Nik has written 482 posts for

Make good work visible

The other day I was at an Underground station where there were a number of charity collectors with buckets. I put a coin in a collector’s bucket and he gave me a bright yellow sticker in return. At first I was unsure about wanting it; it’s the kind of thing I’d have loved when I … Continue reading

What does it mean to be a mature organisation?

I’ve said before that the word “maturity” raises my hackles, and in particular when people talk about their organisation needing to be “mature”. This is not the only word that has this effect on me. I’ve written before about “culture” and the phrase “best practice”. As with “best practice” (and sometimes with “culture”) there is … Continue reading

Plan for legacy systems

The other day I was looking at some old Elm code, refamiliarising myself with one of the key language concepts (Signals) and found an article to help me. One part in particular caught my eye: To truly add a level of responsive interactivity to our application, we need to understand Signals, Mailboxes, and Addresses. These … Continue reading

Take people with you

It’s slightly egocentric to look at someone doing their job and imagine yourself doing it instead, and it’s naive to look at the work of world leaders and declare that they’re doing it wrong. So in this post I’ll do both. Here in the UK the prime minister, Theresa May, is trying to implement Brexit. … Continue reading

Burn-up charts made even easier

I’ve updated my Google Sheets burn-up template once again. Here are the changes: There’s a handy new shortcut key for the most common action: adding a new line to record a change in a user story. This is Shift + Ctrl + Alt + 1 on PC and Shift + Option + Cmd + 1 … Continue reading

Talking as a cure for politics

The other day I was discussing org structures with a colleague. We agreed there was potential for two parts of the organisation to come into conflict, and we also agreed on the solution: they should talk to each other. For all the procedures and terms of reference that anyone might dream up, in the end … Continue reading

What we say isn’t what they hear

I am frequently surprised now imperfect human communication is, and how ambiguous it is. We think something, we turn it into words, we speak those words, those words get heard by another person, they get interpreted by that person, that interpretation gets stored, and then it gets recalled. Each of those steps is an opportunity … Continue reading

Improve quality through doing the thing more often

The other week I was reading about the quality problems with major Windows 10 releases. To recap, Microsoft started rolling out to the public their second Windows 10 release of the year (called 1809), but had to halt it quickly when it was discovered it was deleting some people’s files. Before Windows 10 Microsoft would … Continue reading

The Stoic’s guide to risk management

One of the things that first got me thinking more constructively about risk management was the problem of how to best deal with risk and uncertainty. In 2014 I wrote about how to think about risk differently, which led to finding better ways to deal with it. Since then I’ve written about creating opportunities, seeking … Continue reading

An example of risk not being a point

I’ve written before about not regarding uncertainty and risk as things with a single probability and a single measure of impact. I called these “point risks”, as such a fictitious event sits at a single point on a chart. Now I’m happy to learn that a paper entitled “Cost of Data Breach Study”, by Ponemon … Continue reading