Archive for the ‘Irrelevant’ Category
I receive about 2 emails a day and probably three or four calls a week from recruiters who have an old version of my CV in their hand. The version they have is usually very out of date (some context: the company I currently work for employed me as a senior developer, then I became an agile coach, now I’m head of development) and is from a previous development job I had.
My question is, should I update my CV and upload to Monster/Jobserve etc and respond to recruiters with it so at least they send me emails and call me about relevant jobs, or is that sending the wrong message to my company?
To be clear, I’m not looking for a new job, I’m looking to reduce the amount of irrelevant mail and phone calls I receive.
How often do you update your CV or your LinkedIN profile? Does updating either of these things send the wrong message? Even if it’s just for the sake of updating it?
So, I wrote my MP, Sam Gyimah:
Haven’t written in a while, but this new ‘Communications Data Bill’ has really got me worried.
While I have absolutely nothing to hide, I believe that too many people having access to too much of my information – personal information – that can be easily accesses and held insecurely, is a terrible idea. I’m also fairly sure that, given the track record of data-loss by organisations in this country, the access will not be properly regulated.
Collecting and having access to this data by law-enforcement, with a warrant, is a good idea, but only in small measures and certainly not the broad strokes the bill lays out and without adequate safeguards.
Why is it the EVERYBODY’S data will be collected and stored – mine, yours, my mothers and not JUST those who are under suspicion? I pretty sure there is no good reason to collect this information about me without my consent and further, there can never be a reason why this data can be accessed so easily and without warrant. Who get’s to decide who accesses this data? Law enforcement. Do they need a reason? Probably not – that’s the meaning of warrantless.
Hiding under a shroud of “maintaining capability”, whatever THAT means, the bill, in it’s current form, is dangerous and alarming. Much of the data the bill makes reference too, held by services like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc, is much richer than that of a telephone conversation and, once mined, will probably highlight things about me that I don’t even know. This is invasive and most unwelcome.
This kind of snooping and data storage requires stringent oversight to make sure that people are not put at risk.
I have seen no evidence to support the need for this bill. It undermines the commitment of the coalition (which YOU are a part of Sam), to enhance our civil liberties.
I would like you, on my behalf, to oppose this bill unless it changes significantly. On top of that, I’d like you to make others aware of what dangers this poses and how it could be abused. Control over these kind of powers needs to be tightened, not loosened as this bill requires.
Today, my department begins a trial of a new culture. It’s a new way of thinking about work. Alright, it’s not *new* but it is rare. Especially in the UK. The culture can be summed up with one sentence: ‘Employees are free to do what they want, when they want as long as they get the work done.‘
There will be a whole bunch of blog posts on this subject, so consider this one a bit of a summary of all the main points.
I’m talking about a Results-Only Work Environment, or ROWE for short. It started with Best Buy in the states. Two employees were tasked with making things better and they began with flexible working programs which quickly morphed into a Results-Oriented Work Environment, then settled on a Results-Only. They detail their journey in their book ‘Why work sucks and how to fix it‘. I devoured the book in one sitting and made copious notes and realised that this was what we needed.
The way business works now is outdated; why do we need to work between 9 and 5:30? Why do we need to go to one particular place to do it? It doesn’t matter if you’re a knowledge worker, or in sales, it’s the same thing: the focus should be on results, not when or where you are.
It’s not been easy getting this trial started. There are lots of questions around holiday allocation and remaining on the correct side of UK employment law and legislation. Essentially, we need to still allocate people the appropriate amount of holiday and then ensure that they remember to take it. This mostly covers the company, so if someone leaves on a bad note, they can’t claim to have not taken holiday, because, in ROWE, you take holiday whenever you need it, there’s no allocation really. Because employees get to choose when, where and how they work, the rules governing the Working Time Directive don’t count either. There’s no 48 hour waiver or whatever.
We’re starting with *almost* the exact ROWE for a three month trial, I say almost because we’ve made two concessions, which I detail in the guideposts below. After three months, if it’s still working, we’ll extend the trial. The idea is to see if vanilla ROWE as detailed in the book works in the UK. UK and US cultures are different and employment law and employee rights are also different, so we need to make sure it fits properly for us and our business. I’m 100% confident that this will work.
Freedom and culture
Ultimately, working in a ROWE is purely focussed on the results. But it gives employees absolute freedom to manage their lives they way they need to. We all have to work, there’s no way around that (unless you’re a millionaire playboy or whatever), so we should be free to fit that work into our lives as we see fit. You don’t need to take a half day holiday to visit the doctors, you don’t need to phone in sick unless you’re going to be letting someone down with a meeting or conversation and you don’t need to worry about where anyone is, you and your colleagues are available 24/7 by phone, voicemail, email, SMS, skype, irc, Google Hangout – lot’s of options!
