No Modes

Larry Tesler died this week. He was one of my idols at Apple Computer in the 1990s. A brilliant thought leader and champion of the idea that modes are a bad user experience. A mode is a context for getting work (or play) done. In the early days of computers, before graphical user interfaces, applications… Continue reading No Modes

The Voices of Software Development

The other day I was writing up a job description, which I take rather seriously, and I remembered that I needed to include the statement that an engineering manager has the responsibility to function as the “voice of the engineer”. Then I sat back for a moment and thought, Is this true? Why canâ€t engineers… Continue reading The Voices of Software Development

North Star

Successful companies usually have a secret sauce. It could be an algorithm or an insight. But whatever that secret sauce is, it is used to create or disrupt a market. Apple created the PC market when Steve and Steve figured out that affordable pre-built personal computers would be really useful for consumers. IBM disrupted the PC market… Continue reading North Star

Telling Time as an Engineer

Time is the most precious resource. It’s in limited supply, once spent we can’t get it back, and you can’t trade it directly. This might sound a little radical but most global, national, business, and personal problems, seem to me, to boil down to problem of time and who’s time is more important than yours. Before… Continue reading Telling Time as an Engineer

Volunteer Scrum Master Handbook

I have to disclose upfront that I am more of an Agile guy than a Scrum guy. Which is to say I feel more at home discussing Agile in general than Scrum in particular. (I’m not even sure how to capitalize it–SCRUM or scrum?) Over the years I’ve made my peace with Scrum and as… Continue reading Volunteer Scrum Master Handbook

Managing the De-Motivated

It still amazes me how a process created by engineers for engineers can make so many engineers so unhappy. Iâ€ve seen all kinds of responses to Agile from engineers. Some are immediately enthusiastic. Others are cautiously optimistic. Many are amused and cynical. And some are down right hostile. Over time the responses polarize and the… Continue reading Managing the De-Motivated

In Search of the Motivated

I’m doing a lot of hiring right now. So much that I’ve had to form a hiring scrum and treat it like an engineering project. The scrum is doing a great job. We now have a systematic way to write job descriptions, assign interviewers, evaluate resumes, perform phone screens, and conduct interviews. All this to… Continue reading In Search of the Motivated

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

What can we learn from Dr. Peter Venkman about the Agile development process? Itâ€s true that Venkman was the less technical member of his team. Clearly Dr. Egon Spengler was the blue-sky researcher while Dr. Ray Stantz was the practical engineer.  But Venkman brought a lot to the table: Charm, business acumen, and the ability… Continue reading Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

Improving Your Whuffie with Agile

Virtual currency like Cory Doctorowâ€s concept of Whuffie will probably replace real money in the next 100 years. Maybe sooner with the way our current economic crisis is going. Once all the hard currency in the world is spent itâ€s Gresham’s law FTW! You can get a head start by using Agile development principles to… Continue reading Improving Your Whuffie with Agile