Showing posts from December, 2016

2017: The Year of Being Agile

Edited to add a list of all the posts in this series at the end...

This is reworked and expanded version of one of my early posts on Practical Magic Project Management: Agile Magic.

...In The Black Swan, our hero Taleb talks about the value of constant tinkering, failing fast, and shifting gears quickly. Our world moves very quickly, things change rapidly, and the best way to figure out what works is to fling a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks.

Turns out that software development already figured this out and created a methodology to support it. It's called Agile Development and it's based on constant iterating, frequent feedback, and incremental change. It even has it's own manifesto that goes:

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.* 

Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools 
Working software over comprehensive documentation 
Customer collaboration over contrac…

Project Ivy Status Update -- And What's Coming Next

Time for the potentially embarrassing personal project update. (Note: I don't expect anyone else to care about this as much as I do. I'm updating not only because it keeps me accountable, but also because I think a lot of the information is applicable across domains -- that is, you can use it for your own projects).

Project Ivy has been going well overall, but some weaknesses in my plan are becoming evident. This is actually quite normal for a new project. You start with some ideas of what makes sense, but no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy -- even if the enemy is your own life, tendency to procrastinate, and entropy. The trick is to adjust and adapt to what you are finding, rather than deciding to give up.

First step? Make sure your goals are still the right goals. I can't overstate this. People in general are terrible at knowing what they want and, even moreso, what will make them happy. So you shouldn't be afraid of or ashamed to adjust goals as yo…

Low Ocean

I dreamed that I was in an occult/antique shop. The kind that you wish you could find, but that only seem to exist in dreams and Harry Potter books. I was drawn to a dusty glass case. Inside were a handful of picture cards laid out on velvet. Like tarot, but not any tarot I was familiar with. The cards were battered and yellowed, obviously very old. The card that I focused on was titled Low Ocean.

The card was a seaside scene. Stone houses along a sea wall and a quay. However the water had withdrawn far into the distance. Ships were grounded on the sea floor and strange creatures had become beached or semi-submerged in pools on the muddy bottom. The ocean had withdrawn. Curious onlookers were exploring the normally hidden seafloor.

But the card wasn't about curiosity or discovery... it was about menace and risk.

Here's the relevant section from Wikipedia:
An illustration of the rhythmic "drawback" of surface water associated with a wave. It follows that a ver…

Sustain-ability: Real Things

Wait, didn't I say I was unplugging?

Why yes, yes I did. However, it's unlikely that I'll be able to stop writing. If I don't blog or journal, my brain starts doing this endless churning. Did you even read the advice that you should keep a pen and pad by your bed so that you can jot down things that are keeping you from sleeping? It's like a whole life version of that.

Still, unplugging is in full force, though like any actionable goal, it's a process and not a end state. I've already culled a huge amount of TV, websites, blogs, and social media. Mainly news and news-like substances, but also vacu-tainment and click bait. The sources of external data I'm still following have been thoroughly curated.

So what have I been focusing on? Real things, including:

Holiday Stuff -- Getting and decorating our tree. Gifts. Cards. Etc. This year I feel the darkness more acutely and am craving the holiday of lights.

Food Stuff -- quiche and cake for my dear friend…