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Fruit salad: a scrum estimation scale

When I first joined Netlify over 2 years ago, I took over sprint planning for a while.

As many teams do, they were doing a sort of scrum-lite. They didn’t have an estimation scale and we all agreed at various times that the traditional scrum scales of t-shirt sizes or fun bucks didn’t really capture the concept of scoring complexity.

So, I came up with a scale I thought captured complexity better and used emoji. Fruit! The idea is that as the score increases, the complexity one might expect about how to prepare and eat the item of fruit increases. So, you declare a fruit for a task, and build up a fruit salad of a size the team can handle (eat!) for a sprint.

1 🍇 A grape. Trivial, very quick, no brainer.

2 🍏 An apple (green, specifically, so it stands apart from the tomato emoji). Most people know how to cut up or bite into an apple and eat it. You know generally what needs to happen for the task, but it might take a little bit of time.

3 🍒 A cherry. Pretty easy to eat, but sometimes has that troublesome pit in the middle you either need to extract or spit, and certainly try not to bite or swallow. So, you know most of what needs to happen, quite straight-forward, but there’s some unknowns.

5 🍍A pineapple. Does anyone really know how to cut up a pineapple? Cutting pineapples isn’t something I do often, so I’m a bit unsure about where I’ll start. There’s some parts of the task still to work out, no major unknowns, but it’s still meaty work.

8 🍉 A watermelon. OK, now this is a real wild card. Do I have to have a machete to cut one open? What about the seeds? Do they just get left in? There’s lots to work out, some unknowns, and it might get messy.

?? 🍅 A Tomato. Apparently you’re a fruit, but you certainly don’t belong in a fruit salad. Declare tomato when you really have no idea about the task and it needs more info/breaking down before it can be estimated.

🥑 An avocado. Also a fruit, but it goes bad really quickly. Work that’s not scope-able because it’s a chore or something that just takes a fixed amount of time.

The term "Responsive Web Design" has failed

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and although Alex’s recent slide is a bit full on, it’s not entirely wrong.

I think what he should have said was that Responsive Web Design alone has failed so far in keeping the web at the forefront of users experiences where most users are most of the time -- on mobile. Of course, that’s much more nuanced than he had time for in his talk, but if that is a goal of RWD then it has failed. If the goal of RWD is just to be a practice to making things visually work on different screen sizes, then gold stars all around.

Responsive web design in and of itself is a really smart way to think about developing sites, assuming that you’re taking it from the mobile-first strategy. It’s been a while since I’ve come across a major digital service that hasn’t had a mobile-optimised layout of some nature, so I think on the whole that’s worked. Although, I have to ask where the "so focused on mobile they didn’t bother with a desktop optimisation" crew are - I sort of expected that to happen, but I’ve not yet hit a serious site that has a mobile-only view and presents that to it’s end users on desktop as a fallback. I have, however, seen buckets of splash screens that block me entirely and point me at the native app as the exclusive and only way to access their content and services. That’s scary.

What’s lacking about the responsive web design story is it has always focussed so heavily on the visual, dimensional, aspects of digital design. What are the snap points? How do we scale the images, the text? Can we trim content for some or enhance for others?

As a movement, it’s failed to capture the true otherness of being on a small screen. The fact that CPU, memory, network speed, storage and so many other aspects need to be first-level concerns. I’d argue that for most sites, the compromise for small screen devices has gone about as far as the ever-maligned hamburger menu and largely stopped there.

What I think I, and folks like Alex and Jeremy, who are fearful of the future of the Open Web really want to see is the sort of design work that Jad spoke about at Fronteers. That deep, close, observation of what our users _really_ expect on their devices - given that a majority of their experiences are with native apps and we’re trying very much to slip in our non-native experiences and pass them off as as reliable, integrated and valuable as those. RWD also isn’t taking us into where people find their online experiences (app stores). It could, but it needs to be tightly coupled with a strong PWA game with Trusted Web Activities, for example.

So, in short, RWD didn’t fail so much as it stopped short. Let’s not bicker about the specifics and just focus on getting out of our doom loop, eh?

Trash and plastic replacements

I've become one of those people who gets angry about plastic straws and I know that it's not going to save the planet and governments have to set policies that stop companies using so much trash, yadda yadda, but it at least gives one a new high-horse on which to ride since I already don't eat animals and I have a reusable mug.

Monica suggested I start a blog, but that sounds like work so here's a bunch of plastic/trash reducing replacements I have tried.

