Unusual Subroutines

The blog and musings of Christopher Allen-Poole

A Short Thought on Happiness

Happiness matters. The bottom line matters, too, but happiness matters more. You might have the most talented of sales forces. You might have the best team in existence. They might be the best in the industry and work well together, balancing each others strengths to create stronger whole. Your employees might love you and your company. They might be the most trustworthy and loyal possible. They might even be related ... Continue reading »


Recently I've been doing a number of interviewing potential hires at my company. I have one question which I put in every interview, and the answer/reaction is one of the most important What is something you're excited about? I ask this question for several reasons. It lets me build rapport with the candidate. I can readily ask some follow-up questions, or at least ask them to tell ... Continue reading »

The Slow Time

It's that time of the company lifecycle… the slow period. That time between projects when there is not quite enough time to start something new and everything old has more-or-less wound down. There are few projects which will need attention until the new year. Recent weeks have shown me logging an increasing number of hours towards doing things like minimizing technical debt and moving unit test coverage to our minimum standard threshold. (I am very glad to say that I have no more Sonar blockers in any project I have direct control over).

When this type of period starts in a company, there are a number of possible outcomes. Something which should be an obvious concern is employee listlessness. This warning seems especially apt:

Expressions of discontent, complaints about the firm, and poor morale never surface more frequently than when there is not enough work to keep everyone occupied.1

But if employees are handled correctly, then this employee "downtime" does not need to be one of concern. If anything times like this are when you have resources free to actually create, so long as you are geared towards innovation.

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Proposed Metrics

One of the biggest problems that projects have is in feedback. Everyone in the project has a duty to tell others, and especially the team lead and the PM, if there are any concerns, but most of the time people don't. There are a few reasons for this, but in general people don't like being the one to give bad news. I'd like to find a way to go about avoiding that problem. 

I came up with a basic survey and I'd like it included in my future projects. The goal would be to have it filled out by everyone on the project at the start of a new sprint. This would mean that the PM would be able to get a pulse easily. I think it would also allow people to hint that there might be bad news without having to be the one to come out and say it. 

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