Tom The Architect

Technology and other Interesting Stuff

Category: Lists

My 10 Standard Operating Principles

Teams operate best when they have perfect clarity and focus. This can be challenging to almost impossible at times, but one thing I have learned is we all need a common set of operating principles to fall back on when clarity and focus are in short supply. These basic principles  are intended to help an individual or team to keep moving. The list provides basic tools to help create clarity or to allow for action to be taken without fear of a mistake.  I have found that 7 out of 10 principles generally work for any team and only need minor adjustment or 2 or 3 additional principles.  I am also constantly looking for ways to refine the principles to make them more clear and actionable without being specific instructions.  So here they are in no particular order:

  1. 2 in the box.  Escalate until you have someone with shared responsibility or accountability. Batons get passed not dropped.
  2. Lead with a straw man. No one likes to be put on the spot, give them something to work with or to save face with if they are not prepared.
  3. A problem has a cause and a solution bring both.
  4. Decisions are made better with data.
  5. People understand what they know.  Give examples using what they know.
  6. Outcomes first, then focus on the means and the credit.
  7. Your communicating enough when you feel like you are bothering people.
  8. UNODIR (Unless Otherwise Directed) Take measured action, adjust and communicate.
  9. Draw a picture.  A picture is worth 10 meetings (at least), even one hand drawn in pencil and scanned.
  10. Here Be Dragons.  There are many risks, challenges and issues mark them for others.

These 10 aren’t perfect but they can only get better.

What would I tell my 15 year-old self, if I could?

This exercise was put forth over at Gapers Block. I found the comments very interesting seeing a mix of shared insight, missed opportunity and painful regret. So I thought really hard what I would tell myself, and I realized I wouldn’t focus on any one event. I find my missed opportunities and my past transgressions make me and I prefer to live in the present.
But if I could, I would tell the 15 year old me:

  • Put more at risk.
  • Always look for the good in people.
  • When you commit to something give yourself completely.
  • Breath, be still and don’t worry so much.
  • (okay one specific event)Go to the Nirvana Concert!!!!!!!!

More importantly,
If I really could I would tell the 10 year old me, don’t play king of the dumpster, don’t push your sister.

My list of companies that make bags for MacBooks

I am looking for a bag to carry my 15″ MacBook Pro. I really don’t like reading all the comments so I consolidated all the links I found on the web. The only commentary I have on all the bag makers below is, I have owned a Brenthaven bag for nearly 5 years and I give it very high marks.

http://www.spireusa.com/
http://www.pinderbags.com/
http://www.acmemade.com/
http://www.sfbags.com/
http://www.sjdesign.com/
http://www.booqbags.com/
http://www.timbuk2.com/
http://www.marware.com/
http://www.tombihn.com/
http://www.brenthaven.com/
http://www.mac-case.com/
http://store.mozilla.org/
http://www.ogio.com/
http://www.crumplerbags.com/
http://thenorthface.com
http://www.axio-usa.com/
http://www.tumi.com/
http://www.goincase.com/
http://www.be-ez.com/
http://www.radtech.us/
http://www.case-mate.com/
http://www.iskin.com/
http://www.pakuma.com/
http://www.keenfootwear.com/
http://www.jansport.com/
http://www.targus.com/
http://www.patagonia.com/ via Cote
http://www.acmemade.com/
http://alchemygoods.com/
http://www.freitag.ch/
http://www.boblbee.com/

Things that chew up my attention

  1. Keeping My iPod updated
  2. Paying for my gas, (No! I don’t want to buy a car wash, No! I don’t want a receipt, Do I ever choose anything but 87 octane)
  3. Buying anything at CDW.com (But I still love the company)
  4. Television (I know I need tivo, heck I need digital cable)
  5. The weirdness that is Google reader (Love, hate. aaahh!)
  6. Link wandering (I have found great stuff but it takes forever)
  7. My corporate calendar (no mobile integration)
  8. Ubuntu, switch and you will know what I mean (Mac here I come, as soon as I save my pennies)

Attention what do I value most

I value:

  1. people, products and services that make my attention efficient and effective.
  2. attention I receive from others and wish to make their attention efficient and effective.
  3. title to, access to and control of my attention artifacts.
  4. those who recognize that attention exchanges are and should always be symmetrical.

Silos that house my attention data

So I just thought I would list out where some of my attention data is stored, definitely not an exhaustive list and not in any order. This list just screams opportunities for attention efficiency, forget paying me for my attention data just let me be more efficient with it.

Where is your attention data stored?

I invite you to create your own lists in the comments section or trackback your list. I am interested to see where all our attention data goes.

  • Google
  • My VOIP provider
  • Coremetrics
  • Blockbuster
  • Safeway
  • Credit Cards (multiple Parties, I worked in the industry and it would scare you the amount of data they have)
  • Microsoft
  • ISP
  • Yahoo
  • eBay
  • Amazon
  • Cell phone provider
  • My employer
  • Local Government
  • Tollway authority
  • AOL
  • My hosting provider
  • Apple
  • My preferred airline
  • My preferred Hotel

Update:

  • Del.icio.us
  • Linkedin
  • Firefox
  • My Car
  • Flickr
  • Ofoto

List of languages I have programmed in

A list of languages I have had to code in. The list is in no particular order.

  • Perl
  • Java
  • Ruby
  • Basic
  • FOCUS
  • Fortran
  • COBOL
  • PL/1
  • Visual Basic

Most Popular Books at Java one: Update

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I thought I would update the list of best selling books at JavaOne. It was sad to see Ruby for Rails drop off the list. Looks like AJAX was a popular topic, taking 6 of the spots on the list.

Links:

Most Popular Books at Java one, originally uploaded by TomC.

My Interface Design Principles

I did some work on putting together a new interface design for an application. So, I thought I would provide my guiding principles.

  1. “Information becomes the interface”, Edward Tufte in Visual Explanations p.142.
  2. “OODA Loop” (Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action) By Col John Boyd, USAF (Ret).
  3. Information displays should strive to be no wider than 16 choices and 2 levels deep.
  4. Base change on real observed behavior. The qualitative can not eliminate the quantitative
  5. To some degree the interface has to be stupid simple. The antithesis to this principle is demonstrated by some large ERP software vendors.
  6. Do as much work beyond view of the customer as possible.
  7. Icons are Iconic or they are not valuable.
  8. Visual oriented communication occurs a faster rate and results in increased short term retention
  9. Make help always available and obvious
  10. Continuity Continuity Continuity
  11. Empathy

Books I am currently Reading

Becoming a Technical Leader: An Organic Problem-Solving Approach The Brand You 50 : Or : Fifty Ways to Transform Yourself from an 'Employee' into a Brand That Shouts Distinction, Commitment, and Passion! The Daily Drucker                                                                : 366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done