Archive for August, 2009

Until cooler heads prevail – some things that let me calm down when reading online discussions

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

I was getting really frustrated about some online discussion today. It seemed other people were getting even more upset than I was (and even that is just one of many possible interpretations. I know from experience that the more frustrated I am, the less reliable my interpretations are). Instead of blowing off steam by firing of a blog post in frustration… which would let steam off on my end but could potentially multiply frustration elsewhere, I stumbled across Habits & strategy for effective listening by David Parnell. and decided to write publish on that instead. Tips for listening in a discussion can be just as useful when reading a discussion. (more…)

The best way to rob a bank is to own it

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

I hope I got your attention with this title :) It’s taken from this video : the Great American Bank Robbery: , taken at the Hammer Museum at the university of California in Los Angeles (hence the many references to california in the presentation and Q&A. it’s message applies to the rest of the USA and other parts of the world just as well):

William K. Black, the former litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board who investigated the Savings and Loan disaster of the 1980s, discusses the latest scandal in which a single bank, IndyMac, lost more money than was lost during the entire Savings and Loan crisis. He will examine the political failure behind this economic disaster, in which not only massive fraud has taken place, but a vast transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class continues as the federal government bails out the seemingly reckless, if not the criminal. Black teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and is the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One. (Run Time: 1 hour, 38 min.)


You don’t know what you’ve got until you get it

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

While I was on holiday, Marc started creating a new product from scratch. He’d been walking around with a problem he wanted to solve and couldn’t find anything that he liked. Marc also wanted to try out the Scala programming language, to see if it would be worth using, and thought nothing helps you focus more than building an actual product.

I didn’t get it. But I gave Marc a hand anyway, because we had previously decided that QWAN values:

supporting someone who has a passion over discussing the business case at length

Variazione in scala di grigiVariazione in scala di grigi by Eric Perrone

Why didn’t I get it?


Agile Open Spain, 23 & 24 October 2009

Monday, August 17th, 2009

It’s cool to see more spaces opening, the spanish agile user group is hosting Agile Open Spain, 23 & 24 October 2009 .

Xavier Quesada Allue tells me this will be mostly in Spanish. My Spanish stops around ‘donda esta el bano’ and ‘hola’, unfortunately. If yours goes further, this might be for you. Madrid as a location is attractive, and should be easy to reach. No doubt the organisation will be very good as well, and the event is for free!

electronic waterfall

electronic waterfall by curly_exp( l)osure

In the meantime, if you speak english, why not attend Agile Open Holland – my named cloud is bigger than yours, or is it?, September 10 & 11? Registrations are going fast. At last count we had over 50 participants, with space for about 80. As in previous years it’s looking to attract a good mix of old & new faces, all equally fanatical about uncovering better ways to develop software. It’s not free, but we kept registrations low enough – we hope the value for money makes it a no-brainer; the fee covers part of the costs, but its’ main purpose is to prevent no-shows, so that everybody who wants to attend, can attend. I hope to see you there!

Madrid scenes de rueMadrid scenes de rue by George Eastman House

ten years of XTC

Friday, August 14th, 2009

London’s eXtreme Tuesday Club celebrated it’s ten year anniversary last tuesday. Unfortunately I could not be there, so I’m celebrating here, beer in hand, as one should – I find the weekly meetings in a pub with eXtremely interesting folks and the conferences (XP Days) that are organized around it refreshing.


Refreshing by Louise Docker


The risk of not writing

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

I’m back from holiday and looking to get my swing back with writing.

perfect strangerperfect stranger by daniel sandoval

Before the holiday I wanted to write a post on agile software development and risk management, but it seems the dog ate my fieldstones for that, so I’ll write about the risk of not writing instead.

I liked Johanna Rothman’s advice in The Gift of Time

The best way to prevent writers block is to write

For me it seems writing alone is not enough, it is publishing that gives me focus to go for it. A large collection of notes seems to hinder publishing, because it means I have to chose which of the notes to work into a post, which might mean procrastination. Call it publishers’ block instead of writers’ block if you want, but the end result is the same – less interesting things published than possible. I get around to posting event announcements and reports of those events, because there is some time pressure: announcements after the fact don’t make sense, and reports are more interesting for readers during or right after the event.

Even the draft for this post has been laying around since before my holiday and it contained this advice by Mike Cottmeyer :

It took weeks to write a post because I wanted everything to be perfect… I couldn’t let anything go. The guy I was working for at the time gave me the best advice ever… he told me to get over it. That’s easier said that done… but you know what… that is just what I did. I got over it and started writing.

So I’m taking that piece of advice right now, and may take the next one:

Try to limit your writing to two hours. [...]The idea is that you want to set limits and create a little pressure to perform.

I know from my coaching practice that setting defined timeboxes helps, doing it regularly: even better. How that works and to what I’m applying it right now, I’ll write now publish about it later :)