Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Turns out Expenses, Taxes, and Burdens Can Be Good Things

In addition to the middle class, this is also the problem for agencies and employer's like them. Many of the local contracting body-shops have this problem.
I was well paid at my last agency job and I had fun working there, but they take advantage of people - and more importantly - they manage like retards. Why? Because they've got a workforce that is not protected by the overtime.
And in fact, you can see it. When they have a contractor resource - where they do have to pay for every hour worked, they tend to limit that contractor's hours or the contractor gets relatively rich off their inability to manage the projects.
The brands they represent deserve better, not just the people. By not having a 1 to 1 cost for people putting in more hours, management is not kept in check by expense, and you get project killing churn instead of decisions.
This article talks about the declining middle class and that's important. But here in thriving San Francisco the challenge is working well. Regardless of team size or the depth of the company's pockets, Parkinson's law is ever present. Work will expand to fill the time and more and more and more. Because what we do is "soft" there can always be more of it.
In the past, overtime would have kept this in check. 2 decades ago, it was so hard to do anything on a network that the massive effort involved to do anything kept this in check. But now, things are terribly complex, but they are at least "doable."
Despite what most business retard thinks, bringing back overtime would make companies work smarter. It would be good for everyone except the actual retards because today, they can hide behind the volunteer labor of the salaried.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Estimate. Or do not. There is no try...

I talked with a technical lead last night and it was fascinating.

He said, "You're suggestions for estimation don't work."  He was referring to the several posts I've made on this blog and in emails about estimating.

He continued, "I asked one of my guys for an estimate, he said 2 days, I said 7 days, it took 6 days.  This happens for all our estimates."

"Why do you continue to ask him for estimates?"

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Service Oriented and Agile...

I think that when Agile came along there were many people in software that didn't understand dependency management and software engineering.  I believe this encouraged architecture and design to be thrown out "with the Agile bath water."

Friday, June 13, 2014

Why user stories and the thin slice are a lie...

TLDR: User Stories are integration points, not slices.

Provocative title, yes?  Well, give me a moment to explain and I think you'll understand.

In the lore of Agile there is the notion of the "thin slice."  The idea is that you build just what's needed to implement the current user story. You "slice through" each level of the solution architecture and implement the user story.

I've had real problems "thinly slicing" the solution architecture along user story boundaries. The primary problem is that the user story is focused on functionality delivered to the user, but there is a lot more than providing user-visible functionality needed to complete a modern project.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Why you're (probably) not building your own web tools...

I think I've spotted a trend.  I've worked with a lot of brilliant developers over the years, but only a few create their own tools ( Jeremy Ruppel, Don Robins ).

Others that I thought would, don't seem to.  (I'm looking at you AKQA Boys).  If they do, they don't mention them.

The trend I've noticed is expressed by Adam Savage of Mythbusters Fame.  He's a big promoter of making and was at Maker Fair saying so.  He even wrote his own 10 commandments of making:

The trend I think I've noticed is that if you got into software because you were smart and thought it sounded like a degree for a smart person, or you were at the head of your class in high school ( you know, head of the idiots that were back in HS ), then there is a very high chance you won't create your own software.

On the other hand, if you got into software because you were a maker, an electronics tinkerer, or because you were trying to solve a problem, realized you were good at this and then got a job - even if you went back to school and got a degree - then there is a very high chance you create your own software.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Disaster avoidance: Step one, check for false beliefs...

In early 2012 I was scrum-master on the largest project my office had ever attempted and it was to be a disaster of epic proportions. I tried to prevent the disaster but couldn't. Now, a year and half later, I think I have figured out why. The bad news is that almost all organizations and teams face some variation of this tale. The good new is this story just might help you prevent your own disaster.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The disaster that is declared a success...

Have you ever been a part of this weird - yet very common - dynamic?  The successful disaster?