Working Software, Choosing Happiness: Ramblings on the Third Agile Principle

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Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

In software development…

  • It needs to work… but…
  • It doesn’t have to be “feature complete”.  I think many people believe they’re going to get projects done faster when they “go agile” but that isn’t really the way we think about work.  Typically people have in their head that a project includes a very specific, predefined set of features (scope) that has to get done by a deadline (time) with a typically constrained budget (cost).  We think about work differently…
  • Instead, a project includes a customer-focused set of prioritized features (scope) that is considered done when it is producing real value to the customer (scope) using appropriate budget to aid with the goals of the project (cost).
  • It still needs to work.  This doesn’t have to mean that you’re going to have to hire a bunch of QA testers or that you’re going to have to implement some kind of test-driven development process… it means your engineers should be writing quality code that can be delivered frequently to the customer.

In life…

  • If we think of “working software” in life as “stuff you do that helps you improve as a human being” then delivering that stuff to yourself with a preference to a shorter timescale sounds good, yes?
  • What kind of “stuff” is this “working software”?  Well for me I’ve been trying to focus on providing the working software of healthy, real food.  I’m also focusing on choosing to be happy — the working software called optimism and resilience.
  • It also doesn’t have to be “feature complete”.  I want to start running again.  I want to take more photos.  There’s a lot I want to do that is in my personal backlog of stuff, but the important part is to start something.  It doesn’t have to be so all-or-nothing.

Paleo Foodporn: French Toast Casserole with Blueberries

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Yesterday I made the “Blender Bread” from Danielle Walker’s Joyful (which you can get for $1.99!) Do yourself a favor and make this in the food processor instead of the blender, unless you have one of these.

Then I prepped the rest of the casserole (also in the book) the night before, swapping out cranberries for blueberries.  Popped it in the oven this morning and voila!

Overall it tastes good, but a little bland.  I’m thinking maybe next time adding in some bacon or sausage would add an interesting element and some additional flavor.  But OMG it’s Paleo French Toast Casserole!

This does violate the Whole30 SWYPO rule, so if you’re doing Whole30, avert your eyes.

Keep Calm and Carry On… Ramblings on the Second Agile Principle

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Welcome changing requirements, even late in development.
Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.

In software development…

  • This is one of my favorite principles because in many cases, changing requirements is a huge cause of stress for the team and often the scapegoat for product and project failure.  We should be embracing change, not fighting it.
  • Changes are powerful.  They are a signal that there is new information about the product.  We can take that new information and use it to make the product better!
  • Stress around requirements changing often stems from the fact that you’ve got a deadline looming and now that timeframe is shot to hell due to something changing late in the game.  Why do we do this to ourselves?
  • Imagine a world where there are no deadlines.  When what matters most is that you are producing a product of value that makes your customers happy.  When the team, including our customer is responsible for when that product is released… could we more easily welcome change and use this new information for the customer’s competitive advantage?  Yes!

In life…

  • Change happens.  How can we respond to change in a welcoming way?  What kinds of things can a person do to “increase adaptability” and “decrease resistance”?
  • I love this idea of harnessing the power of change in order to gain a competitive advantage.  I think we can get a lot of power by just changing the terminology.  Swap out “change” for “opportunity” perhaps… it helps get rid of the negative connotations we’re associating with the word at a psychological level.
  • Don’t panic.

What would the Jedi say?

There is no scope creep, there is improvement.
There is no deadline, there is readiness.
There is no change, there is opportunity.

Get Better Stuff Done Faster: Why Engineers Should Work with the “Dark Side” of Tech

In NYC?  Join us for Gilt’s first tech meetup of 2015!

Hey engineers: Are you hazy on the differences between Program Managers, Business Analysts and Product Managers? Curious about why you need all these managers on your team? Think that you don’t need them at all? Cross over to “the dark side” and hear industry professionals from Gilt discuss how they successfully solve problems and get things done. Director of Program Management Justin Riservato, Director of Product Andrew Chen, Senior Business Systems Manager Susan Thomas, and Senior Program Manager Myron Miller will show you how they make Gilt engineers’ work lives easier and more fulfilling. By the end of the night, you’ll be planning to ask for more managers for your team (seriously)!

Join us for networking, learning, trading awkward Star Wars references, and post-panel Q&A’ing. Pizza and beverages will be provided! Leave your lightsabers at home, please.

Paleo Foodporn: Swedish Meatballs, Asian Chicken Thighs, Potatoes

I’m so happy potatoes made it to the Whole30 list of approved foods!

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15994239547_f6841f239d_zAnd these chicken thighs are just outrageous.  My secret is to put them under the broiler for 5 minutes after the cooking time is done to crisp up the skin properly.

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The secret to this gravy is some tapioca flour as a thickener.  It also uses coconut milk!