ROWE isn’t an activity or an action, it’s a culture and a new one too. It’s about changing the attitudes people have towards work and challenging the long held beliefs that time plays an important role in measuring someones value (time is still relevant for deadlines and in some lines of work, but not in the web industry).
I’m expecting to see productivity improvements too – I have no idea what they’ll be or in what format, but I’m sure they’ll be there. For one, I find I can get a lot of work done in the wee small hours, because I’m not being distracted and there’s nothing to procrastinate about when the kids and wife are in bed – so I can’t play PS3 or watch a movie, so I work and I can get more done in less time because I’m so focussed on what I’m doing.
Our teams use Scrum to build our software, so we have a built in results measure. We’ll be looking at velocity for each team and the department as a whole, as well as defects, engagement and acceptance rate of stories (the percentage of story points accepted at the end of the sprint). On top of that, all the people in my team have individual goals and objectives; a mix of skills acquisition and platform or performance goals, so I can measure individuals as well as teams.
ROWE is based on a set of principles called ‘Guideposts’ which enable the change of culture to happen with a purpose, the most contentious of which are ‘Unlimited Paid Holidays’ and ‘Every Meeting is Optional’. The holiday one is easy to cover in principle – it’s irrelevant how much holiday you take, or when/where you take it, as long as the work gets done. That said, we still need to make sure that we’re adhering UK legislation and in order to do that, we still need to allocate and record holiday taken. It’s a small price to pay for that much freedom though!
‘Every Meeting is Optional’ is also difficult for people new to the culture to get their heads round, it doesn’t mean ‘flip a coin to decide whether or not to go to a meeting’, it does mean, find out if you can get, or give value to the meeting, find out, or define (if it’s your meeting) the outcomes and then decide whether you need to be there in person, whether you can dial or Skype in, or whether you’re just required to give information which you can email to the organiser. As long as the work get’s done and you’re meeting the goals, objectives and targets set, it’s up to you whether you attend meetings and how you attend them.
The one concession we made to this guidepost was that, ALL meetings are optional, but pay particular attention to external client meetings or group-wide meetings. We’re only one department in one company doing a ROWE trial, we can’t expect others to change they way THEY work … just yet. It’s a small concession and, to be fair, will barely affect our department.
Metrics and the win condition
How do we know the trial is successful? If nothing changes. Like I said, we’re currently tracking:
- Velocity: The average rolling department velocity over the last 4 sprints (and long term velocity, but this is less volatile and less useful)
- Defect rates: how many defects are opened per two-week period and how long those defects stay open (as an aggregate and also by priority)
- Acceptance rate: What percentage of story points is ‘accepted’ by the product owner at the end of the sprint.
- Engagement: we’re using Murmur to track employee engagement with the company on many levels.
We’re also looking to measure the perception of the department from across the business.
The win condition will be if nothing changes. If none of the metrics change over the next three months, then the trial will be considered successful, the net benefits of ROWE will be over and above just the impact on those metrics. So, as long as nothing get’s worse, we’ve proved ROWE as a culture in the organisation.
On top of the team metrics, we’re also setting goals and objectives on an individual level – skills acquisition or just ‘stuff that needs doing’ for the platform, our tools or whatever. So, we can watch everything that’s happening and see if it’s making a difference.
Next I sit back and wait for a sprint or two and see what’s happening, I need to keep my eye on the metrics and the individual objectives, but really, it’s business as usual … or not, depends on how you look at it!
I’ll be blogging more as the trial progresses in the hope that others in the UK who are already in a ROWE, or those thinking about going ROWE can share their progress, problems, failures and successes.
A best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark. In addition, a “best” practice can evolve to become better as improvements are discovered. Best practice is considered by some as a business buzzword, used to describe the process of developing and following a standard way of doing things that multiple organizations can use.
This is my problem with ‘best practise’ – why is it called that? If it’s the ‘best’ way of doing things, why isn’t it just ‘practise’? Why do we have ‘good’ practise and ‘best’ practise? Would you use ‘good’ practise? Probably not, especially if there’s a better way of doing it, which is ‘best’ practise. So, if you’re only ever going to do ‘best’ practise, then it becomes ‘practise’, right? Then, if it’s just ‘practise’ then you wouldn’t refer to it that way, would you?
“How do you do stuff?”
“Oh, you know, with practise.”
I guess you can have ‘bad practise’, but then, that implies the opposite is ‘good practise’, which we just agreed you can’t have, didn’t we? Moreover, ‘developing and following a standard way of doing things that multiple organizations can use’ is silly, why would you do things the way other companies do things? This would just squash any chance of innovation; ‘That’s not best practise! Other companies aren’t doing that!’ dumb, dumb, dumb.
Let’s stop worrying about ‘best practise’ and just get on and make the way we do things better through regular reflection.
