marcusoft.net - sharing is learning


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Indicators; leading, trailing - short or long


This is a just a short post, mainly an idea that I can get out of my head.

I’ve been helping the management team at one of our hospitals to come up with something to track our progress against. The main question was actually quite simple:

How would we know if this hospital is awesome?

We came up with a couple of balancing scores that we will take for a spin in our first experiment round. The idea is the these values will guide our actions - if we can make things that improve the values (one or more) it’s a good thing. In the spirit of balancing scores we are keeping track on more than one to make sure that we’re not tilting our efforts toward, say only financial values.

Hmmm… need to write some of those ideas down, maybe. Ok - now to the topic of this post:

In talking about the targets we mentioned leading and trailing indicators, the difference between them and I had a little personal revolution about the difference and usefulness of both kinds.

Read on ...

What can you do for us then?


A couple of days ago I offered my services to one of the hospital directors here. In their current situation they could need some structuring and focus on start executing. I know that I can help them with this (using my normal “tricks” of visualization, transparency and short iterations etc) and hence asked if I could be of assistance.

Now, this particular director is a really smart one and the response was quick, to the point and a real head twister for me:

Thanks for that offer! What is you can help us with, then?

I was a stumped! What do I do? Why would anyone want that? Who am I to think that I can help them? I’m an IT guy, no formal training, no formal authority here. Why should they want me?

I ended up referring to my past work and try to describe that to the director but I couldn’t get the thought out of my head.

Yeah, this is one of those “Marcus thinks out loud post” on coaching.

Read on ...

Experiment - don't change


I re-read a post I wrote about 6 months ago, after a consultancy gig at Nintex. And one thing in there resounded with me and some of the conversations I’ve been having lately.

I wrote (and said):

Stop changing and start experimenting

This would probably be my #1 tip for change management; don’t do changes - do experiments instead.

In this post I thought I’d examine that recommendation in a little more detail.

Read on ...

The 1000th post


Just ran a my count script into the _posts directory of my Jekyll installation. 999! and then I started this post.

That means that this is the 1000th post on my blog!

I only have 3 words: Un. Believe. Able.

I never, ever thought that I would write 1000 posts.

Through this blog I’ve learned so much, connected with so many people and got so many opporunities I never would have got without “throwing myself out there”.

This post has two parts: history and stats.

Read on ...

Wash your hands - make your hands clean


We’re ready to sit down to eat. The kids comes running and I do the regular check-up: Nope - all hands, some of the faces covered in dirt. Me:

Wash your hands!

The run off, remarkably without complaining. 15 seconds all three of them are back. Hands, faces and much of the shirts are dripping with water. Hands and faces are still dirty.

This is my fault. I was really just focusing on the activity rather than the outcome. I see this sickness in myself, many organizations and even our community at large.

In this post I wanted to examine this thought a little closer. I have no idea where I might end up, but I’ll type on for awhile and then structure it into something worth reading… or you’ll never read this

Read on ...

npm scripting: git, version and deploy


In the last post I promised to write something about “git, pushing and deploying”. This is purely from a personal need since I have used make for those things. I wanted to see if I can move all of that to use npm and package.json instead.

I’ll also add a compile and minification step, just since that it’s a common need.

Read on ...

npm scripting: configs and arguments... and some more tricks


I’ve written two posts on npm scripting with package.json and during the course of these post I’ve picked up some tricks that I didn’t really use in the posts.

This post will hence be a bit less structured by contain some small tidbits of information for you to, hopefully, enjoy and use.

I’ll be working of the code here and add all the features I describe (as far as possible) to that repository.

Here we go:

Read on ...

Pre and Post hooks for npm scripting


npm is at the core of developing in Node. Most of us use it to get packages, set up the package.json etc.

But when you put it together with the vast possibilities in package.json you get another gear. Then npm can actually become a build tool - driving every aspect of your development. Without getting unwieldy and out of control.

In this post I wanted to examine one of the lesser known features of scripting with npm and package.json; pre- and post hooks. In doing so I will most likely brush on a lot of other subjects too. We’ll see how it goes.

Read on ...

Progress indicators, estimates and plans


Here in Indonesia Internet is often very slow. No, you don’t understand. VERY slow. Downloading big files, like movies on iTunes, can be a project from 4 hours to days.

The other night we wanted to watch a movie (Bamse i Tjuvstaden, it’s actually pretty good) that our kids love. We have already bought it but iTunes still downloads part of it.

The normal thing happened; the progress indicator lied. My kids were angry and I had to explain to them:

That is an estimate, a guess. They simply don't know when it's done.

As I said that I was reminded about many times I’ve been required to give estimates in other settings. In this post I wanted to examine the similarities I felt was present.

