Whitby better than Japan, separated at birth and holiday weight

Stephen Huffy went to Japan and sent us some photos. I decided that Whitby was a better bet for my resurrection festival break given I had two children and a dog in tow. Anyway I think Whitby is better than Japan. Firstly, they have beautiful weather all year round and Dracula’s house. Look…

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You can buy beautiful gifts that every Scottish home would be proud to have like English soldiers, a death mask and coffin handbags.
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They also purvey practical, demure and stylish footwear for the significant other half in your life.

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And they positively encourage the under 10’s to gamble. Heroically standing up to the law in a valiant attempt to help reflate the British economy. Whitby I salute you! Japan you have a lot of catching up to do.

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Peter Gourley has joined the ranks of the un-kissable. Which of these do you think is Peter?

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Captain Haphazard has just returned from some ball hitting show in America. Can anyone explain why he now looks like this?

Mark Plumer

Guru Fraser

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Is away refreshing his Chakras.

Heaven knows I am Phil Heywood now!

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Phota-grarphy. Madferit I am. Mind you I don’t like having to airbrush stuff out. I once had to airbrush a rat, took me fooking ages. You see I like me creative stuff like music and stuff.  Manchestoh is full of creative stuff. Me fave is the stuffed animals workshop, I did a mouse.

And we produce great rock stars like Morrissey, Liam Gallagher and Shane Ward. Look they are so famous that they attract fans from as far away as Billingham.

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http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/showbiz-news/fan-shows-love-x-factor-9049694

Speed madferit, my bike is almost as powerful as a Nissan Micra. It is you know and I can do donut’s outside the chippoh and wheelies outside Greggs. Look…Madferit. Don’t tell Dibble.

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Got to chip it hair washing time. Til’ next week non Mancs. 

The serious bit you may want to read

Today the car park LARPing enthusiast known commonly as Brindy leaves us to go and work for rapacious capitalists. I would like to thank him for his fantastic contribution to the success of the team and wish him well. It may also be worth reminding you that I recruited him in a pub after a few pints and he looked like this…

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So not only do we knock out some pretty good software but we are also a health farm. (Don’t tell The Sun, or they will think I made him do press ups outside the office everyday)

From Iain MackCloud of Klan MackCloud. Well worth reading.

http://www.tibco.com/blog/2015/03/23/creating-business-value-by-example-open-api-and-api-management-at-paypal

From Claude

http://leankit.com/blog/2015/04/march-2015-lean-metrics-survey-results/?utm_campaign=lean-metrics-survey&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social
http://leankit.com/kanban/lean-flow-metrics/

https://enterprisersproject.com/article/2015/4/ny-times-it-capitalizes-continuous-delivery-move-faster

http://www.infoq.com/articles/coding-culture?utm_term=Agile-articles&utm_content=buffer01056&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Stuff I have read. 

Keeping the web open. A good and authentic article

http://thenextweb.com/insider/2015/04/10/locking-the-web-open-why-we-need-to-rethink-the-world-wide-web/

A review of the Apple watch by a fictional psychopath….

http://thenextweb.com/apple/2015/04/11/need-to-return-some-video-tapes/

Customer relationships trump brands?

https://hbr.org/2015/04/why-strong-customer-relationships-trump-powerful-brands

People are using Periscope to record Game of Thrones. As the article points out probably not a threat for a TV series but PPV sporting events might have something to worry about.

http://thenextweb.com/media/2015/04/15/this-one-will-drag-on/

I leave you with a picture of the dog we looked after the other week because I can and it may cheer you up.

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Have a great weekend everybody. I look forward to seeing you all on Monday.

Andrew .

Special people, inappropriate viewing and Japan

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I can’t really add anything to this photo. Apart from to say that we were clearly told what to wear by our mothers on Monday morning and some of us are actually responsible for little people. Terrifying. This photo is open for captions. A good bottle of claret for the best entry!

I am not sure I have covered this off before in the many missives that I send out concerning acceptable office behaviour. However, I do distinctly remember telling people that the viewing of naked fish in the office is forbidden. Yet this morning I caught Russell and Potter leering at a screen full of fish obscenity. Please stop or I shall tell HR and your mothers.

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Steven Huffy sent some photos of his little trip to Japan so I thought I would share them with you. Looks like Birmingham so I don’t think I’ll bother going. He promised to bring back some Sashimi, so we can all look forward to that.

