Work to live

Living to work is a dangerous trap that we all easily fall into as work pressure mounts, as we climb the ladder, and as we take empowerment from owning whatever it is that we do. Easier still is not realising we've fallen into this mode of autopilot until it's too late.

Over the past three months I've spent an average of 65 hours a week at work, with countless hours on the phone to other management team members in addition to that—all outside of 'hours'. I feel clouded.

At first this would appear to be a problem with the system; employers are taking advantage of unsuspecting employees and asking them to work well above their weekly expectation. Surely unions, human rights groups and more would be picketing to bring an end to such slavery!

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Agile starts at the top

Michael Kutz, one of the founders of the Agile methodology, wrote a blog entry recently entitled Agile Is Dead noting that the word Agile is thrown around as the new management buzzword, and is all but ineffective.

Mike speaks ad nauseum about Agile being a verb, not a noun as it is incorrectly used throughout the software industry.

At it's heart agile is a practice, a methodology and a way of thinking. To become agile companies need to understand that in each of their projects there are three things: a scope, a budget and a deadline. In a Waterfall project we'd agree to all three at the beginning, with the deadline being largely impacted on scope.

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These go to eleven

Recently I rediscovered one of my favourite scenes of the movie 'This is Spinal Tap', where lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel is very proudly talking about how great their amplifier is because it goes from one more than ten to eleven.

While this is quite a humorous clip, it is also relevant to the things that we design and engineer for web for various stakeholders that—most of whom—think that going to eleven is better than simply optimising ten.

This thinking, and approach often leads to frustration for both parties, as communicating the overkill to a stakeholder can often come of condescending or dismissive, when in reality their requirements are primarily driven by the desire to offer the best possible outcome for their customers.

This can typically be quashed with qualitative research and a good digital strategy (that aligns with an overarching business strategy). It's hard to argue with data, and a solid business strategy. Once agreed to this strategic direction can use used as a whip to keep everyone in toe.

Evident in a particular project we're working on, research revealed that almost all users would prefer to see fewer, more specific items in a product listing than to be presented with everything all at once, which can be overwhelming.

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