Week 4 at Mozilla

I gathered up the output from my many discussions with our teams so far, and I’m proposing a plan for shipping a Mozilla Foundation Contributors Dashboard as quickly as we realistically can. I’ll be presenting this next week, and once I’ve had feedback on it, this can be turned into a proper plan of action and shared more widely. Next week I’m in Toronto with the Webmaker team for a work-week (a pretty focused gathering on getting things done), which I’ve been busily preparing for. You can see what we’ll be up to here (I’m space-wrangling the Metrics track): https://wiki.mozilla.org/Webmaker/Workweek P.S. ‘Space-wrangling’ is official Mozilla terminology, and animated GIFs are our primary means of communication. Because we work in the open, you can follow live updates on how well we’re shipping our planned output during the work-week: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Webmaker/Scrumboard Getting ready … Continue reading »

My First #Mozfest

I have an hour free this morning, so wanted to quickly write up my thoughts on Mozfest before my memory fades too much. This will be a rough, but f*** it, ship it as they say at Mozfest. I bought a Mozfest ticket in July with next to no expectations and just a little hope that meeting some new people might trigger some new ideas. It’s fair to say that this was a massive under-prediction on my part. A couple of months later, with about a month to go until Mozfest, my boss (@ade) mentioned some sessions that might be interesting for WWF and my work in fundraising. A couple of introductory emails and a Skype call later and I’d put my name down for a yet-to-be-confirmed session called ‘Pass the App’. We were going to use a new tool … Continue reading »

Available hours in a year for personal projects

While planning ahead to finish my Open University studies, I’ve been testing how well I can study in my available free time; and my recent study with Coursera has provided a pretty good simulation. It’s important to be realistic with yourself about how much time you actually have to do these things, on a sustainable basis, for a significant period of time. Especially with the tuition fees being as expensive as they are and if you’re making a commitment for a whole year of your free time. My thinking has gone like this… First I account for my time being a husband and dad, then my working hours, then sleep, then a few hours for getting/keeping fit and I’m left with around two hours per day, or 14 hours a week of ‘free’ time. For a couple of weeks at … Continue reading »

On my next pet project and @Coursera

My most recent ‘pet project’, Done by When, grew up today. It’s 3 months to the day since I announced a vague plan to test out an idea that had been floating around my head, and now it’s out of beta, taking payments and I’ve just notice our Mandrill email reputation has crept up to ‘Excellent’. Woohoo. I’m delighted with where it’s going and all the helpful (positive and negative) feedback I’ve had from the first brave group of testers. I’ve added some screenshots to my portfolio on Behance, but the interface has progressed even further since then. Now that Done by When has a “business model” and all that, it will be given a serious amount of time and attention going forwards. But importantly, as it has an active user base I won’t be using it as a playground … Continue reading »

Announcing ‘Done by When’

I promised to ship a new piece of software today but I haven’t quite made it. Ironically it’s a tool for managing expectations, and visualizing likely delivery times for a given piece of work. It would have been useful! I hate making excuses, but it’s been a crazy month with lots of good interruptions (lovely clients with interesting projects) and bad interruptions (family emergencies and so on). So while it’s not ready for you to use today, I’ll have to settle with announcing the project title today, ‘Done by When‘. A version of the tool, whether it’s ‘finished’ or not will ship by this time next week. Thought I didn’t make the deadline this time, it’s been very helpful for focussing the mind.

I’ve set myself a challenge

I’ve had an idea for a piece of software I think would be really useful. And rather than spend months thinking about and scoping it, I’ve set myself a deadline (deadlines are magic). The first version will ship by the end of this month. If I’ve not announced this new project on this blog by 31 Aug 2012, feel free to send me abuse. I’m also going to use this as a chance to learn some new skills. I think I may learn Python.

On the joy of (self-imposed) impossible deadlines – AKA Magic Deadlines

Last year I wrote a novel. Admittedly, a novel I haven’t yet been able to bring myself to re-read for fear of what I may have written, but I wrote a novel all the same. And I managed to do it because of a deadline. It was an impossible deadline by all accounts of common sense, but impossible is a challenge worth living up to. The goal was to write a novel (50k+ words) in a month, without putting my life on hold or taking any time off work. I’m still not sure how, but I did it. And I wasn’t the only one to do this, I shared this month of madness with 256,618 people around the world who signed up for the same challenge; and that was part of the fun. To give this some context, I co-founded … Continue reading »