Thursday, July 5, 2018

Scaling Agile FAQ | Silicon Valley Product Group

I’ve been reading a lot about SAFe and I know a number of people that are intrigued by what it offers. I’ve seen the struggles of Scaling Agile beyond a small number of teams and SAFe seems to have a thought for how that can be done. In the interest of sharing the positive over the negative, I came to this link from Marty Cagan’s total and complete takedown of SAFe, Revenge of the PMO (please read in addition to this link)!

He highlights that many organizations, in his view, have yet to truly embrace the most important part of agile.

So then – and still today – in most companies, the stakeholders still provide the teams with roadmaps of what features and projects the stakeholders think best. Even though the teams use Agile methods, the teams are not empowered and accountable in the sense I’m describing. They are there to implement.

Honestly, I would agree with that assertion.

A couple years ago I wrote about the root causes of product failure in product companies and I identified ten key attributes of Waterfall and project-mindset. I went through and compared this list with SAFe, and literally all ten problems exist in SAFe. Indeed, I would argue that all ten problems are inherent in that process.

He does give that there are three areas where SAFe may work well, and I note that one of them is a “big regarding-platforming event”. I wonder if this goes back to product versus project organizations?

I strongly endorse his view that tools are not agnostic of culture.

But it’s critical to realize that most tools are not agnostic. Their creators are trying to facilitate a certain way of thinking or working. You need to ensure that’s how you want to think or work.

Both of these articles are worthy reads to make sure that you see all sides of this agile discussion.

How Facebook Punked and then Gut Punched the News Biz – Talking Points Memo

I love it when Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo turns to the topic of being a digital publisher.

The first should be obvious: you can’t build businesses around a company as unreliable and poorly run as Facebook. Only a year ago, when I would talk to big money players in the digital media world, there was a consistent refrain: social video on Facebook, that’s the whole game. That struck me as crazy at the time, given everything we were seeing in the industry. And it was crazy. There’s no news publisher entitlement to Facebook traffic. And Facebook is a highly unreliable company. We’ve seen this pattern repeat itself a number of times over the course of company’s history: its scale allows it to create whole industries around it depending on its latest plan or product or gambit. But again and again, with little warning it abandons and destroys those businesses.

Wether Facebook is a platform or not, it does not have the maturity and long-term view needed to run a platform that supports a vibrant ecosystem over the long term.

Working Backwards - All Things Distributed

Much has been written about Amazon’s processes for making new products. This writeup from Amazon CTO Werner Vogels is brief and to the point on the process.

The Working Backwards product definition process is all about is fleshing out the concept and achieving clarity of thought about what we will ultimately go off and build.

There is a lot to like here. I tend to think the best processes and frameworks for product management push for clarity and insuring that all the connective components of a product are thought out. It’s not hard to identify 3 or 4 big features. The hard work comes in figuring out how it all connects together.


I absolutely love that this is a thing!

This is a radically new event championing bottom-up, developer-driven ethics. How can we make technologists the last bastion of defence against unethical products? After all, we design, write and deploy them.

I’m hoping they share videos from the sessions. I’m very pleased to see this conversation happening. 🏆

My framework for one-on-ones - Engineering Management

I always like to see how others manage one-on-one meeting time with their teams. This is what happens when a very logic-based engineer attempts to opitimize one-on-one structures. This seems way too formal to me, but interesting snippets.

Itty bitty sites

This made me smile and chuckle and I love it. You can create a web page where the content of the page is encoded into the URL. What an interesting way to create content that lives, well, nowhere! You could do some fun things with this! 👏

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

OmniFocus On-The-Go - Digital Tools - Productivity Guild

I’ve used contexts (now tags) in OmniFocus for “Home : Arriving” and “Work : Arriving” mainly so that I can use location based notifications. I had never considered adding “Home : Leaving” as the opposite, but it’s a good idea. I have a number of things that are much better on a “Cabin : Leaving” list than anywhere else. I created an “On-The-Go” perspective just like the one described in this article. 👏

Monday, July 2, 2018

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Why you should not use Google Cloud. – Punch a Server – Medium

Nearly every tech leader I talk to highlights Google’s inability to engage with businesses in a B2B relationship as a major blocker. This article is a great example of that. GCP needs to spend some time reengineering it’s engagement strategy with customers, not just the tech underneath.

