Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Feature Was Born

There is a fascinating phenomenon that I am following, one I would call "Overanalyze, Underdeliver". I find it fascinating because I catch myself often wanting to slow things down to think, not trusting the others on their thinking and assuming delivering something could be the end of it.

When delivering truly continuously, there is no beginning, and no end. There are just steps on our journey to build something our users find more valuable, rather than less.

There is an evolving product vision we work against. It wasn't defined by product management, but it is most certainly influenced by them channeling different stakeholders - with their particular kind of filter. It is emerging from discussions with many different parties, including customers we actively seek out.

From this foundation, a single developer can have a great idea of how to make things better.

In last week, I have been following a feature being born and the discussions and actions we take around it.

Awareness of such a feature was born two years ago, and the wishful thinking of it was cut down before it bloomed. It needed people in a particular team to have time for it and they had higher priority work.

In two years, things changes. Not that the particular team would have time, they don't. But we took our internal open source practices to a next level, where we don't only share components on our main programming language, but bravely go polyglot-one-more and with right motivation, can make changes beyond our previous scope.

So it bloomed again. The "we need to think this through" meaning "I can't think this through right now" came about again. But this time instead of spending time on thinking it through in an abstract way, a developer molded the thing in code.

Today came the time to think it through - demoing, testing and improving the feature as a group. Tomorrow is the time to get it in, in a pull request.

A feature was born. It was born in a time where choosing the discussion route, we would still be discussing. What fascinates me most is about how much power there is in breaking off the defaults and reorganizing the flow.

We probably saw the earliest exploratory testing & fixing we have been capable of so far - before ever making that pull request.

An early Christmas for a Testing Dreamer. And just a happy day for a process rebel.

Monday, November 11, 2019

What the Testing We Do Looks Like?

Back in the days before releasing frequently was a thing, testing looked very different. The main difference was that we thought of automation as something that was replacing attended testing, whereas we now see it more as a way of introducing scale of unattended testing we could never have done attended.

The stuff we attend to changed as the world around us shifted. We still do "testing" with just as many hours, but the work is split on working heavily on unit tests, test automation and other quality practices.

I try to explain the change I see with a metaphor: pool is not a bigger bathtub. Both these are containers of water (just like software development is just making and delivering code changes), but what you can do in a pool is very different than what you can do in a bathtub. Imagine a bath guard - kind of hilarious. Or a bath party - very eccentric. We create new things we can do with just a bigger container of water, and bringing down the release cycle does something very similar to the ways we work. The whole conceptual model of what makes sense changes.

In efforts to describe what seems to make sense right now, I work on finding words to describe what testing I do looks like to me. It is not a tool for sense making the whole world of all testing, and I don't need a tool for that - I don't work in the whole world, I don't consult in the whole world. I merely describe my lessons from where I am for the organization that I work for but also in my understanding of how the world comes together.

For me, it all is customer-obsessed  and developer-centric. We all care for where the money comes for our business. And we recognize and appreciate that we have something out there that people are already paying for that we want to always improve and never make worse. But we already have something valuable


Smart Developers Turn Ideas Into Code

Since it is already out there, I can't describe a phase of requirements gathering, but rather it begins with a vision of value. There is always, even if informally, a mostly shared base of understanding of the types of things we are providing for the customers. I recognize vision not from a document someone wrote, but from discussions with multiple members of community bringing perspectives driving us to a similar direction. Similar, not same, as vision is in its most powerful state when it guides individual actions without excessive coordination.

From having something out there working for the customers and vision, we come to a set of ideas on what we could try to make things better. This part of the process of coming up and acting on the ideas, turning them into code, is where the change gets made.

Some ideas are bigger, and they are hard to grasp alone. Smart people are not alone, but surrounded by other smart people. Together, we can make ideas better, and as such, the resulting code better. Or we can discover the ideas in the first place.

Let me share a small example of how I can reasonably expect my days to be from today. 
I had a Windows machine I had kicked up from an image last week, forgetting that the images in that particular set of images give me a fairly old version of windows, one where our .Net dependency for showing a full UI stops me from seeing the UI that I wanted to test. I run a windows update tool on Friday, and since that takes its time, did something different going back to the computer today. As I remote to the computer, I see the IP but I wasn't remembering the name of the computer. There is one very simple way for me to do it: logging into our security management portal and seeing it there. So I did.  
I found the computer, got things I needed but also noticed we had started showing both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. Having been elsewhere, I had not followed that detail, but just looking at it I said that I didn't like a detail on how they were ordered. 5 minutes later of me just casually mentioning this, I had a pull request to review that fixed the problem. We added a bit of discussion around what I would test around more network interfaces that was hard to simulate, and another pull request on an additional unit test was created. 
My tester-contribution can happen anywhere, anytime, without constraint of a process. It will happen from a foundation of me (the tool) being in the right mind in the right place to connect things. And I cultivate the chances of that lucky accident through discussions but also, hands-on with my external imagination - the product - either directly or through a set of scripts known as test automation (TA). 

