Information Technology Dark Side

Struggles of a Self-Taught Coder

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Ex-bloggers, The Legend of Zelda, and Feature Driven Development

January 18th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Am I the Next Ex-Blogger?, one of my favorite comics, recently ran a couple of strips that hit close to home, given the current complete cessation of posts to my blog. I’m not giving up, I’ve just been a little distracted lately.

Why I Haven’t Posted in Weeks
So, about that lull. It’s not that I’ve run out of things to write about. Or that I’ve lost interest in blogging. I’m still doing it, and still generating lots of ideas. Here are some of them:

  • Wierd interview questions that help you figure out if someone is uptight, difficult, or just a plain old jerk
  • Why Zelda is the best game EVER
  • Using MS Sharepoint to manage a project pipeline
  • Using MS Sharepoint to run an agile project
  • How to be a team killer

  • The work backlog for my blog goes on and on. I’ve got mountains of topics to write about. So… what’s going on? Why aren’t I writing? What’s with the lull?

    It’s simple really. I’m distracted, to the tune of The Legend of Zelda, Windwaker, on Nintendo Gamecube (I’m too cheap to be cutting edge with kid’s toys). I love this game! I got my first shard of tri-force last week. I estimate I’ll be finished with the game by February at this pace.

    My 3 year old helps me play. He sits beside me on the couch, with his own controller (which does nothing) and implores me to hit everything with the skull hammer, a giant hammer that is shaped like a skull. We play till 9:30 every couple of nights. When he falls asleep, or my vision starts to blur, we call it a night. So far I’ve logged over 30 hours on the game (I hate that the game keeps track of that – if my wife figures that out I’m toast!), and needless to say, that accounts for about 12 blog posts. Sorry.

    Feature Driven Development
    I’ve been rolling out agile project management in the group I work for, coaching other project managers how to do it and helping them change their viewpoint enough to let go of some of the baggage that comes from running projects PMBOK style for years. Over the past year, the approach I used has evolved from scrum, where we started, to something else. I wondered if I was doing something original that no one else was doing, but then I looked up feature driven development on Once again, I had “invented” something someone else had already thought of. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed to learn that I was simply following a practice that someone else had already named.

    Some might call this type of evolutionary learning a waste of resources. “You shouldn’t re-invent the wheel,” they say after learning about things like this. If only I’d read about feature driven development six months ago, I could have gotten there sooner, right?

    Bullcrap, I say. Yep, I’m throwing down that gauntlet. First of all, only an idiot would re-invent the wheel. Why? Because the wheel is freakin’ everywhere. You can’t walk fourteen steps outdoors without seeing a wheel. You can manage IT projects all your life and NEVER hear about feature driven development, much less come across someone who has actually done it. Compared to the wheel, FDD is relatively obscure.

    Second, just because you learn about an idea doesn’t mean you’re in a position to appreciate it. Sex is a great example of this idea – when my nephews first learned where babies came from, they both CRIED. One of them said he would never, ever do something so gross. The other one said he would do it, but just once. Right. Give them another ten years and everything will be different.

    Project management ideas aren’t that different. It takes experience, trials, successes, and failures to make an ideas time come around.

    So, go ahead, reinvent the wheel. Well, not the wheel. But how about your job, or your life? It doesn’t matter if your not first if you make something better in the process.

    Peace out. Hopefully I’ll be back before I take Ganondorf down for the last time.

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