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Guru Fraser

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This week the guru channels his inner, and outer, Dilbert..
 I don’t know what it is you are doing but whatever it is, you are doing it wrong.

Heaven knows I am Phil Heywood now

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Chuffing norah I am knackered. Loans is arder than a pitbull from Moss Side. Still I reckon its just about in so I am going to get bladdered tonight. A long weekend calls for a two gallon Boddies session, its not just the jocks that can drink you know. Also, I had 3 carrots in mi pack lunch this week instead of two so I reckon the missus is dead chuffed with me and won’t bother when I’m sick on the floor. Banging.

Being from Manchestdoh I am dead creative just like Mark E Smith from The Fall. Look at him e’s a man who knows creativity when it bites him on the arse.

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I’m madferit when it comes to writing lyrics. I keep writing to Mozzer who’s on tour. He hasn’t replied yet but I keep sending him me samples. Look here’s one ..

‘I look at your arse like a man who’s trying not to look at a car crash’.

Its about unrequited love.

Dibble’s been busy again

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/mole-gang-tunnel-underneath-tesco-8969627

Us Mancs know when we are in the wrong. I reckon he went on an almighty bender and did something bad to the cat when he got it.

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/im-sorry-man-daubs-m66-8970752

Nice one our kid.

Got to chip it hair washing time. Til’ next week non Mancs. 

The serious bit you may want to read.

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Zero Defects is in a waspish mood as we move into the Christian resurrection holiday season.

“Let me see, huge work in progress, large batch sizes, fragile build and a wall to throw stuff over, sounds familiar!”
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Here is some stuff I have read.

“People who are depressed check their email more often”. A sample quote from this video exploring how to make your products addictive… well worth a watch.

http://thenextweb.com/insider/2015/03/26/watch-how-tech-giants-turn-their-products-into-habits/

Should we be boring?

http://mcfunley.com/choose-boring-technology

Is Facebook building a moat or a monopoly that will be broken up by anti trust legislation?

http://qz.com/370839/facebook-is-building-an-incredible-moat-around-the-future-of-social-with-messenger-and-whatsapp/

For those of you in your dotage you may remember MySpace. Murdoch lost a bundle on this but it is making a comeback, very surprisingly…

http://qz.com/372725/the-digital-media-comeback-story-of-last-year-myspace/

I am off for a week looking after children and a dog so I hope you all have a great week next week and I look forward to seeing you all when I get back.  Don’t worry Louise is in overall charge.

Andrew.

The dam, with the King Maker and scooting round the office

Captain Haphazard has gone to the ‘Dam. That free and easy port city favoured by young folk about to get married. Most people pretend they went to see the tulips, the Van Gogh museum and to soak up the free wheeling cycling scene rather than fess up to what they really did. However, Captain H doesn’t have to bother hiding his sins, as he has none. Here are some pictures of his current ‘lost weekend’ in the Dam with some people who don’t need to work anymore by virtue of their age. They may go mental at any moment and go and look at some Succulents.

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Be careful when you wonder around Edinburgh at night. You could be grabbed by a slightly shifty looking man and made to pose with them whilst they repeatedly mutter ‘I am the King maker’. This is what happened to Kim when she went doon to Waterstones to buys some novels by Joyce. I think she said Joyce, it could have been EL James.  

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Robin the Man Child was out and about on his scooter again this week. This time he was in the office creating havoc. 

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Actually, this was for a serious purpose. He was scooting about with a prototype Telematics app to prove they can capture trip data, push it through the analytics package and into the back end database. They can! Well done all.

We don’t have a dress code, apart from wear some clothes, but I would like to appeal to the common decency in you all and ask that you don’t appear in the office in T-Shirts like this. The image has been redacted to protect the guilty.

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Guru Fraser

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Treat your servers like cattle not pets

Heaven knows I am Phil Heywood now

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What’s that bloody tune playing….here we are, here we are, rocking all….oh its that daft bint sat opposite with her minging Status Quo ring tone? Doesn’t she realise I need mi peace and quiet to channel the proper banging ManchestDoh scene? And mi stomach thinks mi throats been cut and me strife has only packed me two carrots and three dates for scoff. What does she think I am, a fooking camel? Its ard being me.

Madferit. That’s what we are in ManchestDoh, none of this fannying about with clothes, or clubs…

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/discoboy-raving-manchester-piccadilly-video-8844138

We dance when we dance.Top one our kid.

