Category: i wrote it

Things I authored.

TBT – Re-posting: Software Estimation

My debut to the software world was about seven months ago. Prior, the projects I managed had tangible assets: prints, videos, landscapes, structures, etc. Obviously in the software world there are no longer physical structures or tangible assets. This alone has been the most difficult hurdle to deal with… not because you can’t ‘see’ the project; but because the project idea is no longer bound by constraints.

You’re Not Late—You’re Using the Wrong Metric (Yes, Time)

If there’s one metric that used more than any other, it’s time. Time is unique in that we all have a limited and finite amount. You can’t make more time, stockpile it, refund it, or spend it faster. Time is priceless.

Its usefulness as a metric is convenient because it’s constant. One hour today is the same thing as one hour tomorrow. Costs, productivity, effort, etc. are driven from time based metrics and used to forecast spans of time (months, years, decades). We use time to plan—and thus—we use time to watch and control the present; as well as, benchmark the future and past.

As a project manager, I’m always dealing with time. And as a project manager, I’ve realized that while time is a constant in the sense of measuring the void of space; it is not a human constant. Businesses are nothing more than a group of humans and thus susceptible to all things humans are susceptible to. And in lies the focus of this aside—I think we (from a business sense) have misinterpreted how to use time. Time is not the best way to bill, pay, measure, quote, plan, manage, or lead. My reasoning for time being a poor metric I’ve broken into three parts; timing, scalability, and control. What follows is then my suggestion on how we move forward.

Working Right

I started my first blog begrudgingly my senior year of college for a creative writing class. Halfway through my semester I’d created a second that had four times the posts; and my hard drive double that in unpublished posts. After the class my “second” blog continued to run for years until recently when I shut it down and created this one. I went through 20 years of the government-run child farms (read: school system) before I realized that I enjoy writing.

Between my junior and senior year of college I found myself unemployed and living in my brother’s study on a pullout couch. I’d sold everything, packed my car and driven west about a year earlier. My worldly possession fit into a cargo box on the top of a station wagon and included a duffel bag of clothes, camping gear, and a milk crate full of books for when I decided to go back to school. After a discouraging day of job hunting I plunked down on the couch with my head in my hands. I looked up, grabbed the purple hardbound book at the top of the milk crate and started reading. A couple of hours later I’d finished Purple Cow and found an author I idolize to this day, Seth Godin.

The next day I got a library card. A month later I’d read every book by Seth and moved on to Guy Kawasaki, Malcolm Gladwell, Tony Hsieh, Steven Pressfield, Ken Robinson, Dan Pink, and many, many others. Before the next quarter I was filled with ambition and fond of my new-found interest… one I hadn’t realized through 19 years of school.

The point in all this is not the modern education system. I’ll expand on that post later. No this post is about how I got to where I am and the lessons I’ve learned–and more importantly those lessons I’ve realized.

Other People

In a graduation speech George Saunder’s said:

Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we’re central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); (2) we’re separate from the universe (there’s US and then, out there, all that other junk–dogs and swing-sets, and the State of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people), and (3) we’re permanent (death is real, o.k., sure – for you, but not for me).

Don’t Be a Tapeworm

In an interview with the New York Times Moby said, “Dogs have boundless enthusiasm but no sense of shame. I should have a dog as a life coach.”

I’m not a pet person. But today I read in a book:

“Did you ever stop to think that a dog is the only animal doesn’t have to work for a living? A hen has to lay eggs, a cow has to give milk, and a canary has to sing. But a dog makes his living by giving you nothing but love.” -Dale Carnegie