What not to do

Working in a team that isn’t heavily invested in documenting requirements and specifications (we usually have a starting set of such things but these soon fall out of step as development evolves) makes it a challenge to know both what is being added to the product and whether it needs to be documented. The development teams recently adopted JIRA and whilst the additional information helps I fear it may give us a bigger problem. As we will (should?) finally have a clear picture of everything being added to the product, will it be too much for us to handle? At present the Publications team have two very large products, with a complex API and code base which is all evolving …

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Faff

I cannot be bothered with faff. This is one personality trait that has definitely changed as I’ve gotten older, or perhaps it’s just a reaction to the years I spent indulging my ‘gadget-geek’ and allowing myself to think that jumping through 5 hoops to get a simple task done was “OK”. My mindset these days is very much that technology is there to serve me. If something starts getting in my road I’ll work around it, or replace it completely, ruthlessly. I’m about to talk about a technology company which I know some people don’t like, but bear with me. I have an iPhone, an iPad, Apple TV and an internet connected Samsung TV. The bulk of my content consumption …

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It's not easy being green

Last year I flew to America (visiting Boston and Chicago) and this year I’ll be flying to London (twice) and to Singapore later in the year. I’m travelling much more than I used to so I guess it’s only natural that I’m pondering how to rebalance my carbon emissions. This definitely played into my decision making when I recently changed cars and whilst it wasn’t my main focus, I was pleased to get a hybrid engined car (petrol/battery). It’s also a nice side-effect of getting fit and cycling to work now and then (not as often as I should mind you) that I don’t run my car as often either. However, to properly rebalance things I need to do more. …

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TCUK 12

The time has come, so Gordon said, to talk of many things, of slides and chats, and learning facts, and something else that rhymes but I’m rubbish at poetry (with sincere apologies to Lewis Carroll). Enough of that though, what I want to talk about is the Technical Communications Conference 2012 (TCUK12) and why you should go. Disclaimer: I serve on the Council of the ISTC, who organise this event.  Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time a young (ok, middle-aged) man had started a new job and was trying to figure out the best way to improve things and solve some of his problems. The year was 2007. At the time, the young man (oh shut …

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All change!

Ever wanted to just throw everything away and start over? I’ve been tempted by this notion recently and, whilst it may seem a bit ill-conceived, part of me does wonder what would happen if we just, quietly, started removing some parts of our documentation. In fairness, we’ve done that in the past. Our Development Kit has many aspects to it but, applying that old favourite 80/20 rule, we realised we didn’t need to maintain or even publish documentation on every single function point. One of the reasons for the current line of thinking is that, quite simply, we have too much information. There are too many places to find information about our product, so we are refocusing and slimming down …

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Back from Tunisia

We did done a holiday! We had a few simple criteria for our holiday. It needed to be under £500 each, it needed to be somewhere hot and sunny, and ideally it needed to be all inclusive. After various online searches, we had it narrowed down to a week in Cyprus, or a week in Tunisia. Icelolly.com helped keep the price to just under £400 pp and we ended up picking Tunisia as it was a bit different (and Kirsty has been to Cyprus before). It’s safe to say we lucked out and had a fantastic holiday! We stayed at a hotel that was built in the 1970s, built in the style of an old Medina, mostly two stories tall …

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