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Wouldn't it be nice if everyone knew a little queuing theory?

After many days of rain one lane of this two lane road collapsed into the canyon. It's been out for a month and it will be many more months before it will be fixed. Thanks to Google maps way too many drivers take this once sleepy local road. 

How do you think drivers go through this chokepoint? 

 

 

One hundred experience points to you if you answered one at a time.

One at a time! Through a half-duplex pipe following a first in first out discipline takes forever!

Yes, there is a stop sign. And people default to this mode because it appeals to our innate sense of fairness. What could be fairer than alternating one at a time?

The problem is it's stupid.

While waiting, stewing, growing angrier, I often think if people just knew a little queueing theory we could all be on our way a lot faster.

We can't make the pipe full duplex, so that's out. Let's assume there's no priority involved, vehicles are roughly the same size and take roughly the same time to transit the network. Then what do you do?

Why can't people figure out its faster to drive through in batches? If we went in groups of say, three, the throughput would be much higher. And when one side's queue depth grows larger because people are driving to or from work that side's batch size should increase. 

Since this condition will last a long time we have a possibility to learn because the same people take this road all the time. So what happens if you try to change the culture by showing people what a batch is by driving right behind someone as they take their turn?

You got it. Honking. There's a simple heuristic, a deeply held ethic against line cutting, so people honk, flip you off, and generally make heir displeasure known.

It's your classic battle of reason versus norms. The smart thing is the thing we can't do by our very natures. So we all just keep doing the dumb thing.

 

Categories: Architecture

My Most Popular Posts of 2016

Mike Cohn's Blog - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 16:00

Because I wrote a lot last year--25 blog posts and 50 weekly email tips--I wanted to start something new this year. So here’s a list of the most popular blog posts here during 2016. I hope it helps you catch up on any you missed during the year.

Using our own little algorithm that is a combination of page views, comments and time spent on the pages, here are my top 10 blog posts from 2016, counting down from number 10:

10) Applying Agile Beyond Software Development

Agile can be applied well beyond software development. It’s been used for construction, planning weddings, marketing and more. These are my thoughts on how agile could have saved a hotel chain from an expensive mistake.

9) What Are Story Points?

Story points are perhaps the most misunderstood topic in agile. Story points are not based on just one factor--such as complexity, as is often mistakenly claimed. Instead, story points are based on a combination of factors.

8) Advice on How to Split Reporting User Stories

Splitting stories has long been one of the biggest challenges facing agile teams. Here are some examples of splitting some reporting stories to demonstrate ways of splitting stories.

7) Does a Scrum Team Need a Retrospective Every Sprint?

Conventional wisdom says that a team should do a retrospective every sprint. But if your sprints are one week, can you do them every few sprints? That would still be more often than a team doing four-week sprints.

6) How to Prevent Estimate Inflation

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a five-point story better not go by any other names. Or numbers. Here’s how to maintain consistency across estimates.

5) Summarizing the Results of a Sprint

Although you may wish it weren’t the case, some Scrum Masters need to document how a sprint went. Here’s advice on how to do that in a lightweight, agile manner.

4) The Dangers of a Definition of Ready

After seeing the value of a Definition of Done, some teams introduce a Definition of Ready. For many teams, this is a big mistake and a first step towards a waterfall process.

3) Don’t Estimate the Sprint Backlog Using Task Points

Some teams like story points so much, they invent task points and use those for sprint planning. Bad idea. Here’s why.

2) Sprint Planning for Agile Teams That Have Lots of Interruptions

Most of the Scrum literature describes a situation in which a team is allowed to work without interruption. But that’s not realistic. Here’s how an interrupt-driven team can plan its sprints.

1) A Simple Way to Run a Sprint Retrospective

There are many ways you can run a sprint retrospective. Here’s the simplest way and still my favorite.

What Do You Think?

Please let me know what you think. Is this list missing any of your favorites?

An Inferno on the Head of a Pin

Coding Horror - Jeff Atwood - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 12:37

Today's processors contain billions of heat-generating transistors in an ever shrinking space. The power budget might go from:

  • 1000 watts on a specialized server
  • 100 watts on desktops
  • 30 watts on laptops
  • 5 watts on tablets
  • 1 or 2 watts on a phone
  • 100 milliwatts on an embedded system

That's three four orders of magnitude. Modern CPU design is the delicate art of placing an inferno on the head of a pin.

Look at the original 1993 Pentium compared to the 20th anniversary Pentium:

Intel Pentium 66 1993
Pentium
66 Mhz
16kb L1
3.2 million transistors
Intel Pentium G3258 20th Anniversary Edition 2014
Pentium G3258
3.2 Ghz × 2 cores
128kb L1, 512kb L2, 3MB L3
1.4 billion transistors

I remember cooling the early CPUs with simple heatsinks; no fan. Those days are long gone.

A roomy desktop computer affords cooling opportunities (and thus a watt budget) that a laptop or tablet could only dream of. How often will you be at peak load? For most computers, the answer is "rarely". The smaller the space, the higher the required performance, the more … challenging your situation gets.

Sometimes, I build servers.

Inspired by Google and their use of cheap, commodity x86 hardware to scale on top of the open source Linux OS, I also built our own servers. When I get stressed out, when I feel the world weighing heavy on my shoulders and I don't know where to turn … I build servers. It's therapeutic.

Servers are one of those situations where you may be at full CPU load more often than not. I prefer to build 1U servers which is the smallest rack mountable unit, at 1.75" total height.

You get plenty of cores on a die these days, so I build single CPU servers. One reason is price; the other reason is that clock speed declines proportionally to the number of cores on a die (this is for the Broadwell Xeon V4 series):

coresGHz E5-163043.7$406 E5-165063.6$617 E5-168083.4$1723 E5-2680122.4$1745 E5-2690142.6$2090 E5-2697182.3$2702

Yes, there are server CPUs with even more cores, but if you have to ask how much they cost, you definitely can't afford them … and they're clocked even slower. What we do is serviced better by a smaller number of super fast cores than a larger number of slow cores, anyway.

With that in mind, consider these two Intel Xeon server CPUs:

As you can see from the official Intel product pages for each processor, they both have a TDP heat budget of 140 watts. I'm scanning the specs, thinking maybe this is an OK tradeoff.

Unfortunately, here's what I actually measured with my trusty Kill-a-Watt for each server build as I performed my standard stability testing, with completely identical parts except for the CPU:

  • E5-1630: 40w idle, 170w mprime
  • E5-1650: 55w idle, 250w mprime

I am here to tell you that Intel's TDP figure of 140 watts for the 6 core version of this CPU is a terrible, scurrilous lie!

