AWS Amplify Release, GraphQL, and Recent Curated Links

This release kicked off this week in time for re:Invent and I put together a quick write up. Any questions, feel free to ping me via my contact form or better yet, just pop a question at me via the Twitters @Adron.


Amplify’s new Authenticator

Docs here

The new authenticator is a component that adds a full authentication flow for your app with coordinated boilerplate. This covers vue.js, angular, and react frameworks. The component has a customizable UI (as you’d expect), includes social logins for Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon. The initial setup is zero-configuration, and does have password manager support, along with show/hide confirm password forms.

The zero configuration works based on your Amplify CLI setup. To use this component grab the latest version of Amplify 6.4.0.


npm install -g @aws-amplify/cli@latest


yarn global add @aws-amplify/cli@latest

Once that runs it will update your aws-exports.js with the latest backend configuration for the Authenticator. So, zero configuration you have to add, but there’s configuration back there if you need to or want to dig in.

There is then an initial state for the component that sets a user up for sign in, sign up, or resetting their password. You might start with some code to get the component in your page like this.

export default function App() {
  return (
      {({ signOut, user }) => (
          <h1>Hello {user.username}</h1>
          <button onClick={signOut}>Sign out</button>

Then to set the initial state add the following parameter.

export default function App() {
  return (
    <Authenticator initialState="signUp">
      {({ signOut, user }) => (
          <h1>Hello {user.username}</h1>
          <button onClick={signOut}>Sign out</button>

Setting many of the other options to your needs includes adding additional parameters to the Authenticator component like;

Social providers

export default function App() {
  return (
    <Authenticator socialProviders={['amazon', 'apple', 'facebook', 'google']}>
      {({ signOut, user }) => (
          <h1>Hello {user.username}</h1>
          <button onClick={signOut}>Sign out</button>

Sign up attributes

export default function App() {
  return (
    <Authenticator signUpAttributes={[]}>
      {({ signOut, user }) => (
          <h1>Hello {user.username}</h1>
          <button onClick={signOut}>Sign out</button>

Login mechanisms

export default function App() {
  return (
    <Authenticator loginMechanisms={['username']}>
      {({ signOut, user }) => (
          <h1>Hello {user.username}</h1>
          <button onClick={signOut}>Sign out</button>

There are lots of other features too, give the docs a quick read for the full details. For more details on the overall authentication worflow check out these docs.

In-App Messaging

In App Messaging

This library is, sadly for my vue.js app, only available for react native. A quick install will get you started.

npm install -E aws-amplify@in-app-messaging aws-amplify-react-native@in-app-messaging amazon-cognito-identity-js @react-native-community/netinfo @react-native-async-storage/async-storage @react-native-picker/picker react-native-get-random-values react-native-url-polyfill

Then install pod dependencies for iOS.

pod install

An example looks like this.

import 'react-native-get-random-values';
import 'react-native-url-polyfill/auto';

import { AppRegistry } from 'react-native';
import App from './App';
import { name as appName } from './app.json';

AppRegistry.registerComponent(appName, () => App);

Then import the awsconfig vis aws.exports.js.

import Amplify from 'aws-amplify';
import awsconfig from './src/aws-exports';


Then integrate the Amplify React Native UI component if your app’s root component.

import {
} from 'aws-amplify-react-native';

const App = () => (
    {/* Your application */}
    <InAppMessageDisplay />

re: from the docs, here’s an app.jsx example.

import React, { useEffect } from 'react';
import { SafeAreaView, Button } from 'react-native';
import { Analytics, Notifications } from 'aws-amplify';
import {
} from 'aws-amplify-react-native';

const { InAppMessaging } = Notifications;

// To display your in-app message, make sure this event name matches one you created
// in an In-App Messaging campaign!
const myFirstEvent = { name: 'my_first_event' };

const App = () => {
  useEffect(() => {
    // Messages from your campaigns need to be synced from the backend before they
    // can be displayed. You can trigger this anywhere in your app. Here we are
    // syncing just once when this component (your app) renders for the first time.
  }, []);

  return (
        {/* This button has an example of an analytics event triggering the in-app message. */}
          onPress={() => {
          title="Record Analytics Event"

        {/* This button has an example of an In-app Messaging event triggering the in-app message.*/}
          onPress={() => {
          title="Send In-App Messaging Event"

        <InAppMessageDisplay />

export default App;
In App Messaging

Custom Resources w/ AWS CDK or Cloudformation

René (@renebrandel) wrote a blog post on extending the Amplify backend with custom AWS resources using AWS CDK or CloudFormation. The post is avilable here but I’ll give you a quick summary.

