Three Lessons From Wargames That Will Help You Ship Projects And Make Your Team Stronger

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Shipped today. Give it a read.

Strategy gives you flexibility and a position to pivot from, as well as a method to communicate that with your team.

Remembering that:

  • Rulesets affect implementation, not direction.
  • The goal comes first, everything else is ego
  • Get it out of your head, then commit.

Helps you, as a product person, keep communication and trust high. As a result, you’ll ship well and more importantly, with consistency.


Why Read Old?

There is “gold in them hills.”

In Silicon Valley, there is talk of a mystical 10x engineer. It is said one of them is worth 100 regular engineers.

I am realizing that the same thing with the best material I’ve read over the last year.

A great Paris Review interview that profiles Maya Angelou can turn a cold day hot. The Tao Te Ching is eighty pages of philosophical grace. An essay from James Baldwin on race takes me to the past while connecting me to the present, and that is something I can’t find in a Facebook post.

So then we land on a new question.

Why not spend more time exploring the great originals instead of seeking new retreads?

From my latest Medium Essay – Why Did I Delete My Twitter? 80,000 Tweets Gone.

Find the answer there, and much more.

Practice vs “Content” – You Need Both

When I create, I do it with two different worldviews

Practice – A daily, consistent creation that forces me to create rain or shine. i.e. this blog.

“Content” – A specialized creation meant to showcase. i.e., this LinkedIn Post.

This method frames my mindset. I can’t look at my practice as “content” because if I consider this blog all “content,” then I have a way to pat myself on the back for the bare minimum. I can’t look at my “content” as practice because it needs to speak to a worldview and be specialized to tell a story.

Both are important because they feed each other.

Great content puts eyes on your practice.

Great practice levels up your ability to make content.


The Tale of Resistance,Quality Control, and Habit

Why Do We Haunt Ourselves and How Do We Push Forward

It’s late in the day, we are sitting at our desks, paralyzed with fear. It is nearing 3:30 — and you are currently fighting a war with yourself on moving forward with your work — the big picture stuff, the year end goal, the thing that makes your eyes light up when you are in that state of flow.

A ping comes from your left- and an email arrives – it becomes your salvation, because now you have “something to do” — and something that looks very busy, so the people around you know you are working.

While this is happening, you still can’t get rid of that sinking feeling you have, but, if only for a moment, it gets covered in the malaise of busy work.

Resistance has won — for another day.

We all have had days like that — and this week, I have found myself consumed with those thoughts, and it shows in my writing. The hard work is trying to fight that tide, when we are at our weakest, because that is when the Resistance is strongest.

It’s war is engaged on many fronts, and it tactics can range from “just take 5 minutes and read this update” to “OMG HOW CAN WE WORK WITHOUT COFFEE”. However, its best tactics focus on sapping your priorities and making you think about perfection.

Now — put yourself back at that desk. Do you feel it creeping up on you, pushing you away from the big project, towards that email, that text message, that phone call? Now that it has a name to you, do you understand how much it can ruin your long term vision?

Here is the bad news — there is no killing it. It’s as a part of you as your fingers and toes.

The best defense — I have found, is to know it, make peace with it, understand it, and just step over it. It is best done with process and habit. If you know what to do next, if you ingrain it into your day, you know exactly what your next move is.

This Sunday morning, I had a huge fight with it, laying in bed watching myself look at the making of SportCenter. I don’t even watch ESPN. All this is happening in my head as my eyes glaze over in bed, looking at the new Social Media capabilities of the new studio. I couldn’t believe I was “fascinated” by the speed they plan on getting tweets you wrote back out to you.

After the video was over, I took a breath, realized what was happening, and got up for my morning workout — just one of the three things I have to do in the morning. Something as simple as just touching my toes snapped me back into the habit and started my morning correctly.

If I had no habits — I still might be in bed figuring out just how deep ESPN’s integration with Facebook goes.

This works the other way as well — finishing what you start is a daunting process. Who knows how receptive people are going to be when you finish it. That person sitting there sweating at 3:30 is closer to pushing send — closer to shipping, and his fear is keeping him buttoned up.

Perfection is one of the greatest tactics resistance has. If we just get one more feature, if we just find one more bug, if we just do one more test, then maybe the people will shower the product, the PowerPoint, the corporate vision with praise — and if it all goes bad they will have the paperwork for you to CYA.

Your process has to be able to handle putting stuff out there, pick a date. Ship. You always have a chance to make something better, and you will learn something along the way. Perfection be damned.

When I was a kid, I hated normal and learned a lot. When I was a teen I hated normal and learned a lot. Around college — I hated normal, but somewhere along the way as an adult, I started to settle. I want to get back to that.

It boils down to you deciding — each day, each decision — do I want to have an adventure — to see something new, to push myself to go to where no one has been before.

Ask yourself — do I want an Adventure — or do I want normal?

*Originally wrote on Medium – check out more posts here *