On doing my work, I rely on an existing structure that we have built and are enhancing as we learn what we are missing:
  • A Smart Developer creates code to change the application 
  • Unit tests on local machine to 80-90% coverage 
  • Pull Request Review - a minimum of second pair of eyes on change
  • Static tools of various flavors in the pipeline
  • Unit tests in the pipeline
  • TA in the pipeline (with TA telemetry)
  • CI environment application telemetry
  • Change-log driven exploratory testing
  • Changes out in other product line continuous beta
  • Changes out in internal pilot
  • Changes out in early access
  • Synthetic monitoring aka. production TA (or machines, in production, continuously monitored)
  • Production Telemetry, positive events and error events 
The like "TA in the pipeline" is more than a few scripts run, and I will dedicate a post of its own to it later. 

With every change, we try to leave things better than they were before. Caring developers pulling in the help they need, and making the help readily available is what testing looks like to me. Testers are developers. We change things, but we also change the other developers perceptions. 

We see things other people don't. 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

A Career Retrospective

With few decades in the software industry, I have something I would call a career. I would not have seen how my career unfolds in advance, and I could never have described what I do as a path I want to take.

A few heuristics have served me well:
  • Do something you enjoy (and some of it should bring money in)
  • Always be learning. 
  • Have a goal, just to recognize whether what you enjoy takes you there. If not, change the goal. 
For some years, I had a goal of becoming an international keynote speaker and I did a lot of my choices around that goal. I chose jobs that built me a platform of experiences to speak on, doing things hands on with product development rather than consulting. And I became a keynote speaker that wants to quit speaking and replace her contribution of 20-30 talks a year with 20-30 new speakers who start from a platform of mentoring.

My current goal goes under the working name "Maaret to Wikipedia" and if you have ideas on how to do that, I am open to suggestions. Currently it feel funny, self-indulgent and next to impossible to see the route, and it is already making an impact on how I prioritize - within things I enjoy - the things I end up doing. The best thing about this goal is how supported I feel for it at work with my close colleagues and how it helps me see some people who always lift me up when I need it (Marit van Dijk, I'm thinking of you).

A lot of the work I do is invisible.

I help people who are speakers to get their messages out better. Sometimes giving people the transformative insight into what they are speaking on takes me literally a few minutes, and the people seeing their own experience in a different light completely miss the shine I added.  They would not be better off without running into me - usually very intentionally on my part.

At work I facilitate a developer-centric way of working in a way that mixes holding space for good things, injecting good things and leading by doing some of the things. The work I do leaves behind very few pull requests, but many things others do shine a little better because of the stuff I do.

I change jobs fairly often, leaving behind people who, I would hope, know something more because our paths have crossed. The companies interest is not lifting their people up, rather to abstract us under a brand.

I write blogs, articles and all kinds of texts. It changes what some people do. Yet when they do it, doing it is their own success.

I build talks of my experiences, I show up to share, and I discuss with people. Meeting people gives me a lot of energy, new ideas and drive.

I'm not exactly a one trick pony within software - but software all in all is my trick. My interests are manyfold. I speak and write about exploratory testing, test automation, teaching programming, mob & pair programming, agile, management, self-development, conference organizing, speaking, diversity, and any observations around software that I feel like. I'm usually known for things I do on the side, rather than the things I focus on.

What I'm particularly proud of is my ability to re-invent myself and see my belief systems shattered - with my own initiative. Listing things that I believed to be true that aren't so is one of my favorite pastimes.

A Vague Timeline

In recent reflections, I have come to appreciate how large chunks of my work during my career has been left to oblivion as per how things are and personal choices of not sticking with them. They've all given me a platform to observe things from. They also bring out feelings of wishing someone would have taught my younger self some of the things I now know. But I also recognize that my younger self did what she could with the conditions she was under, and every experience I have had has made me the person I am today. Hindsight bias makes us feel like we could have known things, and if there is one thing exploratory testing really enforces in learning, it is that the reality of missing things is the reality and we outcomes are unpredictable. 