The new CLI comand amplify add custom will get almost any of the AWS services added to an Amplify backend. The core tech here is backed with AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK) or CloudFormation. For example if you want to pull in AWS SNS as custom resource, this is a very quick and concise way to do just that.

Again, check out René’s post to really get into it and check out some of the possibilities.

Overriding Amplify Backend Resources with CDK

Amplify sets up various capabilities out of the box in many situations such as project-level IAM roles, Cognito Auth, or S3 resources. As with the previous section, this one I’ll keep short as René (@renebrandel) has wrote a great blog post about this capability too titled “Override Amplify-generated backend resources using CDK“. If you’re interesting in nixing (overriding) any of these features and using another choice, this is your go to.

Prototype a Fullstack App without an AWS Account

Not specifically related to the release, this capability that Christian Nwamba AKA Codebeast wrote up in a blog post will show you how to do just that. The docs focused around what he details in the post are avilable here.

GraphQL Transformer v2

This I saved for last, it’s in my wheelhouse after all. Some of the features of the new v2 drop include; deny-by-default auth, lambda authorizer, customizable pipeline resolvers, and OpenSearch aggregations and use-scoped queries. The accomplished blogger, as mentioned in this very blog post, blogging legend René continues with “AWS Amplify announces the new GraphQL Transformer v2. More feature-rich, flexible, and extensible.“.

The first thing René brings up in the post is more explicit data modeling. I’ve stolen two of the screen shots from that post as examples and motivation to click through and check out the post. But I’ll also elaborate.

Adding primary and secondary indexes.

With the new explicit data modeling options, we’ve got @primaryKey and @index added as directoves to configure primary and secondary indexes from schema for your Dynamo Database. The directives in AppSync GraphQL really makes for a powerful schema definition capability to push via code first or to map from database to GraphQL scehma.

Adding relational directives.

The other part that is hugely important is the ability in schema to draw relationships that add referential integrity to your schema and the inherent data. There are now @hasOne, @hasMany, @belongsTo, and @manyToMany directives. I’m really looking forward to some data schema and modeling build outs in the near future. I’ll be sure to put together some tutorials and content detailing some of the design considerations and where and how to get all the schema hacks working best for your particular app data builds.

Thanks & Curated Follows

That’s it for this post. I’m always endeavoring to bring interesting tech and blog about it, but another way to get the quickest updates, links, details, and information about these releases is to follow the following people in the Twittersphere. They’re all in the cohort I run with at AWS with the Amplify team. I owe thanks to each for helping me find the following information and details included in this blog entry.

I Joined AWS, It’s Surreal, and Why

TLDR I joined Amazon Web Services on the 11th of October – i.e. AWS – and it rocks.

When you join Amazon you are signing up to learn a lot of things about the company and the ways in which the company gets things done. Before I get into all that, I’m going to tell you a bit about my career and what led me to Amazon. After all, it is surreal and unexpected for many that know me that I’m here. This relationship has definitely been a 2-way story, and one where it finally fit in a mutually beneficial way.

My First Years in Tech

Years ago, I jumped into the nascent tech industry from the state of Mississippi, where I grew up. Mississippi is quintessentially one of the most regressive, least advanced, disadvantaged, poor, and poorly run states in the entire United States. For most Mississippians life starts rough and continues that way throughout. However there are shining little slivers where tech lives and thrives in the state, and I lucked out in a massive way by cutting my teeth at Stennis Space Center (yes, a part of NASA).

