Showing posts from August, 2009

Book Review: Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World (Smith, Sidky)

Another book bites the dust and hits the “read” shelf. This time around is was “ Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World ” by Greg Smith and Ahmed Sidky. What is this book about? This book is designed for the people that are generally currently stuck in waterfall (or some other prehistoric software development methodology) and wish to adopt a more agile process. Smith and Sidky then aim to arm the reader with knowledge and tools to overcome the common pitfalls in agile adoption and answer the difficult questions posed by PHB’s and the like. It covers the common practices and key concepts that are used in agile teams such as the daily standup, iteration planning, estimation, retrospectives and roles and responsibilities. What is this book NOT about? This book is not really for those that are already working in an agile time and looking for new ideas to improve their methodology some more. It does not go into great detail on the specifics of major methodologies (which are agil

GTD: Give “Something” a Name

Since moving to a biphasic sleep pattern , I have found that I now have a lot more time to undertake projects that have been sat on the back-burner for far too long. Many of these are not really “geek” related and span a number of aspects of my personal life, be it fitness, financial or simply learning something out of the norm . “Something” .. is where the problem comes in. Sometimes we just want to do stuff that is hard to slap a name on. For example, one of my projects is “sort fitness”. Sure, I could lump it all under “training”, but what about all the extra bits that come with it, like managing diet, tracking or research? Many of our big goals that tend to come out of things like a New Years Marmite Moment tend to be really “fluffy” and open-ended. So What’s the Problem? The problems I find with this are: It Can Make it Hard to Talk About If you have to rehash a sentence explaining what you are trying to do, each and every time you talk about it you are just making e

GTD: Biphasic Sleep Experiment – Trial Summary

So, we are finally here. One month ago I started my biphasic sleep experiment (if this is all new to you, I recommend you read my previous posts ). I just wanted to take some time to share my thoughts on biphasic sleeping with you in the hope that it offers some insight (and perhaps inspiration) for you. What Were My Aims? In a nutshell, I felt like I had too much that I wanted to get done, so I wanted to see if I could make more time to make some headway and clear some items off the task list . I had accumulated a rather large backlog of (to be blunt) crap . General administrative things like emails, RSS items, and household work. Alongside this however, I also had a rather large backlog of ideas that I at least wanted time to brainstorm on to see if there was any opportunity for an interesting and fun project . Basically, I just wanted to really get stuff done. Did I Meet My Aims? This is the brilliant bit.. ALL of the backlog of crappy administrative items were comple

Gifts: Be Clear on What You Wish For

Well, my birthday is rapidly approaching and I am soon to be a quarter of a century old. LAME! (on the bright side, I am a Leo, and we are AWESOME !) :D The cool thing is, sometimes I get gifts! (I tend to get less now I am older, LAME! :). One thing I always hear when it comes to people handing over gifts is: “I really didn’t know what to get you” This is because I am a geek . I am pretty much the only “real” geek in my family and friends and I am inherently hard to buy for . No one really understands what I do, or what I would find interesting. This isn’t all bad.. I tend to end up with a lot of Jack Daniel’s since people know that is the easy way to my heart :) Who Wants to Feel Bad? But, sometimes, I have to be honest, I get a gift that TBH, is totally NOT what I would want. And I always feel really, really bad. And no, this isn’t me being selfish, I genuinely feel bad. This person has shelled out their hard-earned cash to be kind enough to get me a gift. And sadly,

GTD and Podcast Subscriptions August 2009

As you can probably tell, I have been on a real productivity push recently. This has meant that a lot of feeds have been added (and purged) from my GTD and Podcasts streams. A few people have expressed interest in what these feeds are, so I thought I would share them : Note: The file is an OPML File , this should be easily importable into any half-decent RSS reader (like Google Reader ). Hope you enjoy the content – if you have any feeds that are not included and would recommend, please do let me know!

GTD: Staying Connected with Google Sync

I am a massive user/lover of the Google Products especially Mail , Google Reader and Calendar . As with most online services, I am always looking for ways to get them connected to my Xda . The last time I looked however (which was pretty much when I got the device), there was no great way to sync with my Google Calendar. I ended up going with a third party application called OggSync , which up until now has served me very well. The only downside was that there was not decent scheduling option. So I ended up having a daily reminder to fire off a sync. Then it all changed.. Introducing Google Sync Now, this may have been out a while, but I never heard anything about it (is it just me or are Google terrible at marketing their products?). But anyway, I was listening to an episode of the StartupDaddy podcast (which is a great podcast by the way – thanks Ian !) where Google Sync was mentioned. Now, I almost dismissed it straight away, but then Ian said something like (can’t rememb

GrokGit: Launchy & Git Bash – Perfect Unison

I thought I would share this little nugget of info as part of my “GrokGit” series. As you know, I am aiming to master the command line with Git rather than the GUI. It’s no secret that GUI’s are inherently slow – and I am aiming to improve my productivity as much as possible so screw that! What is Launchy? Launchy is a great application that is VERY high up on my tools list. It allows you to create shortcuts to programs and URL’s so you can quickly access them. I would strongly recommend giving it a whirl. Here is a quick rundown of my setup: WIN + ESC – Opens Launchy. I have two folders added to the “Catalogue”: A local folder for shortcuts specific to that machine (useful for programs that are work/home specific). A folder that is shared via Live Mesh which syncs to all my computers. Great for shared applications with common paths etc. From the Launchy Plugins I use: Weby to set location-specific favourites.

GTD: Biphasic Sleep Experiment – Update

Physical State/Tiredness Nothing major to really report here. It has to be said the exercise has certainly made the hard pace of only 4.5 hours sleep a night more noticeable.. :) I have had a couple of days where I have simply needed to sleep! On one of them, I just went to bed an our early. However, on day 13 I really pushed myself hard with the exercise. I went to bed and had a night of monophasic sleep to allow the body to recover. This was obviously much needed, woke up bright and spritely! Looking forward to playing with my iron balls again later! :D It was interesting how having a single night of monophasic sleep did not affect my biphasic sleeping pattern at all. Nice to know I have the option there to take if I feel I need it. Mental State Still rocking and rolling. Just completed my (newly) regular retrospective session. It’s real nice to see the positive attitude reflected in my daily reviews. There were a lot of smiley faces! Diet Started upping the white

GTD: “Personal Kanban” – The PAIR System

In my Personal Kanban “Getting Started” post , you may have noticed the “PAIR System” in the mind map. You are probably wondering “what the hell is that? Did you make it up?!” Yes, yes I did :P :) While going over, and over, and over the processes in my mind, several stages started to emerge as logical “pull points” for processing my “Life” story cards. Backlog The backlog is basically a repository of stories that have yet to be completed. So when you have a bright idea or come up with something you want to achieve, it doesn’t go on a task list, the refrigerator or a post-it note stuck to your significant other’s forehead so you get reminded every time you see them. It goes in the backlog . This is a standard part of most Kanban boards, of course you may want to set limits on this also. I personally prefer to just focus on keeping it lean and clearing out the crap, but avoid limits (who wants to limit their dreams etc?). Before doing ANYTHING, we first pick the highest valu