Today:

  • Describing test automation at work as a baseline for returning to research - on applying AI in testing, and applying testing in AI-based systems
  • Building a self-organized developer-centric team with modern agile practices that have enough structure for the powerless
  • Writing further my books on Mob Programming, Strong-Style Pair Programming and Exploratory Testing
  • Organizing a conference as experimentation platform to change the world of conferences
  • Helping aspiring speakers by finding them mentors with SpeakEasy (or mentoring them myself)
Before, each step going sort of backwards in time in a way that makes sense to me:
  • Becoming an expert in exploratory testing. I've done this all my career, and it is the one thing that has been my continued focus. 
  • Becoming an expert in engineering management. I did not realize I had been learning this in my test manager role before. A few decades of reading every book on the topic to manage up effectively as a tester did help. 
  • Becoming an expert in test automation. Moving it from none to some, and from some to better. Knowing well what better looks like. 
  • Speaking in conferences, meetups and delivering training sessions that total 399 sessions. 
  • Discussing (and improving) conference proposals in 15 minute time-slots over three years with about 500 people and discovering a process I call "Call for Collaboration". 
  • Popularizing "Testers don't break your code, they break your illusions about the code" by speaking about it, elaborating it with samples from my professional life, beyond testing conferences. The guy who said it did not do the work I did around it. Google for evidence and stop assuming my work belongs to him. 
  • Introducing frequent product releases where it was "impossible" as release updates computers in the millions. 
  • Introducing daily product releases where it was "impossible" as there was no test automation. 
  • Organizing 5 years of European Testing Conference to learn how (if) conferences should pay the speakers, to create a true networking conference and to bring together developers and testers on a shared testing agenda.
  • Becoming an expert in pair and mob testing (and programming). 
  • Teaching programming (in Java) to women over 30 and kids with the Intentional method using pair and mob programming as core instruments in teaching.
  • Teaching Software Testing at Aalto University of Applied Sciences / Helsinki University of Technology both as main lecturer but also as visiting industry speaker
  • Doing my first keynote to only be known as the woman the other keynoter spent their keynote bashing "out of respect and surprise how alike we think". 
  • Building and teaching a 22-day on-site Testing training program to enable unemployed career changers into the industry. Delivering a second iteration as independent trainer. 
  • Running Finnish Association for Software Testing for decade and letting it wither away as a man was rewarded and thanked for starting the thing. Starting Software Testing Finland (Ohjelmistotestaus ry) to start over, only to realize that there was no correcting as any communities around the topic in Finland are intertwined in people's minds. 
  • Becoming an expert in complex test environments. If you ever feel like talking about the kinds of environments that cost a million and take minimum of 6 months to deliver, then we have similar experiences. 
  • Becoming an expert in defect management and bug advocacy. Analyzing a large set of defect management tools in order to select one against requirements gathered in a fairly large organization. 
  • Becoming an expert in acceptance testing. I know how to get domain experts clueless on testing just enough structure to excel and not waste effort and impact the quality at start of acceptance testing through contracts and collaboration. I spent some years intensively learning it. 
  • Becoming an expert in test management. Running multi-million projects as test manager, but also running smaller ones. I did this for different companies to get the crux of it.
  • Becoming an expert in software contract quality and testing -related aspects. If you ever want to spend a few hours on discussing how badly contractors can behave and how you recognize loopholes in contracts around this, I'm your person. 
  • Becoming an expert in software processes leading up to agile. When Alistair Cockburn asks who has read his work on Crystal, there were not many others in the room that had. Research gives you chances to read and think deeply about what others are saying. 
  • Becoming an expert in benchmarking with the TPI-model. Analyzing 25 Finnish companies with TPI-model and doing a benchmark on state of testing in Finland. I can still speak on the details because I did the work even if the company kept me in the background. 
  • Doing my first talk on the topic of Extreme Programming in 2001. 
  • Researching (and publishing) on software product development, and (exploratory) testing
  • Becoming an expert in localization testing. I spent years running localization testing projects and doing it myself and learning everything I could read on then and since on how localization testing works. 

Even if I have my "Maaret to wikipedia" project, it serves more as a way of thinking through what there is that I could even do. In the end of the day, I go back to my heuristics: do what you enjoy, and always be learning. Goals move, but appreciation of learning with great people remains. 

