computing, consulting, lean, productivity

Change your attitude and the process will follow

Adopting a new development methodology is less about process change and more about attitude change. The binder is useful, but the mindset is vital.

Much of my work over the last few years has involved helping organizations “adopt” Agile. It is, after all, a poor, unloved orphan and needs to find a good home. The key to whether the new approach sticks doesn’t seem to be affected by how many checklists, process maps or charts of roles and responsibilities we provide; what matters is whether an organization can adjust their collective and individual attitudes.

There’s a great quote from the 14th Dalai Lama that says:

If you don’t like what’s happening in your life, change your mind.”

Beyond the double meaning of “if you don’t like it, decide to like it” is the more important idea that to change your behaviors you need to change your thoughts.

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build, consulting, lean, philosophy, productivity

Don’t push requirements – pull information

I always struggled to see how what Lean teaches us about pull systems can be applied to software development processes. That was until I had an “Aha!” moment a little while ago helping a client apply lean and agile principles to their delivery process.

The big fat lie

I understand how queuing theory can help identify and reduce bottlenecks in processes and have used finger-charts and kanban-boards to do this for a while, but I still find calling this a “pull system” to be slightly disingenuous. All that’s happening is that more “stuff” is being pushed based on a trigger when certain buckets get too low. This reminds me of my annoyance with early technologies on the web that were touted as being “push” but were really just “repetitive-pull” (but not in a good way). I’ve never seen a software organization where the developers have said to the business or product people “we’ve got nothing to do, can you think up some new projects or features for us please?”.

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productivity

GTD with Outlook

I’ve been looking at the Getting Things Done process for organizing all your tasks and projects for a little while now. Though I’ve only just bothered to pick up the book, rather than just guessing what’s in it via hints from other websites.

I’ve been trying to apply some of the principles to how I deal with work emails and have come up with a technique that’s been working pretty well since January, so I thought I’d share it.

A posting on Getting Things Done with Gmail started me off thinking about this. At the client I’m working for at the moment they use Outlook (I’ve used it for many years and am intimately familiar with the good and bad in it) so I’ve had to work with the tool in hand. I much prefer working with gmail, or before that the Opera mail client, which was probably the best I’ve used, since they have a simpler ability to tag / label mails in multiple ways, but if you combine a few tricks in Outlook you can get to a reasonable solution.

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