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Daniel Markham
Worked at Bedford Technology Group
Lives in USA
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by Mike Wacker At some point in your life, you can probably recall a movie that you and your friends all wanted to see, and that you and your friends all regretted watching afterwards. Or maybe you remember that time your te...
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It reminds me of why the Toyota production system initially failed. It failed because parts had insufficient quality checks and problems were only found when they tried to assemble the car. Those individual component checks where critical to getting a just-in-time system working.
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The secret of consulting.
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Have you ever wanted to say to a manager who hired you, "You're the problem!" :)
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Several years ago, somebody asked on a hacking forum "What advice would you give yourself in your 20s?"

For some reason, my answer was popular. I have received several emails about how it changed peoples' lives. Somebody even brought it up again a couple of days ago. I am copying both the question and answer here in case you find it of use.

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QUESTION: I'd like to cheat in life and instead of learning my life lessons the hard way, I'd like to skip ahead and read the ending of the current chapter that I'm currently on.

When I was in middle school, my biggest worry was getting the latest Abercrombie & Fitch cargo pants to fit in on the school hallway, whether this girl on my school bus liked me, and if the size of my gentalia was on par with my peers back then.

When I was in high school, my biggest worry was doing well in school so that I could get into an ivy league school; tacking on a bunch of AP courses and extracurricular activities, not necessarily because I enjoyed AP Chemistry or the track team, but I had to, to get into a ivy league school; and trying to look "cool," "edgy," & "artsy" while caring to stay within the boundaries of MTV's and my high school's social conventions.

When I was in college, my biggest worry was doing well in school so I could go onto a top graduate/medical school or grab a six-figure salary at an i-bank upon graduation. Befriended certain people, chased certain girls (and botched things up royally after the chasing phase is over), got involved in some unsavory debauchery not necessarily because I wanted to live out the lives that "burn, burn, burn" but rather out of my fear of missing out on the "college experience."

Of course, it didn't all seem that way when I was in the moment - and certainly I don't regret the things I did in the past (because I can't change the past) and I'll be certain to make lots of mistakes in the future too. And even if an older version of me, traveled back in time to my middle school, told me how stupid of me it was to spend $70 of my parents' money on a pair of Abercrombie & Fitch cargo pants, I know that my middle school self would respond, "are you crazy, I need to get these pants to impress this chick on my school bus!"

I only beseech your wisdom about what mistakes/naivetes I'll incur in my twenties, oh elders, so that when I realize later how right you were after my twenties, I could slap myself silly and say to myself, in the place of your absence, "see? I told you so!"


ANSWER:

 - Shiny things are nowhere as much fun after you get them as before, even if they have some value. So yes, that Kindle or iPad or whatever will have a real use, and you will be marginally happier with it than without, but not as much as you think

- You can talk yourself into (or out of) anything. The only difference between smart people and other people is that smart people do this with bigger words and more complex arguments. Be confident, but also assume that you are broken in ways you can never spot. Find some ways to get a checksum on life decisions every now and then.

- You don't need very much at all. Maybe a laptop computer and a couple changes of clothes. Pictures and videos of your life. That's about it.

- Nothing will ever replace experiences. No matter how big the car, nice the house, or professional-looking the suit, it's never going to be as much fun or mean as much later as the experiences you have in life. And it's not just having the experience, it's looking forward to them, and planning them, and making pictures, movies, and blogs out of them. The best part, oddly, may be the planning. So planning a 200-dollar trip to the beach in the Fall with people you love may give you many hours of happiness this summer -- along with the fun of the trip itself.

- Learn to keep picking topics and immersing yourself in them. Most everybody will say to drop out and become part of the system -- 9-5 job and TV/games/internet in the evening. If you want a life you could sleep through, that's fine. But if you want a life you can tell stories about, keep reinventing yourself. And that means constantly learning.

- Lots of shit in life that once looked dumb or stupid opens up into this huge panorama of beauty once you learn the rules. In so many things you are like the guy who never saw a baseball game going to the world series. You kind of get it, but it all seems silly. You don't know the rules. Decide to learn how to appreciate music, for instance. Get a few college lectures on tape, get some good music to listen to, hang out with folks who are music connoisseurs. The more you know about various art forms, the richer your life is.

- Forget philosophy and meaning-of-life shit. You're too young. For now, you are what you do. Go do something worthwhile

- Stick to a daily exercise routine at all costs

- If you are changing and getting better, that means you are changing friends too. This was very difficult for me, but you can't hang out with the same folks and expect to become a better person. There are exceptions, of course, but to a large degree your life is controlled by whom you choose to be friends and hang out with. Be aware that you don't want to be the same person at 30 as you were at 20. I'm not saying be an asshole -- keep being friendly by all means -- but be very careful who you hold yourself up against as "normal"

- Dating is a numbers game, like a lot of other things. Learn the skills of dating and don't sweat picking up chicks (or guys)

- Concentrate on your weaknesses. Make them stronger. When you get to your 30s you can work from your strengths, but there has to be some time in your life to work on shit you suck at, and for me it was when I had the most motivation, my 20s.

- Speaking of which, you have to learn management. No matter what you do, there will be a manager. Even if you don't want to be one, you have to understand what the job is like to help out your manager. Being a good leader means being a good servant. This concept sounded easy (or facile) to me in my 20s, but proved hard to apply in practice.