This caused a bit of a problem for me as our standard 1U server build now overheats, alarms, and throttles with the 6 core CPU — whereas the 4 core CPU was just fine. Hey Intel! From my home in California, I stab at thee!

But, you know..

Better Heatsink

The 1.75" maximum height of the 1U server form factor doesn't leave a lot of room for creative cooling of a CPU. But you can switch from an Aluminum cooler to a Copper one.

Copper is significantly more expensive, plus heavier and harder to work with, so it's generally easier to throw an ever-larger mass of aluminum at the cooling problem when you can. But when space is a constraint, as it is with a 1U server, copper dissipates more heat in the same form factor.

The famous "Ninja" CPU cooler came in identical copper and aluminum versions so we can compare apples to apples:

  • Aluminum Ninja — 24C rise over ambient
  • Copper Ninja — 17C rise over ambient

You can scale the load and the resulting watts of heat by spinning up MPrime threads for the exact number of cores you want to "activate", so that's how I tested:

  • Aluminum heatsink — stable at 170w (mprime threads=4), but heat warnings with 190w (mprime threads=5)
  • Copper heatsink — stable at 190w (mprime threads=5) but heat warnings with 230w (mprime threads=6)

Each run has to be overnight to be considered successful. This helped, noticeably. But we need more.

Better Thermal Interface

When it comes to server builds, I stick with the pre-applied grey thermal interface pad that comes on the heatsinks. But out of boredom and a desire to experiment, I …

  • Removed the copper heatsink.
  • Used isopropyl alcohol to clean both CPU and heatsink.
  • Applied fancy "Ceramique" thermal compound I have on hand, using an X shape pattern.

I wasn't expecting any change at all, but to my surprise with the new TIM applied it took 5x longer to reach throttle temps with mprime threads=6. Before, it would thermally throttle within a minute of launching the test, and after it took ~10 minutes to reach that same throttle temp. The difference was noticeable.

That's a surprisingly good outcome, and it tells us the default grey goop that comes pre-installed on heatsinks is ... not great. Per this 2011 test, the difference between worst and best thermal compounds is 4.3°C.

But as Dan once bravely noted while testing Vegemite as a thermal interface material:

If your PC's so marginal that a CPU running three or four degrees Celsius warmer will crash it [or, for modern CPUs, cause the processor to auto-throttle itself and substantially reduce system performance], the solution is not to try to edge away from the precipice with better thermal compound. It's to make a big change to the cooling system, or just lower the darn clock speed.

An improved thermal interface just gets you there faster (or slower); it doesn't address the underlying problem. So we're not done here.

Ducted Airflow

Most, but not all, of the SuperMicro cases I've used have included a basic fan duct / shroud that lays across the central fans and the system. Given that the case fans are pretty much directly in front of the CPU anyway, I've included the shroud in the builds out of a sense of completeness more than any conviction that it was doing anything for the cooling performance.

This particular server case, though, did not include a fan duct. I didn't think much about it at the time, but considering the heat stress this 6-core CPU and its 250 watt heat generation was putting on our 1U build, I decided I should build a quick duct out of card stock and test it out.

(I know, I know, it's a super janky duct! But I was prototyping!)

Sure enough, this duct, combined with the previous heatsink and TIM changes, enabled the server to remain stable overnight with a full MPrime run of 12 threads.

I think we've certainly demonstrated the surprising (to me, at least) value of fan shrouds. But before we get too excited, let's consider one last thing.

Define "CPU Load"

Sometimes you get so involved with solving the problem at hand that you forget to consider whether you are, in fact, solving the right problem.

In these tests, we defined 100% CPU load using MPrime. Some people claim MPrime is more of a power virus than a real load test, because it exerts so much heat pressure on the CPUs. I initially dismissed these claims since I've used MPrime (and its Windows cousin, Prime95) for almost 20 years to test CPU stability, and it's never let me down.

But I did more research and I found that MPrime, since 2011, uses AVX2 instructions extensively on newer Intel CPUs:

The newer versions of Prime load in a way that they are only safe to run at near stock settings. The server processors actually downclock when AVX2 is detected to retain their TDP rating. On the desktop we're free to play and the thing most people don't know is how much current these routines can generate. It can be lethal for a CPU to see that level of current for prolonged periods.

That's why most stress test programs alternate between different data pattern types. Depending on how effective the rotation is, and how well that pattern causes issues for the system timing margin, it will, or will not, catch potential for instability. So it's wise not to hang one's hat on a single test type.

This explains why I saw such a large discrepancy between other CPU load programs like BurnP6 and MPrime.

MPrime does an amazing job of generating the type of CPU load that causes maximum heat pressure. But unless your servers regularly chew through zillions of especially power-hungry AVX2 instructions this may be completely unrepresentative of any real world load your server would actually see.

Your Own Personal Inferno

Was this overkill? Probably. Even with the aluminum heatsink, no change to thermal interface material, and zero ducting, we'd probably see no throttling under normal use in our server rack. But I wanted to be sure. Completely sure.

Is this extreme? Putting 140 TDP of CPU heat in a 1U server? Not really. Nick at Stack Overflow told me they just put two 22 core, 145W TDP Xeon 2699v4 CPUs and four 300W TDP GPUs in a single Dell C4130 1U server. I'd sure hate to be in the room when those fans spin up. I'm also a little afraid to find out what happens if you run MPrime plus full GPU load on that box.

Servers are an admittedly rare example of big CPU performance heat and size tradeoffs, one of the few left. It is fun to play at the extremes, but the SoC inside your phone makes the same tradeoffs on a smaller scale. Tiny infernos in our pockets, each and every one.

[advertisement] At Stack Overflow, we put developers first. We already help you find answers to your tough coding questions; now let us help you find your next job.
Categories: Programming

Agile Results Refresher for 2017

I’ve put together a quick refresher on Agile Results for 2017:

Agile Results Refresher for 2017

I tried to keep it simple and to the point, but at the same time, help new folks that don’t know what Agile Results is, really sink their teeth into it.

For example, one important idea is that it’s effectively a system to use your best energy for your best results.

I’ve seen people struggle with getting results for years, and one of the most common patterns I see is they use their worst energy for their most important activities.

Worse, they don’t know how to change their energy.

So now they are doing work they hate, because they feel like crap,and this feeling becomes a habit.

The irony is that they would enjoy their work if they just knew how to flip the switch and reimagine their work as an opportunity to experiment and explore their full potential.