I like speed, not ‘phet our kid thats for London indie bands. I like tearing your face off, 0 – 60 speed on a banging monster machine. So, with that man who punched a colleague losing his job, I am writing to the BBC. I’m madforit. I’ll show that homonculous and the confused one, who’s not, what a proper motor show is about. Me on a bike doing 160 past the Dibble and knocking down deer. Top one, mint, banging.

Zayn leaving 1D. Well someone will see their arse about it but I don’t care. Wrong colour rose, 1485 Battle Bosworth that learned you, and we’ve got The Smiths who write proper banging lyrics like ‘jumped up pantry boy, who never knew his place’. Few in the office like that.

Got to chip it hair washing time. Til’ next week non Mancs. 

 

The serious bit you may want to read

From Gregorz.  “An interesting link to share…  a selection of quotes from the Spotify Engineering Culture videos about Autonomy …”
http://firstdoit.com/spotify-lessons-autonomy/

From Claude. I suspect he moonlights doing this in the evenings.

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Ivan ‘Zero Defects’ is back with some thoughts on measuring success and the essence of BDD. 

Do we only do scrum because its easy to measure, or because our org is not mature enough?
“…Scrum felt like a prescriptive, inflexible formula imposed on the engineers by management, Kanban is flexible, process-driven and owned by engineering….”
https://stormpath.com/blog/so-long-scrum-hello-kanban/

The essence of BDD/SBE is illustrating business rules with examples, not testing a web page. This is a major contributor to high quality output that reduces the need for the rework cycle (or as we like to call it the testing phase). Feed your engine high quality fuel and get high quality performance! Mr Clarkson would be pleased!
https://cukes.info/blog/2015/03/24/single-source-of-truth

http://www.clarkeching.com/ccblog/2014/12/3/the-development-engine

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Some stuff I have read this week

I am not sure I am popular enough for this to be annoying…

http://www.businessinsider.com/periscope-twitter-livestreaming-app-has-notification-issues-2015-3

If you need some tips on choosing the right channel to speed up your WiFi

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/179344-how-to-boost-your-wifi-speed-by-choosing-the-right-channel#.VRRaHaKTVz0.twitter

Zappos is going all in with Holacracy and offering terms to those who don’t want to do it.

http://qz.com/370616/internal-memo-zappos-is-offering-severance-to-employees-who-arent-all-in-with-holacracy/

An interesting article on some of the young women who worked at Bletchley park cracking the Nazi codes. Worth a read

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/the-women-who-helped-crack-nazi-codes-at-bletchley-park/

Have a great weekend everybody. I’ll see you all on Monday.

Andrew.

The end of the world, movement and ManchestDoh

Did the world end in Scotland this morning? It didn’t in Yorkshire but I did see a few of the denizens of this beautiful county looking a little worried.  Remember it is that beautiful down here even the French allowed us to run their cycle race for them. Anyway there was a slight clearing of cloud so you could just about see the sun being eclipsed.

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There was a strange ‘presence’ in the corner of the office where I reside with my immaculately tidied desk. Ok, it might be little on the scruffy side but Louise is very strict with me at home, I have a mat that I have to sit on, so I like to cut loose a little in the office. Just like Bobby T with a P. Anyway, this presence has now disappeared look…

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All that is left is a deflated seagull and a ghostly echo of ‘fook’ reverberating round the place. I believe this ‘presence’ has migrated over to a lair on the other side of EHQ. So be careful when you walk the corridor as it may drag you into its office and ask troublesome questions at length about RAG. Unfortunately, with the move of the ‘presence’ we have now lost Mark’s surrogate mother and this has been immediately obvious. He has booked a trip next week to Amsterdam in order to discuss Cacti with other ‘people’ who like Cacti and has bought a new puzzle. I dread to think what will happen next weekend!

 

Guru

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Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable it will be the load balancers.

We have a new column. Phil H has decided that he wants to have a column where he educates us about the greatness of Manchester. I recommend as you read this you recall the nasal twang of the younger fighty Gallagher…..

Heaven knows I am Phil Heywood now!

