Rules in context: D&D edition

In Dungeons & Dragons (the tabletop game), there are universal laws. These are published in the Player’s Guide. They set parameters for the characters, like how powerful they should be relative to monsters. The Player’s Guide outlines weapons, combat procedures, and success rates. It describes spells, what they do and how long they last. What …

Read moreRules in context: D&D edition

Collective problem solving in music, art, science, and software

Or: the Origins of Opera and the Future of Programming. (video, or TL;DR, or abstract) At the end of this post is an audacious idea about the present and future of software development. In the middle are points about mental models: how important and how difficult they are. But first, a story of the origins …

Read moreCollective problem solving in music, art, science, and software

Code and Coders: components of the sociotechnical system

TL;DR: Study all the interactions between people, code, and our mental models; gather data and we can make real improvements instead of guessing in our retros. Software is hard to change. Even when it’s clean, well-factored, and everyone working on it is sharp and nice. Why? Consider a software team and its software. It’s a …

Read moreCode and Coders: components of the sociotechnical system