James Adam by James Adam

Week 235

Good morning from super-sunny Austin! I understand that it’s really hot in London right now; it’s just as hot here, but we also have thunderstorms happening. It’s a topsy-turvy world.

The notes this week are going to be concise, partly because I’m writing them from the Lone Star Ruby conference, and partly because I want to write about some of what happened this week in its own post. So there we go!

Better stories

James M spent the first part of the week in the Isle of Wight, and undertook another Phileas Fogg-worth epic journey to join us in the office on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Chris, Tom and I held down the fort with our client, FutureLearn. Aside from the programming, the client-focussed hemisphere of my brain has been occupied of late with how to improve the story process that we’re using with the client; it’s an interesting challenge when a client has a wealth of experience in their domain, whereas the agile process tries to encourage only developing the simplest thing that could add value.

Extreme Startup

On Wednesday, we took some time away from the coal face to play a game with some friends. Having hosted Rob Chatley a few weeks ago for what he calls “work experience for grownups”, he repaid the favour by running an extreme startup game with us and a few friends of ours. We really enjoyed it, and I think there were some particularly interesting things that happened, so I’ll write about it separately early next week.

After the game, we also had the chance to talk to one of our favourite people with a view to being able to work with them more. It’s early days, but something I’m really hoping we’ll figuring out in some way or other; in order to achieve some of our goals, we need more people to be involved, but more so than that, the right people. GFR is, to some extent, the philosophy and the way we work and approach problems, but ultimately it’s all about the people who execute those ideas. I’m really excited about what we might be able to do if we can get some help from some of our smartest friends. More on that in the future, I hope.

Harmonia design focus

In the latter half of the week it was back to client work to some extent, but also a bit more focus on Harmonia. I’m particularly interested in how we can streamline and simplify the interface to better communicate what Harmonia is good for, and how best to make use of it. In a word: design, and not in the aesthetic sense. I think Harmonia needs a fairly strong vision in those respects, because in some ways it’s a disruptive approach to team task ‘management’, and that’s where our energy should be focussed right now.

And here in Austin, I’m at a conference. Speaking of which, the first talk just started, so I better sign off and pay attention.

Enjoy the sun while it lasts, folks!

– James

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