August 28, 2017

Why Do We Seek One Ring To Rule Them All?

I’m thinking of this thing called "justifcation privileging," or alternatively "explanation monism". Or even, short hand and jokily, "one ring to rule them all." One constantly sees tweets, blogs, even books, where someone boils down staggeringly complex and ill-understood processes to one factor. Today I saw "people don’t make decisions rationally, they make them emotionally." Now, set aside for the moment that no one even knows what those words mean other than at some vague gut-check level, even then, it’s […]

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The First Coaching Days

I can’t over-emphasize for new coaches the importance of rampant opportunism. Until you’ve established your miracle powers in a team, you won’t be able to move big levers, only small ones. Which small levers will bring you the biggest bang of trust & faith the fastest? Some possible openings: we find a bug that’s an exemplar of a family of bugs, and we refactor so it never can occur again. Or we have an untestable, if they’ve started TDD’ing, and

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Shifting Certainties

Shifting certainties. This is where i’m headed these days. Without belaboring criticism, what i’m seeing is that we have a trade with a whole stack of roles and humans to fill them, and, of necessity, they have assembled a varied, sometimes compatible sometimes not, set of certainties by which they navigate. The trouble is that, even when the certainties align with one another, they, ummm, aren’t. That is, they aren’t certainties at all. Neither our data nor our experience actually

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Refactoring Testless Code

Refactoring in testless code is hard. It’s the perfect demonstration of the manglish "agency" of code. It is simply not possible to change testless code and guarantee you’ve done no damage. It’s one of the most delicate operations geeks do. There are principles, yes. There are tricksy techniques, too. But mostly, there is experience & judgment. The deep trick is to turn every mistake you make into a microtest that would keep it from ever happening again. A key insight:

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How I Don’t Apply XP, or Scrum, or Anything

These wrangles over system seem mis-focused. Moreover, they seem part of the surface of the elephant i’ve been trying to describe. A system is inherently an abstraction. It compresses, filters, selects, features from an experienced reality. We formulate systems for at least 3 reasons. First, so we can establish commonality. That is, we can use one system to describe a bunch of "different" local realities. We can say, "yes, that’s python and the web, that’s c and the pacemaker, but

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