Archive for the ‘launchpad’ Category

Joey Stanford

Congratulations Launchpad Team

Launchpad is now Open Source!  Congratulations Launchpad Team!

Read the announcement:

Join the fun: #launchpad-dev on freenode

Joey Stanford

Canonical's Company Secret Exposed

After attending the latest Canonical employee gathering (called All Hands) the behind the scenes secret of the company was plainly obvious, even in several of the brand new hires.

When you work for a traditional company where many of the employees are co-located, you often have a power structure at play which dictates to a large extent the culture. This culture usually involves some sort of dress code (often informal, peer driven) and at times the installation of utter fear and unapproachability of executives.  There is often an overlay of formalness, and some times rigidness, as well. You will often see bitter internal competition between managers and teams.

In Canonical we don’t have this. We replace all of that with a simple (unwritten) concept (or really, a culture): Brotherhood (or Fraternity if you prefer).  Everyone is your brother or sister. Everyone is approachable.  This feeling is so strong that we often hug each other in greeting and parting or at the very least give each other a two arm handshake, high five,  or a strong slap on the back.  If you thought this was the exclusive realm of Daniel Holbach, or something tied to romantic interests, think again. This is the only company I’ve worked for where I can meet the COO in the hallway and a spontaneous hug ensues, and likewise get bear hugged by one of my employees.  Even Mark, who is normally reserved, will walk up to you and give you a slap on your back and ask you have you have been.

You want proof? Scour the Internet for pictures from Canonical company events and Ubuntu UDS events. Or better yet, go to one of these yourself. Here are some pictures I took in passing last week:

Once you’ve worked in such a supportive and close-knit group it’s hard to imagine working anywhere else. The good news is that you don’t have to work for Canonical to gain access to this spirit. You can practice this at UDS and in your local Ubuntu teams. Some people may start refering to this concept as the “Church of Canonical” or some other weirdness but in fact it’s not. It’s Ubuntu. Remember, Ubuntu is an African concept of ‘humanity towards others’. It is ‘the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity’.  Canonical simply is “drinking the Ubuntu Kool-aid” and I for one am damn proud of it and to work here.

If you have photographic evidence of this culture, please post links in the comments to this post!  Maybe some cultural anthropologist Ph.D. candidate will want to examine this further. 🙂

Joey Stanford

Leading with Kindness

I did some analysis work for a group in Canonical last November and December.  It was really interesting for me and a rewarding experience but as I was writing and revising my final report I kept feeling more and more uneasy about the way I articulated my findings. I realized a bit too late that I still had some New York attitude left in me.  It’s good to be engaged and excited about what you are doing, especially when it helps others, but to do so with an aggressive posture is not.  I’ve been trying to cultivate “champa”, “Loving Kindness” in Tibetan, and “Sheshin”, “Awareness” in Tibetan,  and after all was said and done this report showed me I had more room for improvement.

One of the nice things about practicing and leading with kindness at work is that it makes your workplace a better, more enjoyable, and more productive place. One study suggests a 30% improvement in productivity.

Last night I saw a wonderful show on PBS called “Leading from Kindness”.  It’s based on the book “Leading with Kindness: How Good People Consistently Get Superior Results”. The show really resonated with me and what I’ve slowly been learning over my career.  I do believe that cultivating this style of leadership is essential in engaging and retaining superior employees as well as transforming organizations into very high performance teams.

I’ve had good luck practicing this style on my direct reports in Canonical.

The only caveat seems to be that folks who have never been in an organization that respects them as individuals can sometimes confuse kindess with weakness.  When you see this mistake being made, a gentle nudge seems to resolve it.

My hope is that others can benefit from this approach.

Joey Stanford

The Joey Stanford Conflict Theorem

I’ve been thinking about mdz’s recent posts on leadership and thought I’d present you with the working model of the Joey Stanford Conflict Theorem.

Conflict, in it’s most elemental form, is due to a lack of understanding. Conflict occurs for three basic, often inseparable, reasons:

1) Needs – When someone’s (or some team’s) needs are not met, conflict occurs.  If you find yourself disagreeing violently with someone, and them with you, or you seem to be talking past each other, stop a moment, release the emotion, and try to ask probing questions to uncover what the other person’s need(s) is that has not been met. Then think about yourself, and try to understand your need. Your next task is then to call those needs out and work cooperatively with the other person to address those needs. This is easier said than done especially when the “active discussions” are really “heated arguments”.  This approach though is your exit ramp on the circle (or roundabout) of disagreement and fosters understanding.

2) Values – These are what drive your actions. Everyone and every team has differing values. Sometimes they are closely aligned, sometimes not. We very often chose to do, or not to do, something based upon our valuation of that activity.  When you are overloaded, you often drop the “nice to haves/nice to dos” because they are a low priority. They are a low priority because you don’t value them as high as other things. You can express these values in different ways. Here’s one example:  “I/We place a high value on <some activity or quality> and therefore I/we will <prioritize/mandate/restrict/prevent> <something> so <activity or quality> is ever-present.”  e.g. “We place a high value on code reviews and therefore we will mandate universal code reviews (so code reviews are always done)”  If you do not value something as much as someone else, or vice versa, it opens the door to conflict. This is because the higher valued items become NEEDS and these NEEDS are unmet.

3) Trust – mdz noted that the more you trust someone, the less you tend to communicate. The converse is also true, the less you trust someone, the more you NEED to communicate. If your trust level is low and you can’t communicate often and effectively then you have a NEED that is not met. If the other person is not communicating with you, it’s most likely due to one or more of the following reasons: a) they don’t realize you have this NEED and you should tell them, b) they don’t VALUE communication in the same way you do, or c) they have a NEED which is unmet.

The key to resolving conflict is understanding.  Being forceful, emotional, or withdrawn doesn’t work.  You need to reach out and discover/uncover the cause.

Joey Stanford

Wanted: LP Interface Design and Usability Engineer

Lead the Revolution! Francis and I are looking for someone to do interface design and development focusing on usability and accessibility. Read more about this position in the job post.

Joey Stanford

Wanted: LP QA Engineer

If you excel at breaking things, can create python doctests, and can whip up a mean software testing plan, you might be interested in the Launchpad QA job post.

Joey Stanford

Video: Getting Started with Launchpad and Bazaar in 20 Minutes

Kudos to Erik Thomson for a wonderful introduction video.  Warning: Contains Windows XP.

Joey Stanford

Time is running out – LP Logo Contest


Just a reminder that the Logo Contest closes at the end of March.  There are a lot of interesting design submissions already.

One of the things I’ll will push for once a winner is chosen is the creation of t-shirts with the logo for the Launchpad Developers.  If there is enough demand for them, I might be able to make them available for the public at the shop. If you might be interested in wearing a non-white t-shirt with whatever logo is chosen, please comment on this post. I can’t promise anything at the moment but a show of support for the concept would help me gauge the interest level.



Joey Stanford

Congrats to the Launchpad Team

I wanted to pass on my personal congratulations to the entire Launchpad team for the release of 1.1.7 today.  This release contained the largest amount of changes than any previous release in recent history.  (+1 on Productivity)
We also executed a completely revised  pre-release QA testing strategy which I think went very well as it allowed us to better discover and remediate potential issues.  (+1 on Quality)

I’d also like to explicitly thank our (Launchpad) code review team. They don’t receive much acknowledgment but they have a very important and difficult job to perform.

Well done everyone.

Joey Stanford

Ubucon Boulder, Launchpad, and Embedded Devices on Google's Blog

Ubucon Boulder was a success this past Saturday. Details are up on the Google Code Blog.