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ManchestDoh is fooking brilliant and Leeds is bloody bobbins. Don’t get me started, I mean my boss lives in Leeds and he couldn’t stop a pig in a ginnel and his keks are proper bobbins. He doesn’t wear proper boss keks like me. The music is sheite and not proper banging like Manc bands. It takes a proper fooking genius to write ‘son I am thirty I only went with your mother because she was dirty’. Top one, mint, banging know what I mean. You wouldn’t catch that shirley from the Voice writing stuff like this. Ruby, ruby, bah, daft apeth!

If you want a job there’s loads going on for the dibble in ManchestDoh. Look at this its proper mad.

I mean who can eat ten cows at once?

Its dead ard at the office at the moment with me sat like piffy on a rock waiting for the punters to loan up. Mi stomach thinks mi throat’s been cut and the ladies opposite me won’t share their food. Mind you it looks proper minging and that. It isn’t  fish chips and pea wet. It’s ard being me. 

Gotta chip it hair washing time. Til next week non Mancs. Heres my idea of top fashion, banging!

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The serious bit you may want to read

Got this from David McConchie

Interesting article on the BBC today about Biometrics in Banking http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31968642.  It highlights some of the problems with fingerprint readers and discusses alternatives such as vein readers, facial recognition, iris scanners.  It also discusses behavioural biometrics e.g. http://www.behaviosec.com/ and integration with wearable’s which are more practical for consumer applications.

Somebody might remember when I rambled on at the CIO forum last year. I talked about Facebook getting a banking licence so it was no surprise when Niels sent me this…

Facebook enters the sending money market, behind google,  snapchat and square
http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2015/03/send-money-to-friends-in-messenger/

He also sent me an article on ‘self managed teams’.Worth aiming for I think but requires teams to accept a lot of responsibility and assume the right level of ownership. 

‘I like this – the idea of  “Participation Age”

http://www.inc.com/chuck-blakeman/why-self-managed-teams-are-the-future-of-business.html

Claude sent me a whole set of articles on agile testing and an automated testing journey.

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Here is some stuff that I have read.

Efficiencies in digital marketing enable advertisers to spend less.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/18/business/media/biggest-advertisers-are-sending-their-dollars-to-digital.html?_r=0

Swiss makers of smart watches have no chance against Apple?

http://qz.com/365899/why-swiss-smartwatches-have-no-chance-against-the-apple-watch/

Banking explained, maybe?

http://laughingsquid.com/banking-explained-a-short-animation-breaking-down-the-history-and-complexities-of-money-and-credit/

Intel are experimenting with blockchains.

http://pando.com/2015/03/19/intels-skunkworks-group-begins-experimenting-with-the-blockchain/

Having been up in Edinburgh and in the office all last weekend dealing with issues I am delighted to be at home this weekend. I hope you all have as good a weekend as I intend to. See you all next week.

Andrew

Barcelona, weird meals and a common sense lacking

Some young people were in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress. I did worry about them because it looks like international travel was a little tiring and am also alarmed that a sinister new LARPing club may be forming among them. Jean was with Brindy so I think he may have tempted her over to the dark side of role play. If you see Jean come to the office dressed as Gandalf or an alien or something you will know why!

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Here is Brindy hanging out with his new ‘mates’ who are all cool and wear hats. Anyone got a caption for this one?

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Can anybody tell me what these weird meals are. One of our team is attempting to exist on things that look like they should be given to either very small babies or especially old people with swallowing difficulties. Is ‘thigh gap’ really worth this suffering and pain?

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The middle aged slight tubby velo club was out last night. It was a lovely cycle along the canal until Captain Haphazard got caught in some cobbles and almost went in said canal. He managed to right himself but in doing so fell into the tunnel wall and squealed like a girl. We then went for a refreshing beverage and he lost his wallet. I thought I would share this photo with you. Its where he keeps his common sense.

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Guru

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“90% of everything is crap.”

He told me this was Sturgeon’s law. I am not sure I believe him, I think it is him at his misanthropic best.

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Finnie’s Fabulous Fash Finking (F4)

Hello my slightly less well dressed than me darlings. Its that time of the week again when I dispense absolute fashion wisdom.  And all for free!

You may remember a couple of weeks back when I said that the look du jour is the Canadian Tuxedo, well I am going to repeat this advice because you really can’t go wrong with double  or even triple denim. I have also noticed that those on the cutting edge have all succumbed to bleaching their hair. I can think of no better way to illustrate the look that is celebrated in all the best fash circles than these two…

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Squatting in the office is also in. Make sure you wear some not too tight clothing and you too can do your squats in the office. To motivate yourself think about your developing “thigh gap” whilst you do it.

