Back to blogging

Dale Humby bio photo By Dale Humby
The past year I have been working on a project, leading a development team building a low-cost, mobile point of sale terminal. I wanted to restart my blog a while back but before we launched we were sworn to secrecy; and after launch have been incredibly busy improving our 'minimum viable product' that was initially more minimum than viable. (But six months of incremental improvements and learning from our market has lead to a better product.)

During all this time I kept a journal, aptly named 'What I would do differently next time.' It's a mix of my ramblings and rants and not really publishable like that. Besides, the Internet is permanent and I didn't want to publish anything I would regret later or be wrong about. But that's just naive: If it didn't upset someone the blog would be boring and not worth reading. And if I waited until I knew I was right then I would never press that Publish button.

Enter the infographic

(Expect to see loads more of these. Those who know we know how much I love charts.)

On the left of the curve are blog posts that are pure speculation and have no testable hypothesis, often written by those who spend more time writing about doing things than they actually spend doing anything.

On the far right are the gurus like Donald Reinertsen, who have spent years manicuring their ideas with the tools of science in order to separate the pure rubbish from the only sometimes wrong.

I hope to be somewhere to the right of centre more often than the left. But this is about documenting what I have learnt in a tech start-up. I want to be honest and not sugar-coat our mistakes. I want others to learn from them as much as we did. As with many things in life, better to ask forgiveness than permission.

What am I going to write about?
My passion is managing high-performance teams, putting just the right amount of process in place to give people the foundation to excel.

There are not enough tech entreprenures in South Africa who write about what they are doing or how they do it. And as far as I know, none are writing about developing hardware using iterative methods or putting embedded firmware in to continuous integration (CI.)

I really want to write about:
  • Enabling a business by creating continuous delivery of features
  • Iterating a product faster which leads to a competitive advantage
  • The challenges and benefits of continuous integration of embedded system
  • Deployment of new features in to highly distributed environments
  • Scrum, Kanban, XP and other lean development methods
  • Rapidly iterating hardware design
  • Managing a mixed hardware/software product development project
  • Raising capital
  • Managing people
  • And generally keeping a start-up functioning at its best

That said, my overarching theme is going to be about experimentation: I want to find methodologies that work for us rather than following word-for-word what everyone else does.