Why Do We Procrastinate? What Can You Do About It?

In this video, I look at the reasons why we get distracted with our work and procrastinate.

  • The fear of failure
  • Being a perfectionist
  • Low energy levels
  • Lack of focus
  • We make distractions too easy
  • Doing unpleasant and boring tasks

Then I look at some techniques for beating procrastination and distraction by exploring:

  • Understanding that we are not perfect
  • Failure is not fatal
  • Doing your best and being happy with the output
  • Developing a healthier lifestyle for more energy
  • Setting goals
  • Rewarding yourself for achieving goals

Speaking at DDD North, A Free Community Software Development Conference

In this video, I talk about a trip I made to Bradford to speak at the DDD North community event. I also discuss the subject of speakers being paid for talking and why I am happy to talk at community events like DDD North at my own cost.

The talk I did at this event was my Scaling Agile with the Spotify Model talk. If you want to see a version of this talk, I have my recording from NDC Oslo this year.

Want to Quit Your Job? You Need an Income Strategy

So you are thinking about quitting your job and going solo? Before you do, you need a plan for where your income is going to come from. This should be split down into Active and Passive income.

For example, for Active income, this will be things like contracting, consulting, where you are exchanging your time for money. This is great, but once that time has been spent, you will not earn extra for it.

With Passive income, you will spend time producing work, such as an ebook or online course, and once it has been put live, you will earn income off of it from there onwards with no extra work.

Should You Quit Your Job?

I have made another video on my YouTube channel, and in this video, I ask the question, should you quit your job? Where I am going with this, is should you stick at a job that you don’t like, working for someone else, or should you try and pursue your passions. Pursuing your passions is a great thing to do, but you need to be prepared and do some planning, especially financial planning.

In this video I go through my personal story, and talk a bit about the financial planning I did prior to making this move. I also introduce the idea of Active vs Passive income which I will explore in more detail in another video.

A Gentle Introduction to Agile Software Development

I have recently been working on a series of new books with the intention of self-publishing them. The first of those books called A Gentle Introduction to Agile Software Development is now out on Amazon as an e-book and a paperback.

Agile Software Development: A Gentle Introduction to Agile Software Development (Agile, Agile Software Development, Software Development, Scrum, Extreme ... XP, Waterfall, Lean, Lean Software)
A Gentle Introduction to Agile Software Development by Stephen Haunts

I have a whole series of these books to release over the next 6 months. They have been great fun to write. I have released the Kindle book at a very low introductory price at the moment. If you buy the book at this rate, I would be very grateful for a good review on Amazon.

Here are some links for Amazon UK and the UK.

Kindle: Amazon UK

Paperback: Amazon UK

Kindle: Amazon US

Paperback: Amazon US

Here is the book description:

Learning new software development processes can be difficult, but switching to Agile doesn’t need to be complicated. Explore the theories behind Agile Software Development, and learn how to make it work for you.

In a Gentle Introduction to Agile Software Development, author Stephen Haunts will guide you to a fuller understanding of Agile, Scrum, and Extreme Programming. You will learn about the advantages and disadvantages, and how to get the most out of it.

  • Introduction
  • Waterfall Development and its Problems
  • What is Agile?
  • Common Agile Misconceptions and Mistakes
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Extreme Programming (XP)
  • Scrum
  • Closing Summary

Life at a Startup : Building a Startup

I have been nice and busy since leaving Buying Butler and RightIndem. Along with my co-founder, we are setting up a new FinTech startup called Ladder Pay. LadderPay is an innovative payment platform that unifies Business to Business, Business to Consumer, and Consumer to Business payments into one product with an emphasis on security and compliance backed by blockchain technology. I can’t write too much about it just yet as we are still working through a lot of details, but I am very excited about it. We have 3 potential customers who will use the platform first, so we are getting things ready for that.