Work is actually one of the ultimate forms of self-expression.

Your work can be your dojo where you practice building your abilities, creating your competencies, and sharpening your skills in all areas of your life.

But the real key is to bridge work and life through your values.

If you can find a way to bake your values into how you show up each day, whether at home or in the office, that’s the real secret to living the good life.

But what’s the key to living the great life?

The key to living the great life is to give your best where you have your best to give in the service of others.

Agile Results is a way to help you do that.

Check out the refresher on Agile Results and use the Rule of Three to rule your day.

If you already know Agile Results, teach three people and help them live and lead a more inspired life.

Game on.

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Quote of the Day

Herding Cats - Glen Alleman - Mon, 01/16/2017 - 16:57

MLK

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools

Categories: Project Management

Meet the 20 finalists of the Google Play Indie Games Contest

Android Developers Blog - Mon, 01/16/2017 - 12:15
Posted by Matteo Vallone, Google Play Games Business Development

Back in November, we launched the Google Play Indie Games Contest for developers from 15 European countries, to celebrate the passion and innovation of the indie community in the region. The contest will reward the winners with exposure to industry experts and players worldwide, as well as other prizes that will showcase their art and help them grow their business on Android and Google Play.

Thank you to the nearly 1000 of you who submitted high quality games in all types of genres! Your creativity, enthusiasm and dedication have once again impressed us and inspired us. We had a very fun time testing and judging the games based on fun, innovation, design excellence and technical and production quality, and it was challenging to select only 20 finalists:

Meet the 20 finalists
(In alphabetical order)

Blind Drive
(coming soon)

Lo-Fi People
Israel Causality
(coming soon)

Loju
United Kingdom Crap! I'm Broke: Out of Pocket
Arcane Circus Netherlands Egz

Lonely Woof
France Ellipsis

Salmi GmbH Germany Gladiabots


GFX47
France Happy Hop: Kawaii Jump

Platonic Games
Spain Hidden Folks (coming soon)

Adriaan de Jongh Netherlands Lichtspeer
(coming soon)

Lichthund
Poland Lost in Harmony
Digixart

Entertainment France Mr Future Ninja (coming soon)

Huijaus Studios
Finland Paper Wings


Fil Games
Turkey PinOut


Mediocre
Sweden Power Hover


Oddrok
Finland Reigns

Nerial
United Kingdom Rusty Lake: Roots


Rusty Lake Netherlands Samorost 3


Amanita Design Czech Republic The Battle of Polytopia

Midjiwan AB Sweden twofold inc.


Grapefrukt games Sweden Unworded (coming soon)

Bento Studio France
Check out the prizes

All the 20 finalists are getting:
  • The opportunity to exhibit and showcase their game at the final event held at the Saatchi Gallery in London, on 16th February 2017.
  • Promotion of their game on a London billboard for one month.
  • Two tickets to attend a 2017 Playtime event. This is an invitation-only event for top apps and games developers on Google Play.
  • One Pixel XL smartphone.
At the event at Saatchi, the finalists will also have a chance to make it to the next rounds and win additional prizes, including:
  • YouTube influencer campaigns worth up to 100,000 EUR.
  • Premium placements on Google Play.
  • Tickets to Google I/O 2017 and other top industry events.
  • Promotions on our channels.
  • Special prizes for the best Unity game.
  • And more!

Come support them at the final event

At the final event attendees will have a say on which 10 of these finalists will get to pitch their games to the jury, who will decide on the final contest winners who will receive the top prizes.

Register now to join us in London, meet the developers, check out their great games, vote for your favourites, and have fun with various industry experts and indie developers.



A big thank you again to everyone who entered and congratulations to the finalists. We look forward to seeing you at the Saatchi Gallery in London on 16th February.
Categories: Programming

Where to Look for Trends and Insights

“The best is yet to come.”

It can be tough creating the future among the chaos.

The key is to get a good handle on the real and durable trends that lie beneath the change and churn that’s all around you.

But how do you get a good handle on the key disruptions, the key trends, and the macro-level patterns that matter?

Draw from multiple sources that help you see the big picture in a simple way.

To get started, I’m going to share the key sources for trends and insights that I draw from (beyond my own experience and what I learn from working with customers and colleagues from around the world).

Here are the key sources for trends and insights that I draw from:

  1. Age of Context (Book), by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.  Age of Context provides a walkthrough of 5 technological forces shaping our world: 1) mobile devices, 2) social media, 3) big data, 4) sensors, 5) location-based services.
  2. Cognizant – A global leader in business and technology services, helping clients bring the future of work to life — today.
  3. DaVini Institute – The DaVinci Institute is a non-profit futurist think tank. But unlike traditional research-based consulting organizations, the DaVinci Institute operates as a working laboratory for the future human experience A community of entrepreneurs and visionary thinkers intent on discovering the (future) opportunities created when cutting edge technology meets the rapidly changing human world.
  4. Faith Popcorn – The “Trend Oracle.”  Faith is a key strategist for BrainReserve and trusted advisor to the CEOs of The Fortune 500.  She’s identified movements such as, “Cocooning,” “AtmosFear,” “Anchoring,” “99 Lives,” “Icon Toppling” and “Vigilante Consumer.”
  5. Fjord – Fjord produces an annual report to help guide you through challenges, experiences, and opportunities you, your organization, employees, customers, and stakeholders will likely face.  Check out the Fjord Trends 2017 report on SlideShare.
  6. Foresight Factory (Formerly called Future Foundation) – Future focused, applied, global consumer insight. Universal trends that shape tastes and determine demand the world over; sector trends that are critical to success in specific industries; custom reports produced in partnership with clients and focus reports on key markets, regions and topics.
  7. Forrester – Research to help you make better decisions in a world where technology is radically changing your customer.
  8. Gartner – The the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company.
  9. Global Goals – In September 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. If these Goals are completed, it would mean an end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.
  10. IBM Executive Exchange – An issues-based portal providing news, thought leadership, case studies, solutions, and social media exchange for C-level executives.
  11. Jim Carroll – A world-leading futurist, trends, and innovation expert, with a track record for strategic insight.  He is author of the book The Future Belongs to Those Who Are Fast, and he shares major trends, as well as trends by industry, on his site.
  12. Motley Fool – Motley Fool – To educate, amuse, and enrich.
  13. No Ordinary Disruption (Book) – This is a deep dive into the future, backed with data, stories, and insight.  It highlights four forces colliding and transforming the global economy: 1) the rise of emerging markets, 2) the accelerating impact of technology on the natural forces of market competition, 3) an aging world population, 4) accelerating flows of trade, capital, people, and data.
  14. O’Reilly Ideas – Insight, analysis, and research about emerging technologies.
  15. Richard Watson – A futurist author, speaker and scenario planner, and the chart maker behind The Table of Trends and Technologies for the World in 2020 (PDF). Watson is author of the What’s Next Top Trends Blog. Watson is the author of 4 books: Future Files, Future Minds, Futurevision, and The Future: 50 Ideas You Really Need to Know.
  16. Sandy Carter — Sandy Carter is IBM Vice President  of Social Business and Collaboration, and author of The New Language of Marketing 2.0, The New Language of Business, and Get Bold: Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business.  She’s not just fun to read or watch – she has some of the best insight on social innovation.
  17. The Industries of the Future (Book), by Alec Ross.  Alec Ross explains what’s next for the world: the advances and stumbling blocks that will emerge in the next ten years, and how we can navigate them.
  18. The Second Machine Age, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.  Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee identify the best strategies for survival and offer a new path to prosperity amid exponential technological change. These include revamping education so that it prepares people for the next economy instead of the last one, designing new collaborations that pair brute processing power with human ingenuity, and embracing policies that make sense in a radically transformed landscape.
  19. ThoughtWorks Technology Radar – Thoughts from the ThoughtWorks team on the technology and trends that are shaping the future.
  20. Trend Hunter – Each day, Trend Hunter features a daily dose of micro-trends, viral news and pop culture. The most popular micro-trends are featured on Trend Hunter TV and later grouped into clusters of inspiration in our Trend Reports, a series of tools for professional innovators and entrepreneurs.
  21. Trends and Technologies for the World in 2020 (PDF) – Table of trends and technologies shaping the world in 2020.
  22. Trendwatching.com – Trendwatching.com helps forward-thinking business professionals in 180+ countries understand the new consumer and subsequently uncover compelling, profitable innovation opportunities.