When I got into tech I had no high school diploma and no college. I would eventually attend college but I couldn’t attend yet as I was only 13. I fumbled my way into some coding by taking a programming class. The class used the "Basic" programming language taught by a smart and creative woman that did well to keep the attention of a moderately bored "metal head" 13 year old.

Just a few years later I picked up a C++ book, because one didn’t have the internet to just google their way into learning a new language. That was quickly followed by learning Visual Basic 4, which landed me an opportunity to build a video rental tracking application. I got paid too, a massive $300 bucks! In the next several years I ended up getting into networking, systems administration, more programming and scripting and doing work for doctor’s offices, hospitals, trucking dispatches, junk yards, and a number of other businesses.

I loved the independence this life I’d gotten into gave me. Eventually college came up and I attended some courses, mostly about music and music theory more than programming. But out of a desire to learn faster and cover more topics I left college to advance in the industry.

Fast forward over that following decade and I tore into a plethora of technologies, started working for some giant companies like Bank of America, Citigroup, and Fidelity with hundreds of thousands of people, Government agencies, and some smaller startup like companies.

The famous mythical man-month!

Through all of this experience, and traumatic death march styled work, I came to two decisions that have shaped my career for many years and benefited me in a very significant way.

  1. I was going to cease working for the Government, after years of consulting and related work with the Federal and States Governments I just couldn’t take the lack of control, inability to really effect change, and the general laggard nature of the work. I promised myself I’d stop working in this sector entirely. At this point in my life, I’ve held 100% to that promise, it’s been a rewarding and very effective decision.
  2. I decided I would, likely, stay away from big corporations and also likely stick primarily to small (i.e. SMBs) that allowed me the most impact within an organization. If I were to shift back to a large corporate entity it would have to be with some type of rogue group or segmented team within that organization that fell outside of the general organization itself. So far only one team fit that mold, at Home Depot, but outside of that group I’ve stayed my course and stuck to small business, SMBs, and startups.

Hello Amazon Web Services

"Every day is Day 1." - Corporate Training, but coined per Jeff Bezos

This line in the embarkation of working at AWS stuck out. Which is saying something, because when you join AWS there’s about ~80-120 hours of training videos and culture related content to consume for the coder, techie, project, product, and leader related type of work.

It stuck out because, really, in very real terms this is day 1 of a new career direction for me. I’ve shifted and mutated my 2nd declaration above, in a significant way. I’ve joined AWS to work with the Amplify, AppSync, and surrounding teams to move forward work in GraphQL, data, flows related to, and projects and services around that data space. I’m stoked, but I didn’t join just because of the tech.

Why AWS?

Why join AWS? Even though I’d promised myself not to join anymore big corp companies I got to a point and looked at several of the big companies because I wanted more scope. What I mean by scope is the range of topics, tech, and people that I could work with on a daily basis that were involved in a wide space instead of just a singular narrow space. Startups and small business, by their very nature, work in a singular and narrow space. I still had intent and wanted to work with GraphQL and tech immediately tangential to GraphQL, but I wanted more access, more range, and options to expand the interactions of the tech and expand into access to interactions with people in the industry. So I began a search that eventually led me to join AWS.

That search started with several companies, including AWS. I was looking for several key characteristics that would dictate where I landed.

  1. Involvement in the space, specifically the open source space I wanted to work in. That included several key technologies, depending on what matched best, I’d go that direction: Kubernetes, GraphQL, and general open source development (like Github, etc). This made the options basically Google, Microsoft, AWS, or Facebook!
  2. What company would trigger the least ethical dilemmas for me. Yes, this was indeed part of the criteria I was looking at and discussing. Facebook was already on the shit list considering their political meanderings and inability to fix them. I also just wasn’t sure considering the conflation between actions vs. words. Google was in a moderately ok space, as was AWS, and Microsoft has been doing pretty good on the ethical front as of late. There’s always some questions about things, but I basically wanted to make sure I wasn’t working on things directly helping to cage kids or bomb other countries that are in the stone age back to the stone age!
  3. What company has culture (i.e. specifically good behaviors around meetings, people, etc) that I would appreciate and would work well for me. I’m a rather disciplined, driven, yet ADHD afflicted soul so sometimes, a company’s culture can destroy me or burn me out at 10x the rate of others. I want to join an effort and stick around for some time to really drive home some impact!
  4. How would the team I’m on and teams of people I’d work with, mesh with me. Obviously they’d interview me but I am more than aware, and 100% interview them at the same time. Interviews are absolutely a 2-way relationship and I, as with the last decade plus of my career, have chosen only to work with teams of people that I know are top tier, diverse, open minded, and have a good heart in their efforts.