Till next time fashionistas!

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The serious bit you may want to read

Rachel Finnie and Lizzie Crawford leave us today for pastures new. I am sure you will join me in thanking them for all they have done for the team and wishing them all the best in their new careers.

Claude sent me this article on Kanban and DevOps

http://www.infoq.com/news/2015/03/agileindia-yeret-kanban#.VPdMjB4WzKQ.twitter

David McConchie knows how to spend his time in worthwhile pursuits….

Apparently this Saturday is Pi Day.  According to the website http://www.piday.org/ Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world, however, this year is special being as it is 3/14/15.  For the enthusiast the website includes Pi related merchandise including t-shirts and baby grows.  There is also a spoof video what is the value of Pi based on the ‘hit’ what does the fox say which is worth a watch.

Niels sent me this…

An old colleague of mine posted this on linkedin. I thought it was a pretty succinct description of the dangers in ‘going digital’ (Incidentally I worked with him in 2003 on Direct Lines car insurance web journey, how the world changes…)
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/digital-transformation-again-buzz-word-bingo-philip-reid

Here is some stuff i have read

Saw this Deming quote on Twitter and thought I would share it with you

“Management by numerical goal is an attempt to manage without knowledge of what to do, and in fact is usually management by fear.”

This economist article clearly illustrates how pervasive smart phones are these days. I remember working on the UK launch of the iPhone and it wasn’t that long ago..

It will be of no surprise to the discerning readers of this blog that a lot of internet content is ‘crafted’ by algorithms but can you tell the difference?

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/03/08/opinion/sunday/algorithm-human-quiz.html?_r=0

80% of Bitcoin volume is driven by Chinese Yuan. I am not sure if this means they are a bit bonkers or they are on to something?

http://www.cnbc.com/id/10249790

The good lady Louise is up this weekend for fun and frolics in Edinburgh so I hope to bump into a number of you at the leaving do of the year. If you speak to Louise please tell her that I am very serious in the office, always wear ironed shirts and never eat sweets or cakes. She is very strict with me and I will get in a lot of trouble if you tell her what I am really like.

See you all next week.

Andrew

Straight, art, Grexit and that London

Yes, if you want straight hair you can now do so within the convenience of an office setting. I believe Steven ‘the hair’ Huff has been lobbying long and hard to get some more appliances in the office dedicated to the jujing of hair, to ensure he keeps that hard fought ‘Hair of the Month’ award.  This lobbying has paid off as on the second floor you can now stand enjoying an unparalleled view of the South Gyle whilst straightening your hair.

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It also comes with instructions on how to use the straightners. So if you haven’t straightened your hair before you can leap straight in.

I did see Robert Thomson with a P heading off to HR yesterday to complain of outrageous favouritism towards those of a hirsute nature.

Art. I like art, I have some at home and often drag my beleaguered children off to art galleries at the weekend. Clearly every 4 and 7 year old relishes visits to art galleries and I am happy to indulge them. This has had some sort of influence on my 4 year old as he came home with this master piece a few weeks ago. I think it is a metaphor for male angst in a post feminist age, what do you think?

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Whilst I was endeavouring to educate them to within an inch of their lives I stumbled across the glorification of Scotland in Leeds City Art gallery! Look…

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It is by Lady Elizabeth Butler and is called ‘Scotland Forever’. It show the Scots Greys, even though they are dressed in red, charging at the French at Waterloo. Imagine, we all used to really get on and sided against a common enemy from over the channel. I can’t imagine the Welsh helping out like this, maybe they didn’t have horses then because they ate them or something.

That well known Cougar attracting iOS wrangler from Hellas leaves us today to concentrate on saving the Greek economy. You will pretty soon see him squaring up to Herr Schauble in Berlin. I am sure we all wish him well in the future. (Alternatively, you will find that he is off to build his own company, I am sure we will hear more of him in the future).

Don’t go to London. I was in London this week for one night and bad things happened. I was in a pub waiting for some friends when the rather refreshed upper class man behind me (he had a pinkie ring) started singing ‘There will always be an England’. In addition I was woken by the rather enthusiastic coupling of the couple in the room above my head at 5 am. Are people in London in that much of a rush that they need to start doing that sort of thing at 5 am on a school night? Also, I happened to notice that you can buy bedsits for £950,000, aka ’Studio Flats’. Madness, stay north of the wall.