While it might look like a short-list, it’s actually pretty deep.

It’s like a Russian nesting doll in that each source might lead you to more sources or might be the trunk of a tree that has multiple branches.

These sources of trends and insights have served me well and continue to serve me as I look to the future and try to figure out what’s going on.

But more importantly, they all inspire me in some way to create the future, rather than wait for it to just happen.

I’m a big fan of making things happen … you play the world, or the world plays you.

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

SPaMCAST 426 – SPaMCAST Round Table, Quality, Agile and Security

SPaMCAST Logo

http://www.spamcast.net

Listen Now
Subscribe on iTunes
Check out the podcast on Google Play Music

SPaMCAST 426 marks a milestone!  SPaMCAST 426 is the end of Year 10.  The Cast features our second annual round table.  Almost all of the SPaMCAST contributors gathered virtually to discuss a number of topics, including:

  1. Is software quality really one of the most important focuses in IT in 2017?
  2. Even though people are adopting agile, is agile a as principle-driven movement over?
  3. In 2017 will security trump quality and productivity?

The multiway discussion was exciting and informative! This was a great way to finish year 10 and get the motor primed for year 11!

Re-Read Saturday News

This week we begin the re-read of Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. We will start slowly as I read ahead and give you time to find or buy a copy of the book.   I am reading the 2008 Ballantine Books Trade paperback edition version of the book (I had to re-buy the book as my first copy seems to have a new home).  

I was excited that the Software Process and Measurement Blog readers selected Mindset for Re-read Saturday.  I am looking forward to refreshing my understanding of the powerful ideas Dweck identifies as growth and fixed mindsets.  Mindsets are very useful for understanding why some people grow and others don’t and why some teams excel and other less so. Also, Mindset is easily the single most quoted book  I have seen in presentations at conferences for the past few years.

Next week we start in on Chapter One of the re-read of Carol Dweck’s Mindset, buy a copy this week.

Visit the Software Process and Measurement Cast blog to participate in this and previous re-reads.

Next SPaMCAST

The Software Process and Measurement Cast 427 begins Year 11 with an essay on the Post-Agile Age.  It is coming and it is a bed that human nature and commercial pressures has created. (Not sure what I mean?  Tune in, stream or download )  We will also have columns from Jon Quigley, Jeremy Berriault, and Kim Pries.  SPaMCAST 427 will celebrate the new SPaMCAST year in style!

Shameless Ad for my book!

Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.

 


Categories: Process Management

SPaMCAST 426 - SPaMCAST Round Table, Quality, Agile and Security

Software Process and Measurement Cast - Sun, 01/15/2017 - 23:00

SPaMCAST 426 marks a milestone!  SPaMCAST 426 is the end of Year 10.  The Cast features our second annual round table.  Almost all of the SPaMCAST contributors gathered virtually to discuss a number of topics, including:

  1. Is software quality really one of the most important focuses in IT in 2017?
  2. Even though people are adopting agile, is agile a as principle-driven movement over?
  3. In 2017 will security trump quality and productivity?

The multiway discussion was exciting and informative! This was a great way to finish year 10 and get the motor primed for year 11!

Re-Read Saturday News

This week we begin the re-read of Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. We will start slowly as I read ahead and give you time to find or buy a copy of the book.   I am reading the 2008 Ballantine Books Trade paperback edition version of the book (I had to re-buy the book as my first copy seems to have a new home).  

I was excited that the Software Process and Measurement Blog readers selected Mindset for Re-read Saturday.  I am looking forward to refreshing my understanding of the powerful ideas Dweck identifies as growth and fixed mindsets.  Mindsets are very useful for understanding why some people grow and others don’t and why some teams excel and other less so. Also, Mindset is easily the single most quoted book  I have seen in presentations at conferences for the past few years.

Next week we start in on Chapter One of the re-read of Carol Dweck’s Mindset, buy a copy this week.

Visit the Software Process and Measurement Cast blog to participate in this and previous re-reads.

Next SPaMCAST

The Software Process and Measurement Cast 427 begins Year 11 with an essay on the Post-Agile Age.  It is coming and it is a bed that human nature and commercial pressures has created. (Not sure what I mean?  Tune in, stream or download )  We will also have columns from Jon Quigley, Jeremy Berriault, and Kim Pries.  SPaMCAST 427 will celebrate the new SPaMCAST year in style!

Shameless Ad for my book!

Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.

