6 months ago for day 36, 2020 with 409 words.

My streak is gone

I've been walking around with a distinct feeling that I forgot something. It felt like I missed a day of writing, but I didn't know which one. Looking back, I felt in touch with my thoughts, - it must have been the writing that did it.

Alas! That is not so. I've checked now, and I missed Monday. I had the longest day at work, full of messy meetings without a clear goal. I worked all day to clarify what my team is supposed to do in the next two months. I made some progress in the end, while speaking with my manager on a late evening call. I spent all Tuesday doing estimation work, which is pretty much the most fruitless work you can do as a software engineer. It's an exercise in patience, as it is both boring and utterly useless. There is no way to predict the time duration of a big task. You can split it, size it up, compare it, ask a friend, add buffers and more buffers, then do it all over again, and still you'll be no closer to predicting the future than you were at the start.

Software teams rarely see clearly beyond a week or so. The best practices in the industry try to minimize the need for estimates by measuring past performance, and when that fails, by sticking to a loose process in which you can course-correct with immediate impact. This is very easy to explain, and very hard to put in practice. My team has been going through an Agile training, and I am reminded of the core principles of this mindset. Measure and improve. Nothing is simpler, nothing is harder. The process is not without faults, but it's without blame. No one is ever held accountable for not finishing on time. No one cares about half-year estimates. All you care about is working results. At least that's true in theory.

Yesterday I managed to finish, get home and find enough time to write a short entry. Monday though, left me too weary. I hate when we don't know what we're doing. I hate it even more when people with more information than me cannot offer clarity, and choose to stay silent, to not include people, to not take responsibility, and to not communicate. Toxic begets toxic - this is what I'm ultimately afraid of. These practices tend to spread. But so does the solution.

dreamer

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By Vlad Fratila

Enjoys coding and writing / Sort of plays piano / Shouts at the cat for no reason / reads and listens to lots of different things

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