Einstein Was Wrong

On one hand, it takes a lot to make a statement openly contradictory to common sense. On the other, it is remarkably easy to turn it into publicity stunt, hoping to surf the waves of public outrage. The latter one only works if you can actually prove your point. Otherwise, your new astrological sign is that of an idiot, saying something shocking just for social media likes. Which could also mean you’re one of modern day celebrities, famous for nothing but the fame itself. In the good old days, that some misadjusted to reality crave for, things were a bit different. Amongst starlets, playboys, and criminals, scientists often hit the frontpages. Albert Einstein is probably the best known example, with his impeccable reasoning and creativity reshaping our understanding of literally everything.

Apparently, he had some worse days too, and on one of them, he made a statement that is just wrong. Read more

The Future You – And Why You May Not Get There

If you’re not some mindless instincts driven drone, you spend at least moments of your day thinking about the future. Your plans. Your doubts. Your hopes. Events you wish to unveil. People you want to meet. Relationships you dream of building. To see that, you use one of the most powerful tools at your disposal – your imagination. You can see yourself involved in the limitless spectrum of possible outcomes.

Thing is though, that person is not you. Read more

Basics of Support for Agile Teams

There’s a long-awaited point in history of each development team. Weeks and months of their hard work, conveniently split into sprints, are finally about to conclude in the Holy Grail of boards, managers, and shareholders – the release. This is when all the changes and adaptations couple with technical excellence and the finished product – or just, hopefully, valuable part of it – is given into willing hands of end-users. I believe there are countless parallel universes in which things just work fine. Users are happy, sales skyrocket, and team seamlessly switches to next product. Thing is though, we live on planet Earth, which leads to a slightly different outcome.

Namely, all hell breaks loose. Read more

Worthless Beliefs

As a kid, I got to live on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain. I don’t really remember much of this time, as the fall of communism marked my eighth birthday. Surely, I got to participate in awkward ceremonies praising the revolution, something we now usually associate with the weirder of Koreas. I remember glimpses of the corrupt Western world passing through the censorship, with Disney cartoons, Japanese technological advancements in popular science show and, remarkably, Miss Universe pageants. First are now irrelevant, second are possibly rotten at some scrapyard, so let’s focus on the contest. I remember interviews with the finalists, when they were asked about what’s really important to them. “World peace”. “Protection of the environment”. “Ending world hunger”.

With my tiny understanding of life back then, I was sitting in awe, amazed by what I now called bullshit. Read more

My Trip to Portugal – A Nightmare I Am Grateful For

Just two weeks ago, I was traveling to Lisbon to attend the Agile Portugal conference. While the event itself was fantastic, my path to it was an ordeal. Majority of things that could go wrong, did just that. I caught a bad cold two days prior to the trip. My first flight was cancelled and I was boarded for an alternate route – I had to embark a plane going in the opposite direction. Then, while switching terminals in Madrid, I missed my flight. It turned my three-leg journey into four leg one, as I had to fly to Porto first. Finally, on a plane somewhat resembling World War 2 bombers, I arrived in Lisbon mere 12 hours late. As you can expect, my luggage arrived two days later, just hours in advance of my return trip. On top of that, just after delivering my talk, my vocal chords finally gave up and I literally lost my voice.

The whole trip was essentially a nightmare. I will, however, reminisce it with smile on my face. It was one of the best lessons on life, for three reasons. Read more

Origins of Culture

Once you enter a particular workplace, you notice a few things. The way people talk. The way they act. The things they say. While every individual behaves in their own, very specific manner, you’re likely to notice a pattern. They do have something in common, something distinctive. It’s almost like visiting some other country, which you expect to be very similar to yours. Very quickly, you’ll discover that your first impression is wrong. Nations grown upon, say, Greek and Roman heritage, generally behave the same way for any outsider. The quirks and peculiarities emerge rapidly though, making each of them to stand out. And all the companies within such national environment display the same differences to each other. In essence, that’s what we call culture.

But where does it come from? Read more

Rant on Working in Agile

If you ask people at any software development conference about the methodology they work in, you’re likely to notice that majority will just say “Agile”. Interestingly, they will claim so without taking a millisecond to think about it. On one hand, it’s kind of obvious. Who wouldn’t work using the best approach possible? On the other though, it does seem like a reflex. When asked about methodology, tell them about Agile.

It’s a little surprise that, when asked what they mean by that, each single person will give you a different answer! Read more

I Was Gone For A While – For A Good Reason

A bit over one year ago, I disembarked a plane at Chek Lap Kok airport in Hong Kong. I had remarkably little knowledge of the place, yet for several reasons, I was waiting for it for months. Except that I wasn’t. There was no waiting involved. It took me some time to gather funds, arrange for accommodation, and look for business opportunities to pursue while there. I worked hard to achieve my dream. Weeks of deliberate, focused action, backed by solid justification and some emotions involved.

That’s the kind of approach that takes people to the Moon.

And that’s the very reason I published my articles here sparsely lately. I focused all my attention on finishing my next book, one to help you change yourself, your organisation, and – with some more dedication – the world. While arranging words is what I do for a living, I’m literally unable to convey how excited I am about it. It will be available by the end of May – stay tuned.

Starting from next week, I’m be back to my regular schedule. See you on Monday.

In the meantime, have a badass Friday – and a nice weekend after it.

Worst Advice Ever

Every now and then, some friendly soul stumbles upon someone full of despair about some aspect of their life. Low on money, unhappy in love, with bad health – you name it. There are endless ways to be miserable. Some of these poor bastards actually attempt doing something to recover from their dire situation. That’s noble of itself, make no mistake. But quite often things just don’t work out well. They fail once. They fail twice. Then thrice. Then, if they’re still fighting, they might fail again. It is remarkably easy to give up. Don’t beat yourself if it happened to you. That’s just being human. With exception of relationships, we hate being stuck in the limbo. Then we give up and accept that we’ll never be rich, happy, or healthy. That makes us sad and miserable. Then the good soul appears and, with best intentions, shares the worst motivational advice ever. Read more

“Honey, did you get the napalm?” Or, Why the Requirements Suck

When you’re in a service industry, the usual client path starts the same, regardless of your particular branch of business. You approach them, or they reach out for you. Then, they send what they want. Then you employ your craftsmanship, providing them with adequate value for money. In most of the world, that is – sorry, North Korea and Cuba! And while you do it, things suddenly change. When you’re a car mechanic, it turns out that the actual fault is not the gearbox linkage, it’s the clutch worn out by the idiot owner. So, you contact the client and change the clutch. Then you make an order for a new clutch at a ridiculous discount. When you’re in interior design, it turns out that some, meticulously selected, shade of paint makes the man of the house look stupid every sunny evening. So, the client contacts you and you pick a new paint. One that makes him look like an orange, which is a noticeable upgrade to his dubious appeal. When you’re a hairdresser, it turns out your hipster customer looks like a Thailand-made lumberjack wannabe with his beard trimmed at 25 millimetres. So, you discuss the matter with him and turn him into a clean shaved man. A skinny, useless, and weak one – but a man. It seems ridiculously easy and it is. That’s how service business works all around the globe.

Not in software development industry, though. Read more