The fall of the Berlin Wall 1989 (From: Wikipedia)
Our country’s history took a great turn 24 years ago: The barrier which separated Germans from Germans for over 28 years finally fell. I was born in GDR and therefor remember that day with special pride.
This event shows how powerful people can be. After weeks of civil unrest and months of demonstrations, the GDR government announced that everybody would be allowed to travel into Western Germany and West Berlin.
Last weekend I had the chance to go skydiving again, the second time this year (see some photos,Thanks Chris Ko for shooting with your GoPro!). Sounds great, but for a frequent skydiver, that’s a pretty desperate number. As it has been this way throughout the last 3 years, I did not really develop my free flying skills the way I hoped. It’s like with every sports or music instrument: As long as you practice frequently enough and train hard, your skills improve very fast in short time. Just let go for some weeks or a few months and you feel like a beginner again. You’ll need to train much harder to get back to your previous level. Continue reading
Two toggles – 4 states. Adding just one is simple, but doubles the states to 8. To maintain, understand, test, communicate this added complexity can ruin your product.
“How hard would it be…?” and “can’t you just…” are questions I’m just too familiar with. Leading the software department for our 21+ car2go locations and increasing moovel cities, I get to know all the ideas for cool new features, operational improvement wishes or backlog items we always wanted to realize. But it’s good not to jump on everything right away. On the long run, it pays off to thoroughly analyze every new idea and its potential implementation strategies to identify complexity cost. The goal is to not let this hidden cost pile up as technological debt which makes every refactoring a night mare and introduction of new features more complex.
In his article, Kris Gale (kgale) points out ways to identify and manage that complexity cost. He provides real-world examples, shows that the “value is in what gets used, not what gets built” and focuses on simplicity on product management and implementation. A good read for you and definitely for your colleagues!
Read more here: http://firstround.com/article/The-one-cost-engineers-and-product-managers-dont-consider
The ABC of Living Decisions
I’m writing this post based on experiences I had within the last weeks. I’ve noticed both good and bad examples for something I’ve taken for granted as a base skill: Living decisions. The post is about the “ABC” of living decisions, the difficulty, the importance of achieving clarity within an organization and handling change in a constructive and fair way. Keep on reading for my thoughts on staying authentic and building trust in your decision skills!
Give guidance and clarity with decisions.
Making decisions in a complex environment can be tough and having to make them might be a high pressure. That shouldn’t keep you from making them. In turn, I find it even more important to bring guidance into an organization with precise decisions when the environment resembles a jungle for everyone else.
View into Saint-Just-d’Avray from Josef’s cattle farm
We arrived perfectly right in the Beaujolais region in France for a special weekend: Selected farmers open their gates to the public to show their love for the food they produce. It’s called “De ferme en ferme” – meaning “From farm to farm” and a great chance to get an insight on how they work and what their own approach for delicious local specialities is.
What I really enjoy is tasting the true French local products. But it’s not primarily about eating, it’s discovering the variety of wines, cheeses, vegetables and much more you can grow with a solidary, sustainable, high quality engagement using only local ingredients.
Getting everything set up for April 26th meant a new challenge for our team. We had rolled out 8 cities before, but with 1000 smart vehicles, the fleet was more than double the size of any other car2go city before. Everything was prepared perfectly by the rollout team, people from every department supported the tight plan – and we made it! From 5 hubs we distributed 200 vehicles (each) in 2,5 days.
The first anniversary is a good opportunity to pull up the flickr photo set again. Enjoy!
Sitting on your desk with no idea? It sometimes helps to see other people’s work. Get inspired by this collection of 80 portfolio designs put together by Nancy Young.
Thanks to Lars for pointing me to this article. It’s a great insight on managing large teams over different locations efficiently. In his November 2012 article, Henrik Kniberg (also see my recent post from him introducing scrum) describes a team setup that combines scrum teams and keeps them interacting with each other.
It’s a challenge I’m currently facing as well setting up the new car2go and moovel development teams. I’ll definitely learn from that input for my further steps!
The Next Web highlights the “simplified” terms of service of a Twitter rival Heello, Pinterest and 500px in a recent post: Now this is how to write a terms-of-service document.
Don’t get too exited yet. It is a nice idea to highlight the essence of a lengthy, complicated text right next to it. But wouldn’t we all wish to just have easier to understand terms and conditions at all?
What real simplification is, can be seen in a TED session by Alan Siegel: Let’s simplify legal jargon!. He doesn’t mention terms of service explicitly, but he’d sure have an opinion about them.
Source: Eva-Lotta Lamm
I remember that my fable for visual note taking started somewhere in school. Just writing down what the teacher said or assembling text as home work was not enough. I needed to add some life to it: Historical topics were framed with country shapes, architecture lessons on gothic churches were brightened up with sketches of windows or architectural artifacts.
Somewhere on the way through university, all this went lost. Meeting notes became all text, technical, detailed, boring and were almost never revisited. I wrote things down to better memorize them for myself, but that was quite a poor way. Then came Evernote which I still enjoy for its simplicity and benefit of searching, tagging and having it on every device I use. But still text only. Here’s how to get better.