Rethinking Test Automation - From Radiators to Telemetry

Introducing Product Telemetry

A week after we started our "No Product Owner" experiment a few years back, the developers now each playing their bit in product owner decided they were no longer comfortable making product decisions on hunches. In now common no hassle way, they made a few pull requests to change how things were, and our product started sending telemetry data on its use.

As so often is, things in the background were a little more complex. There was another product doing the pioneer work on what kind of events to send and sending events, so we could ride on their lessons learned and to a large extent, implementation. The thing I have learned to appreciate most in hindsight is the pioneer work they did on creating us an approach to care for privacy and consent as key design principles. I've come to appreciate it only through other players asking us on how we do it.

The data-driven ways took hold of us, and transformed the ways we built some of the features. It showed us that what our support folks know and what our real customers know can be very far apart, and we as a devops team could change the customer reality without support in the middle.

The concept of Telemetry was a central one. It is a feature of the product that enables us to extend other features so that they send us event information about their use.

At first product telemetry was telling us about positive events. Someone wanted to use our new feature, yay! From the positive, we could also deduct the negative: we created this awesome feature and this week only a handful of people used it, what are we not getting here?  We learned that based on those events, we did not need to ask all questions beforehand, but we could go back exploring the data to learn patterns that confirmed or rejected our ideas.

We soon came to conclusions that events about error scenarios would also tell us a lot, and experimented with building abilities to fix things so that the users wouldn't have to do the work of complaining.

This was all new to us and as such cool, but it is not like we invented this. We just did what the giants did before us, adapting it to ensure it fits to the ideas of how we are working with our customers.

We Could Do This in CI!

As telemetry was a product feature, we tested it as a feature, but did not at first realize that it could have other dimensions. It took us a while to realize that if we collected the same product telemetry from our CI (testing) environment than we did in production, it would not tell us about our customers but it would tell us about our testing.

As we did that, we learned things about the way we test (with automation in particular) that the scale of things creates fascinating coverage patterns. There were events that would never be triggered. There was a profile of events that was very different to that of production. A whole new layer of coverage discussions was available.

This was different use of the same feature we had in the product in test than in production.

The Test Automation Frustration

To test the product we are creating, we have loads of unit tests to do a lot of heavy lifting on giving feedback on mistakes we may make when changing things. As useful as unit tests are, we still need the other kinds of testing, and we bundle this all together in a system we lovingly call TA. As you may imagine, TA is shorthand for Test Automation, but the way I hear it, I rarely hear the long word at work but TA is all around.

"We need to change TA for this."
"We need to add this to TA."
"TA is not blue. Let's look at it."

TA for us is a fairly complex system, and I'm not trying to explain it all today. Just to give some keywords of it: Python3, Nosetest, DVMPS/KVM, Jenkins, and Radiators.

Radiator is something you can expect to see in every team room. The ones we're using were built by some consultants back in the days when this whole thing was new, and I have only recently seen modernized versions someone else built in some of the teams. It's a visual into all of the TA jobs we have and a core part of TA as such.


The Radiator builds a core principle on how we would want to do things. We would want it to be blue. As you see from the image of its state yesterday as I was leaving office, it isn't.

When a box in that view is not blue, you know a Jenkins job is failing. You can click on the job, and check the results. Effectively you read a log telling you what failed.

A lot of times what failed is that some part the TA relies on in its infrastructure was overloaded. "Please work on the infrastructure, or try again later."

A lot of times what failed is that while we test our functionalities, they rely on others. They may be unavailable or broken. Effectively we do acceptance testing of other folks changes in the system context.

Some people love this. I love it with huge reservations, meaning I complain about it. A lot. It frustrates me.

It turns me into either someone who ignores a red, or risking overlapping work. It requires a secretary that communicates for it. It begs people to ignore it unless reminded. It casts a wide net with poor granularity. It creates silent maintenance work where someone is continuously turning it back blue, that hides the problems and does not enable us to fix the system that creates the pain.

I admire the few people we have that  open a box and routinely figure out what the problem was. I just wish it already said the problem.

And as I get to complaining about the few people, I get to complain about the logs. They are not visitor friendly. I don't even want to get started on how hard it is for people to tell me what tests we have for X (I ask to share my pain) or for me to read that code (which I do). And logs reflect the code.

From Radiator to Telemetry

A month ago, I was facilitating a session to figure out how to improve what we have now in TA. My list of gripes is long, but I do recognize that what we do is great, lovely, wonderful and all that. It just can be better.

