The Best of 2013

At the start of the new year, I’d like to take a look back at my blogging in 2013 and find a small selection of posts that turned out better than others, were useful to someone, were popular among readers, or stood out in some other way. I wrote 27 posts in 2013, as WordPress informed me, or about one every two weeks (I thought it would be 40 or 50).

  • How to Match to Weibull Distribution in Excel. It turns out the statistical distributions from this family are often found in the data sets of lead times of various types of knowledge work, from large projects to small user stories and support tickets. But how do we know whether our data set matches this distribution and what can we infer from the match?
  • Scrum, Kanban and Unplanned Work. This post contains the phrase I should perhaps trademark: Switching from Scrum to Kanban, Missing the Most of Both?
  • The Seven Meanings of Kanban. I think I’ve discovered an eighth meaning, but I’m not 100% sure. If I have, I’ll blog about it in 2014.
  • Open Space Without Proposals. One of my trends of 2013 was searching for alternatives to the familiar open-space unconference format. In this post, I recount my experience at an Agile Coach Camp, when I tried to do something useful without proposing any sessions.
  • Debunking the 10,000-Hours-of-Practice-Theory. Deliberate practice is important, but I feel we can find better ways to reason about it.
  • Shew-Ha-Ri: a Three-Level Model for Dealing with Variation. At the Ha level, you stop calculating control limits by adding plus-minus three standard deviations to the mean.
  • T-Shirt, Rabbits, Lizards and Sizing Software Features
  • Some Remarks on the History of Kanban
  • The Elusive 20% Time. My most visited post of the year wasn’t even written in 2013. I wrote it in 2011 as an expanded answer to a StackExchange question. It picked up a lot of votes there, but, unfortunately, one of the moderators decided that the question was no longer relevant to the site and closed the question, thus sending all answers, including mine, into obscurity. (Lesson learned from StackExchange and LinkedIn Q&A: consider contributing to your own blog first. I was able to recover this post, but wasn’t so lucky with some other contributed material.) So, I reposted it on this blog in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2013 that it got a big spike in traffic.
  • SPaMCAST #264: Lean and More. Not a blog post of course, but a popular interview on Tom Cagley’s Software Process and Measurement podcast. Early in the conversation, I ask, if the two pillars of Lean are respect for people and continuous improvement, how come some many people equate it with eliminating waste? And it goes on from there. This 35-minute (net) interview placed third among all 2013 SPaMCASTs – here are the top 10, an interesting company.

I hope to post more often in 2014 and have a good backlog of topics coming up. Stay tuned!

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