The granularity of planning

More on Chaos control.

The most dangerous outcome of the underplanning is employee frustration. Without clear day-to-day targets, employees loose interest in the work. Some become anxious, not willing to take on responsibilities beyond what they consider their assignment.

The danger of the overplanning is that detailed plans are hard to change.

The rigidness of the plan is proportional to the time spent on it, as the only reason not to change plans is often sheer inertia of those that invested already a lot of time to write it up, in the first place.

An ideal planning phase is short and concise, and the planing granularity is barely sufficient to distribute the day-to-day assignments to the employees.


How much Freedom?

On Freedom management.

The employee should be given as much control over his work as he can bear. This meets the requirement for the planning in that there should be just enough planning to induce day-to-day tasks, no more.

More freedom brings more responsibility and emotional involvement, by creating a sense of ownership between the employee and the product.

The freedom may morph into frustration if the employee takes on the challenges he can not endure.

The essence of a IT project manager's work

A project manager plays with two major forces: Chaos and Freedom. When a project starts, nothing is clear, the previous stages like business analysis and user requirements collection have likely been a complete failure and collected input won't help much the team and the manager. At this point, the manager has to control the Chaos and reduce it to the minimum, by creating an environment where everyone know exactly what to do, how to do it and how much time would it take.

So he starts to plan, as the work moves on. The days roll out, and he slowly realizes that there is not much left of the initial planning, and the team is swirling out in different directions. This is where the Freedom control takes precedence. The manager has to give everyone enough Freedom so that every morning employees felt the urge to scratch an itch, while still working in the planned direction.

He slowly realizes that the Chaos/Freedom ratio is unique for each employee, and he has to work out a personal approach to everyone if the wants the team to work at full throttle.

By the time everything is crystal clear in his mind, and all the errors have been consumed and learned from, the project ends, and the manager moves on the next one or bails out.


Using the debian package of tomcat in etch

For many years already, Java developers running Debian ignored the Tomcat bundled with Debian in favor of a manual installation. Nowadays, with the availability of Sun Java 1.5 in Etch, it is time to reconsider this.

Install Tomcat with aptitude install sun-java5-jdk tomcat5 tomcat5-admin tomcat5-webapps.

Edit /etc/default/tomcat5 to change the JAVA_HOME and TOMCAT5_SECURITY environment variables.


Note that you should consider reenabling the SecurityManager for production environments.

Now, you may install webapps into /var/lib/tomcat5/webapps and start tomcat with /etc/init.d/tomcat5 start

Лучшие фото фотосайта на рабочем столе, дубль 2

Ну вот и ещё один дубль. Восьмого января фотосайт изменил структуру сайта и поломал так полюбившийся многим photosight wallpaper под Windows, а также скрипты дла автоматической установки "фото дня" на рабочий экран, используемые пользователями других OS.

Впрочем, от упрямого айтишника ничто не спасёт. Вот новый скрипт под Gnome Desktop для всеобщего пользования:

cd /tmp
ID=`wget -q -O -` && \
wget -q -N  http://img-`date '+%Y-%m'``date '+%d'`/$ID.jpg && \
gconftool-2 -t str --set /desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename /tmp/$ID.jpg && \
gconftool-2 -t str --set /desktop/gnome/background/picture_options "centered"

А вот версия под KDE по мотивам комментария

cd /tmp
ID=`wget -q -O -` && \
wget -q -N  http://img-`date '+%Y-%m'``date '+%d'`/$ID.jpg && \
dcop kdesktop KBackgroundIface setWallpaper /tmp/$ID.jpg 4