WimLeers + reference   1077

Why do some developers at strong companies like Google consider Agile development to be nonsense? - Quora

style development culture. These are the parts which have led to the short-term focused Scrum process. They seem suited to particular types of development, most notably consulting or contract programming, where the customer is external to the organizations, runs the show because they are paying for development, and can change their mind at any time:

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
This style of short-term planning, direct customer contact, and continuous iteration is well suited to software with a simple core and lots of customer visible features that are incrementally useful. It is not so well suited to software which has a very simple interface and tons of hidden internal complexity, software which isn’t useful until it’s fairly complete, or leapfrog solutions the customer can’t imagine.

Companies like Google write revolutionary software which has never been written before, and which doesn’t work until complex subcomponents are written. Bigtable and Borg immediately come to mind. Bigtable is a widely copied design for a distributed database, and Borg was one of the first extremely large scale cluster/cloud managers. This type of innovation takes significant up-front design time, and working on components over longer than one week iterations. Because the projects have such simple external interfaces, and so much internal complexity, much of the work is not even visible to “customers”, so there is no way to write customer visible stories about it. This type of software takes 8–20 months to deliver the first working version to the customer.

Projects like Bigtable and Borg are the anti-scrum. They represent extremely long term thinking on the part of the technical leaders. Instead of working on something that would meet a small need this week, they were laying a foundation for a fundamental shift in the way cluster software was developed. That investment has not only reaped incredible rewards at Google, but has influenced the entire industry.
agile  scrum  reference 
10 weeks ago by WimLeers
Hyperproductive development – Jessitron

Let’s talk about why some developers, in some situations, are ten times more productive than others.

hint: it isn’t the developers, so much as the situation.

When do we get that exhilarating feeling of hyperproductivity, when new features flow out of our fingertips? It happens when we know our tools like the back of our hands, and more crucially, when we know the systems we are changing. Know them intimately, like I know the contents of my backpack, when I packed it and I tuned the items in each pouch over years of travel. Know the contents of every module, both what they are and what we’d like them to be if we ever finish that refactoring. Know the edges, who uses every API and which changes will break whom, and we’re friends with all of the stakeholders. Know the underpinnings, which database fields are indexed and which are obsolete and which have quirky special values. Know the infrastructure, where it runs in production and how to ssh in; where it runs in test and what version is deployed and when it is safe to push a new one. Know the output, what looks normal in the logs and what’s a clue. We have scripts, one-liners that tail the logs in all three prod instances to our terminals so our magic eyes can spot the anomaly.

We know it because we wrote it, typically. It is extremely difficult to establish this level of intimacy with an existing system. Braitenberg calls this the Law of Downhill Invention, Uphill Analysis. Complex systems are easier to build than to figure out after they’re working.
programming  career  drupal  wimleers  reference  quotes  braitenberg 
july 2019 by WimLeers
Choose Boring Technology

The grim paradox of this law of software is that you should probably be using the tool that you hate the most. You hate it because you know the most about it.
technology  hype  career  reference  quotes 
july 2019 by WimLeers
Can optimism ever be bad?

Drive towards optimism but watch out for credulity. Equally, reward and encourage skepticism, but don’t confuse it with pessimism. The subtleties are critical.

Your team will likely have a combination of idealists and realists. Harness the vision of the idealists to see where the team should move towards, but use the realists to help create the steps needed to get to that destination. A pragmatic balance of idealism and realism creates an actionable plan that moves in the right direction over time.

A balancing act
We need optimism without credulity, skepticism without pessimism, and a balance of idealism and realism. Where do you naturally sit in the matrix? What about the individuals in your team? What about the team as a whole? Is the group dynamic different to the sum of the individuals? Why do you think that is?

Are you able to change your position to counter-balance extreme opinions within the team, even if that mindset is not the natural one in which you reside? Also, are you able to notice when your own default position can cause biases in your own judgement?
management  career  engineering  programming  reference  workhacks  quotes  psychology  mustread  bias 
june 2019 by WimLeers
You Accomplished Something Great. So Now What? - The New York Times

“Arrival fallacy is this illusion that once we make it, once we attain our goal or reach our destination, we will reach lasting happiness,” said Tal Ben-Shahar, the Harvard-trained positive psychology expert who is credited with coining the term.

“I thought if I win this tournament that then I’ll be happy,” he said. “And I won, and I was happy. And then the same stress and pressure and emptiness returned.”

“Affective forecasting is our ability to predict how events will make us feel,” Dr. Gruman said. He pointed to a study from 2000 that showed that college sports fans overestimated how happy they would be a few days after their team won a big game.

“We tend to be pretty good at knowing what things are going to make us happy and unhappy,” he said, “but we’re not very good at predicting the intensity and the duration of the effect of events.” That can leave us feeling let down after the fact.

Achievements also come with consequences we may not always see coming. The tendency to fixate only on the upside is called focalism, Dr. Gruman said. As he tells the students in his business management courses: “You guys want so badly to be managers, but you know what? It’s probably going to be very different than what you think it’s going to be. You know what? You might not even like it.” The same is true of people who gain visibility in most fields.

cooperation and community may contribute more to happiness in wealthy societies than income or other metrics.

If relationships make us happy, the fact that many of us neglect our relationships in pursuit of career success may further squelch our joy. Focusing on a career at the expense of, say, a marriage, could ultimately leave us feeling lonely and unmoored.

His advice is to lay out multiple concurrent goals, both in and out of your work life. This was probably one of my problems. I had focused so intently on finishing one project that I had scrubbed my calendar clean of any other distractions. And the term “goal” can be applied loosely. Even just aiming to spend more quality time with your children or make new friends through volunteer work counts.
psychology  life  lifehacks  work  workhacks  happiness  career  reference 
may 2019 by WimLeers
Outgrowing Advertising: Multimodal Business Models as a Product Strategy – Andreessen Horowitz

In China, books are consumed very differently. In addition to their paid subscription service (similar to Kindle Unlimited), there are three main business models for book-selling in QQ Reading:

Paid books allow readers access of up to ⅔ of the book for free. Readers have time to get hooked before they need to pay to unlock the ending. Think about how many more books you’d start if this were the case in the States!
Books are also sold as bite-sized snacks. Readers pay per 1,000 words, for often-serialized works. Below is a screenshot of one of the most popular books from 2014, 一世倾城. It has over 10,000 chapters and is still being updated — now more than 46 times the length of the entire Harry Potter series. Because authors can publish chapters piecemeal, they are also able to incorporate reader feedback to quickly change plots or even kill off characters.

iQiyi’s business model has also extended to the real world with its recent launch of ‘on-demand movie theatres.’ These miniature theatres range from two to ten seats, and are rentable by the hour to watch any content from iQiyi’s library. It’s bringing the traditional movie theatre experience up to date in the era of streaming.
china  internet  business  web  reference 
march 2019 by WimLeers
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