more ramblings

Rails 3.0 on Heroku after trying Rails 3.2

So I was playing with Rails this weekend making all sorts of progress until I tried to get it running on Heroku. Everything worked fine locally but a variety of errors plagued me up on the servers.

I figured out 4 main issues i was having

  • Bamboo stack instead of Cedar
  • Rails 3.2 instead of 3.0
  • Forcing a push to Github
  • sqlite3 instead of pg

First off I had updated to the latest Rails version but it seems you need to jump through hoops on Heroku if you want to use the latest and greatest. I also looked at using 3.1 on Heroku but this also wasn’t out of the box. So I opted for the tried and true Rails 3.0 on Heroku/Cedar.

Bamboo stack instead of Cedar

Continue reading “Rails 3.0 on Heroku after trying Rails 3.2”

Creating a Vision – An Analogy

visionAnalogyI’m a big fan of vision and mission statements. Many people think they’re fluff but I truly believe they are valuable tools. I think vision and mission statements are misunderstood, and are really much more difficult to write than one might think. For example should a vision change yearly? When you communicate your vision are you really communicating a road map of activities?

Here are two analogies I thought of that calls out the difference between a roadmap and a vision. Continue reading “Creating a Vision – An Analogy”

Reward the effort not just the outcome

I came across this again recently and was reminded how important the concept is. It’s easy to call out achievements and successes we see, and of course the bigger the success the more likely we praise. However, we need to also focus on praising the effort in addition to the outcome.

Kaizen is a successful philosophy of Continuous Improvement touted by many business leaders and publications. By recognizing the effort an not just the outcome, individuals are more motivated to improve all aspects of the organization, from rolling out multimillion dollar cash cows, to posting a sign reminding people to not put metal in the microwave.

Often good intentions go unnoticed simply because the outcome isn’t clear. For example when a developer refactors a method, the outcome is typically just that it’s easier for other developers to work with. There is no functional change and therefore its difficult to call out. However these small efforts that continually improve our business are just as important, if not more, and should be recognized just the same.

Praise is infinitely divisible, hand it out and you’ll always have more. You can say Good Job all day and never run out.

So take time this week to recognize the efforts within your teams not just the outcomes.

There’s no emotion in business

In the 1992 movie A league of their own, Tom Hanks (the coach) emphatically berates one of the female baseball players saying “There’s no crying in baseball!”.  I can almost hear him saying that about business too, “There’s no emotion in business!”.

I’ve always been fascinated at how the professional world is founded on vulcan like logic where there is little room for emotion. Early in my career I was very passionate about my profession and, being green, that translated to emotional driven conversations, and poorly chosen wording to the wrong people. Over time I’ve worked hard to maintain the passion but curtail the emotion. I’ve read communication books, reviewed my distribution list, paused before clicking “send” and have made decent strides over the years to remove the emotion from my professional communications.

Recently I’ve been reviewing another aspect of this concept. Personal communications with colleagues. Take this scenario, you and your buddies go out for a beer, you might mention how work is getting on your nerves and how bob from accounting keeps getting on your case for those TPS reports.  Now suppose there’s another guy at work that you go to lunch with now and then. You have the same conversation with him as well. That is proabbly not a good idea.

I’m of the mindset that these more personal conversations probably shouldn’t occur with any professional peers. You may have a decent working relationship with someone where you can be honest about the state of things but even in these situations professionals need to keep their guard up and act professionally.

Here’s a scenario. Jim and I are in different groups but working on a project together.  We’ve been on project for some time and have a rapport.  One day after dealing with marketing  I fire off an email to Jim. “Marketing really is annoying, why can’t they just give us a plan and stick to it instead of changing it every day”.  Jim agrees and we move on.

I let emotion slip into my communication though and while I have a decent rapport with Jim we’re not drinkin’ buddies, and even this minor level of emotional conversation sets a tone about me and my professional maturity.

It’s sounds simple and harmless but this level of personal communication will limit your career.  Rather than presenting the emotional statement of “Marketing really is annoying, why can’t they give us a plan and stick to it” I might be more professional and say “Marketing is impacting our ability to deliver the project. We need to meet and discuss locking down the plan to avoid these additional costs”

Business favors logic and discipline, and those of us with passion and emotions need to filter our words well in order to succeed.

Coffee Notes: Want Better Quality? Fire Your QA team

Ok maybe don’t go that far but this is a great read on holding developers accountable.

I love the last paragraph.

Work_Pic_normal.jpgJim Highsmith (@jimhighsmith)
2/21/11 4:00 PM
Want Better Quality? Fire Your QA Team. | Forrester Blogs

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