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Recent Articles

  • No, Estimates Are Not Evil

    No, estimates are not evil. I beg you not to limit yourself to trying to categorize estimates as entirely good or entirely evil. I don’t have the energy to argue with people who limit themselves to such superficial analysis. This nonsense tires and bores me, so please let’s move on.

  • Redirect Permanent

    Just a little note to tell you this blog has now completely moved to its new home. I hope you find it nicer, especially more mobile-friendly. Feel free to click here to tell me about any problems or annoyances and I’ll do what I can to improve things.

  • Do We Need A New Word For 'Velocity'?

    I don’t know whether we need a new word for “velocity”, but I would like to see more people using the concept of velocity for better purposes than merely to decide how big a stick to beat the programmers with. Given this behavior, I both understand and support the impulse to find a different word.

  • A Farewell to #NoEstimates

    So it seems that in order to enjoy some peace and quiet in 2016 and beyond, I have to give up #NoEstimates. Frankly, I find the whole situation silly, but I no longer get enough value from the hashtag and surrounding discussions to justify the psychic cost. And so it goes.

  • Should We Even Debate Refactoring With Stakeholders?

    Do stakeholders ever need even to hear the word “refactoring”? At all? Can’t we just consider it “part of the job of building software”? If we seek permission to refactor, then shouldn’t we also seek permission to use “if” statements? How extreme a view is this?

  • Extreme Programming Is People!

    I needed to remind myself that Extreme Programming, and indeed any approach to agile software development, focuses on real people solving real problems, and not merely on targets for a change agent’s work, no matter how well-meaning that change agent might be.

  • Stop Giving Away Your Greatest Advantage at Work

    There’s a good chance that you’re working too hard right now. Well, maybe not right now, because you’re reading this sentence, so perhaps these days. I’d bet there’s a very good chance that you’re working too hard these days, and you should consider stopping.

  • Slamming the Snooze Button on Work

    I read a lot these days about finishing things. I seem to have more trouble starting things than finishing them. At least one of my readers feels the same way. So what do we do when we’re clearly avoiding starting certain tasks?

  • Stop Future Work From Hanging Over Your Head

    When I started exploring the Getting Things Done approach to managing work, I didn’t realize the transformative power of getting things out of my head and into a trusted system. I can’t think of any other single thing that I can teach to another person that has the potential not only to improve productivity, but much more importantly, help that person feel much more at ease with work. One obstacle to this ease comes from worrying about tasks that you need to start at some point in the future, but can’t or shouldn’t start yet. Fortunately, I have moved this obstacle out of my way, with the help of two handy tools.

  • When You're Buried in Email

    I find myself buried in email from time to time. In the past, when I finally took the time to dig myself out from under my backlog, I felt anxious or overwhelmed because it felt like new, potentially-urgent email kept flooding in while I was trying to catch up. This reminded me of my bad old days as a programmer, when bugs (as I called them then) seemed to flow in as quickly as I thought I was fixing them. The boat always feels like it’s at the point of sinking. After experiencing this a few times, the thought of trying to swim against this tidal wave of new email worsened my email-related anxiety, encouraging me to delay opening my email client even further, and creating a positive feedback loop of pain and suffering.