Monthly Archives: March 2012

A system’s ability to learn

Learning is not strictly an individual human’s job. It is also the job of the system in which they work. There’s examples of computer algorithms that learn from experience, some with more success then others. My favorite algorithm is the auto-correct on my iPhone, that allows my thumbs to flail about with wild abandon and […]

The curse of optimism

Yes I can do it and, no it won’t take too long. Those are the two most common factual errors that come from optimists’ mouths. But there’s actually a deeper problem in some: “I’ll have time to finish tomorrow just before the deadline.” This is a dangerous game. Optimism as a personality trait is a mostly good […]

There’s no such thing as a purely technical problem

All problems are political. They must be sold inside the company to the others, and the people with the biggest pull have the easiest time selling them. If you find your relevence fading, it’s often around that time that you start to feel that somehow the organization around you has become political–things that you used […]

Learn the Details

I hate details. I hate ’em because that’s not what delights me. I love to talk strategy and vision and people and feelings and psychology and problems and successes. To me, details are only fun the first time around, when I’m learning about them for the first time. Learning how to solve a differential equation? […]

Software is like concrete

All too often, I’ve seen companies purchase software, follow the workflow recommended by the vendor, and then never change it. It suddenly becomes the way “It’s Always Been Done”  with no will to tackle the hard process and personality problems that come  with change. Software is scary, and you can’t just go and change the […]

Projecting the present

I just finished a full day of scheduling with one of my clients. We worked through a million-plus dollar job, creating a valid cpm schedule and resource loading it, then using the results to modify and plan for the known unknowns. And it happened again: the things that were happening today got projected into the […]

Set your data free

You don’t know who’s going to come after you and re-use the data you created. Are you recording consumer transactions? Perhaps somebody wants to find out the average spending per person per month. Are you writing an application to automate the entry of timecards? Perhaps the accounting system will change. Are you estimating the number […]

Look the truth in the eye

If what you’re doing right now sucks, talk about it. There’s no creative company culture that does not include a healthy dose of criticism and internal debate. Don’t fly under the radar, but address the issue immediately. And a harder thing: If you can’t talk about the issue at hand, talk about the fact that you can’t talk […]


When you change things, there’s a perception from many that you are “changing too fast.” Where does that perception come from? Often, the changes are actually not that fast, rather, they are drawn out over many months, or even years. I think the issue lies not in the speed of change, but in the communication […]


Are you willing to be inept? Are you willing to go out and try something that you’ve never done before? and fail, publicly? It hurts. But you’ll grow. And failing gracefully often earns you more respect than winning.