and worth reading.

Five for Friday – August 16, 2019

Here we go again…

  • If you’re a regular reader of these Friday links, you may wonder how I keep track of things I want to share. I use Pocket to save things I like. Without it, I’d have to reboot the series as One for Wednesday.
  • Steve Denning is back in FfF with an article on Understanding The Agile Mindset
  • I love static analysis tools, and here’s a story on static analysis at Instagram (which I learned is almost entirely Python on the back end)
  • A lot of my job is coaching, so I liked this article on bad ways to be a coach.
  • Finally, for the stats lovers, check out this site full of sports team stats. I only look at the soccer stats, but you may find others interesting.

Five for Friday – August 9, 2019

Back again for five more things you may or may not find interesting

  • I received an advance copy of 7 Rules for Positive, Productive Change by Esther Derby, and it’s fantastic and highly recommended. The book is low of fluff and high on pragmatic advice.
  • A few weeks ago I had just installed DashLane and was happy with it – my interest, however, has waned. I initially skipped LastPass because it mangled my passwords on import, but I exported/imported from CSV to get around that problem, and it’s growing on me.
  • I came across a nice article on Pair Programming worth sharing (buried in the sea of bad articles on Pair Programming)
  • Similarly, this story on Why our team cancelled our move to microservices is insightful and helpful
  • I bought a new (used) mountain bike. I hadn’t upgraded in ~15 years or so, and oh-boy does the new tech make a difference. I’ve only had it out for a few short rides, but hoping to put some mileage on it before ski season starts. It’s a 2016 Occam Orbea – pic below.

Five for Friday – August 2, 2019

Here is my this week’s version of five things I think are worth sharing.

  • I’m moving (about 6 miles away). Our realtor told me about Moving Link – it’s a service that takes care of bidding on the move. They come out and walk through the house, and then go work with movers to get quotes. Super easy, and a great service to have when there’s so much other crap going on
  • A big part of leadership is good decision making. Like anything else, the way to get better at decision making is to practice by making lots of decisions – then reflect on the bad decisions as an exercise for getting better. Along those lines, this article on 6 Reasons We Make Bad Decisions, and What to Do About Them is worth reading
  • We’ve all seen and used career models or ladders that differentiate between manager and IC (individual contributor) paths. One of the few flaws with this twopath approach is that we frequently expect high level non-managers to be tech leaders, even if that role doesn’t quite fit. I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of the Trident Model of Career Growth before, but I will refer to it often now.
  • One of my favorite plugins is the Checker Plus plugin. I don’t get a lot of email, and what I get is 80% shit I don’t care about. With checker plus, I can quickly glance at the new messages across my inboxes and see if anything needs attention (my loan guy at the bank, for example, needs me to reply to something when I’m done here).
  • Lastly, you can now play the original Diablo in your browser

Five for Friday – July 26, 2019

Another blurry week in the books, but I found a few things I liked.

Five for Friday – July 19, 2019

Here we go again…

  • You know how I always rave over Cindy Sridharan’s articles? Well, it turns out she curates a collection of awesome articles on github. Be like me make a clone now.
  • Apparently, Google is paying up to $30k for Chrome bugs.
  • Here’s yet another reminder on using failure as an opportunity to reflect on strengths
  • I’m working through the latest season of Designated Survivor on Netflix and thinking that Kiefer is a far better choice for a celebrity president
  • I had an internet “discussion” with someone a few weeks ago about Major League Soccer – they insisted it was a top ten league in the world, and I insisted it was barely top 20, if that.
    Now, there’s data (and I love data). According to this web site, MLS is the 19th best (by calculating the “Average Power Index” of each league).

Five for Friday – July 12, 2019

It’s smack in the middle of summer in Seattle – which means it rained most of the week. Here’s what I read while watching the clouds.

  • Cindy Sridharan is back with another fantastic blog post – this time on Distributed Tracing
  • There are few things I loathe more than a status meeting. Here’s an article on how Jeff Bezos (supposedly) fixed that problem with his (brilliant) memo system
  • Yet-another-great-article on why Generalizing is better than Specializing. I could rant, but I won’t
  • I’m still working my way through Trillion Dollar Coach, and it’s still fantastic. Some quotes just sing out to me.
    Bill told the poor product manager, if you ever tell an engineer at Intuit which features you want, I’m going to throw you out on the street. You tell them what problem the consumer has. You give them context on who the consumer is. Then let them figure out the features. They will provide you with a far better solution than you’ll ever get by telling them what to build.
  • For the locals (or the visitors), two of my colleagues and I went out for a day last weekend with Seattle Mountain Bike Tours, and it was fantastic and worth every penny. I especially recommend it to visitors, because it will partially explain why I love living in the Seattle area so much.

Five for Friday – July 5, 2019

It’s the July 4th holiday weekend edition of FfF – here are five links worth reading.

  • Jeff Nyman is back yet again (seriously, once I know all of you read his blog regularly, I’ll stop linking to his posts). This time, he answers the question, Should Testers Own Quality
  • A cool article on the time a user researcher tried to ruin Halo 2
  • I always enjoy a good hacking article – here’s one on how to break into your neighbors house
  • I made a full switch this week from Chrome to Firefox for use as my “main” browser. I took the opportunity to use a proper password manager and so far have been mostly happy with dashlane (there will be another post here in the future about password management my opinion changes)
  • Lastly, a short article from someone who has figured out the future of test – From gatekeepers of quality to enabling teams

Five for Friday – June 28, 2019

  • I haven’t used a mechanical keyboard in years, but it’s been on my radar for a while, and now that I have a das keyboard, I’m bummed I didn’t switch back sooner. I have the most basic keyboard of their line, and from the feel and construction, I’m not sure if I’ll ever need to buy another keyboard.
  • This article from The Atlantic on Expertise Falling Out of Favor has uncanny parallels to the software industry. It’s largely about generalists (or specializing generalists), but check out this quote.

    The phenomenon is sped by automation, which usurps routine tasks, leaving employees to handle the nonroutine and unanticipated—and the continued advance of which throws the skills employers value into flux. 
  • Having worked on Microsoft Teams at one point, I enjoyed this article about how Slack’s Tech Stack has grown.
  • Chris Kenst had a nice post recently titled Move fast and make things better.
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