Archive for the 'Estimating' Category

Second book is coming soon…

COVER

It’s six years since Pomodoro Technique Illustrated was published. It’s translated into many languages and there’s 250 000 copies sold. Now, the sequel is almost here.

Cover image for my second book is ready. Full manuscript is written. Chinese publisher signed and translator is working hard. English publisher to be presented soon. It’s an exciting time. I hope you’ll enjoy the book and that it’ll make you more successful.

The Three Laws of Priority Dynamics

leave-100.jpgThe laws of priority dynamics describe how quantities like priority and productivity behave under various circumstances.

0. Every task you said unreserved ‘yes’ to have equal priority. Saying ‘yes’ to many things implies that you believe they can be done in random order. A prioritized to-do list is not a yes-list, it’s rather a list ordered by task importance.

1. Priority can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be transferred from one task to another. When you raise the priority of one task, you automatically lower the priority of all other tasks.

2. The uselessness of a previous prioritized to-do list, always increases as time goes by. If you don’t re-prioritize regularly based on your recent knowledge, then your plan is doomed to be dysfunctional.

3. Trying to do everything at the same time gives the same result as doing nothing: you will not complete anything.

Pivot – kanban token as a thought torn out of the thing

A sticky note on a kanban board is a pivot.

Sticky notes on a kanban board are pivots.

We can be incredibly efficient, but the users of the software we’re creating will only benefit from it if we are effective. Effectiveness is when our customers solve more problems and with higher quality – when they make better business. Implementing received specs is pushing paper. Pro-activeness is to make all aspects of software development to activities to develop our understanding of our client’s needs. Continues delivery is a great tool here and pivots can help us stuff these deliveries with the most effective content.

A pivot is an object used to function as another object in a play situation, like a sticky note with a user need written on it. The sticky functions as the work to write code that meets this need. Planning what to do right now is a play situation. The columns of our kanban board functions as time: future, present and past. (Actually, present seems to be near-future in most kanban implementations – nothing wrong with that.) Moving stickies across the board is a play situation.

Lev Vygotsky taught us that we need a pivot to tear the thought out of the thing. In order to reason about the priorities and the meaning of upcoming tasks, we need objects that represent these tasks. Vygotsky described a child that lets a stick function as a horse: “At that critical moment when a stick – i.e., an object – becomes a pivot for severing the meaning of horse from a real horse, one of the basic psychological structures determining the child’s relationship to reality is radically altered.”

In their book Personal Kanban (Modus Cooperandi Press, 2009), Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Berry elaborates further: “Personal Kanban is an information radiator for your work. With it, you understand the impacts and context of your work in real-time. This is where linear to-do lists fall short. Static and devoid of context, they remind us to do a certain number of tasks, but don’t show us valuable real-time information necessary for effective decision  making.” The pivot is an information radiator. Playing with it develops our idea of the object it represents: our work.

Lego Serieous Play is a is a process designed to enhance innovation and business performance. By using Lego bricks as pivots, teams conduct exploratory workshops on various subjects:

  • Strategy development and exploration: Examine and evaluate relations to external partners and clients.
  • Organizational development: For management, teams and individual employees.
  • Innovation and product development: Unleash creative thinking and transform ideas into concrete concepts.
  • Change management: Facilitate and implement structural changes and mergers.
Lego Serious Play in action. (photo by Ulrika Park)

Lego Serious Play in action. (photo by Ulrika Park)

There are many more examples of pivots used in business. In an ever-changing world, we have to understand new concepts every day. By using pivots in a play situation, we tear the idea out of the object and sharpen our understanding of what the object really is.

Pomodoro Technique Illustrated -- New book from The Pragmatic Programmers, LLC

Bibliography from Pomodoro Technique Illustrated

There are many references in Pomodoro Technique Illustrated. Below is a list of the books in the bibliography linked to Amazon. In a future post I will also put links to the referred articles and web sites.

How many of these have you read? Do you have any recommended reading for me?

Pomodoro Technique Illustrated -- New book from The Pragmatic Programmers, LLC

Colophon of Pomodoro Technique Illustrated

Recurrently, I’m asked about what tools I used to create the book Pomodoro Technique Illustrated. A colophon is a brief description describing production notes relevant to a edition of a book.

Here’s the Colophon of Pomodoro Technique Illustrated:

I made the drawings in an A6, top spiral, 80 sheets pad from Esselte. The pad is Nordic Swan environmentally labeled and the sheets has 5×5 mm squares, no holes, and wood free 60 gr/m2 paper.

I did the pencil drawings with a BIC Matic mechanical pencil with 0.7 mm HB leads. Then I added water color from a Color & Co paint set filled with 6 tempera blocks in Size 2 (Ø 57 mm and altitude 19 mm) and in the following colors: Gold Yellow, Carmine, Ultramarine, Brilliant Green, Black and White. Finally, I scanned them with a HP Photosmart 1200 Photo Scanner in 300 dpi, 24-bit color.

The spiral pad, the mechanical pencil, the watercolor paint set and the photo scanner are all inexpensive, simple tools. I’m convinced that the content, the ideas and the way something is explained is more important than the quality, the sophistication, and the price of the tools.

In the running text, I use Goudy Old Style, a serif typeface originally created by Frederic W. Goudy in 1916. Headlines have Franklin Gothic, a sans-serif typeface designed by Morris Fuller Benton in 1902 and probably named after Benjamin Franklin.

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