Monday, June 21, 2010

A good quote

A came across's like the saying the race doesn't go to the swiftest but to the one that keeps on running;

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”~ Calvin Coolidge

Friday, June 18, 2010

Are things getting to complicated?

I heard an interesting tidbit of information this week. As software complexity increases, the amount of effort to add a feature rises exponentially. For example, if you were 40 story points, it might cost $10,000 (I am making all these number up) but to do 80 story points wouldn't be $20,000 but more like $40,000.

So when you combine this with the Standish study that said only 20% of the features on custom developed software are used always or often, you have a pretty good argument for simplification. Not only do all these extra features never get used, they cost a whole lot more to implement than the basic features that are needed.

So next time you're in front of the customer and they ask if you can do this or that, say yes, but it will cost them. Ask them what the real business value is. If they have a good answer, the feature probably makes sense. Otherwise, focus on the top 20% of the features they want (based on business value) and deliver that first before committing to any additional work.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Are you being creative?

Back when I was in the Navy, I received one fitness report (aka performance evaluation) in which I had a lower rating for Creativity. At the time I was puzzled, why would I have to be creative? I was a low-level officer, just following the orders given to me. There wasn't any room for creativity in my job.

It took me a while to realize that in any job you should be bringing creativity. Following the rules is not enough. You need to use your creativity to change, improve, and maybe break the rules in order to improve the organization.

This isn't always easy. You have to make the time to come up with creative ideas. On a recent project of mine, I was so busy going to meetings, responding to emails, and just getting tasks done that I wasn't being very creative, so I got into the habit of reflecting on the day after I got back to my hotel room each night and thinking about what I could have done that I didn't even have time to think of during my busy day. That became the first task on my list for the next day, so I could get to it before things got to crazy.

So where can you be more creative? Take some time at the end of your work day to think about this.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Re-imagine your failures

I read an interesting concept today. This come from US Snowboarder Shaun White. He said that when he doesn't succeed with a maneuver, he watches the video, then he imagines the scene but instead of failing, he succeeds with the move.

Think about this. You had a meeting or conversation with a colleague that didn't go how you wanted. What could you have done to make it come out the way you wanted?

I find I'm challenged when I have to give constructive (ie, negative) feedback to a team member, the conversation doesn't always go the way I want. If I practice Shaun's advice, future conversations should go smoother and I can get my gold medal!