2018: A Year In Review

A look back over 2018, and a look forward to 2019.

Last year when I put out content around the new year about my plans I got a spike in traffic. I guess something about the personal nature of the post was attractive. Based on how much people seemed to like those posts, I thought I’d do another.

A round up of 2018 — and a goal set for 2019.

 

How To: Get Over Your Fears Of Writing And Just Get Going

Have you been thinking about wanting to write? Did someone mention to you that it might be good for your career? Or you want to write to earn some money? Maybe you just want to document your notes and share them with others?

I can’t read your mind and know your motives to want to start writing, that’s for sure. But what I can do is this: go through the fears that are currently stopping you starting to write. How do I know what these fears are? Because I have the same writing fears and I wrestle with them every day and every week.

Before you build the product, build the deployment pipeline.

Why building a deployment pipeline should be one of the first things you consider when creating a new product.

Recently I’ve been training for a long cycling event.

The event is a three day event where we will cycle around 70-100 miles each day back-to-back.

It’s very much an endurance event and for all my adult life, I’ve been a strength athlete competing in strength sports that are maximal exertion. It couldn’t be much more of a polar opposite set of skills.

Are you thinking of building an app or website? Ask yourself these four questions first.

I sat at a Starbucks cross-legged with my laptop on my lap. I’d gone out to try and find the peace required to focus on the job application I was completing as a front-end product developer.

The task was simple: Create a demo app that connects to an API (Foursquare) and shows the results.

As I sat there putting the finishing touches on the demo (you can actually still see it here) I had a realization…

Iterating to product/market fit

Since I'm a big fan of getting real practical about the skills required to build digital products, lets take a look at how exactly we are going about finding the product/market fit for Splitoo.

We’ve been working hard over the past few weeks to put together finishing touches to the UI design. Whilst it’s not perfect, and with many more ideas to come, the product is starting to come together.

8 Non-Programming Books You Haven’t Considered That Will Boost Your Programmer Career

Here is my latest post for Simple Programmer…

There are many lists of books about becoming a better programmer. They likely include books like Refactoring, Code Complete, The Mythical Man Month, etc.

However, in the workplace, it isn’t just programming knowledge that we programmers need. Learning programming is an essential part of our work — but it’s not everything.

The authors of iconic programming books had remarkable careers, but it wasn’t just their coding knowledge that made their careers noteworthy. They were well-rounded experts and we should strive to emulate that quality as well.

Build Faster, Waste Less, and Save Your Sanity by Writing World Class Tickets.

Writing tickets is an art worth mastering, for your own sanity and that of your team.

Here is my latest post for Simple Programmer…

As programmers, we have a lot on our plates. Understanding the newest technology, the business, navigating politics in the business and in our teams, and all of the tools, languages, and everything else that comes with the territory. It is overwhelming.

When it comes to making improvements, it’s easy to be in favor of our own personal development over that of our teams. Choosing to focus on gaining personal skills over improving the output of the team or the business. After all, these improvements are a manager’s responsibility, right? Possibly. But this type of thinking can backfire on us if we’re not careful.

Why? Because, ultimately, we get paid for the value we deliver to our business. So if we want more pay, more recognition, and ultimately a better career, it makes sense to keep an eye on what the business wants and needs, not just our own personal development. That’s how our checks are paid and how we keep a roof over our head.

This type of thinking can seem somewhat counterintuitive, and maybe even scary, as we’re focusing on areas that feel outside of our control.

How unclear roles can damage your teams performance (and what you can do about it)

Roles and responsibilities can cause confusion and upset in our teams unless we take the time to openly discuss them. But, it can be easy to solve when we knew how to shine a light on the issue, here's how.

Coaching is often described as “holding up a mirror”. So that teams and individuals can reflect on what they see. It’s not about impart “right” or “wrong”. Coaching is not limited to only managers or supervisors. Coaching can be ran and facilitated by anyone in a team. 

The one and only thing I’ll be focusing on in 2018

Sometimes it's what we don't-do, rather than what we do-do that can be infinitely more important.

“You seem Zen. Do you meditate?”. We were in a bar having a catch up drink before Christmas. We hadn’t spoken for a year, but we’ve been friends for a long time. I didn’t think much of the comment at the time. But since I’ve had the chance to think about it some more. It has been a while since I’ve last meditated (even though I should do it more…). But the “zen” part has been a deliberate practice. Well, I wouldn’t call it Zen. I’d call it focus and it’s something that I spent most of 2017 trying to cultivate. There’s a Hemingway quote that’s stuck with throughout this year.

The best reads of 2017

My top picks out of everything I read in 2017

2017 it seems was the year of marketing, business and philosophy reading. A big (reading related) revelation of 2017: Used books on Amazon. This has saved me a huge bunch of cash. I read around 75 books this year and tossed aside a whole load more that didn’t captivate me. I also made a complete move (and loving it!) to physical books so that I can better take notes and reference them later. But without further ado, here are a few of the better books that I read this year…