Sustainable Pace

April 3rd, 2014

Four day work week

I have been working 5 day weeks for 8 years now, without a significant pause. Since then I had very little time to pursue spontaneous interests in order to satisfy my curious nature. The plan So, in 2012, I challenged myself to take on an experiment: Do not spend my allotted days off on weeks of free time at once, but take one day off each week. All in all, I had 7 continuous months of 4 day weeks, starting from June 2012. I decided to take Mondays off. It had to be Monday or Friday, as I wanted a long weekend. I decided to go with Monday. On Fridays you're in a weekend mood anyway, and things are less stressful at the office. I also wanted to spend the weekend with the family, and still…

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December 8th, 2011

Distributed Scrum

Last night I listened to the latest episode of Software Engineering Radio, "Distributed Scrum", with Rini van Solingen. Having worked on open source projects and having mentored in Google Summer of Code for three years, I've had my share of distributed teams, but I have never done distributed Scrum, so I was interested. I've heard of Rini van Solingen through Jeff Sutherland's translation of his book "The Power of Scrum". It's not your generic Scrum book, it is novel with a proper narrative. Rini described that a fiction book is better suited at managers as stories appeal more to them than theory. Also, it doesn't focus on the artifacts of Scrum, but on the effects. I…

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November 12th, 2011

A home cinema for minimalists

In our home there is no TV. We have thrown it out about five years ago and didn't regret it. But there is one aspect I miss: watching films. We used to watch films on the computer screen, but since we've moved to a bigger apartment there is no appropriate setting that allows this in a comfortable manner. I thought I had found the solution when acquiring a projector two weeks ago. But the day after having watched the first film in our home cinema, I was having doubts. Don't get me wrong, I was truly impressed what even low price projectors are capable of. But somehow it felt wrong. I disliked that I had to wire a lot of new cables. I disliked the idea of having to maintain another device. I…

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October 20th, 2011

Agile traffic - All's well that honks well

In October I've spent about 24 hours on the roads of Jakarta. At first I was annoyed, as the traffic was seemingly not moving at all, but slowly I myself was deeply moved by the subtle, graceful and yet effective way in which Indonesians manage to get from A to B. While in German traffic every tiny aspect is regulated (signs galore), Indonesian traffic is a great example of agility at its best. I'm not saying Indonesian traffic is superior to German traffic, it's just more agile, it has less overhead and regulates itself. (Of course there are upsides to regulations, for example security aspects. In Indonesia you have a lot of inadequately equipped vehicles, and also reckless behaviour like…

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September 10th, 2011

Management 3.0

There has been a lot of buzz around Jurgen Appelo's book Management 3.0 lately. Subtitled "Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders", Appelo introduces a model for agile management, applying the findings of complexity thinking to social systems, like agile software developing teams. First of all, Appelo makes the point that we usually confuse the terms complex and complicated. He explains complex as foremost unpredictable, while complicated merely means hard to understand. However, our minds work in a linear fashion, in terms of cause and effect. This leads to reductionism, solving complex issues by dividing them into parts, and addressing these independently, leading to…

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