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A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

Esther Schindler Re:How Would the Author Know? (255 comments)

You're right. But sometimes... itch itch itch MUST RESPOND NOW.

about 7 months ago
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A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

Esther Schindler Re:How Would the Author Know? (255 comments)

Ha ha ha ha.

Sorry. Just looking at my track record as a journalist, and comparing it to your comment. It made me snicker.

about 7 months ago
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A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

Esther Schindler Re:How Would the Author Know? (255 comments)

Um, no.

I have had lots of projects fail. Some were my fault. Some were management. Some were external. Plenty of reasons.

My point is that the existence of the team being ever-so-awesome does not necessarily have a correlation with its success. Just as actors can tell you about working on a movie with other actors where everyone felt creative and warm-and-fuzzy towards each other, and it has no influence on whether the movie is a commercial success.

about 7 months ago
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A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

Esther Schindler Re:The summary defines the problem. (255 comments)

You wouldn't have read the article if I had called it, A Measure of Your Team’s Health: How You Treat Your Less-Productive-But-Still-Well-Meaning Members. Also, we all do say, or at least mutter, "Elliot is such an idiot!" particularly in headdesk moments.

about 7 months ago
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A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

Esther Schindler Re:How Would the Author Know? (255 comments)

Is that really what you thought this was about?

There's a big difference from someone being semi-competent or having a "dial-it-in" attitude and someone who's just not up to the rest of the people around him. With the former, team members resent the individual: "Why am I working so hard when you can't be bothered? I just have to pick up the slack" -- and that creates dissension and a management nightmare.

With Elliot (and the many team members I've known like him), it's obvious to everyone that he's doing the best he can; he's just dumb (relative to the others around him). He can be frustrating, but it's not because he has a bad attitude; quite to the contrary. HE WANTS TO HELP. In a healthy team, everybody does his best to find a way for him to do so.

about 7 months ago
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A Short History of Computers In the Movies

Esther Schindler Re:Seconded (165 comments)

>>It would be nice to have an article about retired coders, what they did and their opinions of the dev world now.

Really? Cuz I could arrange that.

about a year ago
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Meet Slashdot 'Super Submitter' Esther Schindler (Video)

Esther Schindler Re:So /. is full of content from a marketing exper (53 comments)

How kind of you to say so!

Beer-wise: I am more of an ale fan than lagers, with particular fondness for IPAs and porters. But my attention is on good craft brews rather than a specific type. Or good craft anything; I appreciate good made-by-hand workmanship in any endeavor.

about a year ago
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Meet Slashdot 'Super Submitter' Esther Schindler (Video)

Esther Schindler Re:Wow (53 comments)

I have several responses to this comment.

  • Robert Plant wasn't that pretty to start with. Fortunately, he made good music, instead of trying to have a career as a model.
  • "When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not." --Yoda
  • My self-worth is not bound to my looks. Nor should it be (even though I was kinda cute when I was young). I judge my value by my skill in my chosen field (whatever that is at the time, whether it's optimizing compilers, explaining how OS/2 system internals work, or sharing advice on using Twitter), in whether I treat others with kindness, and, of course, by how much chocolate I get to eat. So if you were trying to put me down, it didn't work.
  • Oh how sad. With all the wonders that the Internet brings to you, the first and only thing you consider is how someone looks?! Young padawan, the joy, the utter joy of living online, in IP packets, is that we connect to one another based on who we are and not what we are. My gender doesn't matter. My color is irrelevant. What matters is that we can find people who share our interests -- science fiction, programming, baseball, whatever -- and we can be honest with each other (because we don't have to edit ourselves, saying "I have to live with these people" when a family member utters a deplorable statement such as "I like the Dodgers.").

    Thus we get to learn from each other, and our bodies matter least of all the things we bring to the conversation. Thus I could be friends with someone online for years before learning he was in a wheelchair, when in-person it would have been the first -- but least important -- thing I learned about him.

    And you think first about how attractive I am? I'm so sorry. You're missing so much of what online communities can bring.

about a year ago
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Meet Slashdot 'Super Submitter' Esther Schindler (Video)

Esther Schindler Re:So /. is full of content from a marketing exper (53 comments)

Filter it out? Just don't follow them...?

