bookmark_borderFive for Friday – September 1, 2023

I am almost completely recovered from my bout with coronavirus. Only thing remaining is a lingering cough, and that I now need about two more hours of sleep a night than I have in decades. I’m still planning a long hike in a few weeks, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. In the meantime, I’ve scoured the internet looking for the finest articles about stuff that I care about. Or, more likely, just some stuff I found that I thought was worth sharing.

  • This is going to be a quadruple link bullet post – but just in case you happened to miss it, McKinsey came out with a report on measuring developer productivity a few weeks ago. It’s umm…well anyway, Kent Beck and Gergely Orosz (from the pragmatic newsletter) wrote a pair of reaction posts (part 1, part 2) which are excellent – and then today, Brian Finster posted his thoughts. Read it all.
  • I like Python – and I know enough Python to do…simple things. But I ran across this WTF Python repo on github, and it’s been enlightening to learn a bit about a whole bunch of features and constructs that I am not familiar with.
  • I re-read Amy Edmondson’s The Fearless Organization every year or so, and always learn something new. I was thrilled to discover yesterday, that she has a new book coming out, The Right Kind of Wrong – which I’ve already pre-ordered. I reserve the right to bring it back to a FfF link after I read it.
  • My current team is fully remote (although I prefer the term, “location neutral”). My previous job was spread across more than a dozen offices, so it was practically remote as well. As such, I am always looking for ways to better connect teams who aren’t co-located, and ran across this great article on Building remote company culture with AI.
  • And to contrast that (sort of), this article on Remote Work – which makes the point for everyone going back to the office – but also recognizes that there are benefits on both sides of the RTO argument. I have my own opinions…that I’ll share eventually.

That’s it for another week – good to get two of these out in a row. See you in a week.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – August 25, 2023

Oh hey – I’m back. First there was DefCon – then there was the covid I caught at Defcon, and now I’m back to the world of the living and managed to be awake enough this week to find a few cool things worth sharing.

  • I’m a big fan of John Cutler’s writing – I thought this week’s post of his is worth pondering.
  • I liked this article where the author wonders if small teams are better. It’s a look at the opposite side of the mythical man month (whether intended or not), but makes a lot of great points.
  • Mako pointed me to this article on training nanoGPT on blog content. I tweaked it and ran it on my substack content (with only 40 blog posts), and found the whole thing pretty interesting.
  • It’s a day that ends in a ‘Y’, which means I ran across someone on the internet whining about chat GPT, yet taking zero interest in attempting to understand how LLMs work. On the other hand – this article on using Chat GPT to make decisions, is, in my opinion, spot on.
  • My covid fever had me in search of mindless movies to watch. After both enjoying and hating Cocaine Bear, I was amused to see this story, which can only really lead to a Bears On a Plane movie. If we’re lucky.

This is usually where I say, see you next week – which I think I can say, but you never know.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – August 4, 2023

Back again for another week of random links that bounced around my head this week. I hope you find something interesting.

  • First off, there may, or may not be a FfF next week, as I’ll be at DefCon! I’ve wanted to attend for a long time, but work, then covid (which I’m still a bit nervous about) got in the way, but I’m committed this year. I found this beginners guide to defcon series to be helpful and interesting.
  • I could (and should…) write an entire blog post on why your standup meetings suck. This article on why Standups are Outdated is enough to get the conversation started while I let the idea bounce around in my brain.
  • I watched a bit of the c-span coverage of the Trump arraignment yesterday – and once again was surprised by the misinformation. Here’s a nice summary of how People Are Lying To You About The Trump Indictment. It’s super-informative and clears up (for me at least) a lot of the crap talking points
  • Chris Fenning’s The First Minute is still my go to reference on how to begin conversations, but along those same veins is this article on The Art of the Request. Far too often, people will complain to me that people “don’t do what they ask” – and far too often, the problem is on the wrong side of the airlock.
  • Pure brag, because they’re sold out (of print versions), but I snagged a book version of 50 Years of Text Games, and I’m super excited.

