The Joy of Work

One of my favourite podcasts is Eat Sleep Work Repeat hosted by Bruce Daisley, the European Vice-President for Twitter. I was delighted when I heard earlier this year that he was publishing a book, The Joy of Work (2019).

The subtitle of this his first book promises a lot: “30 ways to fix your work culture and fall in love with your job again”. The book is arranged into three sections which he claims together create happier work environments:

  • Recharge—ways we can help recharge our own batteries.
  • Sync—suggestions about how to encourage trust.
  • Buzz—ideas, based on research, that can help teams reach a state of ‘buzz’.

Each chapter relatively short, easy to read and is packed with great, up-to-date research and ends with a few practical ideas about how you could implement that idea.

Recharge

The first section offers 12 performance-enhancing actions to make work less awful:

  1. Have a monk-mode morning—silent and distraction free.
  2. Go for a walking meeting—seemingly, it makes you more creative.
  3. Celebrate headphones—they can really help you focus by shutting out the noise around you.
  4. Eliminate hurry sickness—don’t see gaps in your schedule as moments when you are not working, celebrate space—sometimes you have your best idea when you are doing ‘nothing’.
  5. Shorten your work week—stop celebrating overwork, go home on time, break your day into small chunks. Burnout and exhaustion are no good for your creativity.
  6. Overthrow the evil mill owner who lives inside you—don’t be a tyrant, don’t jokingly say ‘half day?’ when someone comes in at 10:00. Don’t give people a hard time about their hours especially when work has some flexibility.
  7. Turn off your notifications.
  8. Go to lunch—it’s better for your mental health.
  9. Define your norms
  10. Have a digital sabbath—for example, don’t email afterhours
  11. Get a good night’s sleep
  12. Focus on one thing at a time

Metallica: S&M2

Metallica play their S&M2 concert with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra this Friday and Sunday.

Then on Wednesday 9 October, the show will be shown at various cinemas across the world. I have a ticket to see the show in Dundee.

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The importance of small user stories

Battleship beneath a grey cloudy sky
“Grey and black boat under grey clouds” by Will Esayenko on Unsplash

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the size of user stories in agile projects. The idea that I’ve been reflecting on is what if teams only worked with small, similarly-sized pieces of work, rather than exponentially larger blocks of work?

In theory, small user stories should be more predictable, should include less risk, less uncertainty and less complexity. They should, therefore, take less time to complete than larger user stories… you would think! Or as Mike Cohn put it in Agile Estimating and Planning (Prentice Hall, 2006), “small stories keep work flowing”.

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