There are companies/"brands" I follow because I find their info cool or useful or they make me say, "How 'bout that!" Sometimes that's the case even when I have no interest in their product... in the same way that I can admire the Budweiser Clydesdales even if I'd never drink their beer. (I am a beer snob.) And there are companies whose stuff I like even though their Twitter feeds are lame. For example, I'm thinking of one quilting fabric company whose Twitter feed is nothing but dumb self-serving ads, and comparing it in my head to another quilting fabric company that regularly shares groovy quilt designs (made with their fabric of course), and asks Facebook fans which fabric they ought to feature in a print magazine ad, and so on.

But if you discover that what they say/publish is not-so-cleverly-concealed propaganda, nothing says you have to follow them.

about a year ago
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Meet Slashdot 'Super Submitter' Esther Schindler (Video)

Esther Schindler Re:So /. is full of content from a marketing exper (53 comments)

Actually, the book tells people to have human conversations. Not to create the kind of awful "branded" Twitter streams we both abhor. I advise people to do the same thing I do on slashdot: Tell other people about things they'll find useful and cool.

Which does not make me a marketing expert. It makes me a communication expert.

about a year ago
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Meet Slashdot 'Super Submitter' Esther Schindler (Video)

Esther Schindler Re:Thanks (53 comments)

I'm always friendly. Someone might have chocolate to share with me.

about a year ago
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Meet Slashdot 'Super Submitter' Esther Schindler (Video)

Esther Schindler Re:In 10 years had a total of one submission make (53 comments)

I don't think so much about what interests me. I consider what might interest you.

I looked through a few of your submissions. With a few, you have the germ of something that might work. But you just blurt out the "fact" of the link, like "CNN says bigfoot was found," and that fits into my "weather report" description. Oh, yeah? How nice for them. Instead, tell me what you found and why it matters to me. Why should I care? Why is this amusing or relevant or useful to know?

about a year ago
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Meet Slashdot 'Super Submitter' Esther Schindler (Video)

Esther Schindler Re:Thanks (53 comments)

::glowing smile:: You're welcome.

about a year ago
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Meet Slashdot 'Super Submitter' Esther Schindler (Video)

Esther Schindler Re:She's a chick right? (53 comments)

I lost count somewhere around 700 but that was just the paperbacks, and doesn't count the hardbacks. Fortunately for my book budget I am also a frequent visitor to my local library, and every so often I do cull the herd... which is how I keep some of the collections under control. (I also have 400+ cookbooks. And I review a lot on Amazon.)

about a year ago
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Meet Slashdot 'Super Submitter' Esther Schindler (Video)

Esther Schindler Re:She's a chick right? (53 comments)

The cats let me think I'm in charge. It's part of their charm.

I'll let you look at all the submissions that were turned down. See weren't they all worthy? Huh?!

about a year ago
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Meet Slashdot 'Super Submitter' Esther Schindler (Video)

Esther Schindler Re:She's a chick right? (53 comments)

Yes, she's hot. She has more science fiction books than you do.

about a year ago
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Computers and Doctor Who

Esther Schindler Re:Prime Computer (93 comments)

Oh how delightful! Since I don't remember any developer being dick-ish, your memory may be faulty. (Well, one guy briefly was dickish, but I don't think that was you, since he was rather an old fart.) I wish I remembered the name of the guy who gave me his copy of Steven Brust's Yendi, because I've had fond thoughts of that dude for a long time; it led to a lot of enjoyable reading time.

In any case, feel free to connect with me (and Bill!) on LinkedIn or whatnot. We can share gossip about the people we knew! (What a nice Friday-afternoon connection! You plastered a big smile on my face.)

about a year ago
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Computers and Doctor Who

Esther Schindler Re:Prime Computer (93 comments)

On general TV?

I have to wonder about the demographics of the marketing campaign. Still, that's better than most computer ads of the time.

about a year ago
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Computers and Doctor Who

Esther Schindler Re:Prime Computer (93 comments)

Oh how wonderful! I did contract work at Prime circa 1990 (designing a test suite management system for the 15 compilers they supported), so I got a major hoot out of this. I have to wonder: Where did they show these ads? To whom?

about a year ago

Submissions

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Gartner: Mobility management is a mess.

