Celebrate Success

I mentioned in an earlier post that it was important to celebrate success. It provides closure for a project, and can be a bonding experience for a team that might disperse to other projects.

Ship gifts are a traditional thing. My brother got this cool leather jacket from the Windows division years ago which he still wears. Most ship gifts, though, aren’t quite that nifty. Mind you, I’ve kept them all just the same, much to Hermione’s annoyance.

Now, I never served, but I do know what a challenge coin is. After having gone through three v1 cloud product releases with this same team, this is actually my favorite ship gift. It was a lot of hard work, and a good way to end one journey and start another. You were in Azure?  Heck, yeah, I was in Azure and look at what we did!

Third Time’s a Charm

Femme Hai Le Grand Requin Blanc

Thrice repeated, once fulfilled. Or, at least, that’s how I remember that going. In line with my goals to talk about the industry and environment, I feel compelled to talk about things like this. I’ve seen many articles about harassment online, bleeding over into real life and the workplace (tough read, language). It’s been going on for some time. It isn’t unique. It’s still going on. It’s not just in technology. The crisis of inclusion is everywhere, in no small part to industry and individual attitude. And this is my third post on the topic.

Industry leaders agree that inclusiveness is important, but it is essential that this message be carried to every level of every organization. We all need to be part of the solution. Once again, to quote Lieutenant General David Morrison, retired, “By now I assume you know my attitude to this type of conduct” and “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” Don’t accept bullying or harassment. Demand a higher standard, and accept nothing less.


I actively support a corporate culture of inclusiveness and respect, and have no tolerance for bullying or harassment in the workplace. Work, however, is only a portion of people’s lives. Technology is all around us, and the internet can be a source of  suffering. If you, or anyone you know, needs assistance, RAINN has resources to help. No one is alone.

Numerical Nonsense

Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”
Mark Twain’s Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review

It wasn’t actually Disraeli, but numbers are persuasive. If I said, 68.7% of statistics are deceptively presented, that sounds pretty authoritative, doesn’t it? It’s also completely made up. That’s an egregious example, but one of the first uses that occurs to any student of statistics is misuse. For a clear view of what that looks like, head over to Math With Bad Drawings’ article “Why Not to Trust Statistics.”

There’s two messages here. First, as a consumer of statistics (the language of business), understand numbers and question them. Know how the information was gathered, how it was summarized and why it was presented as it was. Remember that correlation does not imply causation. Second, as a producer of statistics, you are ethically bound to represent information in an unbiased fashion. Manipulating math to use a “magician’s force” on a decision is unethical.


I’ve suggested you follow James Whittaker before, and he has a new book that blends perfectly with this site’s theme. You can buy a copy from Amazon.

I like to have signed copies of things, so I attended one of James’ talks today. James was demonstrating how a single word can evoke the person who spoke it. It went something like this:

James: “I say DREAM, you think…”

Me (thinking): NEIL GAIMAN! No, that can’t be right. Well, hold on. Is that Tengwar in Quenya mode that James has tattoo’ed there? I mean, he must know about Magic the Gathering based on these slides. Probably AD&D, too, since he’s referred to verbal, somatic and material components in other talks. That’s all pretty geeky. Maybe he does mean Neil?  But that doesn’t…

James: “… that’s right! Dr. Martin Luther King!”

Me (thinking): Oh. Yes, of course. That makes more sense in context. Obvious even. <Pause> How does my brain even work?

Beware — Here There Be PMs!

What does it look like when two professional project managers live in the same house?  A lot like this:

This is in the back corner of our home office. There’s a deep backlog and epics on the left, backlog on the board and scheduled house items. There’s daily things that we don’t bother with (cook meal, clean dishes), but everything else gets scheduled. The calendar is rolling three weeks, since four seemed like too far out. This photo was taken in the middle of coffee scrum, as Saturday morning is when things are planned out and the calendar adjusted.  It might be too much for some — but household projects get finished.

Yup. Still Magic…

Hermione and I were watching Moana on Netflix with friends, when she said, “Wait — the chicken!  Did they have chickens?” Someone looked thoughtful, “Weren’t they introduced by Captain Cook in 1778?” Out came the phones, and Hermione said “Huh.  Polynesians brought a form of chicken with them. ‘Red Jungle Fowl‘. Totally looks like the chicken!” We all agreed, absolutely does. Cluck-cluck-cluck-ba-bawk!

Phones. Still changing the way we interact. Still made of magic.