A couple of “learnings” from this past week

Hey there everyone, how are you?

This past week was an intense one at work, but also a lot of fun. I had a couple of agile friends visiting from Poland, a workshop to facilitate for more than 50 people. Loads of fun, loads of work, happy that it is done 😄

Yellow Plush Toy

So without further ado, where are a couple of things that helped me this past week.

👍 Planning my posts in advance. I knew this week was going to be chaotic in the workplace, and the only way for me to keep my daily posting routine was to plan it in advance. So, last Sunday I prepared this theme of lean waste and scheduled all the posts so that I would not miss a day.

👍👍 On the last 3-point Saturday I talked about Notion, and how the tool helped me become more productive and organized on my blogging. It is really a time saver, and also helps me keep track of the upcoming Podcast. Imagine Trello meets todoist. If you haven’t already, check out Notion.

Also, join the 3-point Saturday newsletter so that you don’t miss these exclusive gems 😀, the next one will be out today. JOIN HERE.

👍👍👍 Youtube’s free music library. Working on getting the podcast out, one of the things I have been working on is the Intro. I don’t want to have to worry about copyright holders or any other legal problems. A quick internet search and I found out that Youtube has a lot of free music, some require attribution, others don’t. Definitely a lifesaver.

And that is pretty much it. Hope you also had an amazing week, and see you again in the next post.



This is what I’ve learned this week

Hello everyone, one more week gone and another about to start.
So far a good start of the weekend. I am writing this post with a sunny day, something that is not very common in the Netherlands at this time of the year.

👍👍 Finally the project I have been talking about is starting to pull together. I can share now that this will be a podcast where I aim to interview leader, thinkers and workers of the technology world. The main goal is to pick their brain and find out what advises that can have to share with this community. First episode is already recorded and should be coming out soon 😃

👍 This week I also found out how to write better headlines, as you can see by today’s headline compared with other Saturday’s 😄. After some reading I realized how important a good headline is. The headline is what will make you, the reader, captivated into opening the page and reading more about it. Without a proper headline I will fail on my mission to reach you and share my thoughts.

🛑 For now it is stopped. Instagram is a nice addition but my focus is on producing a good blog and sharing a good message with all of you. If you have any thoughts about it, I would love to hear more. You know how to find me, if not, drop me a message on me@ruitiago.blog

Want to receive 3 gems to make your weekend go even smoother? Join me for the 3-point Saturday newsletter.

In this week 3-point Saturday I shared about an extension/add-on that I’ve found, an awesome interview that came out this week and a fundraiser.

Have an awesome weekend.

And as always, keep learning, keep growing and have an awesome day.



How to do less work and skyrocket your productivity

👇 (this is the same intro as yesterday’s post if you have read it already, scroll down 4 paragraphs) 👇

We waste time all the time. Small unimportant tasks. Procrastination. Looking at nothing (this one is not really a time waster if it clears your head).
The world is filled with traps that make us waste our time, and some of them we already know how to detect and adapt to them.

Lean Manufacturing talks about the 7 lean wastes, these wastes can also be mapped to software development.
During these next 7 days, I will pick up one of the wastes and investigate the following questions

  • Why does it impact our work?
  • What could be the causes of this?
  • How can we measure it?
  • How can we avoid it?

For today the focus is Extra Work. Extra work means everything that we did that didn’t need to be done.

80% of the value comes from 20% of the features

This is a clear case of effectiveness vs efficiency. We have the best code ever. 100% test coverage. A dream pipeline that delivers everything to production without a single bug. If no one is going to use it after, we just wasted our time.

It may look counter-intuitive to consider a waste if you are producing more, but the output is not the same as the outcome. Producing more of something that will not be used has 0 value. Heck, in this case, it even has a negative value because you could be spending your time with something else.

Imagine you have the best hot dog stand in the world, but you are parked in an area of vegetarian and vegan customers. It doesn’t matter how good your hot dogs are, no one will buy them.

Why does it impact our work?

  • If it’s not going to be used, why do it?
  • We will need to maintain them.
  • If they break, they may break something else that is being used.
  • Our team spent time testing, reviewing and deploying it for nothing.
  • Increase our code complexity.

What could be the causes of this?

  • We don’t know our customers and his/her needs.
  • We don’t validate value propositions.
  • We don’t have customer metrics that allow us to understand what is being used or not.

How can we measure it?

  • #features in production that are used by the customer
  • #items delivered that are focused on the MVP

How can we avoid it?