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about a month ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "What’s the future of endpoint management? According to a Gartner research director: It’s a mess.

Gartner Research Director Rob Smith, speaking in Barcelona this week at the Gartner Symposium, addressed business challenges, particularly in bigger businesses:

IT has to change its basic perspective: All endpoints are untrusted. That’s a big statement and the automatic response might be, “Not if I lock it down!” But, according to Smith, the days of saying no to users is dead. The new reality is that if you say no, users will go around you.

It might not be hopeless, though:

How do we possibly protect our data when things change so fast? Smith thinks the answer is in what he calls his “Lord of the Rings” philosophy: one system to rule them all, or what Gartner refers to as Unified Endpoint Management (UEM). UEM is a consistent, single approach to managing all aspects of endpoint data protection. It encompasses a whole range of features (identity management, app management, data access, etc.) and requires that vendors work together, ensuring their separate services and/or apps talk to each other and work together without necessitating IT involvement.

This sounds like utopia. The good news? According to Smith, vendors have already started to do it. The bad news? IT departments, with their legacy Windows XP and Windows 7 deployments, aren’t ready to support it.

Do you think this all is on the mark? Or are there ways to support users that don't drive both IT and end-users crazy?"

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Big Bang Theory's Biggest Lesson: Let Nerds Be Nerds

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about a month and a half ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Sometimes we can learn great lessons from fictional characters. This article professes to explain what Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj from the “Big Bang Theory” can teach managers about tapping into nerd talent. For example: "Improvement is a way of life. It’s often difficult for managers to ensure the quality of work remains high for every member of a team, but they never have to worry where nerds are concerned. The brains of geeks are wired to solve problems.""
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What should you back up? More important: What SHOULDN'T you?

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about a month and a half ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Whatever software you choose for backing up files, you need to be organized. Do you really need myriad copies of the Trash folder or *.bak files, which consume backup time, bandwidth, and storage? Probably not. Inclusions versus Exclusions: Choosing the Best Method for Backup and Data Collection has useful guidelines for designing a sensible business backup strategy, in order to ensure you keep all the right data securely but not the junk."
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Protecting Corporate Data...When an Employee Leaves

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 2 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "When someone leaves the company, the HR department is quick to grab the employee's laptop. But what about the data on other equipment? How can the organization know what's on her mobile devices? Does anyone know to which websites and cloud-based software the employee has access? This article discusses how IT (working with HR) can help ensure the company's data doesn't walk out the front door.

Which raises the question of whether it's possible for IT to even know what external logins an employee has, and whether the effort to track all that is worth the time to do so. While everyone said, "Treat people right and they won't want to do anything malicious with the company data," isn't the implication that it only takes one bad experience...?"
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The frustrations of supporting users in remote offices, and what to do about 'em

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 3 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "You're not alone in your struggle against people who think a shell is something you hold to your ear," writes Carol Pinchefsky. "Other techies are out there supporting users in remote offices, fighting the good fight against computer- and user-related mishaps – or at least tolerating user frustration with a modicum of grace."

You can laugh at their pain — and she gives you plenty of opportunity to do so, in The Joys of Remote Tech Support (for Low Values of Joy). Like the tech support person whose systems in Brazil went down — during Carnival:

...We had to wait more than a week for the locals to sober up enough to reconnect the line.

In the end, I had to walk a tech (who did not know the system) through the process step by step via an interpreter. Of course, the interpreter was not technical. So it was kind of like explaining to your mom to tell your grandfather (who is hard of hearing) how to do something while she is on the phone and he is across the room from her.

And maybe you can even learn from their advice."

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That fresh lunar regolith smell

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 4 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "The moon has a distinctive smell. Ask any Apollo moonwalker about the odiferous nature of the lunar dirt and you'll get the same answer: the moon smells like gunpowder.

Or something like that:

"When the entire subject of the dust smell came up several years ago, I put forth that what the astronauts were smelling, that is, what their mucus membrane sensed, was highly activated dust particles with 'dangling bonds,'" [Larry Taylor, director of the Planetary Geosciences Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville,] said.