That’s all – thanks for reading.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – July 28, 2023

I have fully recovered from the Taylor Swift concert last week, and ready to share a few things I think are interesting.

  • We may as well lead with Tay – not surprisingly, the Seattle shows registered measurable seismic activity I’m sure the same will happen in Santa Clara this weekend.
  • I want to link to Abi Noda’s newsletter every week, but I’m sure you all read it yourself already. This week, however, I want to highlight his post on reflective goal setting (or as I think of it – a personal retrospective). I’ve been doing something similar for years, and it really works. Definitely worth a read and a try.
  • I’m one of those weirdos who loves shell scripting. I’m also one of those people who forgets shit all the time. This bash cheatsheet – while one of millions on the subject, works quite well for me.
  • I’ve been fascinated with this Climate Analyzer from University of Maine. Fascinated and a little frightened. It’s worth checking out.
  • There can be only Two. My weekly FfF posts are inspired by Tim Ferris’s Five Bullet Friday. But now there’s another FfF player on the block – Anand Jayaram has joined in on the FfF fun (FfFf?) with his weekly Five for Friday posts.

Thanks again for reading – have a great weekend, wherever you are.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – July 21, 2023

Not only are we smack in the heat of summer, but for the first time in nearly four years, Seattle will actually look like people live there when 70,000 Taylor Swift fans, combined with 30,000 baseball fans all try to get downtown at once.

Should be a blast. Meanwhile, here is some stuff worth sharing.

  • I went on a hike a few weeks ago. I knew I’d be walking 8+ hours a day for 4+ days, so I thought an audio book would be in order. My criteria was pretty narrow: It had to be fiction – and not great fiction, since I didn’t want to have to rewind to replay parts where I was concentrating on footing or animals or whatever. I still wanted it to be entertaining enough to keep my interest, and because I’m super-cheap, it had to be available for free through the library. The Origin by Dan Brown was perfect. The story, while laughably predictable, had just enough of the canonical Brown literary bubble gum to keep me interested throughout the hike. It’s not serious reading, but it was fun.
  • I meant to post this last week, but Elisabeth Hendrickson wrote a great article a few weeks back on Expanding Universes and Fixed Envelopes
  • …and from even farther back, but found today – this is helpful. What is Developer Experience? a roundup of links and goodness
  • Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory have another great post in their series – this time on building a foundation of core practices
  • I ran across this article on Escaping the Availability Trap. It’s a good read, and good fodder for everyone who insists they are “too busy” to get meaningful work done. We all get the same 24 hours a day – we all just have different ideas on how to organize and prioritize that time.

Once again, that’s all. See you on the other side of this wild Seattle weekend.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – July 14, 2023

Is it just me, or did this week get extra-busy? Just me? Oh well, between life, work, animals, kids, and summer, I still managed to find a few links this week worth sharing.

And there we go. We’ll see what happens next week.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – July 7, 2023

Last week, I scheduled this post, and somehow in doing that I (debatable) made it a private post for subscribers only. That, of course, means that I’m going to schedule this post for 10 minutes from now to see what happens under careful observation.

  • I scheduled the post last week, because I was walking 70 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. I first walked on the PCT nearly 50 years ago, and have been a bit infatuated with it (off and on) ever since. Someday, I’d like to walk all 2650 miles of it.
  • Open Org recently released their Employee Handbook Template – and it’s kind of cool – or at least worth checking out.
  • I’m currently balancing my DM and Group Chat time between Teams and Slack (weird, but true). I’m pretty sure I don’t want this, but in my haphazard searching to try and see how other folks balance this, I found that some teams just give up and use a tool like Mio Dispatch to make them both feel like one tool.
    I’ll keep looking for a better answer.
  • I think at a lot of companies, it takes too long to get new engineers up to speed. This article on onboarding new engineers hit’s the main points (and with great citations to back up their claims).
  • Finally, some food for thought. This post asks, Are bugs and slow delivery ok? I think the question is valid – and while I agree that for some products, slow and buggy may be ok, but I disagree that it’s 95%…but I sort of hate that the author is sort of right.
    I need to ponder this some more…

That’s all for this week – apologies again for the posting mishap last week, I’ll try to keep my shit together.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – June 30, 2023

This is – hopefully – an auto post. I am taking a very long walk in the woods this weekend.