- You are never ready for kids. Have them early while you have energy. Read all the books about kids if you must, but realize that creating a replacement is about the most biologically easy thing you could do. After all, evolution has been working on making you a great gene transferral and primate-raising machine, so don't get paranoid and neurotic about all the latest parenting fashion. Use some sense.

- Everybody wants to be a rock star and win the lottery. Nobody ever does, and the ones that do end up destroying their life. Realize slow success is a million times better than overnight success.

- Much of the stuff in life that normal people do is geared around killing time by distracting you with shiny things of no value. You may never be able to fight this completely, but you should at least deeply understand it and how it affects your goals

- Create. With a passion. There are two major kinds of people in this world, consumers and creators. The herd will push you to consume, life will push you to consume, consumption is the easy and default path, but true joy and a full life come from creating. It does not matter one bit how many people like what you create, just create. Write. Blog. Make videos. Make a movie. Write a program. The longer the format and the more creativity involved, the more you are going to turn on and exercise key parts of your brain. Nobody wants to be 80 and only have stories of being at the office, but fuck, if you were at the office creating something at least you tried to make a difference. I'd rather be that guy than the one who watched Sumo wrestling everyday (or played 20,000 hours of WoW during his 20s) The only thing you're going to have at the end of your life are the decisions you made, the things you created, and memories. Learn to maximize these things.
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Here's some Agile Porn for you guys.

Fun times yesterday doing PI planning with some teams on the East Coast of the U.S.

For those of you who haven't done PI planning, it's basically a way for several related teams to all do release planning at the same time. In big organizations it's not uncommon to have teams with inter-dependencies on each other. Instead of setting up meetings, or creating some complex Microsoft Project Plan, if you put all the inter-related teams in the same spot and have them think about what's coming up over the next few sprints, they can all work out many of the dependency and scheduling issues real-time.

We took it to the next level, allowing the teams to reform based on who felt like they most belonged on which team. We also made sure each team had "real" user stories and not just a sackful of tasks. Finally we had the teams start in on their acceptance criteria by using Gherkin during the planning -- then saving all the gherkin files on the source control system.

Fun times.
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Geoffrey, I will put this on my list of stuff to write about. I think the trick is writing about it in a format that's easily accessible to both the SAFe guys (which perhaps will view it as too cowboy-ish) and folks who have never seen it before (who perhaps will view it as having too much structure)

:)
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Perils of the smartwatch.
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Omg that's horrible. They need to recall asap 
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Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize-winning economist, a respected professor at Princeton University, and an outspoken liberal columnist for the New York Times. But first and foremost, he is a huge nerd,...
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Always a tricky situation.
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The worst part is that you never hear them coming....
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Since there was some interest, here are some pictures from our final day of planning.

The goal was to have some idea of what the business wanted over the next few sprints and (most importantly) educate the management team about what was probably possible and what probably wasn't possible so they could begin to make trade-offs and plan accordingly. Remember -- none of this replaces sprint or release planning -- it's just to get some organizational unity and create a feedback cycle over a larger chunk of work that might take 5 teams 8 weeks to do instead of pipelining each item at a time into separate kanban (or scrum) systems. If the PO's managers leave knowing a lot more than they did before, the big-risk items have been addressed, and the team understands organizational intent better? We nailed it.
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Most Agile/Xp/Lean/Scum/Kanban essays are misinformed rants (which I like), but this one actually nails it. Not everybody "Wants their XP back". Some folks have passed XP and are moving on to the next level.

http://benjiweber.co.uk/blog/2015/04/17/modern-extreme-programming/
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I personally like this the best: 'User stories are placeholders for conversation'
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Here is my list of heuristics and rules of thumb for software development that I have found useful over the years:   Development 1. Start small, then extend. Whether creating a new system, or ...
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Stuff I would expect most software developers to already know. But it's nice to have it in a concise list.
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I'm at #microconf  this year having a blast. It's great hanging out with other folks who are interested in creating and growing their own bootstrapped businesses.

The first night here I'm at the reception and I walk up to a group of four guys. We each do the "What are you working on?" thing.

This one guy describes this super-cool startup application idea he has. It's one of the best I've heard in a while. Then he tells us he developed it to help him in his Taekwondo practice. He's a Taekwondo master.

We talk for a while longer. Then he mentions he was trained as a lawyer.

I told him that if he was a secret agent and/or an astronaut, I wanted to know right now. My ego couldn't handle much more of that. :)
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Giovanni Lanzani's profile photo
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  • Bedford Technology Group
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Hacker, Agile Coach, Reader, Hiker, Photographer, Pilot, and father of four
Introduction
Hey there. I'm Daniel Markham. You might know me from my blog, What To Fix. Or you might have seen me on Hacker News.I big into Agile and making teams look more like Google and less like the IRS. I founded Tiny Giant Books, the best place on the internet for Agile help. You might not know that I run a couple of other small sites, like one for Paycheck Stub Trivia and one to help folks with Neuropathy in Feet.

I'm always interested in hearing stories about small teams and startups, and I love reading a good author. I like long walks in the park, a warm sunset after a long day's work, and 

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