How to Tackle Ill-Defined Technical Work

So you’re humming along as a member of a decently performing team, knocking out user stories in your well-managed backlog. But when you go to pick up your next story – surprise! — you get a technically-focused task that’s uncharacteristically lacking in definition. It’s not clear where to start, what to do next, or whether […]

My Network Upgrades with UniFi & Xfinity for Better At-Home Work and School

Most home networks are fine for watching TV, playing video games, and casual web browsing. Your internet service provides all the equipment and bandwidth necessary for you to be “connected.” What I had set up at home certainly used to fit within that “good enough” category. That’s no longer true. Since the pandemic started, I’ve […]

A Simple Approach to Complicated Database Defaults

Database tables rarely stay the same over the course of a project. We often need to add tables, add or rename columns, or break up a table to support evolving project demands or updated domain modeling. Migrating existing data correctly is not always trivial. Here are two scenarios I ran into recently on a project […]

Derisking vs. Unrisking Stories – Are You Trying to Pre-solve Development Problems?

As a Tech Lead or Project Manager using Agile, one of your most crucial practices is cultivating an organized and detailed backlog of stories. That should include what I call derisking: breaking down multifaceted problems into actionable work, outlining the technical hurdles of each story, and providing guidance on how to tackle them. Of course, […]

Shell Scripts to Clone Prod Data Locally

It seems like every web project inevitably has a development need to clone production data locally. In this post, I’ll walk through my latest shell scripts for backing up a remote Postgres database and loading it locally. I’ve written various scripts like this for various tech stacks over the years. This time around, it’s a […]

Are You Sympathetic to Others’ Joy, or Just Their Sorrow?

The title of this post might seem oxymoronic. “Isn’t sympathy reserved for people’s struggles?” you might ask. Turns out, it’s not. The most powerful impact of your sympathy might be when it’s directed at people’s triumphs. What Is Sympathetic Joy? Sympathetic joy is just what it sounds like — focusing your powers of sympathy on […]