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Rocks Into Gold - Helping Programmers THRIVE through the Credit Crunch - by Clarke Ching

by on Jan 11, 2009

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A parable for software developers (their customers and their colleagues) who want to survive, then thrive, through the Credit Crunch.

A parable for software developers (their customers and their colleagues) who want to survive, then thrive, through the Credit Crunch.

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  • Managewell Tathagat Varma, Think, Do, Learn, Blog, Talk, Share at [24]7 Innovation Labs This was on my to-read list for many months, but finally got a chance to read it tonight. Though it is a simplified depiction of what is rather a largely complex real-world problem, it nevertheless has been presented extremely well, and devoid of lofty claims. Thanks for your efforts Clarke!

    Tathagat
    http://managewell.net
    4 years ago
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  • cching cching Hi Frank,

    > Great story. You explain the 'agile philosphy' without using the typical terminology that starts a religious debate. It of course helps that there's just one guy here, writing the words and responses for all characters. ;-)

    Thanks! Believe it or not ... the characters argue back ... so it's not as easy as you'd think :)

    > One thing I notice though is that on slide 163 Pete calculates the distance between the two lines as an amount of money. Why is that? Are they really going to make more money on the product? Or are they going to make money sooner - in which case I'd be more interested in the distance on the time axis?

    This is deliberate. In most - but not all - cases, releasing the product earlier not only get cash flowing sooner but it will also generate more cash.

    An analogy might help: a few years ago a friend of mine finished his computer science degree and was finally able to get a job as a programmer. He was in his mid-30s and it took him 5 years to get his degree, studying in his spare time, working full time during the day. Once he got his new programming job his salary almost doubled and since then his salary his increased each year; so long as there's demand for his skills then he'll continue to earn the same money. Now, in an interesting parallel to RocksIntoGold, my friend could have actually finished his degree in 3 years by working full-time ... but he couldn't because he didn't have enough cash saved up to fund 3 years full time study. It's the same with most, but not all, products.
    5 years ago
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  • romilly romilly An excellent bit of writing, Clarke - clear, simple, and very humane. Thank you.

    I'll do what I can to spread the word.
    5 years ago
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  • RobLally RobLally Thanks Clarke, a great point well presented. It surprises me that the technology community hasn't adopted this format for capturing and communicating wisdom before now.

    Keep up the good work.
    5 years ago
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  • cching cching > Great story and very useful. I'm curious if its a true story?

    I bet you are curious! I'd love to say that it was entirely true but really I took a number of true stories and melded them together. Some of the stories are mine and some other peoples.

    The crazy thing is that since I started writing business fiction (I'm publishing a full sized business novel later this year) people keep telling me really interesting true success stories thinking they might be useful inspiration for my book ... but most of them, even though they are true, are too fantastic for fiction and I have to water them down otherwise my readers wouldn't believe them.

    I hugely reduced the cashflow numbers in RocksIntoGold compared to the 2 real life stories I based them on because I thought people would think I was over-selling my case!
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  • halmac3 Hal Macomber, lean consultant catering to design and construction at Lean Project Consulting, Inc. Great job Clarke! I'm sharing this first with my 3 sons. I'll do a posting on it tomorrow. 5 years ago
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  • cching cching (I'm the author, responding to the 1st comment)

    > Thanks anyway for a superb story.

    My pleasure! Thanks for leaving a comment.


    > However, if the recession is very bad, how do we know the smaller products will sell ?

    Sadly, just like before the recession, we can't ever know how well a product can sell. It'll be up to each companies management to make that call. Some projects may be better off being cancelled entirely. Some of them will be better off continuing. One of the benefits of the approach described in the book is that the company can go to market with a smaller product, learn from the market's actual reaction (rather than their market forecasts) and adapt accordingly.

    That's a really good question. Thank you.
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Rocks Into Gold - Helping Programmers THRIVE through the Credit Crunch - by Clarke Ching Rocks Into Gold - Helping Programmers THRIVE through the Credit Crunch - by Clarke Ching Presentation Transcript