22-02-2020: Optimising for Grumpiness

Notes taken, synced, grepped and woven into a single file like a
patchwork quilt formed of half-formed thoughts. I’m getting odd scraps
of notions feeding into these weeknotes at the moment, probably from
being divided between deliverables, people stuff, bigger pictures,
half-term holiday and time off and time with kids. This post is an
attempt to cobble some coherence together? It’s a good time to write,
and even better time to hold off posting until a second read-through.

What’s happening, G?

Lots I can’t really post, or don’t want to. Lots of thinking going on,
navigation – sensing, processing, letting scenarios play out. Not great
practice for sleeping, especially when you get woken up at 4 or 5am.
Probably explains why I’ve been feeling grotty for at least a week.
That, and storms always seem to blow in grot these days. I should
probably do some private note-taking, but I’m reading some Chuang Tzu again which
is helping me out.

Scaling up: Show, don’t tell?

Lots of scaling and optimisation work going on this month. It’s a nice
problem to have and I’m secretly proud of nursing our tech to this
point. Optimisation is a double-edged sword, though – on the one hand, I
really enjoy it; it’s challenging, something to sink the teeth into and
inherently complex, as in there are no easy or direct answers. I like
complex – it takes coding and technical engineering to a much more …
organic level.

But on the other hand, it’s really hard to explain that complexity to
people that want results but aren’t involved, or that don’t understand
the complexities and interactions – even within the tech team. It makes
it hard to fit into sprints, to set out clear and tidy plans, to handle
multiple ongoing but parallel work. In my head, I’m pretty sure that a)
we’ll be ok, and b) the proof will be in delivering the work. Waaaaait a
minute. Agile principle number7, ‘Working software is the
primary measure of progress.’ Do I just need to remind people of that,
rather than spending hours trying to explain the intricacies of complex
sofware management which will be obsolete in 2 weeks?

I need to finish off some work to make our testing stats clearer, but
it’s time to get back on the case and push through some incremental
improvements to show off what the team have been working on.

Grumpy programmer

Some arcane infusion of the common cold, central heating, and the
lifting of the dark is making me a bit grumpy lately, I think. I’ve been
feeling disjointed, tetchy. Little frustrations have been getting to me
a bit more. The fresh sunlight has kicked me into getting back into
running 1-1s though. It’s important time to work through some of those
niggles and reactions – in both directions.

My notes reference a book I had when I was a kid. It had an article on
‘How to be a Chess Grandmaster’, which basically consisted of playing 8
games of chess at the same time, and winning half – by ferrying moves
between pairs of tables, effectively becoming a pure medium. I’m feeling
like that a lot of the time. The downside is you only win half the matches.

Probably time to lift the foot off the throttle a bit, let the world
play out for a little while.

The week ahead

I’m mostly on support duties for the tech team as they dig into various
ideas, with a few little tasks to keep my hand in alongside that. The
longer term other stuff will continue to need some attention and phone
calls, so need to make sure I’m properly prepped for these. Attention in
the right place and at the right time, goes a long way.

Meta note: Posting via email/markdown partially working now. Excuse the line breaks though.