Thursday, May 16, 2019

RIF Notes #52

“Most corporate planning is like a ritual rain dance. It has no effect on the weather, but those who engage in it think it does. Much of the advice and instruction is directed at improving the dancing, not the weather” - Russel L. Ackoff


  • GDPR in the USA – “GDPR enforcement began in May of 2018, but if you are doing business in the US, you may not think it applies to you. Grant Fritchey explains why you might be wrong about that and why you need to act now”
  • Domain-Oriented Observability – “Observability in our software systems has always been valuable and has become even more so in this era of cloud and microservices. However, the observability we add to our systems tends to be rather low level and technical in nature, and too often it seems to require littering our codebase with crufty, verbose calls to various logging, instrumentation, and analytics frameworks. This article describes a pattern that cleans up this mess and allows us to add business-relevant observability in a clean, testable way”
  • Workers Love AirPods Because Employers Stole Their Walls –“Research indicates that removing partitions is actually much worse for collaborative work and productivity than closed offices ever were”
  • Two hour controlled meeting study – “This is crazy. Study shows three people in a conference room over 2 hours can result in a Co2 level that can impair cognitive functioning. Ie. If you’re making decisions at the end of the meeting, you’re mentally less qualified to do so”
  • Stress, Health, and Productivity – “Some employers assume that stressful working conditions are a necessary evil-that companies must turn up the pressure on workers and set aside health concerns to remain productive and profitable in today’s economy. But research findings challenge this belief. Studies show that stressful working conditions are actually associated with increased absenteeism, tardiness, and intentions by workers to quit their jobs-all of which have a negative effect on the bottom line”
  • Blameless PostMortems and a Just Culture – Akin to the desire from more Incident reports.
  • It Will Never Work in Theory – “Happy software developers solve problems better: psychological measurements in empirical software engineering”
  • Remaining Relevant as a .NET Developer
  • Don’t solve the problem. - ”What makes a great manager isn’t the problems they solve, but the questions they ask. Start with these 16 questions here.”

Friday, January 18, 2019

RIF Notes #50!

"The two hardest problems in computer science are: (i) people, (ii), convincing computer scientists that the hardest problem in computer science is people, and, (iii) off by one errors." -Jeff Bigham

Thursday, December 27, 2018

2018 Reading list

  1. Man's Search for meaning -Viktor E. Frankl
  2. Climate Change: What everyone needs to know – Joseph Romm
  3. Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson
  4. Man Plus – Frederik Pohl
  5. Childhood's end – Arthur C. Clarke
  6. The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that transform the world – David Deutsch
  7. A Case of Conscience – James Blish
  8. Witch: A Tale of Terror – Charles MacKay
  9. Meditations – Marcus Aurelius
  10. Life 3.0: Being human in the age of artificial intelligence – Max Tegmark
  11. Bullshit Jobs: A theory – David Graeber
  12. Lost Connections: Uncovering the real causes of depression and the unexpected solutions – Johann Hari
  13. It doesn't have to be crazy at work – Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hanson
  14. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms – George R.R. Martin
  15. The case against education: Why the education system is a waste of time and money – Byran Caplan
  16. Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations - Nicole Forsgren PhD, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim

Friday, December 14, 2018

RIF Notes #49

“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.” ~ John Gall

Monday, August 27, 2018

The rule of law

There are a few laws and principles of economics, psychology, etc. that have strong applicability to Software Development. Here are the ones I find most interesting.

  • Goodhart’s law – “when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. It will be the inclination, and, in fact, may be in people’s best interest for them to game the system by changing their behavior in such a way as to favorably adjust the measure in order to achieve the target”
  • The Hawthorne effect – “The researchers were surprised to find that the productivity of the more highly illuminated workers increased much more than that of the control group…their productivity even improved when the lights were dimmed again. By the time everything had been returned to the way it was before the changes had begun, productivity at the factory was at its highest level”
  • Jevons paradox – “occurs when technological progress increases the efficiency with which a resource is used (reducing the amount necessary for any one use), but the rate of consumption of that resource rises because of increasing demand.”
  • Parkinson's Law – “It is a commonplace observation that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
  • Campbell's law – “The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor”
  • Principle Of Least Effort – “is the tendency for people to choose the easiest path to a goal”
  • Pareto Principle – “specifies that 80 percent of consequences come from 20 percent of the causes, or an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs”
  • Cunningham's Law – “the best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it's to post the wrong answer”
  • Planning fallacy – “in which predictions about how much time will be needed to complete a future task display an optimism bias and underestimate the time needed”
  • Gall’s law – “A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system”

RIF Notes #48

“In the software profession, it is common to hear advice like: “only hire the best and let them figure it out.” This sentiment is nearly as misguided as command-and-control and antithetical to Lean thinking. “Hire the best” is an elitist and ultimately lazy management philosophy. Comically, that attitude is often accompanied by an unwillingness to pay top dollar for such talent. But even if you could hire such a team, consider that a championship athletic team will almost always defeat an all-star team, because the quality of the relationships between qualified players is usually more important than the individual performances” – Corey Ladas