Email Workflow for Making Work out of Email

I receive an average over 100 emails every day and most of them go unread. I try to keep up, but it’s a losing battle. Every 5 minutes a new emails shows up. In a meeting, at lunch, on the phone, trying to answer a previous email, trying to get real work done. Doesn’t matter. It’s non-stop. Ding. Ding. DING. I’ve turned the email notification sound off completely. I’m starting to drop the ball though. Now come the follow up emails, or reminders, or worse…schedule meetings for things that should be emails. I was stuck and needed to find a better way. I came up with an email workflow to combat this issue and so far so good.

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Code Coverage vs Test Coverage

When organizations mandate “code coverage” numbers, like 95%, they’re barking up the wrong tree. Just because a line of code has been touched during testing, doesn’t mean it’s been tested; you’re only fooling yourself. Every time I tell someone the last product I created had 93% test coverage, they say “wow, that’s great!”. Then my follow up statement is “Yeah, it sounds great, but bugs still crept into covered areas”.

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I was wrong about tracking actual hours in agile

I once made a statement about closing out project management tickets that went something like “The actual hours a story / task took are the only metrics that matter”. At the time, we had a ton hoops to jump through to close a story out due to our tooling choices. We ignored most of them, but the actual hours field was something I told the team I valued. My thinking at the time was this would definitively show us if we’re coming up with accurate estimates and if we missed our estimates, where did we spend that time. This would give us solid data points to use across sprints and act as a spring board for future planning sessions. In reality it ends up being fruitless and does little to build a better team.

I generally follow Scrum when doing agile with teams, but I’m not prescriptive about it in any way. “Whatever works for the team” is another sound byte you’ll routinely hear me say and along those lines is where I had my epiphany. Just like the agile process itself is about enabling the team, estimation and time is all about the sprint. “How many stories can get done this sprint” is the real question around how long something will take. That’s it. It’s a scheduling exercise to maximize effective use of planned time. It’s just an estimate! Where that time went during the story / task completion is immaterial. Sure, it makes for a good conversation during the retrospective and leads to a fancy spreadsheet some dude in khakis can email around, but tracking actual hours in agile does little improve the estimation process of the team and certainly doesn’t increase the teams productivity. If neither of those things are happening as a result of tracking actuals, then I submit it is a pointless venture.

 

I was wrong about tracking actual hours in agile

I once made a statement about closing out project management tickets that went something like “The actual hours a story / task took are the only metrics that matter”. At the time, we had a ton hoops to jump through to close a story out due to our tooling choices. We ignored most of them, but the actual hours field was something I told the team I valued. My thinking at the time was this would definitively show us if we’re coming up with accurate estimates and if we missed our estimates, where did we spend that time. This would give us solid data points to use across sprints and act as a spring board for future planning sessions. In reality it ends up being fruitless and does little to build a more predictive team. I’ve learned through trial and error that tracking actual hours in agile has no value in Scrum.

I generally follow Scrum when doing agile with teams, but I’m not prescriptive about it in any way. “Whatever works for the team” is another sound byte you’ll routinely hear me say and along those lines is where I had my epiphany. Just like the agile process itself is about enabling the team, estimation and time is all about the sprint. “How many stories can get done this sprint” is the real question around how long something will take. That’s it. It’s a scheduling exercise to maximize effective use of planned time. It’s just an estimate! Where that time went during the story / task completion is immaterial. Sure, it makes for a good conversation during the retrospective and leads to a fancy spreadsheet some dude in khakis can email around, but tracking actual hours in agile does little improve the estimation process of the team and certainly doesn’t increase the teams productivity. If neither of those things are happening as a result of tracking actuals, then I submit it is a pointless venture.

Which Ruby Iibrary for a Static Website

I’ve been toying with the idea of taking on side projects, specifically helping people bring their web application ideas to market in the form of a minimal viable product. I have become very efficient at taking white board concepts and turning them into working software in a short amount of time. Production quality at that, not just prototypes or throwaway code. I’ve talked to a lot of people with good ideas that have similar problems, “I could get this going if I could only code!” Well, I think I can make that happen. First stop is standing up a static website for marketing.

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MadCow 5×5 Week 3 In Review

General

I keep having to have the realization, epiphany, or whatever you want to call it that I’m only in it for strength, not size / mass. The only thing I should care about during this 12 week MadCow 5×5 program are numbers, specifically the numbers in my spreadsheet that put me at an estimated 1000lbs+ total. Continue reading MadCow 5×5 Week 3 In Review

Switching to a week in review format

I jumped the gun a bit with that last post. For a 12 week program that has 3 workouts a week, that would be 36 entries, way too many. Once a week is fine, basically a “week in review” of my progress. These posts are for myself really, a way to force me to reflect on my goals, my progress, and serve as a basic gut check. What’s special about this mesocycle is the calculated total at the end is 1000+ lbs, which I’ve been saying for a while is my target, but I’ve had a few set backs and lost focus more times than I would like to admit.

MadCow 5×5 Week 2, Workout A

I’m still not 100% and coming off a head cold. Regardless, I felt pretty strong. It was my first time working out in a sweatshirt and realized real quick why you have to had your hood up…you can’t squat with it down! I made all of my lifts without a problem, nothing really too eventful other than my return to the basement and trying to figure out the accessory exercises.  Continue reading MadCow 5×5 Week 2, Workout A

Where to Find the Best Ruby Libraries

I’ve been looking to update my full Ruby development stack and see what all the cool kids are using. I love when Rails Rumble wraps up and they break down what everyone used, it’s one of those dog food moments for the community. While it’s a great yearly pulse, it’s not a full look into the community offering to figure out what the best ruby libraries are. Ruby Rumble is a 48 hour competition, a MVP race if you will. Chances are there are many facets of development that go untouched in an MVP so their associated libraries go unaccounted for. At this point, people are interested in the fastest development library, not necessarily the best long term decision. So where can you go to see what’s hot, popular, or the most active? I know of two such places. Continue reading Where to Find the Best Ruby Libraries

Turntable.fm replacement plug.dj looks great

I was really upset when turntable.fm went offline, it was something I ended up using regularly. Before that site, I really didn’t understand what a “DJ” was, I thought it was just some guy that hit the play button. But the more I used the site, the more I started to understand a good DJ can feel out the vibe in a room and decide where to take it through music. It was quite the epiphany when I put that together. When that went offline, I thought that experience was gone. Then I find plug.djContinue reading Turntable.fm replacement plug.dj looks great