Michael C Hogan

Agile Product Development & Innovation Strategy

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IE/OR + programming = ?

Recently, on LinkedIn the following question was asked: “IE/OR + programming = ?” My answer: There are at least a few ways to solve this equation. In this post I take a look at three of them: UX Design, infrastructure automation, and Industrial Engineering tool design.

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Can IT be leaner?

Recently, on LinkedIn the following question was asked: “Can IT be leaner?” My answer: Absolutely! In this post I take a look at how Lean (and Agile) concepts are being applied to IT tools and processes.

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Scaling Agile Development Methods

In July I was proud to be invited to speak at Agile Conference Europe. Here is a video of the talk I gave on the key differences between Scrum and the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and how the practices SAFe advocates address many of the challenges inherent in scaling a change effort.

I’ve included a written version of my talk below.

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Sorting out sorting

Nine sorting algorithms are explained and compared with animation in this 30-minute YouTube video that’s a year older than I am, but still seems to be current. “Sorting Out Sorting” — Baecker, Ronald M., with the assistance of David Sherman, 30 minute color sound film, Dynamic Graphics Project, University of Toronto, 1981.

Sorting-Algorithms.com is another reference that offers visual comparisons between algorithms, along with links to more detailed information about each one.

After watching these videos, I stumbled upon some sorting algorithms implemented in JavaScript available on GitHub: nzakas/computer-science-in-javascript.

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Five ways Friends of Inharrime can improve their nonprofit website #SkillsForChange

Friends of Inharrime, a nonprofit supporting youth education and nutrition in Mozambique, asked the Skills for Change community for five ways to improve their website design.

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Sequoia Time: a tool for solving sequoia-scale problems

In an experiment, I posted a brief reflection on Sequoia Time on hitRECord. Here it is…

Towering nearly one-hundred feet above me, and below an additional two-hundred feet of living wood, grew a single branch larger in diameter than any tree east of the Mississippi River. Even more impressive, the branch’s bearer had seen the surrounding wood arise over a period spanning three millennia. Standing in the shadow of such a giant, I experienced the sequoia as a connective tissue, transcending the traditional boundaries of the human life span and time measured on a human scale.

I imagined time as it might appear from a sequoia’s perspective, a frame of reference I refer to as sequoia time.

Hypothesis: Many of the recurring problems faced by humanity (wars, segregation, bigotry and others) arise due to a combination of the human tendency to accept a given truth only once having experienced it firsthand and a lack of accessible recorded information about the missteps of our ancestors. To overcome these sequoia-scale issues, we must think in sequoia time.

If you have comments, please share them on Twitter — @mch82 #SequoiaTime. For more on Sequoia Time, check out my original essay on Sequoia Time from 2001. It’s a little wordy and academic, but I still think it’s worth a look.

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Redirecting web addresses with .htaccess

Here is a tutorial that worked for me:

htaccess 301 redirect tutorial

And here is the key part that I missed on my first couple tries:

Scroll down past all the existing code, leave a line space, then create a new line that follows this example:

redirect 301 /old/old.htm http://www.you.com/new.htm

It’s as easy as that. Save the file, upload it back into your web and test it out by typing in the old address to the page you’ve changed. You should be instantly and seamlessly transported to the new location.

Notes: Be sure not to add “http://www” to the first part of the statement – just put the path from the top level of your site to the page.

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Self-Driving Vans, Not High Speed Rail

I awoke this morning to find a number of articles praising an artist’s concept for a national high-speed rail network. This is a bad idea.

Very few rail projects make economic sense. I studied city light rail projects in graduate school and found most installed systems have failed to meet projected ridership or return on investment. Heavy rail systems made money, but much of that was from the sale of land the rail companies acquired through US homesteading programs, which are no longer available. Rail also has a way of building discrimination into our communities as only some portions of the community benefit from convenient routes and others are excluded.

Like other rail projects, high speed rail sounds exciting and futuristic, but the routes would likely be frustrating.

So, what did I recommend in graduate school and what do I recommend today?
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Jefferson explaining church/state separation

Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to an association of Baptists explaining the separation of church and state.

The text of the letter as a sent and an earlier draft are part of the Library of Congress collection and make for an interesting read.

The line that jumps out at me:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

So Jefferson intended that government authority be limited to actions, leaving thoughts and opinions unrestrained.

I vaguely remember reading about this letter during American history class many years ago, but this is the first time I recall reading it… Fascinating.

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Certified ScrumMaster!

As of February 21, I’m officially a Certified ScrumMaster! Thanks to Mike Cohn and the Agile Alliance for a great preparation course.

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