Categories: Process Management

Don't Build That Product

Xebia Blog - Sun, 01/15/2017 - 12:06
At the Agile Chef Conference I facilitated a workshop where participants could experience how Aikido can be used to resolve conflicts on the work floor as well by applying verbal Aikido. At the end of the session someone asked me to demonstrate the best defence against a sword attack; I responded by turning around and

Consumer Trend Canvas

Consumer Trends are a key building block for innovation.

Is you are stuck coming up with innovation opportunities, part of it is that you are missing sources of insight.

And of the best sources of insight is actually consumer trends.

One tool for helping you turn consumer trends into innovation opportunities is the Consumer Trend Canvas, by Trendwatching.com.

image

 

What I like about it is the simplicity, the elegance, and the fact that it’s similar in format to the Business Model Canvas.

The Consumer Trend Canvas is broken down into to simple sections:

  1. Analyze
  2. Apply

Pretty simple.

In terms of the overall canvas, it’s actually a map of the following 7 components:

  1. Basic Needs
  2. Drivers of Change
  3. Emerging Customer Expectations
  4. Inspiration
  5. Innovation Potential
  6. Who
  7. Your Innovations

From a narrative standpoint, you can think of it in terns of pains, needs, and desired outcomes for a particular persona, along with the innovation opportunities that flow from that simple frame.

The real beauty of the Consumer Trend Canvas is that it’s a question-driven approach to revealing innovation opportunities.

Here are the questions within each of the parts of the Consumer Trend Canvas:

  1. Which deep consumer needs & desires does this trend address?
  2. Why is this trend emerging now? What’s changing?
  3. What new consumer needs, wants, and expectations are created by the changes identified above? Where and how does this trends satisfy them?
  4. How are other businesses applying this trend?
  5. How and where could you apply this trend to your business?
  6. Which (new) customer groups could you apply this trend? What would you have to change?

When you put it all together, you have a quick and simple view of how a trend can lead to some potential innovations.

The power is in the simplicity and in the consolidation.

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Reviews, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.: Re-Read Week 1, Basics and Introduction

Mindset Book Cover

This week we begin the re-read of Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. We will start slowly as I read ahead and give you time to find or buy a copy of the book.   I am reading the 2008 Ballantine Books Trade paperback edition version of the book (I had to re-buy the book as my first copy seems to have a new home).  

I was excited that the Software Process and Measurement Blog readers selected Mindset for Re-read Saturday.  I am looking forward to refreshing my understanding of the powerful ideas Dweck identifies as growth and fixed mindsets.  Mindsets are very useful for understanding why some people grow and others don’t and why some teams excel and other less so. Also, Mindset is easily the single most quoted book in I have seen in presentations at conferences for the past few years.  

Reading Game Plan!  I am planning to review a chapter a week with a week for the introduction and logistics and a week for a wrap-up.  The math would suggest that the re-read will extend over 10 to 11 weeks, including today.  I am factoring in an off week for my trip to Mumbai, Delhi, and Agra (let me know if you are in one of those cities).  If you do not have a copy of the book, buy one (use this link to support the blog and podcast) and if you do have a copy find it and get your highlighter out!

Introduction

Dweck reminds us that psychology shows the power of people’s beliefs. We are shaped by our beliefs and biases. Even if we aren’t aware of those beliefs consciously, they strongly affect what we want and whether we succeeded in getting it. This premise is the core concept behind Mindset.  Each chapter in the book presents a set of findings and the accounts of people that support those findings.  At the end of each chapter, Dweck provides a set of ways to apply those lessons to recognize the mindset that is guiding your life, to understand how that mindset works, and then change that mindset it if you wish.

As a coach and mentor Mindset provides a solid framework, that combined with emotional intelligence, is useful to assess the person or team I am working with.  On a personal note, as I read ahead to prepare for this weekly feature, the concepts, and practical exercises have been useful as a tool for self-reflection.

Next week we begin the heavy lifting with Chapter One, which is titled Mindsets.  

 


Categories: Process Management

Stuff The Internet Says On Scalability For January 13th, 2017

Hey, it's HighScalability time:

 

So you think you're early to market! The Man Who Invented VR Goggles 50 Years Too Soon
If you like this sort of Stuff then please support me on Patreon.
  • 99.9: Percent PCs cheaper than in 1980; 300x20 miles: California megaflood; 7.5 million: articles published on Medium; 1 million: Amazon paid eBook downloads per day; 121: pages on P vs. NP; 79%: Americans use Facebook; 1,600: SpaceX satellites to fund a city on Mars; 

  • Quotable Quotes:
    • @GossiTheDog: How corporate security works: A) buy a firewall B) add a rule allowing all traffic C) the end How corporate security works:A) buy a firewall B) add a rule allowing all traffic C) the end
    • @caitie: Distributed Systems PSA: your regular reminder that the operational cost of a system should be included & considered when designing a system
    • @jimpjorps: 1998: the internet means you can "telecommute" to a tech job from anywhere on Earth 2017: everyone works in the same one square mile of SF
    • Jessi Hempel: [re: BitTorrent] Perhaps the lesson here is that sometimes technologies are not products. And they’re not companies. They’re just damn good technologies.
    • giltene: My new pet peeve: "how to make X faster: do less of X" recommendations.
    • peterwwillis: It used to be you had to actually break into a system to exfiltrate all its data. Now you just make an HTTP query.
    • Laralyn McWillams: Identify problems but focus on solutions. If you become more about problems than solutions, that negativity infects your work, your team, and how you think about your career.
    • Chris Fox: Apple is 100% a boutique retailer, meaning that a human chooses which books to promote. Without that, there was no organic discovery tool where readers could find your book.
    • vytah: In fact, the 1986 [Chernobyl] disaster happened because the engineers decided to get rid of safeguards and run tests.
    • Eric Elliott: Breaking into a user’s top 5 apps is like getting struck by lightning or winning the lottery. Don’t bank on it.
    • Peter: I say the super-intelligent aliens will be powered by hyper-computation, a technology that makes our concept of computation look like counting on your fingers; and they’ll have not only qualia, but hyper-qualia, experiential phenomenologica whose awesomeness we cannot even speak of.
    • SEJeff: LVS is pretty much the undisputed king for serious business load balancing. I've heard (anecdotally) that Uber uses gorb[1] and google has released seesaw, which are both fancy wrappers ontop of LVS for load balancing.
    • k__: I have the feeling this is haunting my life. Jobs, relationships, everything. When I got something, it didn't feel that hard to get it. When I try to get something it feels impossible.
    • Nelson Elhage: One of my favorite concepts when thinking about instrumenting a system to understand its overall performance and capacity is what I call “time utilization”. By this I mean: If you look at the behavior of a thread over some window of time, what fraction of its time is spent in each “kind” of work that it does?
    • Bart Sano (Google): I can say that we are committed to the choice of these different architectures, including X86 – and that includes AMD – as well as Power and ARM. The principle that we are investing in heavily is that competition breeds innovation, 
    • aaron-lebo: This is a larger issue with developer burnout I suspect. You master one thing and there's someone standing on the corner saying..."well, actually, I've got something better" and there's a very real anxiety in that evaluation process. Does object-oriented programming suck? Are functional languages the future? Do you really want an SPA? Should you replace your C codebase with Rust... or Go? Is Bitcoin worth getting in on? etc etc
    • StorageMojo: [re: Violin’s bankruptcy] The race is not always to the swift, nor riches to the wise. By starting with software, other companies built an early lead, and now have the money and time to optimize hardware for flash.
    • nocarrier: [Why no datacenters in India?] Cost was a smaller factor than politics; the Indian government wanted the private keys for our certs in order to let FB put a POP there. That was an absolute dealbreaker, so we served India from Singapore and other POPs in nearby countries.
    • RDX: So that original post, although long and full of real examples, was not about Javascript fatigue really. Its change fatigue. Let’s be clear, if you’re picking something new, you’re making a conscious choice to grow up with it.
    • @jamesurquhart: Amazing that emergent tech that’ll revolutionize software dev is already almost a commodity utility service. #streaming #serverless #events