I’ve been trying to transfer a domain to a new provider. The old one (servelocity.net), while still holding the domain for me (via opensrs.com) didn’t respond to emails, calls or support requests, so I needed to deal with opensrs.com, which is Tucows or something. Their support was great and they sent me the domain transfer authorisation code after servelocity.net didn’t and I started the transfer.
Today, I received the following email:
I had to read it several times before I understand that I could either ignore it and the transfer would happen, or click on the link and the transfer would happen.
So, I want it to happen quickly, so I clicked on the link and saw this:
I had two checkboxes to check and, yes, I could check them both. I didn’t, however, I only checked the one I needed.
These guys must do a lot of business, why is their system so clunky and, well, shit?
Telekommunisten has created a new artwork, named R15N it’s a revolution! We’ll be the official miscommunication platform at this years Transmediale festival in Berlin, come and visit us. In the meantime, here’s a slideshow that explains the platform. You can read more about R15N here: http://www.r15n.net and Telekommunisten here: http://telekommunisten.net
Edit: Stupid WordPress Y U NO EMbED GOOGLE DOC?
To see it, please go here: http://bit.ly/zs3ptD
This is a comment I posted on Jordan Bortz’s blog in response to Refactoring The Scrum Lexicon (read this first). Apparently, it was too long as a comment. Jordan says:
Your reply is way too long To approve and aside from that, you just trot out the standard stuff….. If you have a shorter comment that is somehow relevant, that is fine, but all you are saying really is that we should just do it the way scrum wants and there is nothing unique or value added there
Still, here it is anyway:
Hi, I’ve subscribed to your blog as there’s some great posts here, but some of this one seems a little … contrary.
I totally agree with your chicken and pig comments, but I think that, if you understand the context, it’s not that insulting. You’ve worked with engineers right? They call each other much, MUCH worse.
The daily scrum is a name I have no opinion for. You could call it the daily ballet and I wouldn’t care, it’s the content that counts. Most teams I’ve coached call it a standup.
I don’t mind scrum master, but team leader or team advocate is the WRONG title. I don’t lead the teams I’ve been SM for. I’m merely a facilitator and a tool to be used for removing impediments/buying donuts.
Continuing your marathon analogy, you could run a marathon with a series of sprints. Then stop, have a bottle of sports juice and see how well you did. Then repeat. If you’re fit enough to run a marathon, you’re fit enough to sprint it in stages and that’s the point. After each sprint, you have evidence on how well you did which will indicate how well you *could* do. I prefer iteration over sprint however, because I don’t have to explain iteration to people.
Sonja hit the nail on the head, the backlog is a prioritised list of user stories with acceptance criteria and estimates. That cannot be said of a todo list or feature list although, it doesn’t preclude those from being the same.
Finally, I totally disagree with your last point. A commitment is not a guarantee that the work will be done, just a commitment that the team will focus on getting that work done during the iteration, if they don’t, they don’t, but they’ve committed to getting it done and that’s what is important. There are real psychological reasons for doing this. Best efforts sounds like an excuse and projection sounds like a feature of a gantt chart. Commitments are one of the foundations of doing scrum correctly, removing that term will make it less clear what is going on.
I’m not entirely sure on your reason for suggesting these changes. Scrum and the framework should be judged on delivered working software. Not on whether the management agrees with or understands the nomenclature. By making it more professional, or more like traditional management will make it that more difficult to adopt. Scrum is often a radical change and requires decisive action to implement, it cannot be a gradual change from one methodology to another, it will ‘surface organisational dysfunction’ and for that, it needs to stand alone in order to be understood as not just a slight modification to what we’re doing, but a completely different way of doing things, regardless of whether that is true, that is what people will see when it starts shining a light in the cracks of dysfunction.
My wife has a three phone. I bought it for her a while ago. It’s a NokiaE71. It’s been good to her, even if the UI is a little crazy. It’s been dropped a couple of times and drooled all over by the kids, but it’s kept going, until recently. It’s stopped charging, but will tell you it’s charging, even when it’s not. Unless my wife has suddenly become a wireless charging device.
Anyway, we’re WELL outside the contracted term so I figured it would be time for an upgrade. As we’ve been a good customer, paying on time, for about nearly 2 years and are probably several months out of contract, I thought we might get some kind of loyalty discount or what-have-you.
I thought wrong!
I’ve heard tales of my friends and colleagues bartering on the phone for great deals with an upgrade, so that their mobile operator keeps them as a customer and was expecting a similar thing when I phoned three. I didn’t want the earth, I just wanted a new phone and not to pay any more than I am currently paying. I got through to the upgrade department after some time on hold and explained what I wanted. The guy seemed delighted that I wanted to upgrade and remain with three and asked me what phone I wanted. I’d done a bit of research and wanted the the HTC Desire S. Mainly for the 2.3 software of gingerbread and the larger internal memory. I also said that I didn’t want to pay any more than £25 a month. He took a look at my usage and said I use about 300 – 400 text messages, 300mb of internet and about 200 mins. Then he put me on hold while he ‘worked out my deal’.