Edit: WTF, WordPress? Maybe I accidentally changed a setting that I just spent 5 minutes searching for. Of course, that means I need to send next weeks post via scheduled delivery too…

  • This is a repost, but worth it – I did a podcast / videocast with the folks at Mobot a few months ago, but they keep finding cool clips to share – like this one.
  • Also in the “did it a few months ago, but here it is” category – I have a blurb in this article on aligning teams towards north star metrics.
  • Everyone in the world is going to include this link in their newsletters this week, but I really enjoyed The Password Game. I didn’t finish it, but I had fun trying.
  • In my opinion, other than a manager 1:1, the team retrospective is the most important meeting. This statement isn’t true if your retros suck – here’s how to do Retros that Don’t Suck.
  • I find a gem in HBR almost every week – this week was no exception with this article on How Managers Can Make Time for Their Own Development

Time to hit the scheduled post button and see what happens. L8r

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – June 23, 2023

We all made it through another week. That’s all. We survived. Here’s some stuff I found while we were surviving.

  • Aahhh – something I could (and may) write about a lot. One person’s take on Microsoft’s Shitty Stack System
  • Speaking of my writing, I don’t think it’s a secret that I use AI for images on my substack posts. Yes, I know it’s derivative and it takes away work from artists (or not, since the alternate is no pictures). Brent and I have talked at length about this on the podcast. This week, Matt Schellhas writes about a similar experience here – The Anti-Hero Photo
  • Jesper Ottosen wrote a great article this week called Don’t Overthink Test Cases.
  • I planned on linking to a John Cutler article before Jesper linked to one of his tweets, but felt it was worth calling out the coincidence. John’s article this week on Explicit vs. Implicit Strategy is excellent and timely
  • I’m very happy to be in a fully remote work-wherever-I-want role. At the same time, it’s fascinating to see that Seattle is a ghost town compared to 2019. Companies want people back – but for the wrong reasons. Anyway – here’s an article from the Seattle times on the subject – Return to office in Seattle and beyond enters the desperation phase

Thanks for reading – have a great weekend,

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – June 16, 2023

I’m continuing to try and enjoy summer here while it lasts – before it gets too hot. Summer in the pacific northwest is why we put up with the gray and wet for the other 11 months of the year. Anyway – here’s some stuff I read or found this week that you may find interesting.

  • After years of disappearing into the woods and returning to civilization “when I get there”, I finally bought a GPS Tracker – a Garmin In Reach Mini. It can track my location on a map, and let me send text messages or an SOS if needed. It also gives me a little more confidence to take less maintained trails and still find my way.
  • My Saturday blog post was about using AI / Chat GPT in testing. Jason Arbon wrote a wonderful post and highly relatable post on the subject. Counterfeit Philosophers in Testing
  • I understand that businesses want to make money. What I don’t understand is why businesses create pricing that forces people to not use their product. I have many examples, but the most relevant is Reddit – who decided to charge a ridiculous amount of money to access their API – and then have the site fail when communities did exactly what they said they’d do. smh
  • I just binged watched all four seasons of Barry. I love dark humor, and Bill Hader is just fantastic in this show. It may not be for everyone, but I loved it.
  • Last but not least – Monday is Juneteenth in the U.S. I’ve been taking some time this week to read more about the holiday, and enjoyed this HBR article on How Your Organization Can Recognize Juneteenth

That’s it for this week. For those of you who double dip in FfF and substack, my post will be late this week, as I’m heading out for my first (of several) backpacking trips of the year after work this afternoon. See you all next week.