  • The Ethics of Autonomous Cars. The obvious revenue model is highest bidder lives. During the first few milliseconds of a crash response a real-time bidding session is created and the lowest bidder assumes the risk. That at least captures the zeitgeist of the times.

  • First Go. Now poker. DeepStack: Expert-Level Artificial Intelligence in No-Limit Poker. Thank the force humans are still unbeatable at Sabacc. 

  • Medium may be the first YA (Young Adult, think Hunger Games) style publishing outlet. YA is often written in first-person present. It's a good way to fake authenticity. Traditional publications use third-person past tense, but that's not what works best on Medium. What I learned from analyzing the top 252 Medium stories of 2016: The words “you” and “I” were by far the most common, which suggests that addressing the reader directly as an individual person is a better writing strategy than writing in third person.

  • Ben Kehoe says AWS Step Functions is not the cheap, high-scale state machines using an event-driven paradigm he has been looking for. FaaS is stateless, and AWS Step Functions provides state as-a-Service: at $0.025 per 1,000 executions, it’s 125 times more expensive per invocation than Lambda; it’s not going to be cost-effective to replace existing roll-your-own Lambda solutions; the default throttling limit for a state machine is two executions per second...it’s not built to handle massively scaled but transient event scheduling.

  • Ransomware has shifted to being a reproducible strategy. @SteveD3Since I fist covered the MongoDB hacking on Jan 3, the number of compromised DBs has surpassed 32,000. Now possibly Elasticsearch. Anything you can find basically with Shodan. Which is why we now have @GossiTheDog: Found out today firms have started doing legal contracts which specifically rule out liability if they get hit by ransomware, naming it.

Don't miss all that the Internet has to say on Scalability, click below and become eventually consistent with all scalability knowledge (which means this post has many more items to read so please keep on reading)...

Categories: Architecture

Trend Framework

It’s that time of year when I like to take the balcony view to figure out where the world is going, at least some of the key trends.

I’ve long been a fan that while you can’t predict the future, you can take the long view and play out multiple future scenarios so you are ready for (most) anything.

But I’m an even bigger fan of the idea that rather than predict the future—create the future.

To do that, it helps to have a solid handle on the trends shaping the world.

To help make sense of the trends, I like to use mind tools and frameworks that help me see things more clearly.

One of my favorite tools for trends is the Trend Framework by Trendwatching.com

Trendwatching.com uses a framework to sort and catalog trends. 

To understand the future of consumerism, they use a framework of 16 Mega-Trends:

  1. Status Seekers.  The relentless, often subconscious, yet ever present force that underpins almost all consumer behavior.
  2. Betterment.  The universal quest for self-improvement.
  3. Human Brands.  Why personality and purpose will mean profit.
  4. Better Business.  Why “good” business will be good for business.
  5. Youniverse.  Make your consumers the center of their Youniverse.
  6. Local Love.  Why “local” is in, and will remain, loved.
  7. Ubitech.  The ever-greater pervasiveness of technology.
  8. Infolust.  Why consumers voracious appetite for (even more) information will only grow.
  9. Playsumers.  Who said business has to be boring?
  10. Ephemeral.  Why consumers will embrace the here, the now, and the soon-to-be-gone.
  11. Fuzzynomics.  The divisions between producers and consumers, brands, and customers will continue to blur.
  12. Pricing Pandemonium.  Pricing more fluid and flexible than ever.
  13. Helpful. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
  14. Joyning.  The eternal desire for connection, and the many (new) ways it can be satisfied.
  15. Post-Demographics.  The age of disrupted demographics.
  16. Remapped.  The epic power shifts in the global economy.

I’ve used these 16 Mega-Trends from the Trend Framework as a filter (well, maybe more accurately as idiot-guards and bumper-rails) for guiding how I look at consumer behaviors shaping the market.

In fact, this was one of the most helpful frameworks I used when putting together my Trends for 2016: The Year of the Bold.

As I create my master list of Trends for 2017, I’m finding this simple list of 16 Mega-Trends to be useful once again, to better understand all of the micro-trends that emerge on top of this foundation.

The Trend Framework makes it easier to see the graph of trends and to quickly make sense of why things are shaping the way they are.

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Available Soon: Co-ownership of Management 3.0

NOOP.NL - Jurgen Appelo - Fri, 01/13/2017 - 14:20

Exactly one year ago, Management 3.0 was named as the front-runner of “The Third Wave of Agile“.

In 2015, the Management 3.0 workshop licensing business grew by 43%.
In 2016, our team was able to grow the annual revenue by another 45%.

What will happen in 2017?

I’m not sure. But whatever it is, you can own and enjoy the results!

Some people have accused me of being a dictator. Indeed, in the last five years, I have always been the single owner of the Management 3.0 business. But I tried to be a benevolent dictator.

Categories: Project Management

A Few Steps To Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

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Emotional intelligence is the proficiency of identifying and managing our own emotions and the emotions of others. Not everyone has the skills to be emotionally intelligent.  Skills represent an ability that comes from knowledge, practice, and aptitude in order to do something well. While everyone has a different beginning and maximum level of natural capability, between those boundaries skills can be learned and honed.