LadderPay : Unifying Payments
LadderPay: Unifying Payments

My main role at the moment has been developing the backend platform so I have been spending most of my time coding, which has been really nice to get back into full-time. The product is being developed in Microsofts .NET Core 2 platform and deployed onto Microsoft Azure. I will write more about this in the future, it’s a little too early to reveal too much at the moment.

Working from home on LadderPay
Working from home on LadderPay

I am mostly working from home on this at the moment, but we are looking for an office to work from. We have found a place we like, but are still sorting through the details. I always found working from home difficult, but since working on LadderPay, I have set up in my dining room and have a really nice setup which is nice on a sunny day as I can open the doors to the garden, so I am really enjoying this at the moment.

Whilst I am doing LadderPay during the day, I am also continuing on my Pluralsight courses in the evening. I have signed up for a new course that is all about the algorithms that are used to build up blockchain. A challenging but very interesting course. I can’t wait to share more details.

I will share more details soon…

Life at a Start-up : My Next Chapter Starts Today

Today I start the next chapter in the Life at a Startup. I have made the decision to leave Buying Butler and RightIndem to go solo. I have been contemplating this for a while, but I have now decided to make the jump. So what does this mean? What will I be doing? Well, lots of things. First I want to spend more time of making Pluralsight courses, speaking and training. I also have an idea for a small tech startup that I want to explore, so I will focusing a lot of time on that too as I am pretty excited by it.  I have been preparing for it for a while, and now is the time to become a free agent.

Last Day in Office
Last Day in Office

That doesn’t mean the life at a startup series is dead. It will just be a different startup that I talk about.  Well, a mix of startup and the trials and tribulations of working from home. I am not ready to reveal what the startup idea is yet, but over time I will do that once I have explored it more, so not too much detail in this post, other than I am taking a different path, and a path that means I am my own boss, working on the things I want to work on.

Part of me is sad to leave Buying Butler. I have helped hand pick a great team, and I am leaving them on very friendly terms. Nothing negative in the slightest. I have made many friends there and I will be in touch with many of them.

More soon to follow soon. I have a new desk at home to setup 🙂

I will follow up again next week with my experiences of remote working, maintaining focus and much more.

Life at a Start-up : Structuring teams for growth (NDC Oslo Talk Video)

As well as being the head of development for Buying Butler and RightIndem, part of my role is speaking at technology conferences around the world. I speak about many subjects around technology, but I do this as a representative of the company, which helps us spread the word about what we are doing.

In June I went to Oslo in Norway for the NDC conference where I spoke about restructuring teams using techniques that were first described by Spotify. We have tried to adopt something similar in our company, but as with everything Spotify’s technique is not one size fits all. The main message from my talk is that you have to adapt the model to fit your own companies structure and requirements.

In the talk, I discuss how Spotify have done it, and also how we have tried to implement it.  The key difference is that Spotify is a B2C (Business to Consumer) company and we are a B2B (Business to Business) company.

I am thinking of writing a more in-depth article on this, but for now, I will leave you with my talk from the conference. It is the first time I have done the talk, and it seemed to go down very well with people. I had lots of people come and see me afterward to ask me about it in more detail.

Pluralsight Play by Play Recordings at NDC Oslo

Whilst I was at NDC Oslo this year I was fortunate enough to record some more Play by Play courses with my good friend Lars Klint for Pluralsight. This time I recorded 2 courses with Lars, whereas in London in January, I recorded 1 course. The first was on Social Engineering, and in this course, I was the subject matter expert, whilst Lars Facilitated the course, and the 2nd course was about creating engaging digital realities with the Hololens where Lars was the subject matter expert and I was the facilitator.

Pluralsight Play by Play Recordings at NDC Oslo
Pluralsight Play by Play Recordings at NDC Oslo

As in January, this was a really fun process and the camera crew was good fun to work with. The room was in the basement of the Oslo Spektrum arena, so they needed a lot of lights to illuminate the scene, which made the room quite warm, but the recordings went smoothly.

