RAMPS – Ways to Affect Autonomy

Autonomy is the sense of free motion in a team. I adjust the levels of this by expressing important needs as problems, letting go of unimportant needs, and managing risk by a combination of acceptance, next-stepping, and iteration. The more we need creative technical work, the more we have to concern ourselves with providing the humans who do it the…
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How I Work – Just Programming Mix

When I’m programming, I am centered broadly on the cyclical application of small textual changes, each one producing value I then harvest to identify, enable, or energize the next. Before we dig in: This is how I roll code. It is not a prescription of any kind for you. I have a prescription for you, and I can offer it,…
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RAMPS – Autonomy is Freedom to Move

Autonomy is a powerful factor in motivation, and the more creative & technical the work, the more likely autonomy is to figure largely in the maker’s motivational spectrum. Here are three different ways I work when I am geeking out. Each of these is about equal in probability to be the one I use for any particular problem. I will…
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TDD Pro-Tip: Suspect Sentinel Returns

TDD Pro-Tip: I suspect sentinel returns, and though I still use them, it’s generally because I haven’t found the right formulation yet. I’m working on the TSD project today, and I’ve got a nasty little chunk of code I wish weren’t nasty. (It’s in this file, and of course, you’re welcome to grab the whole repo, which will enable you…
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RAMPS – Ways to Affect Rhythm

Achieving good Rhythm, a well-tuned distribution of "feels good" across time, is at once the most visceral of sensations and the most difficult to reliably prescribe. Affecting rhythm, therefore, is a fundamentally experimental effort. There are three broad levels to think about, and each has its own possibilities and limits. There is the individual maker, a team of makers, and…
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Change Pro-Tip: Reset

Change Pro-Tip: I sometimes will take an individual or group relationship of mine and ask for an explicit "reset". It’s not a frequent solution, but when the circumstances are right, the rewards for doing it can be huge. Early last year, I was in a wrangle with a person I’ve known for a few years. It wasn’t a crisis, exactly,…
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RAMPS – Rhythm is Tension and Release

Rhythm is about sequences of alternating tension and release. Noticing, orchestrating, and managing the levels and timing of those sequences is one way I can affect the motivation of myself and others. Take a second right now give yourself a nice full-bodied stretch, complete with a yawn. Feels good, yeah? Some of you are at the end of your day,…
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RAMPS – A Way I Approach Motivational Puzzles

Motivational Puzzles Rhythm, Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose, and Safety are important bands in my own motivational spectrum, so I often use them when I’m thinking about other people’s motivational spectroscopy. I’ll give you snapshots of the meaning behind those bands in a minute, but I want to start with that base metaphor, of spectrums, spectroscopy, and signature. When you bombard an…
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Stories About Stories

Some stories about stories, continuing from How Stories Change Things. First, a story-story from history or two. In 1900 the story of Thomas Jefferson was that he was a founder of our nation, a naturalist, and inventor, a President, and the author of some of the most stirring language about human equality ever penned in English. In 2000 the story…
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How Stories Change Things

What is this thing about telling & re-telling the story until it’s the story we want? There’s back-muses, check my timeline, but I’ll offer the relevant text: "I believe we have to re-tell the story. We have to tell the story again, and again, changing it each time, until it becomes the story of bringing a large and diverse group…
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