January 14, 2021
Lubomir, or ‘Lubo’ for short, is the sort of guy whose name you will hear your very first day at Runecast and then every day thereafter, and possibly several times per day. It’s not because he’s trying to be popular or in the spotlight – quite the opposite, he can seem rather quiet and shy. He’s the kind of guy who would probably avoid doing a public interview like this one, but does it only because he wants to help the team any way he can.
We all do our best not to take advantage of Lubo’s dedication, but there are inevitably situations that arise for which the only next logical step is: “Ask Lubo.” And sometimes, when he sees a need, he volunteers to help before we’ve even had a chance to ask (e.g. when he offered to extend his Scrum Master role beyond the R&D team to include also the Marketing team).
In addition to his incredible knowledge of all things Runecast and the MVP-level insights he shares with the team, Lubo is a highly skilled table-tennis player and a fun guy to brainstorm BIG IDEAS with over a few craft beers.
I work at Runecast as Scrum Master and I help the development team to organize themselves so they can effectively work together and be focused on creating new features, mostly for Runecast Analyzer. My daily tasks have changed a lot since I joined Runecast. I used to educate our team about agile and software development best practices (e.g. Scrum framework itself, why and how to test, working with issue tracker). But as the team grew and matured, my focus shifted to visualizing team goals, giving advice about incremental delivery of a feature, and supporting the release processes.
I believe the main benefit is that the development team can deliver new features efficiently, even without me being around. And I hope I increased the visibility of R&D progress for the whole business.
I have a short answer this time. I enjoy that we are product-focused and that people around me are motivated to do their best.
I can mention a few tricks I use:
When I have too many tasks to do in a single day, I put them all on a sheet of paper. My goal is to clear the paper out by the end of the working day. So I take tasks only from the paper. As I check off tasks, I am building momentum. There is often a realization there are too many tasks and that I have to handle them in a different way, e.g. reschedule them to another day, delegate to someone else, or maybe not do some of them at all. By the way, all three of these actions are actually positive things to do because it helps you understand the real value of a task. I use this method occasionally when I feel it is really needed. If I have to do it as often as every other day, it means that I am probably overloaded.
Skipping breakfast and lunch. You would be surprised how much time people spend on planning where to eat, going to their favorite restaurant, eating lunch, and then being tired after it. Mindful intermittent fasting is healthy and gives you extra time.
Work in a typically non-working environment. It can be very refreshing to cover a meeting in a cafeteria or tea house. It is relaxing and it makes me open to new ideas and being creative.
Anyway, these are tricks that work for me but you have to be mindful of what works for you. There is no productivity silver bullet.
I am not sure about all-time favorites but these came to my mind:
Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman. This book ignited my interest in design. Before I read this book I had the opinion a designer has to be very strong in visual design, basically an artist. That can be true in certain cases, but reading Norman's book helped me to understand that design is also an engineering practice that takes into account the psychological aspects of users. His stories and examples of design problems somehow clicked with me and I realized delivering SW products or even organizing scrum teams are design problems that should be addressed.
The second book, which I read just recently, was written by Ken Kocienda with the slightly clumsy title Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs. The book covers the stories around the development of famous Apple products like Safari and iPhone, and it nicely illustrates engineering best practices. It also captures the way the development is – i.e. a non-linear process focused on discovery, creative collaboration, and delivering reasonable value under a deadline. The book covers how much effort goes into great user experience where even a small technical decision might greatly affect the final result.
Finally, I want to mention a podcast named Team Deakins, which is hosted by Oscar-awarded cinematographer Roger Deakins and his wife. It is an amazing time that I can listen to such famous filmmakers on a weekly basis. Of course, this is mostly for people who enjoy movies. However, I feel there are many connections between film production and software development.
I am a new father, so outside of work I spend time with my daughter and wife. I am amazed at how fast babies are learning. Every week she acquires a new skill.
And besides that I am into portrait photography, training for OCR (obstacle course races), reading books mostly about design, and drinking sour beer with my friends.