Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Going Forward!


Being a consultant has been great. I have learned a lot, both in terms of process and technology. However if a company is doing great and have no problems recruiting people, it does not make a lot of sense to hire a bunch of consultants. So although you can come across some great projects – the chances are you will either end up trying to fix a broken process or work with legacy technology.

At Forward I will be able to use the optimal technology (of choice!) and work in a very lean/agile environment. Going from concept to production in a matter of hours/days instead of months or years will be liberating! I also believe it will be eye-opening and push my standards even higher.

Being located in Camden, my commute will almost be reduced to a stroll down the street. Life in London just became even better!


Personal Kanban


A few weeks ago I attended by @JR0cket. He explained how he was using an online Kanban board to manage his own personal studying. Most interesting I found his done state definition; “Blogged”. The idea is that given a reasonable WIP limit, before you can start a new pet project or read a new book, you have to blog about the task you just finished. And that is exactly what I am doing now:

Using the iKan app on my iPhone, my Study Kanban board looks like this (WIP limits in brackets):

Backlog (4) -> Studying (2) -> Write blog post (2) -> Blogged / Done.

Already, this has forced me to focus on just a few topics at a time. Hopefully I will be disciplined enough to try to always write a blog post before moving anything into the Done state. As John mentioned; you force yourself to study a bit harder when you know you have to write a blog post about it later.

If I remember correctly, John had at least two Kanban boards for more or less different processes. I have gone down that road myself as well, with the following additional “Personal Economy etc.” Kanban board:

Ready (5) -> Doing (2) -> Done

I am currently reflecting on the concept of having several Kanban boards. The WIP limits are not very effective if I can get around them just by adding a new board. However, the two processes are significantly different. I am pretty sure people don’t want me to blog about my Tax returns etc. Perhaps having a shared backlog or similar could be useful.

Imagine the following scenario: I want to add a new book to my study backlog, but because it is full I have to finish another task first. If I had a shared backlog between my study and personal stuff, this could force me to prioritize and get started with some boring chores and actually get them done. I guess the only thing stopping me from trying this is my current tool set. Once again it seems a physical board could be the simplest solution. To be continued..

How to find a flat in London


Not sure if it’s a god or bad sign that my blog is currently taking a non-technical direction. However, finally having moved into our new flat in London, I thought I should share some of my experiences – maybe someone will find this useful one day.

Having decided to move to London (from Norway), we started looking at websites such as Loot, Gumtree and TimesOnline. However, it seemed to us that most of the flats were available immediately – hence we decided to start looking more seriously when we first arrived.

So, we booked a cheap hotel for the first week. Took some walks around the area we wanted to live in, and searched as crazy on the websites. We soon realised we had to settle for a quite small flat (read: studio) if we wanted to live in central London. After a day or two, we found an ok flat, went for a viewing and decided we wanted it. We soon realised that bringing our dog turned out to be quite a challenge. The landlord was okay with the dog, however the leaseholder (the council) needs to grant permission. The real estate agents were really helpful, however, since we are both busy people and not staying home with the dog all day, they told us our chances were minimal.

Having wasted a day or two hoping to get this flat, we realised we needed to widen our search (Tip #1: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket). We had scanned every ad on the internet, so we decided to walk around a bit. We phoned every number on the “to let” signs we could see. By doing this we finally found a flat that suited us.

Ironically this flat was priced a bit higher than what we could afford, so we had probably filtered it out when we searched on the internet. However, the real estate agent immediately offered it to a price more suitable to our budget (Tip #2: Prices are negotiable). But of course, he needed to verify that the dog was okay etc.

Having learned from our mistakes, and being aware of our dog might be a challenge. We started searching further north. This would force the both of us to take the tube or such, meaning we had to calculate this into our budget. We found some dog friendly flats – but it wasn’t exactly in the area we had hoped to live. Hence, we were very pleased when we got a call from the second real estate agent, telling us that everything was okay with the dog. Still we needed to fill in a form for credit checking..

By this time we were tired of living at a tiny hotel room – we booked a new hotel (got a bargain at for another week. This hotel was a lot closer to our area of interest and it was much nicer (Tip #3, find a hotel nearby your area of interest, allow yourselves some luxury). It meant we had to transport our 100kgs of luggage once again though.

Due to the Bank holiday, a busy real estate agent who promised a lot more than he could keep and some unskilled credit checking company (who struggled to make a simple phone call for two days) – our credit check wasn’t done until late friday (the second week). By then our real estate agent had turned off his phone for the weekend..

Hoping to move in early in the week, we extended our stay at the hotel for two nights. Booking directly at the hotel was expensive, but it was at least only for two days. Or so we thought.. It turned out we had to stay yet another night at a hotel – waiting for some furniture to arrive. By then the hotel rates on our current hotel had exploded. We got permission to place our luggage at the flat however, before we booked a cheap hotel for one last night (Tip #4, if you find a nice hotel, at a decent rate, book it for 2,5 times as long as you think you will need!).

We have spent our first night in the flat now. Sleeping at the sofa bed mattress, while waiting for the bed to arrive. There are still some things to sort out, such as opening an UK bank account, choosing an electricity provider, get an internet connection up and running etc.  however, having a home in London now is fantastic. I look forward to enjoy each new day! Might be continued..

Starting at ThoughtWorks


As I wrote earlier, we have moved to London – leaving my wonderful colleagues at Miles. My girlfriend will be studying at UCL, and I’m extremely happy to be starting at ThoughtWorks in October.

ThoughtWorks’ recruiting process, with the coding task and a whole day of tests and interviews, was challenging – but at the same time it made working at ThoughtWorks even more appealing. I got to meet quite a few of my new colleagues and they all confirmed my impression of ThoughtWorks as a fantastic place to work. For me this is if a dream has come true. To be continued..

Ps. If you are looking for any tips on getting hired at ThoughtWorks I would recommend you to find someone at ThoughtWorks you either know or somehow can relate to – they might help you through the first stage of getting your CV accepted (Thanks for helping me!). After that, just be yourself and do your best =)

London calling


It’s official, we’re moving to London!

My clever girlfriend Anne-Linn, will be studying Speech Therapy at UCL from September. Hence we’re moving to London in late August. I’m excited!

Hopefully I’ll find a thrilling place to work and meet lots of interesting people. If you need a passionate software developer who cares about people, please contact me on erlingwl(at) I’m going to miss my fantastic colleagues at Miles though, you guys have been extremely good to me!