moscow rules

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“In the past every village had an idiot, and we could all deal with that. Now the internet is allowing idiots to connect and it is normalising idiocy.”@snowded

“Most victims of suicide are men, Most people in jail are men, Most victims of violent crimes are men, Most victims of murder are men, Most victims of police killings are men; Most shamed for mental health is men.”@birgitta

“One of the biggest differences I discovered: poor folks in Germany realise they are poor and mostly vote for parties advocating for poverty relief measures. Poor folks in the US see themselves as ‘temporarily not rich’ and vote for policies benefiting mostly the rich.”@LyssasLounge

The fireman of global health: The WHO’s emergencies chief is put to the test — 2019-10-30 [read that date]

Climate-mediated natural disasters. Conflict-riven failed states. Massive displacement of people. And, as always in this type of work, expanding human populations, encroaching on the natural habitat from which new disease threats emerge.

“We’re not ready,” Ryan said. “If we can’t stop Ebola” — referring to the ongoing outbreak in northeastern DRC, on the cusp of beginning its 16th month — “what hope do we have of stopping … Disease X? [AKA Covid-19]”

A Twitter thread by David Whitney [which should have been a blog post so I could have just linked to it]

One of the things I see absolutely plague developers is time management.

We’ve all been there, and we’ve all seen it:

“too many meetings!”
“I can’t get my work done because of all these meetings!”
“I don’t feel like I have control over my time!”
Here are a few things I’ve done to get things done over the years.

1. Diarise your own time.

Your calendar doesn’t exist purely for other people to fill your time up. It is yours. You can use it.

During consulting gigs where people bombard you with requests, literally the moment someone asks me to do something, or look at something, I’ll block out a slot in my calendar of *at least* one hour to actually do the work and think about the problem.

This:
– Helps you remember to do the thing
– Organises your day
– Stops meetings preventing work

This is a great trick to help set expectations of when people will expect to see results from you and embraces the fact that doing any work takes time and space.

This is perhaps the easiest way to make sure meetings don’t get in the way of doing.

2. Politely reject meetings that do not have agendas or stated outcomes.

Many meetings are formless & ineffective, becoming unstructured thought & conversation. All meetings requests should come with either an agenda or an explicit goal.

Help by making sure your own invites do.

3. Leave meetings where you are adding or gaining nothing.

I suspect the biggest cost-waste in most organisations are meetings with passive participants. Respect your own time by observing the law of two feet and politely excusing yourself to get other things done.

4. Be present in the meetings you do attend.

No laptops unless you’re taking notes or doing some meeting related activity. It’s simple, it’s respectful.

If you feel like you have to brain space to do other things, see point 3 – observe the law of two feet and get up and leave.

5. Get into the habit of circulating meeting outcomes

There is no need to minute or notate the vast majority of meetings – but any outcomes – decisions, should be circulated to the exact invite group of the meeting after the fact.

This gives people the confidence that if they cannot attend a meeting in real time because of time conflicts, that they will be able to understand the outcomes regardless.

This is part of the respectful contract that not everyone you wish to attend a meeting, will be able to.

6. Decline meeting invites if you cannot, or do not want to, attend.

To solidify the human contract that people will circulate conclusions and communicate effectively, you need to let people know if you’re not coming.

You don’t have to tell them why, but it’ll help them plan.

7. Don’t miss mandatory team communication meetings.

There’s a pattern of fatigue that develops when meetings start to feel rote or useless. Don’t respond by not attending, respond by “refactoring your meetings”.

Discuss cancelling pointless recurring events to free up time.

8. Schedule formless catchup meetings

It’s easy for meetings to devolve into chatter, especially in 2020, where we’re all craving human contact. Set meetings up with this goal.

A social meeting is not a crime, it’s optional, and people that are craving contact will thank you.

9. Consider doing work in meetings rather than talking about it.

Many meetings can be replaced with mob programming sessions, where you do the thing, instead of discussing it.

Doing the work is the best way to know if it’s right & valuable.

Prefer this format where possible.

moswcow rules

Moscow Rules via The Spy Museum

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