So, I sat and waited, then he came back ‘Good news Mr Pearce, we can do you the Desire S, on the One Plan. Which gives you 2000 mins, 5000 texts and unlimited internet!”.
“Isn’t this the One plan on your website for £35?” I asked.
“Yes, that is the one.”, he replied.
“Well, like I said, I don’t want to pay more than £25 a month and I don’t need all those minutes or texts.” I said, figuring he might say ‘oh yes, I forgot you said that’
“OK, well we can do 500 mins, 1000 texts and 1geebee of internet for £30″.
I thought for a moment. “That’s the Text500 plan on your website?”
“Yes Mr Pearce, that’s right. It’s a great phone, 5mp, HD camera, blah blah blah and only came out 5 days ago! You can show it off to all your friends!”
“Right, I’m not interested in showing it off, that’s not a great sales pitch is it now? All want, is this phone, with 300 minutes for £25.”
“You won’t get a better deal with another network Mr Pearce” He said, pre-empting my next move.
“Actually, I will. Orange do the same deal but 300 minutes and 500mb of internet, which is enough for my usage, for £25.”
… silence ….
“I’m sorry Mr Pearce, this is the best we can do.”
“The ‘best we can do’ is just the deals on your website? Nothing for existing loyal customers? How about a free case?”
“I’m sorry Mr Pearce, we don’t do accessories.”
I was getting pretty pissed by this point, why would anyone bother with a new deal AND a 24 month contract if they can’t get anything worthwhile out of it? Why would anyone remain loyal to three.co.uk is there are no benefits? I even phoned back and spoke to retentions and said I was thinking about going to Orange (even though their signal is non-existent in my house). I was told I could have a two year warranty, which I thought was cool, until I realised that it was snake oil.
In the end, I went for the HTC Desire instead, on the same package, but it was £25 a month. The E71 is buggered and I need my wife to have a phone without going through all the porting of a number malarky. We went through the T’s&C’s rigmarole and, just before we finished he said:
“The One Plan is only £5 a month more at £30, 2000 minutes, 5000 texts and …” I interrupted, ”Are you taking the piss?”
So, I’ve been working on an open source project called Thimbl with some good friends of mine. It’s a Twitter clone that is open source, decentralised and free. The most important of those three is … well – all of them. Some blurb from thimbl.net site:
Thimbl is a Manifesto for the Open Web written in code. The most significant challenge the open web will need to overcome is not technical, it is political. Welcome to thimbl, the free, open source, distributed micro-blogging platform. If you’re tired of being locked in to one micro-blogging platform, or a single social network. Or you’re weary of corporations hi-jacking your updates in the pursuit of money, then thimbl is for you.
One of the original motivating factors that caused us to get off our collective touches and get thimbl written was the Transmediale Open Web Award. This is a joint venture with Mozilla to award the best of a great bunch of Open Web projects funding and a welcome kickstart to build take the project to the next level. For myself and the thimbl team, winning this award and taking thimbl to a more mainstream public is the next step on the road to a more open web and this is nothing but a good thing.
So, after 100′s of applications were submitted to Tramsmediale, these were whittled down by a panel to just three great projects, thimbl being one of those. I really believe we can win this award and show the online world there’s more choice than just twitter or facebook and join the ranks of those trying to do things more openly, like identi.ca and diaspora.
You can help! We’ve got an account on Mozilla’s drumbeat.org and our votes there will be what wins this for the team. We’ll be given supported status and benefit from the great things the Mozilla foundation can do for open projects. Head over to the drumbeat.org site at https://www.drumbeat.org/project/thimbl-decentralized-micro-blogging-platform and start voting for us. If you’re a fan of the open web, or even just a fan of choice, then please help us out and vote!
It’s with great emotion that I am to leave Jellyfish, where I currently work, and head over to join the team at Affiliate Window. My time at Jellyfish has been interesting. I leave more tooled up than when I arrived but also weathered and with a firm understanding of how small businesses become big businesses and the mistakes they make on the journey…
Well, I certainly don’t want to burn bridges and, to be honest, I don’t have any dirty laundry to air. The people I have worked with at Jellyfish have been an inspiration to me – I’ve learnt a hell of a lot from my colleagues and they’ve since become friends; good friends whom I shall endeavour to keep in touch with. I’ve picked up a lot of new skills along the way and even worked on one or two interesting projects (the last project being the most interesting, but also commercial sensitive, so it’ll have to wait for launch until I say anything!).
So. Thanks Jellyfish – may your tendrils be wobbly and your body see-through and your life-span infinite. It’s been a blast. Perhaps we’ll waltz again some day (if you need a dev-manager, or a product owner ).