The TA we have:

  • spawns 14 000 windows virtual machines a day (older number, I am in process of checking a newer one)
  • serves three teams, where my team is just one 
  • tests 550 unique tests for my team for number of windows flavors on pull request
  • tests all the 15 products we are delivering from my team
  • runs 100 000 - 150 000 tests a day for my team
  • finds crashes and automatically analyzes them
  • finds regression bugs in important flows
  • enables us to not die out of boredom repeating same tests over and over again
  • allows us to add new OS support and new products very efficiently

The meeting concluded it was time for us to introduce telemetry to TA - and some of the numbers above on the unique tests and number of runs daily are our first results of that telemetry in action.

Just as with the product, we changed the TA product to include a feature that allows us to send event telemetry. 

We see things like passes and fails now in the context of the large numbers, instead of the latest results within a box on the radiator. 

We see things in multiple radiator boxes combined together into the reason we before needed to verify from the logs. 

We see what tests take long. We see what tests pass and what fail. 

And we have only gotten started.

The historic date of the feature going live was this week Thursday. I'm immensely proud of my colleague Tatu Aalto for driving through code changes to make it possible, and the tweets where he is correcting me on my optimism warning he had a few bugs he already fixed. I'm delighted that my colleague Oleg Fedorov got us to see a solution through seeing things. And I can't wait to see what we make out of it. 







Monday, November 4, 2019

A meeting culture transformation

As I was looking into mob programming some years back, we summarized a common theme of complaints into a little cartoon with people discussing in a meeting room.
Person 1:
My team is interested in trying Mob Programming.
The idea is everyone works together on one computer.
The person at the keyboard is just typing what the whole team tells them to. So everyone is involved, instead of 5 people watching 1 person work.
You rotate quickly, every 5 minutes, to develop cross-functional teams and eliminate knowledge silos.
Ideas get implemented the best way the team can no matter who has them.
Misunderstandings and bugs are minimized.

Person 2:
Sounds like I'd be paying 5 people to do 1 job.
Now let's stop talking such nonsense. I still have a lot of slides to go through.
The word around is that managers hate mob programming. As a manager who wants my team to do mob programming but they refuse, I think we love blaming managers for our own assumptions we did not keep in check.


Up until this morning when I came to office, I was discussing how Mob Programming is different than a meeting. What changed this morning is that a colleague read my latest Mob Programming Guidebook  and pointed out that while we don't really do full-on mob programming, we have managed to transform our meetings into little mob sessions.

It's funny how you need someone else's eyes to see how you're different.

For the last three years here, I have not gone to a single meeting with slides prepared.
I don't go unprepared. But I never ever write an agenda in advance.
When I start a meeting, we build an agenda. It might be that we actively  take time to build it. Or it might be that we build it by parking themes that pop up that are relevant but not about the thing we are trying to sort out right now.
We work the agenda within a timebox either by doing the most important work first, or by doing just enough of it that the rest can happen offline, outside the meeting without others losing context completely.

As my colleague points out: all our meetings are little mob sessions. How about yours?

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Mobbing with an Audience

I've run some hundreds of mob programming and testing sessions with new groups for purposes of conference talks and trainings, and while I prefer setting up a full day session so that I can mob with the whole group of 25 people, sometimes I end up splitting the group for demo purposes. I was writing about this for the new version of Mob Programming Guidebook, and thought it might make useful content just as a blog post. 

Mob programming with an audience is a special setup that is useful tool especially to someone teaching mob programming, teaching any skills in software development in a hands-on style making new kinds of sessions available for conferences, or generally running demo sessions with partial session participant involvement. As a conference speaker and a trainer, a lot of our mob programming experience comes from facilitating mob programming sessions with various groups. For a training, we usually set up the whole group into a mob where everyone rotates. For conference sessions where time constraints limit participant numbers for effective mobbing, we use mobbing with an audience.

THE SETUP

For mobbing with an audience, you split the room to two groups:
  • The Mob. For the most effective mob made of complete strangers is small. You want to have a diverse set of mob programmers. These are the people doing the work. 
  • The Audience. The rest of the group sit in rows as audience. The role of the audience is to watch and make observations, and their participation is welcome when doing a retrospective.
For the mob, you will set up a basic mob setup in the front of the room with chairs for each person, whiteboard furthest away from the computer to ensure speaking volume for the designated navigator through the physical setup.

For this setup, you will need a room with chairs that are freely moving. Make sure text on the screen is big enough not only for the mob to see, but the audience to follow as well.

TIPS FOR THE FACILITATOR

As we have run some hundreds of sessions with various groups in this format, we have had things go wrong in many ways.

