My writing on Medium

I’ve written a couple of pieces on Medium and it’s only just occurred to me that I should have shared them here.

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

As an aside, it must be said I love how the embed codes show up here. On WordPress.com, we just have to paste a Medium link and it shows up like above; instructions on how to do that elsewhere can be found here:

View story at Medium.com

Planning Poker

Because I know I’ll forget where I found these things (despite having added them to Delicious), I figure I should add them here.

A hand of Planning poker cards

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, Planning poker is a consensus-based technique for estimating, mostly used to estimate effort or relative size of user stories in software development. In Planning poker, members of the group make estimates by playing numbered cards face-down to the table instead of speaking them aloud.

Once everyone has played a card, the cards are revealed and the estimates are discussed. By hiding the figures in this way, the group can avoid the cognitive bias of anchoring, where the first number spoken aloud sets a precedent for subsequent estimates.

I’ve just mailed round my team and asked them to install the Android or iPhone app, so we can use Planning poker in an estimating session I need to run soon.

The photo of a Planning poker set used in this article is taken from the Wikimedia Commons and was released into the public domain by its author, Wikipedia user Hkniberg.

The government’s lobbying bill

So I’ve written to my MP (Jonathan Lord: Con, Woking) about the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, due for Second Reading in the House of Commons tomorrow.

There are three main sections to this bill — one to create a register of lobbyists, a second to regulate non-party spending in the 12 months preceding a General Election and a third to tighten the regulations around trades unions. The second part of this bill is widely considered to offer an existential threat to British democracy; I also have concerns around this third part, but my MP is a Tory and I know which battles are worth fighting.

The text of my letter (edited slightly to read better as hypertext) to Mr Lord follows:
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So Disruptive their information is inaccessible

Edit 2013-08-08: Popsop have today posted a better summary of this story, with a much better “infographic” (of HTML and CSS, rather than a big inaccessible image).

Yesterday, I was sent a relatively interesting infographic entitled “What customers hate about your brand in social media”.

Missing from this infographic was an item I’d have put near the top of my list — bloody infographics. Infographics are great for visualising information, but far too often they have inaccessible text, in small point sizes, with poor colour contrast. And don’t even get me started on angular data visualisations like pie charts and curvy line graphs.

What makes this example all the worse is that Disruptive Communications are apparently not yet competent enough to have posted a blog piece talking about the information in the infographic. (To be fair to them, they only have three blog posts, the second of which is them officially launching themselves as a new “UK social media, content marketing and digital PR agency”.) The nearest I could see is a piece on Wallblog, which appears to be down at the moment.

So, as several of my friends have commented that they can’t read the text, and I’m struggling to do so too, and without apology to Disruptive Communications, who could perhaps focus a little more of their attentions on doing things well, here is the content from the infographic.

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ORGcon 2013

ORGcon 2013 logo So it was ORGcon 2013 a few weekends ago. There will be a couple of posts about the day, because there were some aspects of the day I need to comment on separately, without any hint of my ORG Board Member hat on, but this post I shall restrict to discussing the day itself.

The tone of the day was helpfully set by the revelations about the NSA’s Prism programme:

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