Eliminating Waste

Like too many projects we start in life, this site became forgotten. Barely started, and with good intentions, I just didn’t find the time to follow through. I have many ideas in my head for projects I want to start…but sadly, that’s how I think of them. As things I want to start. Not as things I want to finish.

A recent talk by Joel Semeniuk at the Prairie Developer Conference in Winnipeg, MB got me thinking about waste. The talk at the time was about Kanban, and how anything started, and not finished, is waste. Unmerged branches, projects not yet deployed, or anything else that’s not “Done. Done.”

I remembered this site. This thing I started a couple years ago. And I realized…it was waste. It’s unfinished. I read and enjoy great blogs by other developers. They help provide insight, solutions, and sometimes a spark. A spark that puts you in the zone. Even if only for a little while, but it motivates you. It makes you strive for perfection.

Which ties into reviews. I, like most developers, find reviews pointless. Along with timesheets, but that’s another rant. This review, in my mind was a giant waste of time. It wasn’t long, it was basically a quick survey where you evaluate yourself. Then later you sit with your boss and go over it. However, what I consider “meets job expectations” and what my boss may consider “meets job expectations” are likely different. And it has been pointed out before that they are, that I was “above average” or “exceeding”. But how is this helping either of us? Should I do less? No…that’s probably not the point. Does it actually help me become better? No. I strive to improve on my own. And if you’re in IT and not striving to learn and improve, you’re in the wrong industry. So if our views were so different, and he already knew how he would rank my work, why were we going through exercise? I really don’t know. Seems like a lot of waste when you calculate the number of employees doing this, and their bosses time, and what could be getting done during it. It seems we only do these because HR says we should. Because they help some employees…so it must help everyone right? Or at the very least, not hurt. All wasted time and effort for little to no business value. At best it breaks even, more thank likely it’s a cost to perform and store these that never provides any overall benefit to the company.

Ultimately, I’m hoping in the next couple days the team and I get a Kanban board up on the wall, with WIP limits (that’s going to be a hard sell) and that we use and enforce the proper flow of tasks through it. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

To sum up, the point of this 500 word rant is that we need to eliminate waste, even if it’s one small step at a time. And I’m going to try and turn this waste of a site into something that can provide me value. Somewhere that I can reflect, and hopefully as a tool to better myself.

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