Self-awareness is the base on which emotional intelligence is built.  Self-awareness provides the ability to lead with a sense of purpose, authenticity, openness, and trust. Being self-aware provides an understanding of who we are and what we need from others in order to complement our deficiencies.  A Harvard Business Review web article, 5 Ways to Become More Self-Aware suggests that you can become more self-aware through five tools:

  1.      Meditate
  2.      Write down your key plans and priorities
  3.      Take psychometric tests
  4.      Ask trusted friends
  5.      Get regular feedback at work

The tools tell us to do the work to know ourselves, then test that knowledge by getting feedback, and then listening to that feedback. Improving our self-awareness increases our ability to recognize our emotions and channel those emotions to deliver and lead.

While self-awareness is an important first step, once we have a grasp on who we are emotionally we then need the ability to self-regulate our emotions. Self-regulation is not the avoidance of emotion, but rather the ability to manage those emotions so that they do not control their words and actions. I recently was listening to a Freakonomics podcast featuring an interview with Trevor Noah.  In the interview, they were discussing the channeling of anger into comedy.  They used the example of a professional boxer; while the boxer may be angry during the fight (and who wouldn’t getting punched in the head) they must repress that anger so that they can think and act strategically and only release in bursts when the time is right.  Professional athletes channel their emotions in order avoid havoc, disruptions, and lasting bad feelings all around them.  As with self-awareness, self-regulation is a skill that can be honed. For example, the Huffington Post article, 6 Steps to Controlling Your Emotions by Dr. Carmen Harra, suggests the following actions for self-regulation:

  1.      Don’t react right away
  2.      Ask for divine guidance
  3.      Find a healthy outlet
  4.      See the bigger picture
  5.      Replace your thoughts
  6.      Forgive your emotional triggers

People, including myself, often feel before we think.  Many of our cognitive biases, formed as survival techniques, are stark reminders of this truth.  However, just because we feel first does not mean we need to act before thinking.  The suggestions from Dr. Harra separate feeling from acting so that we have time to think and self-regulate.  Except in rare instances, this is a learned behavior.

Empathy builds on the self-awareness and self-management.  Empathic people have an awareness of the feelings and emotions of others and then consider those feelings and emotions in their words and actions. Having and using empathy does not mean we need to be frozen into inaction or be unwilling to make tough or unpopular decisions, but rather to understand and take others feelings into consideration.  Empathy, while studies have shown starts as a hardwired state, can be improved.   There are steps that can be taken to get better at empathy. Those steps include:

  1.      Pay attention
  2.      Communication
  3.      Learning games

We have explored these steps in depth in an earlier blog entry. In order to be empathetic, we need to be aware of others, let them have their say (don’t interrupt) while we listen and understand both logically and emotionally.

Emotional intelligence is truly a confluence of many capabilities.  Arguably self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy are a path to many social skills.  Each of those skills can be learned and honed which will increase emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is useful, for example, to control and channel emotions in a tense meeting is important in any corporate environment.  An emotionally intelligent team player will be able to interact with team members with varying agendas, temperaments, and help generate buy-in.


Categories: Process Management

Manage paid orders and payments settings from the Google Play Developer Console

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 01/12/2017 - 18:49
Posted by Suzanne van Tienen, Product Manager, Google Play
Today we are simplifying and improving the merchant experience for developers who have paid apps, in-app purchases, or subscriptions based on the feedback we've heard from the community.

First, we're moving order management from the Google Payments Center to the Google Play Developer Console and adding some improved features. Second, payments settings will now be accessible from the Developer Console in addition to continuing to be available on payments.google.com. The new features come with appropriate access control settings so you can be sure users only have access to the tools they need.



The new order management tab in the Google Play Developer Console

You can perform the same tasks in the Developer Console which you previously would have performed in the Google Payments Center. We've also made some improvements:
  • Bulk refunds: You can now select multiple orders for simultaneous refund, instead of issuing them individually.
  • Subscription cancellations: You can now refund and revoke subscriptions directly from the order management tab (without going to a separate UI).
  • Permissions: We've added a new user access permission to the Developer Console called "Manage orders". This permission will allow a user to find orders, issue refunds, and cancel subscriptions. Other features will be read-only for these users and financial reports will be hidden (only users with "View financial reports" can see financial data). Payments settings are restricted to the account owner when accessed from Developer Console.

Order management migration to the Developer Console

Order management is now available in the Developer Console. Starting January 23, order management will cease being available in Payments Center. User permissions are not automatically carried over from the Payments Center so, as the account owner, you will need to add all users who need access to refunds and any other order management features to your Developer Console account with the new 'Manage orders' permission by January 22 for them to have continued access.
Here's how you can add new users to your Developer Console account:
  1. Log on to Google Payments Center and review all existing users.
  2. Sign in to your Developer Console and add one or both of the following permissions for all users that need access to Order Management in the Developer Console.
    1. View financial reports: Gives the right to access and view financial reports.
    2. Manage orders: Gives the right to view and refund orders but not to view aggregate financial statistics or download sales & payout reports.
  3. Let your users know about the new location for order management.

How useful did you find this blogpost?
Categories: Programming

Quote of the Day

Herding Cats - Glen Alleman - Thu, 01/12/2017 - 05:22

Overheard on Twitter

The Start of a Project Is the Worst Time to Estimate Its Duration or Cost

This is only the case if those you've hired know nothing about what capabilities are needed to produce value the project, what Features are needed to produce that Value, when those Value-producing Features are needed to meet the time cost of value payback process, what risks there are for meeting those value producing outcomes, and how the work effort to produce that value are to be measured (physical percent complete) to increase the probability of success for your project. As the project progresses this understanding will, of course, improve with feedback, working product, and learning. 

If those you've hired don't have some sense of these needs, to some level of confidence, you've hired the wrong people.

Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 8.06.53 PM

From Estimatiing and Reporting Agile Projects with the SRDR

Related articles Managing in Presence of Uncertainty How We Make Decisions is as Important as What We Decide. Planning is the basis of decision making in the presence of uncertainty
Categories: Project Management

Google AMP Cache, AMP Lite, and the need for speed

Google Code Blog - Wed, 01/11/2017 - 23:11
Posted by Huibao Lin and Eyal Peled, Software Engineers, Google

At Google we believe in designing products with speed as a core principle. The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) format helps ensure that content reliably loads fast, but we can do even better.

