It's common knowledge that productivity means getting shit done, not fine-tuning your task management tools. Improving the usage experience from time to time may be necessary, though.
I've got a bunch of customised perspectives that show me certain aspects of my workload. The most important ones sit in the tool bar and I'm happy to have happened upon a collection of icon sets that give the OmniFocus tool bar a consistent design. You can find them over at SimplicityBliss.
Keeping the whole team in the loop about what its members are currently busy with is essential for effective collaboration. Especially for distributed teams. For them, the most common method, the daily Stand-up Meeting, doesn't work as well as it does with co-located teams. At freistil IT, we've replaced them with daily status check emails.
In his blog post "Kill your standup, Alex Godin describes a variant of the email approach practised at Dispatch.io they call "Show and Tell". Obviously, email as a communication tool is far from dead.
For the most common git actions like commits and branches, nothing beats the speed of the command line. But when it gets more complex, a user interface could help make things more clear and easy to manage. There are many GUIs available for git but unfortunately, they tend to get convoluted at times, which defeats their purpose.
Now, there's a console UI that claims to be "the mutt to your Outlook, the Vim to your Emacs, the w3m to your Firefox". Its name fits its philosopy: "tig". Quick, simple, easy to remember.
Read more about it on the Atlassian blog.
I decided to spend some quiet time at the office today. After a few stressful days which made me take the tram to save time, it was time to do my 5000 steps to get into the city again.
Inspired by David Sparks' blog post "Farewell Dave Brubeck" which I read this morning, I chose the "Time Out" album for my walking entertainment instead of my usual podcasts or audiobooks.
I enjoyed listening to the music of the recently deceased Jazz giant very much while walking through the cold winter air. Thanks to my Stupidity Shield™ earbuds, I heard almost nothing from my surroundings and I felt like in the opening scene of "When Harry met Sally".
The only problem with listening to Brubeck during a walk is that synchronizing your steps with the music will be difficult (and certainly awkward) with many of his songs. As David puts it:
"Dave will be missed but people will be unsuccessfully trying to tap their feet to his music long after anyone remembers any of us. Farewell Dave."
We IT operations people love our disaster porn and exchanging war stories is always a great reason to have some drinks together. Recent hurricane Sandy certainly let the book of Ops Tales grow quite a bit. This morning, I came upon the story of how the folks at Squarespace, Fog Creek and Peer1 carried generator fuel up 17 stories to keep things running. I think that's awesome from a lot of perspectives:
- Customer care: They could have just said "Don't blame us, blame the elements.", publish a status page and be done with it until the water was gone. Instead, they did everything they could come up with to keep their services running.
- Team spirit: Their people could just have said "There's nothing in my contract about hauling buckets of fuel around in the dark". Instead, they pulled up their sleeves and went at it.
- Leadership: Getting people to volunteer for this work is already a great leadership achievement. Keeping this up without people dropping out left and right even more.
- Communication: They kept customers in the loop, didn't sugarcoat impending outages and finally delivered much more than they promised. That's perfect PR.
Guys, I bow before you in respect.