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Pivot Tables in Excel

An incredibly basic introduction to creating Pivot tables in Excel. 

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Amazon Kindle publisher’s copy limit

One of my favorite ways to read technical and leadership books is on my laptop, where I copy, paste, and summarize (I do this so much, I described a bit more in summaries).

One problem is that I often do this reading in the Kindle app and after a certain number of copy & pastes, I get this:

“You have reached the publisher’s copy limit set for this title.”

 

And it drives me crazy.

Here are a few workarounds…

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2022 Books

A short review of some of the books I read in 2022…

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Sublime notes

The following are some notes & examples of using Sublime Text for quick text editing, typically using regular expressions.

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Your team is not a democracy

TLDR: During a difficult team discussion, holding an impromptu vote to resolve the issue is rarely the right move. Trust your team but, as the manager, you may have critical information that your team does not and you are ultimately responsible. It is OK to make decisions that go against the majority view.

 

Imagine you are a manager on a team. The team is debating a thorny issue. There is disagreement on the best way to move forward and someone suggests putting it to a vote. As the manager, should you let the majority decide?

My own personal take is that as a manager, putting it to a vote is rarely the right move.

It is certainly your duty to stimulate debate. Encourage everyone to speak up, and ensure anyone who can’t seem to get a word in is given space. You should challenge the team into creative and out-of-the box thinking.

Ultimately you, as the leader of the team, need to make the call however. Why?

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Shift Left

Defining the term shift left to mean testing earlier in the development cycle feels antiquated since waiting until development is “complete” before testing is a plain ol’ anti-pattern at this point.

A better definition could be testing earlier and more frequently. Writing tests each sprint, and running those tests with every commit.

Perhaps better still is thinking of shift left as a movement of testing to earlier in the pipeline. Favor unit tests, which typically run in the pipeline first and fast. Heavier-weight tests, such as UI based and end-to-end tests, which are typically harder to write, slower to run, and run later in the pipeline, do have a place but should be used sparingly.

Another way to look at this is that shift left means shifting down the testing pyramid.

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ThoughtWorks Technology Radar v26

The latest, 26th, Tech Radar version from the folks at ThoughtWorks is now available.

As usual, it covers a range of technologies across 4 categories (Platforms, Techniques, Languages & Frameworks, Tools), rated on a scale of:

  • Adopt: Strongly recommend
  • Trial: Worth pursuing
  • Assess: Worth understanding
  • Hold: Proceed with caution

I’ve picked out some of the things I found most useful/interesting/relevant for me below, but I recommend checking it out in full at thoughtworks.com/radar.

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Blog post summary: Maker vs. Manager

Someone pointed me to this Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You post recently. There is no published date, but I don’t think it is new (but it is timeless). It is only a 10 minute read itself, but some notes…

“A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.”— Seth Godin, The Dip

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2021 Books

Some short reviews of some of the books I read in 2021…

“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”

― Sir Francis Bacon

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Webinar summary: How to write job postings that actually work.

The following are some of the key points I took from this “How to write job postings that actually work” webinar, from Katrina Kibben, the Founder & CEO of Three Ears Media.

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Blog post summary: We need to talk about testing

I liked this “We need to talk about testing” post from Dan North. It’s about what testing actually means and how programmers and testers can work together. A summary (or copy & paste of the parts that I found most interesting, with some comments) below…

The purpose of testing is to increase confidence for stakeholders through evidence.

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Blog post summary: Shipping fast and safe by Kesha Mykhailov at Intercom

I like this “Shipping fast and safe: Building a culture of low-risk learning” article by Kesha Mykhailov at Intercom.

Some highlights…

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Modern Software Testing

As a follow on from my last post about Martin Fowlers article on Testing Shapes e.g. Pyramid and Trophy), Tim Bray‘s post on modern software testing (or, “Testing in the Twenties” as he titled it) caught my eye. Bray believes that these Testing Shapes are “misshapen blobs” that are all “seriously wrong in important ways”. I do like people with opinions 🙂

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Blog post summary: Test Shapes by Martin Fowler

In his post, “On the Diverse And Fantastical Shapes of Testing“, Martin Fowler talks about the Test Pyramid and Test Trophy, but concludes that the proportions suggested by each are much less important that writing fast, reliable, expressive tests with clear boundaries.

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Searching in Twitter

I’ve lost count of the number of times when I have read a tweet, and later wanted to refer back to it but struggled to find it. So, mainly for own benefit, I am adding some notes here on how to search Twitter.

The best starting place is usually https://twitter.com/search-advanced

But you can also search directly in the main Twitter app using syntax like this

“good read” (from:shaunabram)

to return all tweets (from me, in this case) with the exact phrase, “good read”

or

good read (from:shaunabram)

to return all tweets from me with either the words “good” or “read” in them.

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