How It Came Together

I started my search with the premise that I wanted to gain the above four characteristics in which company I joined. I had the privilege and due diligence to choose the company that I could gain all of these, not just a one or a couple of these characteristics. I won’t focus on the companies that didn’t make the cut or why, but I will elaborate on why AWS, and Amazon in general, did indeed make the cut.

  • Leadership principles: One of the things Amazon as a company lives and dies by is the leadership principles. There are a whole host of folks that like to complain, denigrate, nit pick, and come up with reasons why these are bad, but I’ll just cut that off with – when intent is good – they’re all awesome. Full stop. To break down each and personally elaborate:
    • Customer Obsession: yeah, I literally do this work with a priority on who will use it. It’s one of the reasons I focus on minimizing ethical concerns. It then insures that I too can truly be invested in supporting my customers in their efforts. Check.
    • Ownership: I already live by this principle, not just in work life, but personal as well! It’s something I staunchly believe in. Long term over short term, take accountability, act on behalf of not only yourself but others. Step up, there’s a lot that needs to be done in this world! Check.
    • Invent and Simplify: The mantra I’ve basically lived my whole programming career by. If I can’t build things to work myself out of work, and I can’t find a better way to do something after doing it for a while, I’ve started to fail at what I’m doing. I work in this field to make things easier, better, and more resilient for the users’ of the things I build and help others build. Check.
    • Are Right, A Lot: Nuff’ said.
    • Learn and Be Curious: Just scroll through and read the posts on this blog, follow me @Adron or streaming @ThrashingCode. You know I’m all about this. Check.
    • Hire and Develop the Best: Well, I haven’t hired anybody yet at AWS, but I’ve hired a lot of people in my career so far. I don’t hire you if you won’t or can’t be the best, thus, if I ever do hire you, you can rest well knowing I vouched for you and know you can kick ass and take names! 🤘🏻
    • Insist on the Highest Standards: We can talk about the pedantic nature of this leadership principle in the future and joke about tablets later. Check.
    • Think Big: Always. Check.
    • Bias for Action: People’s lives continue today because of my bias for action. If you know me, you”ll understand this comment. If not, feel free to ask, I’ve just summarized it with this statement for this post. Check.
    • Frugality: At work, yup. At home, no comment. Albeit I would own a plane or launch rockets in a frugal way too if I had the financial resources. Check.
    • Earn Trust: I’m always working to earn trust among those I trust and respect. I hope we all are, it’s a remarkably good way to live. Check.
    • Dive Deep: I’m on it. Check.
    • Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit. Thanks brutally, caustic, and toxic southern upbringing, and thanks west coast for helping me tone that down to an effective level of having backbone, disagreeing and committing in life. Check.
    • Deliver Results: I’ll admit, this one I’m a little afraid to ask why it even needs to be listed. Check.
    • Strive to be Earth’s Best Employer and Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility: I’ll do my part but I’ll leave these as is for today. There’s work to be done! Check.
  • The team and members on the periphery of that team checked all the boxes (good job!), were friendly, easy to converse with, and are top tier people in this industry! During my initial loop I got to speak with, meet, and I highly recommend following each of these people if you don’t already, and more benefit if you are interested in the work we’re doing:
    • Bill Fine -> @billfine
    • Brice Pellé -> @bricepelle
    • Ed Lima -> @ednergizer
    • Robert Zhu -> @rbzhu
    • Ali Spittell -> @ASpittel
    • Mohit Srivastava -> @mohit
    • I also met and spoke with Aleksej Trefilov and Ben Snellings, but we can’t discuss all the cool secret thigns they’re working on, so I’ll just leave it at – awesome to meet them, if you get a chance to work with them sign up!
    • Big shout out too to Adam Desai and Mashayla too! Adam is the recruiter that I worked with and got all of the loops lined up, and Mashayla joined in to make sure everything got coordinated and scheduled! Great experience and good workflow y’all have!
  • Around the culture aspect, as I spoke to the team and others in the immediate teams I dove into a number of culture questions. One of the things that summarizes the drive and energy at AWS is the principled and organized nature of meetings starting with a document read – everybody reads the document – then the meeting resumes around discussion of the document, the details, data, and the participants take actions based on that. It’s a very effective way to run meetings. Beyond that however, the general readiness of the team, the approach and interactions of everybody involved, was excellent. The conversations during the interview, the tests and challenges, all were great fun and I got a lot of information (and I got the job, so I suspect I provide good information!) and enjoyed the interactions. I got a solid feeling we’d mesh well. Another criteria, check!

