Read elsewhere: “Today I learned extracting EarPods from my robot vacuum wheels intact is impossible.” If that doesn’t capture the essence of 21st Century First World Boring Dystopia problems, I dunno what might. Except maybe posting about it online.
Quick reminder for anyone in the US with a cellular phone: Turn your phone off at 2:15 p.m. ET on September 20, and keep it off for probably 15-30 minutes, unless you want to receive an unwanted message from the Federal Government.
Thanks to the editor of @101fiction for including my little domesticated werewolf ditty, “Suburban” in the latest issue.
I received all of my 2600 Hacker Digest lifetime subscription archive PDFs today. Seeing all these old issues makes me stupidly happy. Not taking up physical shelf space makes me even happier. 📚
Reading this got me to thinking about some things:
I find myself not surprised at all about the MBTI’s dubious utility. Back in the dotcom boom, after I pointed out to upper management (with impolite candor that I’d be mortified by today) that a couple of consultants we’d hired were not much better than con artists, I was forced to attend “executive training” sessions with a corporate psychologist who, if I’d written them into a story, would have been editorially questioned as a poor caricature of afternoon TV host ambition. During those grinding weeks, I took the MBTI and a couple other scantronnesque tests, and while on the surface their results appealed to my sense of self and identity, I soon got the same feeling I’d had as a kid when I’d figured out the scam behind the funny page’s daily horoscope column.
Another employer wasted months on DISC assessments for everyone in management roles, and then wasted more time getting everyone to understand RA(S)CI grids, both of which dropped from use within weeks. All of that felt to me like RPG character generation for people who’d feel embarrassed to call themselves a chaotic-neutral half-Elf ranger but still wanted to fit into a set of little scored boxes.
I eventually realized similar lessons about Agile, Lean, Kanban and pretty much every other methodology and tool used to manage any kind of contemporary thought-driven work. They’re leaky abstractions. They devolve into dogma and ceremony because humans are lazy.
What works for me:
Pick something to keep track of the state of the team’s current and planned efforts: a shared spreadsheet, AgilePad, Basecamp, Trello, an issue/bug tracker, whatever. Make it easy for team members to contribute to and navigate within this information. Don’t get hung up on points or sizing or metrics: they’ll drive the team to wasteful games.
Don’t try to use a customer support tool for this. Those are geared towards question/answer exchanges and getting people satisfied and on their way as fast as possible, not for collaboration.
Keep track of the state of the product, whether that’s a software application or a playbook for daily business: A wiki, a shared document folder, a Git repository of Markdown files, whatever. This documentation provides team memory and helps bring new team members up to speed. Try to strike a balance here between some pure, crystalline structure and a junk drawer. Make it easy for people to contribute and bake in time for documentation in your planning.
In my experience, Slack, or any of the Slack-alikes, will fail as a tool for both tracking and documenting a team’s work. Email fails as well. There’s a world of difference between notification channels and information storage.
Keep track of your personal To Do list: your calendar, email, favorite GTD app, notebook, whatever. Don’t overthink this, but do make it a habit to write stuff down and check your list often.
Everything else should be conversations. The cards in Trello are reminders to have conversations. The pages in the wiki are records of conversations. The channels in Slack (which will proliferate like kudzu if you’re not careful) or threads in email are thin, poor substitutes for conversations.
Find your team’s natural cadence and balance somewhere between constant interruption and half-day blocks of meetings, whether that’s daily stands or weekly check-ins or quaterly lunches. There’s little more powerful than a handful of human brains networked face-to-face around a table, but too many people at once diminishes returns quickly. For planned conversations, provide an agenda ahead of time, even if it is a single question to answer. Distribute notes immediately after, or store them in one of your team’s tools.
If you manage someone, at least schedule a weekly one-on-one conversation, even if it is only fifteen minutes long and you both beg off three times out of four.
Just don’t overthink any of it. That’s all I know.
Wish list item for @manton: Selective syndication. I’d enjoy selecting at post-time which cross-posting µblog performs. I can sort of manage this with IFTTT and conditional feed-to-service integrations, but what gets posted is not nearly as nice as µblog’s integrations.
So disgusted with social media walled gardens. Impossible to create content and syndicate everywhere without double posting.
Evil Billionaires Play a Board Game Where They Pretend to Have Total Control Over the American Political System Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha - Jezebel
I’ve finally put together a new version of https://michael.manley.org/, including an archive of the writing I’ve published. Assembled without a CMS, using micro.blog as the engine for daily updates, photos, and social media syndication.
Question for @manton as I figure out my workflow today: if a photo is posted to my micro.blog account by OwnYourGram, should that trigger the feed cross-posting?
My new VentraChicago card expires in the middle of 2038. I guess someone at the CTA offices believes they’ve adequately prepared for the Unix epoch problem. And they must feel optimistic about the shelf-life of American technological civilization.
Sit back and enjoy a batch of summertime poems.
Hey, µ.bloggers: In addition to Feedbin, the macOS/iOS news aggregator program News Explorer also reads JSON feeds. I switched to this for all my feed reading months ago and really like it.
Currently reading: The Molotov Cocktail: Prize Winners Anthology Vol. 3 📚
I really hope we’ve reached peak 2018 early. t.co/eXHVldV3h…
If you enjoyed the old comix anthology WORLD WAR 3, you likely should enjoy The Nib. Help them out! t.co/kZfJ2W7dE…
Hello, King of Fireworks. I would like to introduce you to this group of very unhappy dogs. Please hold this raw meat in your lap. t.co/al1jukfRe…
Gen. Manning: We chased that nest of redcaps down I-90 until sundown. This morning we found evidence that they ran into an encampment of Los Separados. No survivors. #secondcivilwarletters