Me & Molly & Marvelling

I've been having a lot of trouble getting to sleep lately. I go to bed cuz it feels like it's time. Sometimes my body won't settle, itching and twitching and such like. Sometimes my mind won't. Usually it's a mixture of both. So I get back up. But then I'm tired as hell, and it seems like I'm sleepy again,…

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Assumption-Boxing is Harmful

Assumption-Boxing I'm thinking of maybe a new geepaw coinage: something like "assumption-boxing". This is when we frame a problem with an assumption that narrowly limits (boxes) the range of solutions. A real-world example we're all familiar with: "Optimize meeting structure to exchange status reports on individual's sub-projects". Do you see that "meeting structure" is a built-in assumption in the problem,…

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Turn Preasons Into Reasons

What are preasons? A remarkable amount of geekery-advice comes in the form of rules & slogans accompanied by appealing. intuitively correct, theoretical reasoning using simple logic applied to pre-existing abstractions. I'm gonna pull a GeePaw-ism here and relabel "appealing, intuitively correct, theoretical reasoning using simple logic applied to pre-existing abstractions". I'm gonna shorthand these to "Preasons". So. We get a…

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The Drive To Help

Have you ever noticed how much children love to help? Modern motivational theory offers us a triplet: purpose, autonomy, and mastery. (PAM) children helping surely excites P and M there. As adults we're all slightly less desirous of helping. I attribute this to two factors. First, there's a lot less M in it for me usually nowadays. I already know…

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Pain And TDD

"We were doing TDD just like we're supposed to, but at some point it started hurting, so we not only quit, we told everyone else on the interwebs that TDD doesn't work." I met Kent Beck after a couple of years reading and writing around him, at the first ObjectMentor Extreme Programming (XP) Immersion, a wonderful week I'll never forget,…

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Getting Them To Do X

How to Steer a Horse Coaches come to me and ask me questions that start with "How can I get them to ..." There's a quote, I'm having a hard time finding a reference, but it's something like this... (reference appreciated) "The easiest way to steer a horse is to want to go where the horse wants to go." I…

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Estimating: Stop Trying Harder

(Note: Lightly edited and adapted from a twitter thread, where I'm @GeePawHill. Noobs be advised, I speak freely there.) Accuracy in estimating software development times is a powerful example of forty years of "try harder" not producing any positive results. Now, given some small change X and some substantial knowledge of the current state of my software, I can usefully…

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