Now all of this didn’t go off without a hitch, because of certain things I got to do a second short loop and my role switched from Developer Advocate DA to Product Manager Technical. This worked out very well however, as now I’m positioned to have impact from work as a developer advocate and product management efforts.

There were other competing offers from Google, Microsoft, and other companies I interviewed with at the same time. In the end though the responsiveness, effective flexibility from the team and Adam led to AWS coming out the winner. With everything wrapped up and questions answered, all criteria met, I gave AWS and the team a solid YES!

With that I’ve joined AWS! Ready for new challenges and bringing a simpler, faster, more usable Amplify, AppSync, and Cloud environs to every coder out there! Let’s do this! 🤘🏻

My Bespoke JetBrains Toolbox Configuration

One thing I do just enough to remember I need to do, but not frequently enough to remember which settings are which, is installing the JetBrains Toolbox app to get the other JetBrains’ software installed.

The following is the quick list of the key things that I setup to get the most out of Toolbox. This is a quick process and I’ve detailed it here, one for memory, but also to detail what some of the features provide so this might be of more use to others.

The Toolbox Settings options are located by clicking on the gear icon when the application is opened up. This is the same across operating systems; Windows, Ubuntu, MacOS, or others. Find the gear, click it!

Once Settings are opened up the core 4 configurations include:

  1. If you’ve got an account, login. Everything is easier if you’re logged into your account.
  2. This second option around the theme is great on MacOS and Ubuntu. I’m not sure what it does on Windows exactly, but presume a similar effect. I myself set this to Auto since I always set the OS level theme to dark and love that almost all the apps that I use shift to that theme.
  1. I don’t set a shortcut for the toolbox, I simply use the Ctrl+Space to launch it from the spotlight on MacOS and use whatever option to issue apps from command on Windows and Linux OS installations of Toolbox.
  2. This section, I’ll detail further down, has a host of additional settings around the tools use itself.

When logging into the app, the Toolbox will launch a browser to complete the process. The ! is what I do, log in with a regular JetBrains username and password based account versus using one of the Oauth options like Github. I feel like, however, maybe I should check if I can switch it or add the Github auth to use that, I am a fan of using it as my general dev auth across systems.

Upon logging in and clicking Approve the prompt to open and then match the Toolbox extension for opening to the Toolbox application in the browser.

Once all that is setup, my next move is to get the Tools section updated and setup the update behaviors, reload setting, and shell scripts.

