Sebastian De Deyne

Back at it! Process discovery & a newsletterroll

Hi,

In the beginning of 2021 I decided to tone things down: low blogging activity, not too much open source follow-up, and most importantly a break from Twitter—which I wrote about. With so much to learn and keep up with, an occasional digital fast triggers a necessary reboot.

Process discovery & communication: things I learned at an event storming workshop

Last month I attended an event storming workshop at DDDEU. It was given by the creator of the method, Alberto Brandolini.

In short, event storming is a collection of methods to discover concepts and processes in a business. The main tool: Post-Its.

Since this was remote workshop, Post-Its were replaced by Miro, a realtime collaboration board.

Here are a few things I learned that reach beyond event storming.

When you’re trying to discover how something works, it’s better to have something wrong on paper than having nothing. You’re going to make mistakes in the discovery process anyway. Having something on paper will make it explicit, and will ensure you keep track of it in other places even though when not perfect. It is better to be prescriptive and wrong, than vague and right. If it’s not there, it’s not actionable.

You can’t validate something without a conversation. I’m a proponent of async, written communication. Written communication ensures the writer has given something enough thought to write it down, and gives the reader time to think and process it in their own pace. However, written communication should often be reviewed together to validate it, as there’s always more room for interpretation than both the writer and reader expect. Write, read, validate, improve.

When you’re stuck on a problem, try to solve it in reverse. One of the exercises in the workshop was to create a timeline of the Cinderella story. Getting started is easy, but it gets harder as you approach the middle of the story. This is often the case, processes tend to be thicker in the middle. When you’re stuck, tell the story in reverse. After that, it’s easier to uncover the rest because you have gaps to fill.

Newsletterroll

Like a blogroll, but for newsletters and harder on the tongue.

The creator economy is growing fast, and newsletters are a key part of it. In the past few months, there’s been an influx of new, quality newsletters paid and free.

Newsletters have become my main source of reading and discovering. Here a list of the ones I (almost) always digest.

Dev, design, and related topics

Alfonso de la Rocha
Dev — A weekly newsletter about various programming-related topics, language and ecosystem independent.
Developer Avocados
Technical writing & speaking — I’m not a developer advocate, but Developer Avocados shares a lot of good resources about having a technical blog.
Murze
Dev — An every two weeks newsletter with links about Laravel, PHP, and JavaScript.
Ryan Singer
Product design — Ryan Singer is Basecamp’s head of product design and the author of Shape Up.
Tiny React Email
React — Three links to keep up with the React ecosystem sent out once a week. Short and sweet.
UX Collective
Design — Links and inspiration about UX & visual design.

Productivity, business, and more

Every
Productivity & more — I’m a paid subscriber of Every, which is a bundke of newsletters about productivity, business, finance, and various other topics.
Farnam Street
Productivity & self-improvement — Weekly inspiration about productivity, mental models, and more.
Forte Labs
Productivity & self-improvement — Articles about productivity and personal knowledge management.
Morning Brew
News — A daily newsletter with bite sized articles about business & finance. I don’t read it every day, but skim through often.
Monday Medley by Nat Eliason
Productivity, self-improvement & more — I started following Nat when I got into Roam, and his newsletter is full of diverse, interesting links and thoughts.
Publisher Weekly
Writing & publishing — I enjoy following up on changes in the self-publishing world change as a bystander.

Cooking

A Newsletter by Alison Roman
Cooking — I love Alison Roman’s recipes and writing style.
The Perfect Loaf
Bread baking — My favorite resource for (sourdough) bread recipes.

More from the blog

There have been 2 posts on the blog since my previous newsletter.

macOS settings I always customize
When I set up a new Mac, there are a few things that make it immediately feel “off” to me. These are the small System Preferences tweaks I make that my muscle memory relies on.
Twitter break
Around the end of January, I decided to take a break from Twitter for an undetermined amount of time. Twitter was my main source of distraction, and I wanted to find out how much it affects my productivity.

More from the web

Links from across the web I learned from, or simply enjoyed reading.

Theory of Constraints 101
The best introduction to the theory of constraints I’ve come upon so far. After reading this, I started seeing this pattern all over the place.
Why does it take so long to build software?
The difference between essential and accidental complexity.
The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel
A classic satire article by Maciej Cegłowski from Pinboard.

Smalltalk

Late to the party, but I had this queued up for my January newsletter that never happened. Here are my favorite albums released in 2020.

On the horizon

Back to writing! Dive deeper into event storming. Maybe release my first stable PHP package in months (years?). Finally get a haircut since barber shops reopened. Continue reading Moby’s memoir, Porcelain. Enjoy coffee brewed with the Chemex I got for my birthday. Go over budget buying records again.

Until the next issue,

Seb