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Finnie’s Fabulous Fash Finking (F4)
Hiya lovlies, its FASH time. We have some great tips this week.
First up, start washing ladies. Not washing is so last week don’t you know.
Secondly, I wanted to share the fashion gorgeousness that is my absolute number one Scottish idol. Follow this man, ladies and gentlemen and you won’t put a foot wrong when it comes to being top of the fashion parade.
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Thirdly, I have been reliably informed that a ‘Belfie’ has moved on this week. This week it all about taking a picture of your derriere and getting it on Instagram before you can say Jlaw. Go on indulge with your colleagues and family. I am reliably informed that HR departments throughout the kingdom are really relaxed about this sort of thing.
Till next week fashionistas!
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Guru Fraser
“When you join an organisation at the bottom you look up and all you see is arseholes. When you reach the top you look down and all you see is heads.”
Profound! Thats all I can say.

The serious bit you may want to read.
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Some challenges from Zero Defects on scope and fixed dates, a cry for developer anarchy and something to do with Lego…
Fixed scope, fixed dates, would you cut corners and risk product quality as constraints are imposed?
“.. as your deadline approaches your options are reduced and you choose options to fit the deadline rather than satisfy your customer…”
http://winnipegagilist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/thoughts-on-beyond-deadlines-by-jabe.html
Interesting approach, what if the development team not only solved the problem but also owned the problem?
http://www.theguardian.com/info/developer-blog/2015/feb/09/do-what-you-want-building-great-products-through-anarchyLego, Star Wars and something called agile….
http://somethingagileleansomething.com/
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Some stuff I have read this week.
An eye opening expose of how the Mail Online operates.
You have no privacy, you are merely a source of data.
Talking about privacy. What about ‘context privacy’?
According to this article these are the Top 10 emerging technologies for 2015. Might be worth remembering to go back and check when we get to the end of this year.

I was at a breakfast meeting this week with ‘Digital Leaders’ from Barclaycard, Legal and General, The Telegraph, Mitsui Sumitomo, Channel 4, William Hill, GLH Hotels and GDS. The themes were all fairly familiar with concerns on how you start a transformation, how you engage stakeholders, where you get the talent from and how you reconcile waterfall desires of certainty with agile practices? It is fair to say there are no absolute answers but some of what I got from the meeting was that you need to be brave and start, you need to engage the existing teams and stakeholders (you can’t be an Island) and you shouldn’t be afraid to use some tools that are necessarily ‘agile’ such as Gantt charts if it helps with stakeholder engagement.

Mike Beaven from GDS said a few words. The format was Chatham House rules but I don’t think he will mind me attributing the following to him.

He spoke of the need to identify clearly with the needs of customers, which is quite difficult when you are the supplier of ‘grudge transactions’. I.e., nobody really wants to deal with the government as it mainly involves the less than pleasant aspects of life such as death, unemployment, planning etc.

They are very ambitious and originally set themselves a target of 25 transformation projects across government services involving departments as diverse as the HMRC and DVLA over 2 years. As it stands they have succeeded with 20 which is very impressive. They are also looking at providing single identity and payment services for all government departments. Clearly they have great ambition and as I understand from other sources they are technically advanced, for example, in HMRC they are deploying to production on a weekly basis. Something we can’t do!

They also have an interesting approach to delivery phases using Discovery, Alpha, Beta, Live.

Mike talked about the three key things they learnt you need to focus on being

1. Strong leadership. Obvious really but difficult, particularly when you have what he described as a ‘frozen middle’, where the top and bottom of the organisation are motived but the middle isn’t and you are looking to get the whole organisation to shift from providing bureaucracy to providing services to actual customers.

2. You have to work with the established teams. Give them the support they need to succeed. This you can do by building internal consultancy teams, with a particular focus on strong technical support to help and guide the existing teams.

Demos really help with building relationships with senior stakeholders. The Civil Service has the concept of people having core competencies so you have quite a few people in senior technical positions who previously did something that had nothing to do with IT.

3. Service management. Focus on enabling a culture of service management. A good way of doing this is to find the people in an organisation who are at the ‘sharp end’ of customer engagement and give them autonomy. I interpreted “giving them autonomy” as providing the right technology and giving them permission to supply services in the best way they saw fit.

Have a great weekend everybody.