  1. I toggle the Update Toolbox App automatically option on.
  2. I also, cuz I’m such a nice person, send the anonymous usage statistics to JetBrains.
  3. For the Update all tools automatically I often toggle this on. As in the vast majority of scenarios I’m working in, I need to ensure I have the latest patches and updates.
  4. The Keep only the latest version is similar to #3 where as, I generally only want one version of the particular IDE, I don’t particularly need the EAP or previous versions, and I toggle this to keep only the latest version that is currently available.
  5. I leave the Reload Dock after update option toggled on.
  6. This last feature is one of the most important for me. I launch most of the IDEs, JetBrains or others, vai the terminal. My most used method is to issue the ide . so that the IDE opens the particular directory that the prompt is located in. This section, the Generate shell scripts enables this for all of the respective IDEs that are installed per the Toolbox App.
  1. This is diving into, once the Generate shell scripts is toggled on.
  2. The Shell scripts location, I’d argue, should be set to your /usr/local or some system directory so that it’s available specifically for you, or if multiple users use the machine that use all the apps, it’s available prospectively for everybody. The fact is you can set it to whatever path you want, I’ve had some issues managing that autonomously of a directory like /usr/local that one just tends to end up with as part of one’s path on a machine. With that, I’d wrap this up with a strong suggestion to set it to /usr/local and call it a day.

An important thing to note about this path, whatever is selected has to be the path and the permissions must allow the creation of the actual files once apply is clicked. Whichever IDEs are installed should show like this. If permissions or or something else prevents these from being created then another directory needs to be selected or the permissions changed or problems resolved.

At this point navigate to any directory and open the respective IDE by command or open the directory you’re located with ideaCmd . and the specific IDE will launch and open that particular directory.

That’s it for the Toolbox settings. I’ll end this article with a few suggestions on IDEs to install, pending you’re using an account that has the entire suite or you have multiple IDE subscriptions purchased. I would recommend, to install IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate regardless of what other IDEs you install. It’s a good option that has a little bit of every other IDE and has been the one (my understanding here) that was the original and thus, longest developed of all the options.

Then, if you’re focused on a particular language stack, then install the IDE that is available for that particular language. GoLand for Go, PyCharm for Python, Rider for .NET, and WebStorm for web related development. There are others, so choose as you develop. Of course, any of these can all be developed in the IntelliJ IDEA IDE but your mileage may vary if you go that route, I’d highly recommend using the IDE specific to the language stack.

Cheers, enjoy your thrashing code! 🤘🏻


Big changes coming up for me in the coming weeks and months, but in this moment I want to dedicate this post to a giant, huge, magnificent farewell to the absolutely stellar crew at Hasura! This has, without question, been one of my favorite companies to work for and their mission has been extremely enjoyable to help further! A huge shout out to Rajoshi and Tanmai (they’re the awesome co-founders!) for bringing me on board to help advocate for more GraphQL goodness and Postgres + SQL Server + GraphQL successes!

Cheers to all and thanks for a great time!

No worries either, I’ll keep in touch with you all and ALL y’all Hasurians know where I am! Here on the ole’ blog, on the email(s), the Twitch streams, or on ole’ Twitter (@Adron) itself!

…and as always, stay tuned (i.e. subscribe to the blog, or the Twitch stream, or Twitter) as my adventure continues, I’ll share all the gory details right here!

A parting shout out, if you’re using GraphQL, and into a Postgres + SQL Server instant GraphQL option, absolutely check out Hasura’s tech. It is seriously impressive!

That ends my #100DaysOfCode && AMA with Hasura’s GraphQL!

Losses & Gains, Tracking Task Switching & Thrashing

I take measurements and review statistical data on a range of topics to an extensive degree. However last year, pandemic year 2020, I dug into a few metrics to better tell the story about the damage task switching does to getting deliveries out the door. I wanted to answer one specific question, ideally with a measurable number.

How many projects, tasks, and other deliverables don’t get delivered because of task switching via corporate attention deficit hyper-action disorder?


If you’ve never heard of Corporate Attention Deficit Hyper-Action Disorder, welcome to the latest term I’m going to coin for use in this article. Possibly, I’ll use it in future articles, and refer back this one and for that reason let’s define CADHAD.

CADHAD – With a silent h this acronym stands for Corporate Attention Hyper-Action Disorder. Being specific, it’s the activity, anti-pattern, and syndrome of making activities within a business environment that routinely lead to the completion of other activities getting canceled, forgotten, or outright deleted. