Protagonist rule #7: Change your mind

When I worked as a young professor in the 1990s, one of my main research areas was software architecture. The prevalent view at the time was that the architecture of a software system was virtually immutable once you had committed to it and consequently, you had to be very careful during the initial design phase. … Read more

Protagonist rule #5: Hell yes or no

Recently, I read a book by Oliver Burkeman entitled “4,000 weeks: time management for mortals.” The essence of the book is that as humans, we have 4,000 weeks in our lifespan. Of course, part of that is spent in our youth and another part in retirement, leaving us with about 2,000 weeks in our working … Read more

Protagonist rule #2: Have a purpose

When Western society to a large extent was religious, Christianity offered a ready-made framework for meaning and purpose. The promise of an eternal afterlife offers a powerful incentive to live life in a way that contributes to the community you’re part of. Humans have an internal moral framework and religion aligns with that framework in … Read more

Protagonist rule #1: Own it

Life at work, as well as outside of work, can be very surprising. Lots of unexpected and unwelcome things can happen. Interestingly, if you look at how modern society organizes itself, you realize that much of what we spend time and energy on is concerned with creating predictability in our lives. The houses we live … Read more

Be the protagonist of your life: 15 rules

Over the last few years, I’ve enjoyed a steadily growing following on Linkedin. I’m very grateful for that, so thank you if you’re one of them. To understand what you and others like, appreciate and think about, I often read comments and, occasionally, engage in discussions to better understand your viewpoints. Based on this reading … Read more

10 outdated beliefs about software

The world of software remains a fascinating place and I keep being amazed at how rapidly it continues to evolve and transform. We certainly have come a long from the early 1980s when I was a teenager programming BASIC on my ZX81. Especially for those of us who have been in the field for decades, … Read more

Rule 9: Empower those around you

For the longest time in the history of humankind, we lived in a world defined by scarcity. Forests for hunting, land for agriculture, wood for construction and mining sites – all were scarce resources that many wanted to have, and consequently, we competed. Individuals competed against individuals. Tribes competed against tribes. Nation-states competed against other … Read more

Rule 8: Be proactive

Little known fact: the original schools, started in the 19th century, had the goal of training obedient factory workers. The whole notion of sitting still at a desk, taking instructions and following orders was quite alien to many who had grown up on farms. For the factory owners to have access to workers, it was … Read more