Read on ...

ca 10 minutes on effective meetings


I don’t like meetings. Because most meetings I’ve attended has not been great. And I’m guilty of organizing some of those meetings too.

In this presentation I talk about how to make effective meetings. There will be a lot of small advices that I’ve found useful during my consultancy. I will also briefly describe the Lean Coffee meeting format.

Here’s all the post in the series (the links will work as I post them):

Please read the reason and ideas behind the entire series in the first post.

Read on ...

Creating a 'Movie credits' animation in Keynote


I’m a big fan of Keynote and use that to create all of my presentations. Although I try to keep the number of animations down to a minimum, since I think they take a lot of focus from the content, I find that a few, well placed, animations can be very effective.

In one of my recent presentation I found the “need” to do a movie credits animation. You know like the thing that rolls in the end credits after a movie or TV-show. First I thought that I’d seen that exact animation, but it turned out to be in iMovie.

A search on the intertubes didn’t give me much useful either. But it turned out to be pretty simple to do. In this post I’ll show you how

Read on ...

ca 10 minutes on Root Cause Analysis


Throughout all the things I’ve talked about in this series; mission, vision, strategic plans and kanban there’s a underlying concept. We want to improve. We want to be better in achieving our vision.

If you want to improve you will have to be great in fixing problems. Not only fixing the problems but the actual underlying reason for the problem to occured in the first place.

Root cause analysis is a powerful tool for doing that. This is what I talk about in this presentation.

Here’s all the post in the series (the links will work as I post them):

Please read the reason and ideas behind the entire series in the first post.

Read on ...

QA: How big is a work item?


Sometimes people email questions to me, directly. I love that (although I sometime need to postpone the answering for awhile) because it gives me such nice insight into how other teams work and function. Basically: I learn more and as you can see from the tag line of this blog… I’m into learning stuff.

The other day I got a question that I’ve heard before in variants. It’s also very reasonable and a bit complicated to answer: “How big is a work item really?”

I also got permission to publish the whole question and my answer here.

Read on ...

Getting Elixir to run on my OsX (init terminating in do_boot)


I hear more and more about Elixir from some people that I really trust and respect. That means checking-out-new-technology-time for Marcus.

Luckily installing Elixir on Os X (Yosemite 10.10, that I’m running) is super simple with Homebrew:

brew update
brew install elixir

Or is it …

Not for me as it turns out. I hope you had a better fate. This is my story.

Read on ...

Only help those that want help


I tweeted this the other day:

I continued to think a bit about that, especially after a little bit depressing response I got.

What would the opposite to that be? Help those that doesn’t want help. How stupid doesn’t sound? Or “Don’t help those that want help.”

I don’t know how much time and effort I’ve spent on the opposite. Trying to convince people that they need to change, when they don’t want too. Or forcing (yes, sorry … they told me to) a new process or methodology on team who were quite content with their ways and procedure.

Read on ...

ca 15 minutes on Kanban


In this presentation I break it down to the day-to-day management of a project or team. How can we keep our focus? How can we improve? How do we even know what we are doing right now?

As no surprise to to readers of this blog this will be accomplished with kanban.

Here’s all the post in the series (the links will work as I post them):

Please read the reason and ideas behind the entire series in the first post.

Read on ...

ca 15 minutes on Impact mapping


Having your mission, vision and strategy in place are essential but result in nothing, if you can’t make sure that you execute them. Can’t make sure that you take steps in your strategic plan to get closer to the vision. One of the best tools I’ve seen around this, on the strategic level, is called Impact Mapping. This presentation is devoted to this tool

Here’s all the post in the series (the links will work as I post them):

Please read the reason and ideas behind the entire series in the first post.

Read on ...

ca 15 minutes on strategic plans


This is the third presentation I’ve done on mission, vision and strategic plans (and other stuff too). The time has come to strategic plans.

A strategic plan outlines our ideas, suggestions and plans for taking us from where we are today to … closer to the vision.

Here’s all the post in the series (the links will work as I post them):

Please read the reason and ideas behind the entire series in the first post.

Read on ...

ca 10 minutes on Vision statements


This is the second post about my presentation series on Mission, Vision and Strategy and some other things.

In this post I will hook you up with my presentation on Vision statements.

Here’s all the post in the series (the links will work as I post them):

Please read the reason and ideas behind the entire series in the first post.

Read on ...

ca 10 minutes on Mission statements


My main task here in Indonesia is to help our hospital to work out good strategic plans. It’s a very interesting task since long-term strategies seems to not be very prominent in the Indonesia culture.

There’s also a translation issue about the word itself, Misi (mission), apparently have a different meaning for Indonesians that I use it. In this presentation I clarify how I use the word: as the reason for an organization to exists - our purpose.

Here’s all the post in the series (the links will work as I post them):

Please read the reason and ideas behind the entire series in the first post.

Read on ...