Pluralsight Play by Play Recordings at NDC Oslo
Pluralsight Play by Play Recordings at NDC Oslo

I am not sure when the courses will be out. I expect it will be over the next couple of months, but I am looking forward to seeing the results after the magic of editing. I would love to do some more, in the future. We will have to see what happens.

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

Over the past week, I have been very lucky to be speaking at NDC Oslo again. I have the privilege to speak and many fantastic conferences, but NDC Oslo is by far one of my favorites, and this year did not disappoint. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the conference, and as well as learning, this conference was all about celebration with speakers, attendees, and partners partying together.

I had a busy schedule for NDC Oslo this year. I had my main talk, a fun talk at the party, and recording 2 live Pluralsight Play by Play courses.

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo
Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

The Monday and Tuesday were the pre-conference workshops. I wasn’t involved in these, so I flew into Oslo on Tuesday ready for the start of the conference on Wednesday. I attended many great talks, including one from my Pluralsight colleague Scott Allen who was talking about building resilient applications in Azure.

On Wednesday evening there was the speaker dinner which was a cruise on the Norwegian Fjords with a shrimp, salad and pasta dinner. The weather was absolutely perfect for the cruise and we were out from 7.45pm until gone 11 pm, where it was still pretty much daylight. The beer was flowing and so was the conversation. I made lots of new friends on the cruise alone, and I hope to bump into them at other conferences around the world.

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo
Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

I can’t even begin to explain how beautiful Norway is, as these 2 photos above and below show. The picture of the sunset below was taken at nearly 11 pm where it was still very light outside. Luckily the weather for the cruise was really nice and at that time of night on the water, we were still warm. When I went last year it got quite cold by the end of the night.

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo
Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

The next day, after a lie in, I headed back to the conference to watch some sessions. A particular favorite of mine was by Scott Helme, who was talking about emerging HTTP standards and HTTPS adoption. I met Scott on Tuesday when I met up with Troy Hunt, so I had already been out for a few beers and pizza with Scott.

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo
Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

On Thursday afternoon, I was scheduled to record 2 Pluralsight Play by Play courses with my good friend Lars Klint. First up was a course where I was the subject matter expert, which was on Social Engineering. The 2nd course was where Lars was the expert, and this was on Holo Lens and engaging realities. The recordings went quite smoothly, although it was very hot in the room with all the lights. As ever it was really good fun, and I hope to record some more in the future.

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo
Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

After we finished the recordings we headed to the NDC Party. In one of the rooms was a series of talks called spectacular failures. This was hosted by Lars, and I was also one of the speakers. These were fun 10-minute talks about failure. I did a talk about biting off more than you can chew when it comes to skills and opportunities. The talk got lots of laughs so I class that as a success 🙂

Fun and Games at NDC Oslo
Fun and Games at NDC Oslo

After the spectacular failures talks, there was a band called LoveShack. They were a metal band that does 80’s covers. They were really good. The crowd was going crazy and the music was loud. I don’t go to many gigs these days, but this was definitely up there for really good concerts. On Friday I attended more sessions throughout the day, and in the afternoon was my talk Scaling Agile using the Spotify Model. Agile talks can always be a little controversial, but the audience was engaged, I had some good questions throughout the talk and at the end, so I was very happy with the result. The talk also scored well in the ratings.

After the conference officially ended, there was an after conference called PubConf held in a local bar. This event has lots of short talks by other speakers from the conference. The talks are comedy talks and the speaker gets 10 minutes and 20 slides to tell their story, Ignite-style. To make it even more challenging, the slides move to the next slide after 15 seconds. The talks were great. My favorite was “How to code like an arse hole” by Damian Brady. The beer was flowing and so was the conversation. It was a great night. I am so glad I stayed the extra night and had a flight late afternoon on Saturday so I could get rid of the hangover.

It was an amazing week at NDC Oslo and I feel very privileged to have spoken there again for the 2nd year. I hope I can get in again next year.

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