Happy New Year

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

This is the time of year when people start thinking about new year’s resolutions and setting goals.

I listened to a podcast a few weeks ago that discussed setting goals. One of the ideas that was discussed was setting daily or weekly “micro-goals”. A micro-goal is a small goal that is easy to meet. One of the examples they gave was setting a goal of doing a single push-up every day. That is a goal that is easy to meet and you can feel good about keeping the streak of met daily goals continuing. An example why that they gave was when he was sick with the flu, he could still meet the daily goal. There is a psychological benefit of keeping the streak going which is why having a “micro-goal” is more beneficial than saying 20 push-ups every day and failing to meet the goal. Another thing that was discussed was setting measurable goals. A goal that says become a better “_____” is not very good because it cannot be measured and it is tough to know if you achieved it. One example of a goal that I have set is to make a blog post every week. I actually started this one a couple of months ago.

It is important to note that these are short term goals being discussed and not bucket list type of items. You can still have goals like visiting Australia or climbing a mountain. Those are more of an achievement than something you do regularly and can measure.

I hope some of these thoughts are of benefit to you as you start the New Year.

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

I want to encourage you to take time away from the hustle and bustle that can get going this time of year and remember the real reason for the season. I know it’s a cliche, but it is true as well. Let’s remember God’s gift to us and count all the blessings we have in our lives.

2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Developer Podcast Recommendations

I would like to recommend a group of podcasts that are hosted by Charles Max Wood. They are all similar in format – a panel of people that can change from show to show discussing development topics. You can find them all at DevChat.tv. I have not listened to all of the podcasts he hosts, but based on the ones I do listen to, they are all recommended.

Here are the ones that I do listen to:

  • The Ruby Rogues is the first podcast of his I started listening to. I was interested in learning more about Ruby, but quite a few of these are good general developer oriented podcasts that would be beneficial even if you don’t use Ruby.
  • Javascript Jabber, as you can guess from the title, is JavaScript focused. A lot of these are focused on various JavaScript libraries.
  • The Freelancer’s Show is targeted to consultants and freelancers. Some of the shows are focused on good development strategies or habits to develop. I think this is valuable as well.

Chuck also has 3 more podcasts that I don’t have time to listen to, but check them out if they are of interest to you. I find all of these help me stay up-to-date with development trends.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History Podcast

I would like to recommend Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History Podcast. I had heard several recommendations for this podcast, but had not gotten around to checking it out. I finally did and think it is a great podcast. I have only listened to his series on World War I and I have gained lots of insight.

In my schooling, WWI was largely overlooked and the teachers always jumped to the 20’s, the Great Depression and then World War II. From this podcast, I have learned a lot about the origins of this conflict, how it changed society and how it is still affecting us until now. It is more than just a recitation of facts. He brings history alive with insights and stories from a unique perspective.

I will warn you though, this is a long podcast series. They appear to be coming out quarterly and each episode is 3-4 hours long. Even at that, I still consider it a good investment of time. I am looking forward to the completion of the WWI series. I also intend to listen to more of the archive. He also has a podcast called Common Sense which I would recommend. It is focused on current events. I have only listened to one of those and enjoyed it as well.

Monthly TAP Meeting

Just went to the monthly TAP meeting. TAP is the Tulsa Agile Practioners meetup. I have been going for the last few months. They meet on the first Tuesday of every month. If you are in the Tulsa area, I would highly recommend it.

This month was a follow on to last month’s meeting. We continued to discuss User Story Maps and actually did a demo workshop this month. Jason Knight did a great job leading the discussion. The workshop clearly demonstrated how you can get a better understanding of a project and how to do effective release planning.