beautiful and friendly forms based on Bootstrap and popovers

If you’ve seen anything built with Bootstrap you’ll know that the overall  design is just beautiful.

Now, mix in that design mojo with the Popover functionality and you’ll get stunning and user-friendly forms like you’ve never had before. It’s so simple to implement and has such a great impact that I’m actually inclined to call this free end-user value. Continue reading beautiful and friendly forms based on Bootstrap and popovers

Everything is a project

From time to time people seriously ask me “how’d you manage to do that?” or “when do you get the time?”.

My regular answer – which surprisingly surprises people :) – is that I just plan for it and do it.

I treat things like little projects – everything from cooking to events to regular household chores.

You see, everything in life has a critical path, a set of dependencies, some constraints, a desired outcome, a list of available assets, required resources or even liabilities and risks. Sounds familiar? So everything in life can be treated like a project,  sketched, planned and executed.

Next, they ask things like “what if something doesn’t go according to plan?” – and I smile. I smile because I’ve never seen anything go according to plan, so I’m always ready for change.

Life is the longest project you’ll be part of and planning for it just makes it a lot easier.

Last week was probably the hardest week of my life and this mindset got me through it. Who knows, maybe sometimes I’ll even write about it.

A project objectives checklist

Objectives help your team to focus on the tasks at hand while not losing sight of the overall outcome that it needs to reach.

A good team is results-oriented, focusing on what it is trying to achieve not what it’s currently doing.

Use this checklist to verify that the objectives defined for your project will help you achieve results and won’t hinder your efforts.

  1. Are the defined objectives clear enough?

    Contrary to goals, objectives must be focused and clear. Understandable objectives will drive the team to successful results.

  2. Are the defined objectives SMART?

    Do the objectives comply with the SMART criteria:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant
    • Time constrained
  3. Is the number of objectives right (4-6 range)?

    There is no right number of project objectives but taking into account the fact that objectives should be known and tracked by the team, a low number (having between 4 and 6 objectives is a good compromise) will make it easier for the team to keep focused on the essential. Remember, the more objectives you have, the harder it will be for your team to keep track of them.

  4. Is there a known and clear context?

    The defined objectives must be linked to the overall context. Objectives that do not advance the project (useless objectives) or that are contrary to company strategy (like building a whole new product that competes with one that already exists) should be eliminated or changed. For each objective yourself these questions:

    • Will achieving this objective advance the project?
    • Does this objective tie in to the project and company goals?
    • Does this objective follow the company strategy?
  5. Are the defined objectives known and agreed upon?

    It is important that all stakeholders know and agree to the defined objectives. It is very important for project success that the objectives are known and agreed upon by project sponsors and executives.

  6. Can each defined objective be tied to a deliverable?

    Think of this as a post-SMART check. If you can pinpoint at least one deliverable that helps you attain an objective you are OK. If you can’t ask yourself this: how are we achieving this objective? If it doesn’t matter, you should remove it from the list.

  7. Does every defined objective have quality criteria specified?

    Besides being measurable, each objective should have quality criteria defined, so that both quantitative (are we there yet?) and qualitative (is it the right thing?) parameters can be tracked and accounted for. Getting it right is just as important as getting it done.

The pileup

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
Douglas Adams

January was a tough month, with a lot of new projects and initiatives that needed pushing and pulling to get up and running, consuming a huge chunk of my time… and most importantly, my energy.

As I realized that work started consuming more and more time… I chose to suspend things like participating in communities, writing this blog, working on my other various projects, so that I can give as much attention as I can to my family and to my full time job activities.

And now I have a huge list of things that I wanted to write, mostly technical, some less technical.

Throughout January I’ve raised my pomodoro usage and through trial and error I’ve found that a 20 minute pomodoro followed by a 10 minute break is a perfect fit for my work requirements.

I am however pushing the rules a little because I’m using the 10 minute break between pomodoros for low-cost activities, like following-up on delegated tasks, quick feedback sessions and having quick coffee-break chats.

Anyway, here’s to February, a small and hopefully, more productive month.

Ask yourself, do you REALLY need a framework?

There’s a good piece by Mike Mooney on “the framework myth” that I really like. I like to read it every time I start something new.

I also have a quote on a PostIt on my wall:

Keep it simple.
Keep it low-impact.
Keep it clean.
Put the big guns away.


I thought I’d share it with you, go read it:

Learning about projects and journyes… from FUBU

Tim Ferris published this really good interview with Daymond John, CEO of FUBU.


Photo by lorempixum

Of all the places you’d think that a dev takes his inspiration from, the music/rap apparel industry would be the last. It isn’t! I really admire both of these guys and this interview comes to emphasize that they still have a lot of things to share.

Here are some quotes that are aligned with my beliefs and that express what I feel… probably better than I can:

  • “It was incredibly tough, but the passion for the project pushed me through. If your project doesn’t do that for you, well, maybe you need to sit down and revaluate.”
  • “Everyone has an idea, but it’s taking those first steps toward turning that idea into a reality that are always the toughest.”
  • “If you don’t know how to do something, find someone who does.”
  • “Sewing is an ability; manufacturing is a knowledge.” – I see a lot of parallels with this one.. it’s not about sewing at all ;)

Making things that matter is hard, and it’s the way it should be! Nothing beautiful and worthwhile is ever easy!

Why releasing new versions is like shaving

Some time ago I was talking about the similarities of shaving and product releasing, especially the impact of release frequency on velocity.

Returning to this idea, i realized that,increased releasing or increased deployment frequency has a beneficial effect on the overall velocity and quality of the release or deployment, while also improving team morale.

Because of this, I’ve been trying to create and respect strict deployment schedules, matching every development or bug-fixing iteration, namely(and usually)… every week.

It’s hard at the beginning and the first 3-4 iterations are tough (testing and deployment continues through the night because of inefficient planning and scoping) but after the team gets into the rhythm releasing and deployment becomes a trivial and actually fun activity.

Frequent release and deployment cycles also have a tendency of raising customer trust levels and wining some points for the development team, so release fast, release often, release good… and you’ll constantly get better results.