"
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Understanding Self-Healing Storage

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 4 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "The primary objective of data storage systems is to persist data permanently (or at least until specifically destroyed). But hardware is imperfect, disks fail, servers crash, which leads to inconsistencies in the file-system metadata. The traditional ways to deal with errors require the system to go offline – not a pleasant scenario. Here's one way to get around the problems."
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Object Storage versus Block Storage: Understanding the Technology Differences

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 4 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Even very technical people scratch their heads over the business value of object storage. In other words, what problems does it solve? What are its drawbacks and limitations? Which types of applications run better, what breaks, and what do you need to completely redesign to take advantage of the storage technology?

Ultimately every IT admin wants to know if object storage is a good fit for certain workloads. This article defines object storage, compares it to alternatives, and gives an overview of where it can make a performance difference for enterprise computing."
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How Developers and IT Think Differently about Security -- and Why It Matters

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 4 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Despite the number of application security breaches that find their way into the news, most developers care passionately about writing secure code. However, developers’ top priorities for protecting the company’s assets aren’t necessarily the same items that the IT department cares about."
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The five greatest space hacks of all time

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 5 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Space missions are amazingly well-prepared affairs, every action and procedure is followed, right down to the most minute detail. But sometimes mishaps and emergencies occur. Some can be dealt with by sophisticated sensors and equipment. Some can be dealt with on Earth from Mission Control. But sometimes the only option is for an astronaut to get their hands dirty, using whatever comes to hand and a bit of DIY know-how. It’s amazing what has been grabbed, bent and improvised to save red faces – or, indeed, the lives of astronauts."
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Business Lessons from Mario and Donkey Kong

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 5 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "As of July 9, it’s been 23 years since Mario and the bellicose King Kong clone appeared in gaming arcades and then spread to our home consoles like kudzu. Since Donkey Kong (the first Mario game) appeared, writes Carol Pinschefsky, we’ve go-carted, golfed, and liberated oppressed princesses in over 250 games. You know what else we did when were saving a damsel in distress from a large, barrel-tossing ape? We learned some honest-to-goodness business lessons.

Yes, it's silly and funny. And then you think, "Wait. That's good advice!""
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What (not) to wear on an IT job interview: 6 real-life examples

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 6 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "For a lot of slashdot denizens, the fashion choice for a job interview is, "What's clean?"

But still: Some of us give more thought to it than that. We know that how we dress conveys something, even if it's "proof that I'm a techie who is above such things." And — among women more than men, I think — some of us care about that image. And want to look pretty. (I do.)

So, in this article, with the help of a few brave volunteers, we examine how that dress or suit really comes across to the people who might ask, "When can you start?" You see six real-world people in real-world outfits, and hear what our esteemed judges think is the best choice for that IT job interview. Plus, you can vote on the outfits you think are best for each individual, and compare your opinion to those of the fashionistas and hiring managers. It's IT meets career meets fashion police – practical and, I hope, also fun."
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A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 7 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Every team has someone who at the bottom of its bell curve: an individual who has a hard time keeping up with other team members. How your team members treat that person is a significant indicator of your organization’s health.

That's especially true for open source projects, where you can't really reject someone's help. All you can do is encourage participation... including by the team "dummy.""

Link to Original Source
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Life Skills: Get someone to help you when they've no reason to

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 7 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Imagine you’re on a deadline that’s important to you. The project might not qualify as “mission critical” to the rest of the organization, but it’s certainly essential for your own team. Now you run into a roadblock: a task wherein you need input from someone from another department, or where you need the other person to actively do something.

The process works fine when your contact in the other department is motivated to help you get the work done. But what happens when he isn’t? This happens entirely too often — particularly for developers and IT folks who need input or sign-off of some kind.

In a perfect world, you already built alliances (if not friendships) with people in other departments, so that your colleagues want to help you. But that isn't always the case. What can you do to get someone to help you with a project task even if it's a distraction from his own work? Here's several pragmatic suggestions, including a few that don't include "promise chocolate.""
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Business bartering survival guide: Lessons from real life

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 6 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Trading your expertise for the skills of someone else is a great idea for cash-strapped businesses — which includes lots of techies, such as web developers and computer consultants. But bartering can go sour – and herein, Esther Schindler shares bartering tips she wishes she hadn’t learned the hard way.

