August 27, 2018

Design diary: inspirational dashboard

I love Momentum, the Chrome plugin, that welcomes me to each tab I open. I don’t use all the bells and whistles it offers, but I really really value the calming image and inspirational quote, along with the welcome reminder. I’m spending more and more time on small screen Android devices these days, though, and I really wanted to carry this idea over to those devices. Unfortunately, you can’t use Chrome plugins on Android! ... Read more

July 17, 2018

Some advice about CVs

One day I’d like to write about the most recent hiring experience I had in 2017, to compare and contrast against my previous written and recorded experience in 2009. One of the things that struck me about my record keeping is that although I did a pretty good job of describing the steps, I didn’t really record how it felt. However, it’s a big piece, and so I’m putting it off. ... Read more

July 13, 2018

Verbal scaffolding

This is about communication. What I want to do is start at the beginning. I mean, isn’t that the most efficient way of bringing someone else up to speed? To give them all the information, to walk them through your thinking and then have them immediately understand and follow you? Life has a start, a middle and an end, sure; but living is a continuum. There’s no way of communicating all of my experiences, education, conversations, hard won knowledge, and off the cuff heard comments in a short enough space of time that the other person will just Get It. ... Read more

July 4, 2018

The uncertainty continuum

The uncertainty continuum We’re sitting in a meeting room having another conversation about the project, and for the 3rd time someone says “but what about …?”, which leads us predictably back to the start of the meeting. Finally, after an hour or so, we give up going round in circles and dejectedly head back to our desks to execute on some small stories that we did manage to scope out, but without any of the real enthusiasm that this exciting project should offer. ... Read more

October 22, 2015

Optimising for clarity

I’ve spent a lot more time over the past few months listening and talking to people than ever before. As a new manager, I’ve had to learn a few really important things first hand. Answer direct questions directly A yes or no question should be met with a yes or no answer. That said, rarely are complex questions truly binary, so if possible adjust the question until it is, and then answer. ... Read more

October 16, 2015

Interesting people

Who are your interesting people? The internet has done wonders for opinions, since everyone (including fools like me), can write and publish. Not every piece is going to be scientifically sound or as rigourously peer reviewed as academia, but it is unparalleled as a source of inspiration. Since everything is public, this means that the numbers of people echoing back is vast and, on average, good people rise to the top. ... Read more

October 9, 2015

Here's something you already know

There is a difference between assuming nothing and hammering things home well past the time the point has been made. I had a conversation recently where I was asked why I ask people to do things they’re already doing. During a staff update this week, I made an explicit request in response to an email that had gone out that was not explicit; once again I was informed that everyone knew that. ... Read more

February 25, 2010

Forum Building

From time to time, as we all do, I get into a new subject or hobby. So into it, infact, that I want to get involved; especially when it’s a community run offering or a relatively unknown hobby. ‘Involvement’ for me means more than just playing the game, running the software or optimising the rules - it means sharing what I know with others and spreading the word impartially. If it’s a good product, I like to vote with my mouth as well as my money, and often the fastest way of getting this kind of involvement is getting into the community and steeping myself in the product. ... Read more

October 28, 2009

New job pt 3: deal or no deal?

For those joining us this late in the game, allow me to recap: Two companies, both alike in dignity (and their desire to get their hands on me). Two phone interviews. Two face to face interviews. Two offers. One very long day. Imagine: It’s now Wednesday 21st October, and at this point the first company have been waiting since Monday. The defence contractor has only just sorted their offer out, so I’ve got both of them sitting in front of me. ... Read more

October 26, 2009

New job pt 2: the art of handwaving

Having beaten the first couple of levels, now things get intense. Casual mode is yesterday’s news, now we’re in to Hardcore territory, and coming up to the first real boss. No raid to support you through the actual fight, this is a single player game. The phone interview Phone interviews are wonderful entry points to new companies, since they can’t spring exam-style technical tests on you or put you on the spot by asking awkward knowledge-based questions. ... Read more

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