Discover more from Everyday Adventures
Week 2023#16: visualizing progress
Visualizing progress when doing work is great for motivation, but unfortunately, the act of visualization is work in itself
The highlight of the week was moving tons, literally tons, of soil around at a friend’s house. It was nice not to have to think for once.
What I’ve learned
Visualizing progress is important for making progress
Apologies for skipping last week — apparently spring/dog tiredness is a thing and I had to catch up with a lot of sleep, at the expense of other things.
Looking back at the last two weeks, I could find only one lesson worth sharing.
And I found it in the dirt yesterday.
There was a small gathering in a friend’s garden close to Viimsi, helping with garden work.
The prospect of making it all the way to Viimsi on Sunday morning wasn’t very exciting after a late night out on Saturday, but I promised to show up, so I did.
And it was great!
Thirty tons of soil had to be moved to the garden with a wheelbarrow.
No thinking, just shoveling and pushing the wheelbarrow.
Just for fun, I timed myself while filling up one load, ferrying it to its destination, and then returning: about 3 minutes.
During a break, we calculated that it would take us about 200 more loads to move the whole amount. That’s 600 minutes or 10 hours, under the assumption that we don’t get tired and can use both wheelbarrows.
This felt good to know: we knew we wouldn’t finish today, but we could set a reasonable goal for today.
With only one wheelbarrow available, we worked in pairs: both of us shoveled soil onto the wheelbarrow and then we’d take turns pushing it.
That created space for small conversations, which in turn made the work more enjoyable.
I know these are a lot of words about carrying dirt around, but I promise there is a lesson hidden there!
On the way home it hit me:
All the things that are hard in running a software project were easy today
✅ Visualizing progress — built-in, you’re literally moving the progress bar
✅ Forecasting progress — easy! The work consists of small, incremental steps understood by everyone, so timing individual steps and extrapolating doesn’t require much effort
✅Fostering teamwork — since the steps are small (one load/3 minutes), it’s easy to support each other in pairs by taking turns with the work.
This is such a stark contrast to a software project:
❌ Visualizing progress — projects work with an abstraction of progress (“tickets”/”issues”) that need to be maintained (extra work): create a ticket for everything you work on, then work on it. Good luck with breaking larger projects down successfully into smaller tickets.
❌ Forecasting progress — getting more-or-less accurate timing data is hard because work doesn’t come in neat 3-minute packages that don’t require much thought, which in turn makes forecasting difficult
❌ Fostering teamwork — the closest thing to this that I’ve seen in software development is pair programming, but rare is the developer who likes this practice.
How are these things handled in your line of work? 👇
Expectations vs Reality
Goals for week 15:
Stay positive about dog-sitting: week 2 of dog-sitting was much easier, but now that I’m not dog-sitting anymore, I mostly feel relieved.
Complete all four workouts prescribed by my program: almost! I missed the last one because I gave in to my brain trying to conserve energy.
Fix the gate to my garage garden: yes! This was much easier than I thought, we just propped everything up with wires and other such bits.
Goals for week 17:
Take the next step in the citizenship process
Achieve something of significance in Noor Eesti 200 — something more than just showing up to a meeting
Plan one thing for summer — just to silence the voice in my head that says I’ll miss out on something cool going on in Estonia this summer
Highlights of last week:
I got the piece of paper from Estonia that confirms they want me as a citizen: now I can go to the German embassy with this.
Probation at Bolt is over 🎉
There’s a plan for Decode Estonian until the end of the year