See you on Monday.

Andrew.

Huffy the tyrant, old people, hat competition and some advice

Steven Huffy is a tyrant. He may have very nice hair, as evidenced by his winning hair of the month on a regular basis, but is a bloody tyrant. How do I know this when he hasn’t to my knowledge ever slaughtered anyone or anything in the office? Have a look at this photo he uses for this avatar and tell me he isn’t a ruthless menace to the free world in the mould of a gulag populating maniac.
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Maybe we should have some office guidance on the use of avatars along the lines of not using famous despots.
We have an officially elderly person in our midst. It has come to my attention that Iain ‘Chubs’ Frame celebrated a milestone birthday recently. You won’t have seen him in the office recently as his wife kindly offered to take him for a stair lift fitting. If you have forgotten what he looks like, here is a reminder…
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Many happy returns Iain.
Some people have been wearing what they believe to be are acceptable hats so I thought we could have a little competition. First up, with a deliberately blurred image, is your opportunity to decide whether it is a hat or a tea cosy belonging to an elderly person?
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Secondly, can you decide whether this hat belongs to a lady or a man?
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Fraser has decided he wanted to set up a column in the blog offering wise words of the type a Guru may utter to their followers. He also insisted on his photo being used to publicise the column so here goes.
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“talk doesn’t cook rice”
“a man with a full beard has lacking hair elsewhere”
I am sure we will have some more next week and that some of you may find inspiration from his utterances. He doesn’t say much but when he does it is normally profound.
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Finnie’s Fabulous Fash Finking (F4)
Hiya lovies its that time of the week again when I dispense practical and indispensable fashion tips. Firstly, I regret to inform you that due to some ghastly and costly legal dispute with Vogue we are no longer allowed to refer to Robert Thomson with a  P. Apparently he has some licensing agreement with them on style advice and his image rights.
I happened to be in the EHQ reception this week at the same time as some primary school children, or they could have been the latest graduate candidates. Anyway, they were all wearing horrible shiny suits. Unless you happen to be Borat or Justin Bieber then you should never wear a suit of the shiny type. Try aiming for a nice tweed suit like this chap, particularly if you can pair it with some authentic wrinkles..
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The Canadian Tuxedo is the look du jour if you are lucky enough to be below 30. For those of you not wired into the fabulous beating pulse of fashion I am referring to double denim. Channel Bryan Adams, you can’t go far wrong.
If you are a lady not washing is in this week. Be dirty, don’t worry about it. Look everybody is doing it.
Belfies. Be like our wonderfully exuberant sisters in arms Gisele and Gwen and take a picture of your self breast feeding. Don’t worry if you don’t have a baby or even if you are not a woman just give it a go, maybe a colleague can help you? Remember the important thing is the rampant narcissism not the actual  act of assisting a small person with their nutrition needs. Also, remember not to post to Facebook as this is for squares like Captain Haphazard.
Tara till next week fashionistas.
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The serious bit you may want to read
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ZD is back challenging our thinking around shipping to users.
Is DONE “Shippable to our users”? The mobile world has made deployment straight to the user easier but our reality is still very different..Trying to figure this one out for telematics at the moment!
http://www.infoq.com/news/2008/02/done-shippable-quality

Great quote from Bill Gates,
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

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Chris Brind has been pondering sprint length this week and has blog on weekly sprints.
Niels sent me this.
‘Interesting article about the challenges facing banks and an avenue for digital strategy. Sounds v familiar. (in fact this whole site is pretty much a treasure trove of fascinating viewpoints)
Some stuff I have read.
Sunset for British banking empires?
Love the info graphic with this piece. It makes you think whether search engines should be called ‘search engines’ or ‘directories of curated information that offer the best value to the provider of the search engine’?
Barclays extend their Pingit payment service
Getting development and business teams on the same page. Never easy but worth striving for..
A start up in the US is looking at reinventing insurance for the mobile generation
The one day I forget my headphones and I have to sit in front of a loud woman on her phone on the train. What I know about her life is that her partner will be at her house when she gets home, he will have run her a bath because she is tired, she will be fetching him a KFC, he shouldn’t eat what was in the fridge as it has gone off, he will be bringing his washing for her to do, she thinks Scotland is a long way from London, her friend has bought a drier for £500……I could scream.
Have a great weekend everybody. I look forward to seeing you all next week.
Andrew