Weeknote for 5/1/2022

Website

😐

I made significant progress on fixing the website’s wiki. This will be my main project until I get it done (or until something more urgent comes up).

Productivity

😎

My productivity system update project is on hold until I finish fixing the website. But I’ve still been making improvements in the background.

My evening schedule has been going so well, I’ve even gotten ahead on my cooking. I cook for several days of lunch and dinner at a time, which means I basically live on leftovers. If I get behind, I have to fill in the gaps with fast food or sandwiches. But if I can keep this up, the next set of meals will always be ready.

To help me focus, I’ve gone back to the Pomodoro technique, but on very short cycles. I alternate 4 minutes of working and 1 minute of break, and the breaks are optional. Every once in a while I take a longer break. I’m hoping with this technique I can stay on task most of the time even on days I’m feeling extra slow or distractible. The idea is that even under difficult conditions I can push myself for a few minutes if I have a timer to tell me how long that is. It’s been working very well so far. But the real test will be in a few weeks when the technique feels old.

I’ve redesigned my schedule tracking spreadsheet so that I can plan a week at a time instead of one day. This should make it quicker to manage the spreadsheet and should help me choose the week’s tasks and plan for the ones that’ll take more than a few minutes.

Programming

πŸ™‚

At work I listen to a bunch of programming books. Normally I write about them here unless it’s a reread, but the past few weeks I’ve neglected to do that. So here are the latest few.

Rapid Development is another excellent reference book by Steve McConnell. His books are always well organized and researched, and they’re fun to read despite being long and dense. I’ve been looking for perspectives on the software development process from people outside the usual suspects, and Rapid Development has the added advantage of being written shortly before the Agile movement took off. I think of it as another angle on the movement’s historical context.

Choose Your WoW, Second Edition by Scott W. Ambler and Mark Lines orients the reader to the Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) framework. This is another resource from outside the Agile founder sphere. The book does a pretty good job of introducing the framework, justifying its complexity, and giving helpful tips on implementing its major features. The bulk of the framework’s details are on PMI’s website. You can get an overview in this white paper at IBM.

What I like about DAD is (1) it takes a broad, even-handed look at all the available practices and notes the circumstances in which each would be most helpful (enabling you to choose your Way of Working); and (2) it’s part of a larger Disciplined Agile framework that applies to the whole business. Disciplined Agile may answer some of my questions about how an agile team fits into its context and how you can use agile if you’re in some other role. That will be helpful input when I get back to my project of treating my life like a business. Along those lines, I also want to look into Beyond Budgeting.

Software Testing: A Craftsman’s Approach by Paul C. Jorgensen and Byron DeVries is a mathematical look at how to choose test cases. I was only listening, so I couldn’t evaluate its rigor or practicality, but my impression is those qualities were its aims. I’m looking forward to studying the book more closely, because whenever I try to write tests, I quickly run into the problem of knowing what conditions are most helpful to test. Everybody else seems preoccupied with what code the tests should target, how to get the code into a testable state, and how to get the tests to run fast. Those are important but miss the crucial element that trips me up, a gap filled by this book.

People

πŸ™‚

Sunday I had a rare get together with Jeremy at a sandwich shop. Even though we chat a lot online, it was nice to catch up in person. I’m still avoiding crowded restaurants because of COVID, especially with the beginnings of a new surge, but I make occasional exceptions for low-traffic ones where the customers can spread out.

Current events

πŸ€”

I’ve somewhat shifted how I keep up with events in Ukraine. I still look through r/UkrainianConflict and listen to The Eastern Border. But I’ve slowed down on YouTube and the other podcasts. I’ve also spent more time with the carefully sourced updates at r/CredibleDefense and Institute for the Study of War.

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