  • Break features as small as possible and review them with your stakeholders.
  • Release to production often and gather usage metrics.
  • Proper prioritization of the backlog and focus on MVP by using the Eisenhower matrix.



Want to get more time? Do that hard task now.

No one likes doing those pesky hard tasks, I know it, you know it, it is what it is.

We often procrastinate and push them forward with the hopes that they will be forgotten. That they will disappear into a sea of confusion with other hard or harder tasks.

The problem is they never disappear, or at least the majority of them. But why should we do them now now?

As mentioned yesterday, one of the biggest time wasters is task switching. But will you task switch if you leave it for later?

Unfortunately, yes. Because you know, that hard task will be in the back of your mind. You know that while you are doing the other stuff, this one will creep into your thoughts, just to make sure you don’t forget it.

Unlike some productivity gurus, I am a firm believer that we should do what we don’t like before. Get it out of the way, and then we can properly focus and enjoy the things we like to do.



An inexpensive way to gain more time

We humans believe that we are great at multitasking, even though it has been proven time and time again that we are really really bad.

Intrinsically we know this. We even get angry when someone interrupts us in the middle of a thought or a task.

I am fascinated by this and found some cool science that backs it up and some very scientific names that are extremely hard to say. So buckle up.

So why do we lose time when moving from task to task?

This is called the psychological refractory period.
In summary, it refers to the time we need to finish the process of the first stimulus before being able to react to the second one. Remember, our brains are processing machines.

This happens every time we need to start a new task.

How much time will I lose?

Well, this is the hard part. Because every brain is different, your mileage may vary. But one thing we can say for sure is that task switching will make you lose time.

Some argue that it can cost you as much as 40% when changing from one task to another.

But I am good at task switching, I don’t lose time.

That’s really good to know, unfortunately, that doesn’t work for all of us. Only around 2% of the world’s population can properly multitask.

If you are one of them, like the yellow chair in the image above, good for you 👍. But chances are that you are not. Chances are, you are one of the green ones.

How can we get more time?

Before starting your work, plan it. It may look like you are wasting time planning what you are going to do, but think about this scenario:

  • Spend 10% of your day planning what you are going to do (48 minutes in an 8 hour day)
  • Batch all similar tasks together and create groups that will minimize context switching
  • Keep distractions to a minimum. Yes, Facebook, Instagram and all those notifications that you are checking are TASKS. You are context switching. Save that for your lunchtime or a special window of 15/30 minutes in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
  • Use a board or check list to keep your focus



Summary 2019-W43

If you missed any of the posts this week or want to read them again, here is a quick summary.

Monday: How old is your backlog?

I coached a #team that had more than 50% of their stories created more than a year ago. Stories, not Epics.
If stories have been in your backlog for that long, were they ever a priority?


Tuesday: How detailed is your backlog?

The fallacy is that if we have everything refined and ready to work, then we can do long term estimation. I say fallacy because it is impossible to predict the future.


Wednesday: Clean Backlog Policy

Why don’t we also have a clean #backlog policy?
All items have priority. No lingering items. Proper item identification. Hierarchy of items


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3 little nuggets of knowledge and fun that I’ve found during the week.

Thursday: Backlog Prioritization

An American friend of mine told me this quote when we talked about prioritization, and it resonated with me. Think about it.

“You cannot eat a whole pie. You can only do one slice at a time.”


Friday: Who owns your backlog?

If you do Scrum, the answer should be obvious. Product Owner. But what if you don’t o Scrum?


Saturday: Saturday Reflection

Another full week is coming to an end, hope it has been as much fun for you as it has been for me.




Saturday Reflections

Good afternoon boys and girls, ladies and gents. Hope you had a wonderful week.
Here is a beautiful image just to start this post.

👍 The new project I mentioned last week is taking form, there is a high change next week I will publish it 😀

👍 Medium is picking up. By starting to put proper tags on the articles they started getting more views. Most of the views still come outside of Medium but it’s another way to share the message.

👍 Another theme week. This week the focus was on backlogs. I am more and more inclined to stick to a full theme for the week. It’s easy to break down and share with all of you without writing a super big post. This way you can choose what to read, if the title is what you are looking for in that theme or not.

What do you think?

Want to receive 3 gems to make your weekend go even smoother? Join me for the 3-point Saturday newsletter.

In this week 3-point Saturday I shared about an extension/add-on that I’ve found, an awesome interview that came out this week and a fundraiser.

Have an awesome weekend.

And as always, keep learning, keep growing and have an awesome day.