The Wall of Technical Debt

Mathias Verraes on Technical Debt:

The problem isn’t technical debt, it’s unmanaged technical debt. In any company, the CFO knows exactly how much financial debt there is. There are spreadsheets, quarterly reports, payment plans, and options to refinance or sell debt. But ask your CTO how much technical debt your organisation has, and you’ll get an awkward “uh… a lot?” as an answer.

The Wall of Technical Debt is a surface in your office where you visualize these issues on sticky notes.

Make it visible.

The Wall of Technical Debt →

12 Signs You’re Working in a Feature Factory

Are you constantly shipping features and cutting corners? Then you might be working at a Feature Factory. Here are 12 symptoms:

  1. No measurement of impact.
  2. Rapid shuffling of teams and projects.
  3. Success theater around “shipping”.
  4. Infrequent (acknowledged) failures and scrapped work.
  5. No connection to core metrics.
  6. No PM retrospectives.
  7. Obsessing about prioritization.
  8. No tweaking.
  9. Culture of hand-offs.
  10. Large batches.
  11. Chasing upfront revenue.
  12. Shiny objects.

Each bullet is explained a bit more in the post itself.

12 Signs You’re Working in a Feature Factory →

📝 I actually found this post through the follow-up post 12 Signs You’re Working in a Feature Factory — 3 Years Later. Also worth reading.

The Basecamp Guide to Internal Communication

From the folks at Basecamp, a guide on how/when/why they use chat/face-to-face/e-mail/… when communicating.

Below you’ll find a collection of general principles we try to keep in mind at Basecamp when communicating with teammates, within departments, across the company, and with the public. They aren’t requirements, but they serve to create boundaries and shared practices to draw upon when we do the one thing that affects everything else we do: communicate.

Ooh I like that list they’ve included. Totally rhymes with thoughts I had shared before:

The Basecamp Guide to Internal Communication →

Via Jeremy

Andy Budd: 11 things I know to be true

Photo of the Clearleft offices.

Andy Budd, part of Clearleft, shares some things he has come to believe over the years:

  1. You are not your user
  2. It’s often easier to break big problems down into smaller problems
  3. Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up
  4. Design can provide a huge amount of value to business
  5. Designers and technologists need to stop seeing themselves as separate from “the business”
  6. The key role in any design or technology team is the lead role
  7. Everybody is largely trying to do the right thing
  8. It’s better to design the right thing than design the thing right
  9. It’s easier to sell a well designed product than a poorly designed one
  10. Product management is the hardest job in tech
  11. The reason most projects go wrong is because of a lack of shared understanding from the outset

Be sure to read the whole thing, as it comes with some nuance. Take this addendum to truth #2:

However if you break things down too much, you lose the big picture view and entropy sets in. As such, you need to think both big and small.

11 things I know to be true →

Simon Sinek: Performance vs. Trust

The problem in business is we have lopsided metrics. We have a million-and-one metrics to measure someone’s performance, and negligible to no metrics to measure someone’s trustworthiness.

👉 You might know Simon from other videos such as Millennials (in the Workplace) or Why Leaders Eat Last. Totally worth your time.


Derek Sivers, on how to improve life, not by adding things but by subtracting things:

The least successful people I know run in conflicting directions, are drawn to distractions, say yes to almost everything, and are chained to emotional obstacles.

The most successful people I know have a narrow focus, protect themselves against time-wasters, say no to almost everything, and have let go of old limiting beliefs.

It’s easy to think I need something else. It’s hard to look instead at what to remove.

Subtract →

How To Organize Team Building Retreats

UX studio, a Budapest based 30-person design company on how they plan their team retreats, how they keep the balance between fun activities and serious work during those retreats, etc:

Every six months, our whole UX company travels to a remote location in Hungary’s countryside for two days to have fun and decide together about our big goals.

These team building retreats play an important part in UX studio’s culture. We have been doing them for five years now, and we love them dearly. So, after ten of them, I’m sharing my learnings and giving tips to those of you just starting out with the corporate retreat concept.

How To Organize Team Building Retreats →

Creating vs. Shipping

Creating is easy. Shipping is the hard part, and countless companies never quite figure it out. Sure, they might release their software, but that’s not the same as shipping. No company is perfect, but it makes a big difference when they genuinely care.

Shipping is about consistency. It’s regularly updated help documents. It’s responsive and helpful customer support. It’s useful release notes. It’s an informative status page. It’s a regularly updated blog and social media accounts. It’s all the little things.

— Garett Dimon, in his piece Creating vs. Shipping