Reverse One on Ones

I’ve been batting around the idea of starting up weekly one on one meetings with all my folks. As a front line manager my primary goal is to grow my people. Then of course if you slot out 30 minutes a week for 9 employees you get 4.5 hours per week. That seems like a lot at its face, but it’s really about 10% of my time. At the end of the day there some obvious benefits to meeting with your people semi-formally every week, especially the ones who don’t swing by your cube that often.

As an experiment I’ve been testing out a reverse one on one with my boss. I simply setup a weekly half hour meeting with him on every Friday for the last few weeks. It’s actually been going better than expected. I get some great feedback from all of his experience, and I can save up some more strategic questions for our weekly session. We haven’t held to the 30 minute schedule so far, because the discussion keeps spilling over.

Now I just have to schedule out the one on ones for my team starting next year.

Scrum Sprint in Waterfall World

We’re very much in the early adoption of Scrum at this point in my organization. So while my group of developers commonly run Sprints, hold daily standups, and use product backlogs, the rest of the organization rarely follows along.

So we ran into one of these clashes today on one project. The second Sprint will finish up successfully tomorrow, but then we go into a QA/UA cycle for a few weeks where they’re really won’t be any development.

Our solution for now is to do a sort of 2-3 week release Sprint where we work off a lot of design debt on the project. Due to the number of new technologies used on the project the amount of unit test coverage is pretty low, about 5-10% actually, plenty of debt.


I overheard this term mentioned in a podcast by Anne Thomas Manes and for a minute I thought it might actually be the name of a real WS spec. The WS* specs are a horror shop of standards gone wrong. Every time I start reading up on the newest WS* spec I just end up with a spinning headache.

MarsEdit 1.1 Beta and WordPress Preview

This is a pretty narrow post, but a few people might find this useful since I’ve been frustrated by the preview function in MarsEdit, a fairly popular Mac blog editor, with WordPress. WordPress by default assumes you want new paragraphs if you bother to hit return twice.

Unfortunately, with prior versions of MarsEdit it just smashed everything all together in the preview window which made proofing the layout on a longer post pretty annoying. Now you can just switch the Formatting pulldown at the bottom of the preview window to Convert Line Breaks and everything has line breaks again in Preview. You can pull down the beta here.

It’s not a super fancy feature rich blog editor, but that’s exactly what I’ve come to like about it. You just pop it up, type in your post, and send it off. The interface is very similar to composing in pretty much any email client, so it’s very familiar.

MBA Checkbox

I’ve been debating on whether I should pursue an MBA at this point in my career. I’ve even gone so far as to attend an informational session at the local UC. I’d like to eventually take on the challenges and headaches of being a CIO/CTO, and obviously there is some value to having an MBA.

Some quick research pulls up the following:

About 25 percent of the members of The Working Council for CIOs have MBAs.

So apparently it’s not critical for my future statistically. Still there is the lure of academia, possibly working with a great professor on interesting research, fellow students allowing for some great networking, and forcing myself to branch out on the business side.

Still there’s a lot of other factors such as:

  • My wife just finished 3 years of law school and it’s nice to have two incomes again.
  • We already have school loans to pay.
  • We have two small children who need a lot of attention.
  • I already have one advanced degree.

The convincing factor to put it off into the future is that I’m already a software development manager and I love my job even with the headaches. So if I was a developer and I wanted to move ahead it might be a lot more compelling to take on the debt. I still need to branch out more on the business side, but I did several stints in professional services so I’ve seen quite a few industries and worked on projects in them. I’ve also done pretty much every IT role including architect, PM, business analyst, QA lead, and sysadmin.

And anyway I feel a little old for it. All my friends who’ve gotten MBAs did it a few years back generally without kids and sometimes without significant others.