Hut 8 Labs

Hut 8 Labs

The Blog

Articles by Dan Milstein

  • No Deadlines For You! Software Dev Without Estimates, Specs or Other Lies

    How to write great software for very happy business owners, without ever telling them how long it will take you to do just about anything, whatsoever.


    1. And I hear the author is very handsome, too. 

    2. "Revenue churn": it turns out that, sometimes, the best way to reduce the cancel rate (aka "churn"), in a subscription business is not to stop every last unhappy customer from canceling, but rather to increase the amount of money you're getting from the people who use your service the most -- in other words, solve for the churn rate in terms of dollars/month, instead of customers/month 

    3. If you can hone this to the point that your summary of the business is so good that it actually helps the Important Person clarify their own thinking... you will win, at whatever game it is you wish to play in life. 

    4. At Hut 8 Labs, we are, well, utterly obsessed with the sequence in which we do work. It's a rare couple of hours that doesn't see a discussion about what's most valuable to do next, based on what we just learned. 

    5. Donald Reinertsen, Principles of Product Development Flow. If you a) love math and b) have spent ten years trying to figure out why your software projects keep getting cancelled, drop absolutely everything you're doing and read Reinertsen right now. Otherwise, first read The Goal, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt, and then read Reinertsen. 

    6. Eric Ries, The Lean Startup. He works out a very powerful set of ideas for generating value in conditions of extreme uncertainty. As you can tell from the name of his book, his focus is on startups, but I find his ideas broadly useful for software development in general. 

    7. Kent Beck, Software Design Glossary, and, Extreme Programming Explained. Few people have written as thoughtfully and intelligently about software development as Mr. Kent Beck. His work at the intersection of complexity, human nature, and economic value has had a huge influence on me. 

    8. Douglas W. Hubbard, How to Measure Anything. Some really fascinating ideas on how to turn a vague statement like "We could make a better decision if we had more information" into something with concrete dollars attached to it. If you love math... you'll wish he had written a shorter book with a lot more math in it, but such is life. 

    9. Laura Klein, Users Know, and UX for Lean Startups. Truly great stuff on how to talk to human beings. 

    10. "So, wait, your blog post got so long that you included an appendix, disguised as a series of footnotes?" In my defense, I can only quote a beloved one-time coworker: "No, so is your face". 

  • Coding, Fast and Slow: Developers and the Psychology of Overconfidence

    Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" and why developers suck so very badly at making estimates


    1. (the band <insert dated music reference> was on the radio, and everyone was talking about <some long-gone tv show>). 

    2. If you're thinking "Wait, 3 months, like one of your 3 month estimates?", I have no idea what you're talking about. 

  • Dan Talks About Post-Mortems

    Dan has written and talked some about post-mortems (and will likely do so again), check the links