Learning through failure - a keyboard creation journey

tl;dr Built a custom keyboard cuz I have weirdo nerve pain issues.   Learned a lot cuz I failed a lot.   Maybe 'do it right the first time' is a bad frame of mind.   The keyboard ended up being kinda nifty.   It has lights, and a trackball, and QMK, and it helps my issues.   \o/ ( tl;dr is internet lingo that means, too long; didn't read ) Pain as a key ingredient An old proverb says, 'necessity is the mother of invention', and that is how this story begins. Over the last few years, age or stress or something has caught up with me and I developed the need to change my human-to-computer interface.  Mousing changed to trackballing.  The traditional keyboard was swapped out for an ergonomic, and then split keyboard.  Complicated multi-finger-and-hand key combinations were replaced by single keypress macros.  And yet more was still needed. It's often said that change only happens with pain - indeed, the organizations many of us work in seem to apply this as law - an

Notes from 'Customer visits: Building better market focus'

The ever wise  Mr. Saeed Khan  recommended this to me when I mentioned I wanted to better understand the practice of discovering what customers value.  The question, " what is value? " is all well and good to think and talk about, but it's not practical unless you can apply the answers to your day job. Book: The area of product management is one I haven't gotten a lot of exposure to, practically speaking.  Specifically how one actually figures out what jobs customers do and why they do them is something that I need more understanding in.  So here we are, spent some time reading ( finally ), and learned stuff. Tl;dr Customer visits must have a program, an intent, a design - else they, too, are just a good idea that ends up producing waste.  Being successful at these requires that facilitation and interviewing be core capabilities your organization fosters, paired with a designed intention to ha

  Three facets of what I’m looking for… Help people change how they work for the better ( ways of working, technology ); help people change ( coaching ) Help the organization succeed through self-knowledge ( org. climate, org. metrics, mapping ) and a knowledge of their customers ( value ) Finding partners in building a BVSSH ( better value sooner safer happier ) organization ( the statement on models notwithstanding ) Two challenges every organization faces that I want to help and serve in… What do we do? ( value; mission/vision ) How do we do it? ( ways of working; flow ) An ideal job description might contain one or more of…  Descriptive titles: Flow Engineer , "tech-focused WoW Enablement Specialist", Systems Convenor ( Ways of Working Center of Enablement ) Enablement role, with the goal of enabling product teams to improve the ways they work; advisory role around software development practices; pairing with technical process and automation prototyping Works to establis

Your part in making a better LEGO brick

This is my speaking script (w. slides interspersed) from a lightning talk at our company kickoff this year.  It worked out mostly ok - humour tends to save the day.  Replace the SportsEngine/SE references with your own company name/acronym and hey presto, relevant content.  In hindsight, it was far too large a topic to capture in a five-minute talk, but it was still fun to put together.  Previous years' talk scripts are here  and  here . Let’s quickly illustrate an idea, and a tool with which to pursue our new idea.  A concept that has bothered me quite a bit over the last several years is, ‘the value of individual contribution’.  So, let’s investigate the mental trainwreck that occurs when I write things down.   The scope of this talk is just a single facet of the ever-present problem: “human beings working together”.  Who are we? What is SportsEngine? What is SportsEngine made up of? What if we saw SportsEngine not just as an organizational or legal entity, or an org chart

System levers prioritization exercise/workshop

So now, after much ink spilled in part 1 , let's talk about ways you can use this model .   On the left, our list of levers from the previous post.  On the right, scaled to show the relationship between effectiveness, effort, and human interaction. There are a number of different ways to use it, though a small group setting will naturally be more effective. As with most things, understanding the premise and intent matters. Premise:  An understanding of system leverage points provides insights into how we work, what we prioritize, how we react to failure. Intent: Exposure to a new way of framing things Building shared understanding Exposure to how others see differently when we look at the same thing Reconsider the systemic impact your ideas might have Reconsider the risk vs. effort of your current understanding To maximize opportunity to learn, remember to start the exercise by asking yourself two questions : Am I willing to learn?  Am I willing to be influenced? What you need:   T