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Comment Institutionalize Change... (Score 1) 221

Product Manager here. And I'm the guy who just can't help himself to add in that one more feature that seems so obvious now but was somehow hiding in my blind spot previously. Oh, and we're gonna make a TON of money if you can just implement this.

Step one: accept that life means constant change and these requests are always going to happen, like it or not. Nature of the beast but you can moderate this.
Step two: find a way to get your arms around it. A formula of: one feature = X days slip on delivery date is not sustainable since all X's aren't created equal. This will ultimately backfire when features take a long time to implement because expectations have been incorrectly established. You need to have a code freeze date for each build and stick to it. Managing code branches and merging will be key.
Step three: Make sure your product manager has solid use cases. Features wrapped in a story tend to stick together. If the feature doesn't play well into an already defined use case (story) then it is likely superfluous to the main goal of the product and can wait. If the PM needs to change the use case to accommodate the new feature then the PM needs to get his or her act together (while understanding that PMs are human and can sometimes make mistakes, but this should not be a standard operating procedure, changing fundamental use case scenarios). Sales organizations are typically coin operated so they'll always ask for just this one feature to make the big sale. It's a lie. If they didn't need it last month then they can wait another month.

In my opinion, this in not something a developer should have to be concerned with, this is a product management issue. What is probable in these situations is that the PM is not including all stake holders in the requirements doc. All stake holders need to understand to some degree the end user's mental model (assumptions, motivations, goals, etc.) and if so a lot of these things will get vetted during the review process. But Sales, that darn Sales team... can't ever keep them happy; can't run a business without the revenue the bring in. They will always try but only the lesser ones will need said feature NOW to make the sale.

Comment Plateaus are bad, mmkay (Score 2) 121

I bet some folks in Tibet would question the premise that plateaus are essentially bad, that they result in the inability to move forward or grow, that the final inevitable result is that your mind and senses are dulled by sameness and that life and soul are sucked out of you. The book's value could end up not be in theories of up or down but in that it helps you become more mindful of what's already going on around you.

Comment Make drivers drive smarter, not on more lanes (Score 1) 431

I drive this stretch of road. And I've driven in Germany. We should take a page from Germany's playbook and "drive right" (rechts fahren) and pass on the left. The Autobahn is mostly only 2 lanes after all. Take you're 50K and get the state of California to stop calling the far left (non HOV/carpool) lane the subjective "fast" lane, as they do in the driver hand books, and teach people to call it the "passing" lane.

Submission + - Why the Arabic World Turned Away From Science (thenewatlantis.com)

Geoffrey.landis writes: "The historical period that we call the dark ages, from perhaps 600 to 1200 AD, was the golden age of Islamic science, when great advances in science and technology were taking place in the middle east. But somehow, as the west experienced its renaissance, the blossoming of the age of science, and the founding of the modern technological world, the Arabic world instead turned away from science. Muslim countries have nine scientists, engineers, and technicians per thousand people, compared with a world average of forty-one, and of roughly 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, only two scientists from Muslim countries have won Nobel Prizes in science. Why? In an article "Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science" in The New Atlantis, Hillel Ofek examines both the reasons why Islamic science flourished, and why it failed. Are we turning the same way, with a rising tide of religious fundamentalism and dogma shouting down the culture of inquiry and free thinking needed for scientific advances? Perhaps we should be looking at the decline of Islamic science as a cautionary tale."

Comment Re:Wow, I thought we (the US) was the only standou (Score 5, Interesting) 444

Turkey is the perfect reflection of the US, only switch Muslim for Christian.

As a green-eyed American Caucasian, when I started my 6 month consulting gig in Istanbul in 2007-2008 I was kinda scared at first. I saw all these minarets poking up from mosques everywhere, heard the call to prayer a few times each day, and folks back home were pushing a law that would officially say Turkey committed genocide. But then I started working with my technical counter parts and guess what? There was the quiet guy, there was the hilarious guy (we're still friends), there was the unbelievably smart guy (still the best Oracle consultant I've ever worked with), there was the hot girl, there was the guy who talked my ear off about how backwards he thought Muslims were, and there was the kindhearted Muslim guy who made sure I never ate lunch alone. Every archetype that I knew from the US was represented. I found them brilliant and extremely motivated. And I even saw a lot of women in high level jobs wearing fashionable clothes.

Then I got to know the city, saw some of the music scene, a little of the club scene, and soaked up some of the history. They have their own George Washington named Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who in 1923 established the Republic of Turkey, switched them from Arabic script to Western European (making my job of typing on their keyboards much easier!), and separated Mosque from State.

But exactly like in the US the religious groups find ways to work their agenda into the secular government. For example, you can't buy pork. Why? Because from political pressure it was found "unhealthy" and one by one the farms were shutdown until there were none. There's lots of these examples, including the article to which we're responding. Once my eyes got adjusted I almost felt as if I were in the US, even the mosques I realized were no more numerous than our churches.

Their economy is far stronger than Romania, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, and Portugal, all members of the European Union, and the EU would do well to admit them. Turkey is the litmus test for Muslims and Christians. They are us and we are them. If we can make it work there I'm afraid we won't make it together anywhere.

Comment Programming is the new manufacturing... (Score 4, Insightful) 307

To want to "bring the manufacturing jobs back" is a lost cause. Programming is the new manufacturing and what Estonia is doing is brilliant. More and more everything in our daily lives is governed by software. Estonia is a small country and choosing this as their national specialty is going to prove monumental to their long-term success.

Comment I worked IT on the verification system... (Score 2) 93

As an IT professional, I worked on the verification system for the Prototype International Data Centre during 1999 when the Senate Republicans (and Clinton) rejected the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty on the grounds that it wasn't verifiable. I was also working there in 1998 when within 15 minutes of it happening my pager went off when Pakistan and then India did their tests (thank goodness it wasn't data corruption!). While I'm no PhD and pretty much everyone else was (international group represented by all nations involved with the treaty - and a heck of a Wednesday night soccer practice) they know. Squiggly line slowly getting big: earthquake; flat line suddenly turning squiggly: bomb. Really smart people double check by hand before raising flags just as if you subscribe to USGS earthquake warnings (was that really a 4.2 at 2012-Apr-09 21:37:09 in Gulf of California?). They know pretty well what, how much, when and where. It's "just" physics and it's based on the sensitively of the monitoring instruments. And it turns out that the instruments are really sensitive and it takes incredibly advanced technology to make an under 1 kiloton bomb. It won't be a country's first test. Point is we should lead the way in signing this. Cold war mentality is to monitor Russia. If that's not our goal, if our real goal is the "non proliferation" of nuclear bombs then those seeking to acquire the technology must test (sound familiar?) and testing below current detectable levels means they already have the technology and have already tested it on a larger scale. Ban everyone from testing the big stuff and you'll make the small stuff much harder to come by. Politics - not science - is why unfortunately the US has not yet signed this treaty.

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