Good

  • Dropps - they're plastic-free dishwasher tablets and washing machine detergent. I like them. They work well and they come in cardboard boxes instead of plastic tubs and don't have any unnecessary tasty-looking dyes in them. I also got their wool dryer balls and stopped buying dryer sheets because they work just as well.
  • Dental Lace Floss. It goes in the compost and you can refill the jar forever. Also, I floss now.
  • Some Lush. They have tons of packaging free products but I only like some of them - the shampoos are good and I really like the scrubee. The conditioner and face wash bars make me feel all waxy though, so still looking for good alternatives.
  • Composting. I got a little compost bin that I keep in the freezer so it doesn't smell bad and line it with compostable bags. I then either put it in our green bin or in our little home composter. It's great! I throw as much as I can in that.
  • Who Gives a Crap. Like Alice, I thought it was some dumb gimmick, but it's really good! I didn't know loo roll had to be wrapped in some way for like hygiene and moisture reasons, so know I know that I'd much rather they be wrapped in pretty compostable paper over plastic. Plus, they use bamboo instead of trees. I also get their boxes of tissues (fine) and kitchen paper too (not as good as fancy brands but I'll cope).
  • Cloth napkins. I have loads of fancy napkins and we just use those instead of being trash people who use disposable kitchen paper when we eat. It feels better.
  • Beekind wax paper. Brilliant. Great for wrapping up little bits of left over things and the bread one seems to keep my home-made bread fresh for longer than a plastic bag.
  • Pelacase phone cases. I love my yellow one with bees on it and kinda can't wait to throw it in my composter.

Meh

  • Bite toothpaste tablets. I want to like these but they just don't make my teeth feel clean. I also want to like their mouthwash, but I'm on a fluoride mouthwash right now (I have a soft bit on a tooth and am under strict dentist instructions) and none of the tablet forms have that.
  • Cleansely. I was so hopeful for this, but they're clearly just one or two dudes working on it who don't quite have their stuff together yet. They are little shampoo and hand wash tablets that you put into water to make up whole bottles of liquid soap. I ordered some, but they were so badly packaged they exploded in transit and I basically got delivered a box of snot.
  • Kjaer Weis. They're fancy makeup that is refillable and I wanted to like them and they're on every bloody list of "eco friendly makeup", but it was very underwhelming for the cost. I really just want the mascara to work, which it doesn't. I should probably just get less vain, but I did learn that you can send used mascara wands to an organisation that uses them to clean wildlife!

Bad

  • Brushette. I think I got the wrong end of the stick with this one. I thought they wanted to use less plastic so you'd make less waste, but actually they just want you to buy more brush heads (like, even so far as buying enough for a new one every day). Their recycling scheme doesn't actually exist yet and the heads are packaged in non-recyclable crisp-packet like foil. Strong pass.
  • Humankind. I got their shampoo and their deodorant. The shampoo stripped my hair and the deodorant doesn't really work. Like, I could tolerate having to reapply it more often in exchange for plastic-free but the refills (they call them kindfills 🤮) actually do contain plastic in the hygiene cap and inner turn mechanism.
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Weeknotes

Week 504

I had a birthday this week. A pandemic birthday! I realise that just about everyone, except February babies, has had a pandemic birthday by now. Alex supplied a dozen donuts and some lovely flowers, and we later took a walk around the park with friends and their new dog.

This week I mostly worked on some paintings, getting towards completing a little project I'm code naming PalmPilot.

Been playing a lot of RDO still, and only just discovered Destiny 2 is free-to-play now, so that fills some idle time. One of my Quest controllers cracked a couple weeks ago and had to go back for replacement, so I'm losing good e-sports time in Beatsaber. My neck feels better, though.

Week 501-502

Not much to update. We survived the inauguration.

In lieu of anything interesting to say, here's a special little treat for those week notes readers: a very painful, slow, video of me playing Sea of Theives' Becalmed on concertina. To watch it back is how I imagine it feels to watch a sheep in a nativity play forget their lines.

Partially recording it so the historians have interesting material for when I'm hailed as the greatest concertina player of all time.

Watch video on Youtube

If your feed-reader skipped the video (and fall-back link) above, like mine did, you'll have to actually and visit the website like a peasant (or click this link). Sorry.

If you're here, on an independent website, directly, in 2021: Hello, weirdo!

Week 500

It's 2021 and my 500th week living in the wonderful US of A, and this week we had an attempted coup! What more could I ask for to celebrate this wonderful round number.

The week was somewhat of a write-off. Who can do anything productive when there are lunatics threatening the consitutional electoral process with violence? Alex and I declared Wednesday a Snow Coup Day and stayed glued to the live feed, and then stayed up late to see the electoral vote count get finalised.

Other than that basic threat to democracy, I don't have much else to report.

Replied to a couple of work emails, but not a lot else on the capitalism side of things. I never really talk about my jobs, because it's always felt too personal. So much about "doing the work" is the relationships that get built with the people you're working with (or for) that it doesn't seem quite correct to talk about it publicly. I might try and talk more abstractly about the things I'm learning and seeing more in future though, because it is a big part of what I'm doing in any given week. I'm a bit of a fan of the way that Tom code-names projects, so maybe I'll borrow that idea.

I'm very slowly working on learning Twinkle Twinkle on the concertina. I mostly don't understand how my two hands will ever learn to push different buttons at different intervals, but I'm assured it's just practice and they'll get it eventually. I'm trying to keep in mind that I can touch type, and this is largely the same skillset. Just a new layout and cadence, right?

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