November 14, 2022
Week of November 6–12
The Art and Science of Flow
Last week, I participated in the first of four sessions of training on how to use Kanban to create a better workflow system with our team. We are trying to learn how to work smarter rather than work harder. The training is led by Anjali Leon. Our head of production has worked with Anjali in the past and recommended that our team go through this training to help us learn effective strategies to work smarter.
The training was very interactive. We had a little bit of homework that we needed to complete to prepare for the session. It was a combination of videos and reading. One of the videos was a classic sketch from I Love Lucy.
Like several of my teammates, I was not exactly thrilled by the prospect of 4 sessions of 4-hour training. But I chose to be optimistic about the training and that the large time investment was going to improve our team. As we debriefed on Wednesday, all of us agreed that it was very valuable and we got a lot out of the first session. We are looking forward to the conversations it will spark in future sessions and how we can apply what we are learning to come up with a better system and workflow.
We spent a good chunk of time playing Hanabi, a Japanese card game, where you work cooperatively as a team. We learned a lot of valuable insights and had fun playing together. We also did an activity to demonstrate how to batch work efficiently.
Each one of us had a job to do, much like a car assembly line. My job was to add a border to our batch of shapes. One teammate changed the circles into a different shapes. Another changed the font. Another changed the background color. We did them in a batch of ten, batches of four and then we chose batches of two. We timed each round to see which one was most efficient. The exercise demonstrated the importance of finding the right amount of work to batch together at one time.
Our team is broken up into two different cohorts and we meet for training every two weeks. I am so glad that I chose optimism and am really excited about the value that this training is going to give to our team.
- I bounced around on a lot of smaller one-off projects this week.
- I finished the development for the Principal Media. The site moved into internal QA (quality assurance) on Thursday. I had fun working out an animation in the hero section of the homepage.
- I had several 1:1s with other members of the development team. I also met with a contractor through the week that we hope to bring on as a contract-to-hire. I met with him to answer questions and serve as a sounding board for his ideas on how to best build out the design. So far, we are very optimistic that this person is going to be a good fit for our team.
- I participated in a developer interview.
- I sat on a call with an in-house development that helped cleared up some confusion and miscommunication happening over email. I was amazed at how easy it was to clear up just by talking through the problem.
- I refactored the functionality of one of the blocks on the Energy Efficiency Hub. The client wanted to change it to have a “carousel” functionality. I started building out the new component on Thursday and finished it on Friday. I added a “pause” functionality so the user could pause the autoplay in order to read the content below the flag navigation.
Learning new things about my dad
The Mid-Continent Library in Kansas City, where my dad worked for 13 years, put together a Veterans Day salute interviewing four Vietnam veterans, one of which was my dad. On Saturday, I shared some reflections about the video, my dad, and my scare in 1990 when the U.S. went to war in the Middle East. I enjoyed watching and hearing these stories. It was meaningful to learn something new about my dad and hear stories from a part of his life that I don’t know that much about.
Articles I read
- Four ways to protect yourself from burnout
- In the End, There Are Yellow Tulips
- “superfriEnd,” an article by Dan Mall – I like how Dan has been very transparent about his venture through the years. I appreciated this very honest post as one chapter of his life comes to a close. I also like Dan’s new site design. Check it out.
- Day 33: Mathematical expressions in min(), max(), clamp()
- My System for Remembering and Re-Encountering What I Read – I started using ReadWise over the weekend.
- Moving from Critical Review to Critique – This was referenced in an article I read last week. It has me thinking about better ways we could have designers share design mockups and gather feedback internally from our team.
- The Age of Ingratitude
- Why you should never use px to set font-size in CSS – I heartily agree and stopped doing this years ago, especially with my media queries.
- What Does it Take to End Well?
Books I am reading
- The Proverbs of Middle Earth – I finished re-reading this book on Monday
- The Long-Distance Teammate
- Black Box Thinking – Andy Budd mentioned this one on Twitter a couple of weeks ago. I bought a cheaper copy through the Amazon Marketplace. I am enjoying this read about learning from failure.
- A Holy Minister: The Life and Spiritual Legacy of Robert Murray M’Cheyne – I started this biography on Saturday. One of my friends had bought me a book of M’Cheyne’s sermons years ago that I have never read. I have seen his name referenced many times in other things I have read. The book was recently on sale for Kindle and I was interested to learn more about this man. It might inspire me to start reading the book my friend gave me.
- Every Layout – I have been wanting to read this online “book” for a while to understand a philosophy of writing less CSS and “mentoring” the browser and not micromanaging it.
What I watched
- Secretariat (Disney+)
- Extraordinary Attorney Woo (Netflix) – I was sad to come to the end of this one and bummed to see that it will be over a year until there are new episodes.
- Chiefs-Titans game (NBC) – I watched most of the second half and saw the Chiefs come back to beat the Titans via some Mahomes magic.
- Captains (Netflix) – I finished this documentary series on Saturday.
- Andor (Disney+)
- Blue Bloods (CBS)
- Notting Hill (Netflix) – My wife and I enjoyed seeing this rom-com again.
- Monk (Prime) – We watched a few episodes and didn’t really get into it.
- Kim’s Convenience (Netflix) – My wife and I decided to rewatch this one. We really enjoyed watching it earlier this year.
- The Great British Baking Show (Netflix)
- The Pink Panther (Netflix) – The newer version with Steve Martin.
- Veterans Salute 2022: Vietnam Era Veterans Interview – My dad was one of four veterans interviewed for this video made by a local library in Kansas City.
What I played
- FIFA 23 (Manchester City)