Smart caching is one of the key ingredients in the near instant AMP experiences users get in products like Google Search and Google News & Weather. With caching, we can make content be, in general, physically closer to the users who are requesting it so that bytes take a shorter trip over the wire to reach the user. In addition, using a single common infrastructure like a cache provides greater consistency in page serving times despite the content originating from many hosts, which might have very different—and much larger—latency in serving the content as compared to the cache.

Faster and more consistent delivery are the major reasons why pages served in Google Search's AMP experience come from the Google AMP Cache. The Cache's unified content serving infrastructure opens up the exciting possibility to build optimizations that scale to improve the experience across hundreds of millions of documents served. Making it so that any document would be able to take advantage of these benefits is one of the main reasons the Google AMP Cache is available for free to anyone to use.

In this post, we'll highlight two improvements we've recently introduced: (1) optimized image delivery and (2) enabling content to be served more successfully in bandwidth-constrained conditions through a project called "AMP Lite."

Image optimizations by the Google AMP Cache
On average across the web, images make up 64% of the bytesof a page. This means images are a very promising target for impactful optimizations.

Applying image optimizations is an effective way for cutting bytes on the wire. The Google AMP Cache employs the image optimization stack used by the PageSpeed Modules and Chrome Data Compression. (Note that in order to make the above transformations, the Google AMP Cache disregards the "Cache-Control: no-transform" header.) Sites can get the same image optimizations on their origin by installing PageSpeed on their server.

Here's a rundown of some of the optimizations we've made:

1) Removing data which is invisible or difficult to see
We remove image data that is invisible to users, such as thumbnail and geolocation metadata. For JPEG images, we also reduce quality and color samples if they are higher than necessary. To be exact, we reduce JPEG quality to 85 and color samples to 4:2:0 — i.e., one color sample per four pixels. Compressing a JPEG to quality higher than this or with more color samples takes more bytes, but the visual difference is difficult to notice.

The reduced image data is then exhaustively compressed. We've found that these optimizations reduce bytes by 40%+ while not being noticeable to the user's eye.

2) Converting images to WebP format
Some image formats are more mobile-friendly. We convert JPEG to WebP for supported browsers. This transformation leads to an additional 25%+ reduction in bytes with no loss in quality.

3) Adding srcset
We add "srcset" if it has not been included. This applies to "amp-img" tags with "src" but no "srcset" attribute. The operation includes expanding "amp-img" tag as well as resizing the image to multiple dimensions. This reduces the byte count further on devices with small screens.

4) Using lower quality images under some circumstances
We decrease the quality of JPEG images when there is an indication that this is desired by the user or for very slow network conditions (as part of AMP Lite discussed below). For example, we reduce JPEG image quality to 50 for Chrome users who have turned on Data Saver. This transformation leads to another 40%+ byte reduction to JPEG images.

The following example shows the images before (left) and after(right) optimizations. Originally the image has 241,260 bytes, and after applying Optimizations 1, 2, & 4 it becomes 25,760 bytes. After the optimizations the image looks essentially the same, but 89% of the bytes have been saved.



AMP Lite for Slow Network Conditions
Many people around the world access the internet with slow connection speeds or on devices with low RAM and we've found that some AMP pages are not optimized for these severely bandwidth constrained users. For this reason, Google has also launched AMP Lite to remove even more bytes from AMP pages for these users.

With AMP Lite, we apply all of the above optimizations to images. In particular, we always use lower quality levels (see Bullet 4 above).

In addition, we optimize external fonts by using the amp-fonttag, setting the font loading timeout to 0 seconds so pages can be displayed immediately regardless of whether the external font was previously cached or not.

AMP Lite is rolling out for bandwidth-constrained users in several countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia and for holders of low ram devices globally. Note that these optimizations may modify the fine details of some images, but do not affect other parts of the page including ads.

* * *

All told, we see a combined 45% reduction in bytes across all optimizations listed above.
We hope to go even further in making more efficient use of users' data to provide even faster AMP experiences.
Categories: Programming

Emotional Intelligence: A Few Basics

A shopping cart with wine and harddrive

Just a few basics!

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the proficiency to identify and manage our own emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence requires at least five skills.  The most critical are the ability to identify emotions both in yourself and in others, the ability to focus emotions and apply them to tasks, and the ability to regulate your and others’ emotions.    

Emotional Intelligence can be described as a confluence of five competencies:

  1.      Awareness and Self-awareness. The ability to identify, recognize and understand your emotions and the reactions and those of others.
  2.      Application. The ability to harness, manage, control and adapt your emotions and reactions so they can be applied to tasks like thinking and problems solving.
  3.      Motivation. The ability to use emotions to motivate ourselves and others to take action.
  4.      Empathy. The ability to be aware of and understand the feelings and emotions of others and use that understanding to relate to others effectively.
  5.      Relationships. The ability to construct relationships with others to lead, and facilitate work as an integral part of a team or teams.

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important in IT Organizations?

In IT, value is driven by the confluence of people, process, and technology.  Over the years, much of the improvement industry focus has been on processes and technology, but the focus has now turned to people. Today’s IT environment is people and team focused.   The Fast Company article, Why Emotionally Intelligent People Are More Successful, quoted the Carnegie Institute of Technology research.

“The Carnegie Institute of Technology carried out research that showed that 85% of our financial success was due to skills in “human engineering”, personality, and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead.”

Given the importance of people in the “people, process and technology deliver value” equation, we need the best people possible in order to improve. Holding other capabilities equal, people with the attributes that define emotional intelligence have more tools than people without those attributes. Emotionally intelligent personnel tend to have better mental well-being based on better emotional self-awareness.  This is often reflected as a more positive attitude, which motivates others to work with them and increases team cohesiveness. The ability to read, understand and empathize with the emotions of others improves conflict resolution and negotiation skills which are useful in any scenario where two or more people work together.  

In addition to greater attitude, empathy and conflict resolution, people with higher levels of emotional intelligence are often claimed to be better leaders. The relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership is built on leveraging the ability to understand emotions and use those emotions as a tool to recognize the needs others and then to use those emotions to motivate the team.  The popular literature is replete with articles extolling the virtues of emotional intelligence and leadership.  We will circle back to what the academic literature suggests later in the theme.

Emotional intelligence makes people more “likable.”  The Fast Company article referenced Daniel Kahneman’s research that  ”found that people would rather do business with a person they like and trust rather than someone they don’t, even if that person is offering a better product at a lower price.” Emotional intelligence helps people connect, which is powerful in its own right.


Categories: Process Management