Less, More, and None - Jacoby Young

I like checklists a lot. The pragmatism of a list of less, more and none is a compelling way of making goals more achievable and incremental.

The Most Important Skill Nobody Taught You – Personal Growth – Medium

I believe there is a lot of truth to this thought. I often refer to social media as spray foam for the mind. It fills all the little gaps with stuff, instead of some solitude or plain boredom.

We ignore the fact that never facing this nothingness is the same as never facing ourselves. And never facing ourselves is why we feel lonely and anxious in spite of being so intimately connected to everything else around us.

This but is like a gateway to Buddhist practices. If you face yourself, you need to figure out what self is.

Saturday, June 30, 2018


There is an API for dog pictures? 🐕 Yep. 🤩


I’ve advocated for strong password management for years, and it’s critical for security. But for privacy one of the key things to do is not use the same email address on every service. There are many anonymous email address services, but frankly most of them are highly suspect and I don’t know their revenue strategy. Maskmail looks very legitimate and I like that they have a straight-forward subscription offering. I’ve started using it and it’s fast, well-designed and just works. $10/year is cheap.

Apple is rebuilding Maps from the ground up | TechCrunch

Amazingly deep article on all aspects of Apple’s upcoming “reboot” of their Maps effort. Maps have gotten better since the alarmingly poor launch, but that improvement hasn’t been able to deal with a fundamental issue of poor data on the bottom.

Decision made, Apple plowed ahead, building a product that relied on a patchwork of data from partners like TomTom, OpenStreetMap and other geo data brokers. The result was underwhelming.

I’ve always felt this decision was odd for Apple and driven by missing the importance of map data early on. They had to partner so they could get to market, after relying for so many years on Google’s maps. But Apple’s path has always been to own all parts of the stack. The iPhone is Apple hardware, software and Apple everywhere in between. Maps was a mashup of different data.

It’s interesting to me that the mapping vans have LIDAR on them as well. They are capturing an immense amount of data here. And pulling in more data from the millions of iPhones in use. They are still focusing on privacy as well in the effort.

The results of this are going to be very interesting to see.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Click ‘Delete’ to Save Your Soul - The New York Times

Review of Jaron Lanier’s new book Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. The book itself does not get a glowing review, but it comes with a punch at the end.

Only at the very end does Lanier venture into new territory. His argument, however, is a profound one. He worries that our reliance on big tech companies is ruining our capacity for spirituality, by turning us into robotic extensions of their machines.

If you are less versed in the debate about social media the book may be more novel.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

macOS Mojave: Back to the Mac - Six Colors

Fantastic overview of both big and small new things in macOS Mojave. I wasn’t very intrigued by the news on Mojave, but these improvements look solid.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

How Atul Gawande landed the most extraordinary job in health care

I’ve read a number of Atul Gawande’s books and he has always impressed me as an incredibly talented and smart person. He also seems to have an infinite amount of energy. Him joining this very well funded healthcare venture is very interesting.

Fear of missing out - Wikipedia

This is the thing that keeps people from disengaging with social media. It’s good to name it, understand it, so you can manage it.

REST vs. GraphQL: A Critical Review – Good API

An argument for using GraphQL for API development, and that it’s easier than REST.

Here is the idea: If you have never heard about the REST architectural style constraints and their implication on the properties of the resulting distributed system and you do not want to (or can’t) educate yourself, use GraphQL.


Monday, June 25, 2018

molten: modern API framework

molten is a minimal, extensible, fast and productive framework for building HTTP APIs with Python.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

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