Point Lookout
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Archive of Point Lookout for 2019

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Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)Coming May 1: Full Disclosure
The term "full disclosure" is now a fairly common phrase, especially in news interviews and in film and fiction thrillers involving government employees or attorneys. It also has relevance in the knowledge workplace, and nuances associated with it can affect your credibility. Available here and by RSS on May 1.
ClarityAnd on May 8: Brain Clutter
The capacity of the human mind is astonishing. Our ability to accomplish great things while simultaneously fretting about mountains of trivia is perhaps among the best evidence of that capacity. Just magine what we could accomplish if we could control the fretting… Available here and by RSS on May 8.

This page has links to articles from 2019. For other years:

April 24, 2019

The road to Cottonwood Pass, ColoradoBig, Complicated Problems
Big, complicated problems can be difficult to solve. Even contemplating them can be daunting. But we can survive them if we get advice we can trust, know our resources, recall solutions to past problems, find workarounds, or as a last resort, escape.

April 17, 2019

Prototypes of President Trump's "border wall."Gratuitous Complexity as a Type III Error
Some of the technological assets we build — whether hardware, software, or procedures — are gratuitously complex. That's an error, but an error of a special kind: it can be the correct solution to the wrong problem.

April 10, 2019

Gold ingotsCareer Opportunity or Career Trap: II
When an opportunity seems too good to be true, it might be. Although we easily decline small opportunities, declining an enticing career opportunity can be enormously difficult. Here's Part II of a set of indicators that an opportunity might actually be a trap.

April 3, 2019

The Striped Anglerfish, Antennarius striatusCareer Opportunity or Career Trap: I
When we're presented with an opportunity that seems too good to be true, as the saying goes, it probably is. Although it's easy to decline free vacations, declining career opportunities is another matter. Here's a look at indicators that a career opportunity might be a career trap.

March 27, 2019

The U.S. Senate Chamber in 2011Stone-Throwers at Meetings: II
A stone-thrower in a meeting is someone who is determined to halt forward progress. Motives vary, from embarrassing the chair to holding the meeting hostage in exchange for advancing an agenda. What can chairs do about stone-throwers?

March 20, 2019

Stones: many, many stones.Stone-Throwers at Meetings: I
One class of disruptions in meetings includes the tactics of stone-throwers — people who exploit low-cost tactics to disrupt the meeting and distract all participants so as to obstruct progress. How do they do it, and what can the meeting chair do?

March 13, 2019

A 1934 Packard Eight LimousineSome Risks of Short-Term Fixes
When we encounter a problem at work, we must choose between short-term fixes (also known as workarounds) and long-term solutions. Often we choose workarounds without appreciating the risks we're accepting — until too late.

March 6, 2019

A meeting that's probably a bit too largeA Pain Scale for Meetings
Most meetings could be shorter, less frequent, and more productive than they are. Part of the problem is that we don't realize how much we do to get in our own way. If we track the incidents of dysfunctional activity, we can use the data to spot trends and take corrective action.

February 27, 2019

A pair discussion in a speedstormBrainstorming and Speedstorming: II
Recent research into the effectiveness of brainstorming has raised some questions. Motivated to examine alternatives, I ran into speedstorming. Here's Part II of an exploration of the properties of speedstorming.

February 20, 2019

A group engaged in a brainstormBrainstorming and Speedstorming: I
Recent research suggests that brainstorming might not be as effective as we would like to believe it is. An alternative, speedstorming, might have some advantages for some teams solving some problems.

February 13, 2019

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Speaker of the U.S. House of RepresentativesGrace Under Fire: IV
People can be astonishingly inventive when trying to harm others. Some strategies involve driving to distraction the target of their malevolence by humiliating the target and lying about the target's character, deeds, or abilities. Targets who recognize these methods are more likely to be able to maintain composure.

February 6, 2019

It certainly has not been a good dayGrace Under Fire: III
When someone at work seems intent on making your work life a painful agony, you might experience fear, anxiety, or stress that can lead to a loss of emotional control. Retaining composure is in that case the key to survival.

January 30, 2019

Bottom: Aerial view of the Forth Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland. Top: Inside the Forth Rail Bridge, from a ScotRail 158 on August 22, 1999.Conway's Law and Technical Debt
Conway's Law is an observation that the structures of systems we design tend to replicate our communication patterns. This tendency might also contribute to their tendency to accumulate what we now call technical debt.

January 23, 2019

Two men whispering at a village festivalJudging Others
Being "judgmental" is a stance most people recognize as transgressing beyond widely accepted social norms. But what's the harm in judging others? And why do so many people do it so often?

January 16, 2019

Egyptian forces cross a bridge over the Suez Canal on October 7, 1973, during the Arab-Israeli WarGuidelines for Curmudgeon Teams
The curmudgeon team is a subgroup of a larger team. Their job is to strengthen the team's conclusions and results by raising thorny issues that cause the team to reconsider the path it's about to take. In this way they help the team avoid dead ends and disasters.

January 9, 2019

Publicity photo of American entertainer Bert Lahr, promoting his role as the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 feature film, @Cite{The Wizard of Oz.What Is Hypophora?
Hypophora is a rhetorical device that enables its users to deliver simple messages with enhanced power. But it has a dark side. The people who read or hear those messages tend to assess them as having more merit than they do.

January 2, 2019

The Politics by Subject Matter matrixIssues-Only Team Meetings
Time spent in regular meetings is productive to the extent that it moves the team closer to its objectives. Because uncovering and clarifying issues is more productive than distributing information or listening to status reports, issues-only team meetings focus energy where it will help most.

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