Bartosz Krajka

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Communication benchmark – number of questions

If you want to be a good communicator, you should practice communication. This requires feedback and questions from your recipients make great feedback. You don’t have to ask anybody for anything extra – questions happen anyway.

You write something -> by the hardness of communication, you aren’t sure if it’s clear or not -> somebody is indeed unclear on something -> they ask for clarification -> you answer, then you improve for future

How to use questions as feedback?

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Send that link

In writing, whenever you’re referring to something that has URL, send that link.

Whenever you’re discussing Jira task, send that link.

Whenever mentioning a document, send that link.

Whenever referring to particular Slack discussion, send that link.

This will allow other people to immediately jump into details (if they need so). That in turn will reduce communication noise (typically in the form of annoying ping-pong messages).

If you think that the link won’t be helpful, because they know what you’re referring to – think twice. You’re in the loop, they might not. Also, it’s not a bad idea to lower your expectations, when communicating in IT. Have you ever been surprised by the fact that something obvious for you turned out to be not obvious at all for others?

If you think that they can check the details on their own if they want – think twice. Unless you’re pair-programming, they are working on something else. Their own tasks, tickets, context. They might need to find Jira it their bookmarks, search for the ticket name, make sure it’s yours – each operation taking 10 sec or so. If they are unlucky, this might be not the end – they might need more accesses, or more details.

You, on the other hand, have this thing in your browser. For you it’s cmd+l, cmd+c, cmd+v. For them it might be minutes turning into “ah fuck it, I don’t need to answer you now”.

If you think it will add to “spamming” in messages – think twice. This should not be the concern here. If you can save someone else’s minutes of their work, it means that the link was useful. It’s not spam at all, if somebody needs it. There might be a deeper problem with not distinguishing useful messages from real spam, but it’s another story. The bottom line is that link is never spam, when it supports foregoing discussion.

If the link turns out to not be useful – fine. I will argue that, in total, the habit of sending links will save much time, even if only a tenth of them are useful. The cost is too low and the potential benefits are too high.

“Automate everything” is a scam

Nowadays I see people going crazy about automation. Everything must be in Docker containers, If it’s not in docker, I ain’t touch it.

Every task must be performed on the CI server, every repetitive task must be converted to a script, nothing in the MVP can the back office do manually. People are praised when they claim: “automate everything”!

I am on the very opposite side. I think automation generally isn’t worth it. It can be harmful to your project and see the trend of “automate everything” kinda crazy. Let me explain why.

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YAGNI vs good design

In one of my previous posts – YAGNI is king – I advocated the idea of not anticipating future when it comes to developing features.

I got some feedback that I want to discuss: YAGNI applies to features, not design. When designing software, you have to anticipate the future. Therefore, sometimes you have to give up on YAGNI if you want a good design.

In other words: on a pull request, when you see an extra piece of code, don’t automatically assume it violates YAGNI. Maybe it’s for design purposes.

I take the point, but also have to add something on my defense.

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