Things you can do in advance to ensure less problems
  • If the room is big, ask for a microphone for both the driver and designated navigator. It is essential that people in the room can hear their dialog. While there are no decisions allowed on the driver seat, speaking back to the navigators pointing out things you see and they don’t is often necessary. 
  • If you have only one microphone, give that to the designated navigator. Even in smaller rooms, the microphone can work as a talking stick the designated navigator passes around for other navigators and can help create an atmosphere where everyone in the mob gets to contribute. 
  • Make sure the text on the screen is visible from the back row. Avoid dark theme, it does not serve you well for live coding and testing in front of an audience. 
  • When selecting the diverse mob, what you need to do for this depends on who you are. If you are a white man facilitator and want women, start with inviting women or facilitate mob member selection in a way that gives you a diverse set of mob programmers. As a white woman, women volunteer for me in ways they don’t for the men and I need to work and I need to work on other aspects of diversity. 
  • For a demo mob, you may want to demo a group with experience working on the problem and even together. If that is your aim, invite the people you want for the mob in advance. 
  • A new mob with different experiences highlights many powerful lessons around collaboration and people helping each other and your goal to set up a fluent demo is probably infrequent. The new programmers exclaiming “they now know how to do TDD” as equal contributors is a powerful teaching tool. 
Things you can do while mobbing to improve the experience
  • Encourage people in the audience who want to be navigating from the audience to join the mob. To be more exact, demand that or holding their perspective that can be very disruptive. 
  • If you want to introduce who is in the mob, you can do that on first round of rotation. If you want deeper introduction, you can have a different question to tell about themselves on each round of rotation. 
  • When people rotate, ask them to tell what they continue on. It helps to enforce the yes and -rule and is sometimes necessary when nervous participants have been building their private plan waiting for the hot seat. 
  • When group is stuck, ask questions. “Does it compile?”, “What should you do next?”, “Did you run the tests?”, “What are your options now?”. Your goal is not to do things for them but get them to see what they could be doing. 
  • When group is stuck in not knowing how to do a thing, say “Let me step in to navigate” and model how to do a thing for short timeframe. Expect the group to do that themselves the next time. 
Things you can do in retrospective to save up a messy session
  • Facilitate a retrospective towards discussions around reasons we could learn from for lack of progress
  • Introduce theories or ideas of how you could try doing things different the next time. 
  • Find your own style of facilitating groups of strangers. Having seen multiple people facilitate, there are style differences where one person’s approach would feel off on another. Strong-handed “supporting progress” and light-handed “enabling discovery” will result in sessions that are different. 

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Never Stop Learning

I have a full time work that I enjoy, and I very carefully review my own satisfaction to the impacts going on at work. I require myself a balance of being productive and generative. Not one to the other, but a balance of these two.

I'm being productive when I:

  • strategize testing and communicate strategies so that we are better aware of problems I will be looking for
  • test (possibly documenting as test automation) to add to coverage of what might work but particularly identify things that did not
  • have the gazillion discussions leading to over time to a process improvement or someone else's raise
  • when I fix problems, be in it the program or in the way people interact
I'm being generative when I: 
  • teach others how they do better testing when I am not around to do it
  • lead people into insights that make then do things in a way that is more productive
  • bring in ideas that inspire me and through me, us overall
The way I control my work weeks is that I try to be mindful doing things that are directly for my employer the 40 hours a week, and then have 'hobbies' that resemble work but are fully my choice, my control - even though these activities benefit my employer too. 

Realistically, I cannot split work and fun. Work is fun. So I manage my own expectations of what I do, and try being mindful of the work-life balance when the lines are blurred by my own choices.

Doing stuff that resembles work and could be work 140% is a better framing. On top of that there's family, friends and stuff that does not resemble work. Writing a blog post on a Saturday resembles work. 

I do this because my interest are divided. While I love the impact we are building for at work that I have defines as my purpose (while there, for now), I also love making a dent in the world outside helping new speakers get started, building my own talks, writing articles beyond what can fit in my work day frame. 

In theory, I could be giving more for the purpose at work. The 100% time I give them could arguably be more awake, more focused if I wasn't doing all the other things. But thinking this way would be shortsighted because the 40% time gives me learnings that change who I am and what I can do, both in providing motivation and actual skills. 

Having discussed this with a colleague with similar yet different profile, I'm taking a learning from it: 

It's not the hours and their efficiency today, it's the continuous growth on our ability to deliver. 

It's the math of never stopping learning.