For example:

The casual handshake nature of most barters opens up the chance of every project-gone-bad story occurring in your business, such as finger-pointing about product specs, timetables, etc. As with any contract, if you can point to the agreement (which can be as simple as "here's an email message to record what we agreed upon today; let me know if you see anything untoward"), both sides know what's expected.

Because... what if you're unhappy with the service? In a barter, what if you already consummated your part of the process (you did the tax return) but the other party was substandard (you hated the photographer's images). If you were paying cash, you'd withhold payment or otherwise ask for the other party to fix the problem. With a barter... it's sticky. It shouldn't be, but it is. Particularly when the nature of the delivery is "...when the customer is happy." (Imagine the storyline that begins, "Dammit those photos were just what he asked for!")

Oh, and plenty more."
Link to Original Source

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Record Number of Women in Software Development

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 7 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "The number of females in software development has increased by 87% since first being measured in 2001, according to Evans Data’s recently released Developer Marketing 2014 survey. In 2014, 19.3% of software developers are women, or approximately three and a half million female software developers worldwide. While today’s number is strong compared to 2001, it is even stronger compared to the years of 2003 to 2009 when the percent of female developers dipped into the single digit range. The survey of over 450 software developers, which is now in its fifteenth year, also shows that today’s female software developers tend to be younger than their male counterparts with just over 40% being under the age of thirty.

As one of those women-in-tech, I gotta say, Huzzah!"
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Tech giants uniting to fund open-source projects

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 8 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "The OpenSSL Heartbleed security hole, arguably open-source's biggest security breach ever, made many major technology companies realize just how much they all depend on open source and that such vital projects as OpenSSL need adequate funding. Thus, writes Steven Vaughan-Nichols, the Linux Foundation brought together (take a deep breath, it's a long list) Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, RackSpace, and VMware to form a new project to fund and support critical elements of the global technology: The Core Infrastructure Initiative.

OpenSSL will be the first project under consideration. In 2013, OpenSSL, which was at the heart of Web security for millions of companies and organizations, got by on a mere $9,000. In past years, OpenSSL has received an average of $2,000 per year in donations.

The CCI funding will pay key developers to devote their efforts to OpenSSL. It will also provide other resources to assist the project in improving its security, enabling outside reviews, and improving responsiveness to patch requests.

Think it'll address some of the issues?"

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Which Buffy the Vampire Slayer Characters are on Your Team?

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 8 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "Are you a Buffy, or more of a Xander? Rikki Endsley looks at seven Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters commonly seen on teams and the unique contributions each brings to projects. For instance:

Angel, the handsome and powerful vampire, is the team member who is either a huge asset or a giant liability, depending on his unpredictable mood. The “rock star” team member tends to get a lot of attention and often appears to be a team leader, but in reality he isn’t as productive, reliable, or valuable as his teammates.

"
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Evaluating When to Kill a Project: What Criteria Do You Use?

Esther Schindler Esther Schindler writes  |  about 8 months ago

Esther Schindler (16185) writes "It happens to all of us. Sometimes, the right way to fix a project is to cancel it. Making the decision to do so, though, has to be more than a gut response. Whatever the reason – at some point, you have to decide whether to keep plugging along, or to pull the plug.

It's easy to come up with a blasé statement like “I evaluate whether my original project statement will ever be achievable. If I determine that the project cannot meet my goals and objectives, we stop it.” But that assumes you know how to make that determination. Here's some advice on how to calibrate the issues to consider in the “Go/No-Go” decision process, whether the project is something of your own devising (anything from a personal coding project to a novel), or a corporate death march.

For example, "Are you dependent upon resources that are outside your control? If so, can you get them under control?"

And Hugo-award-winning CJ Cherryh points out, it might be that the inspiration isn't there at the moment, but you can set it aside to consider later. She adds, “Never destroy it – for fear it will achieve holy sanctity of ‘might-have-been’ in your memory. Being able to look at it and say, ‘Nope, there was no hope for this one’ is healthy.”

What criteria would you add?"

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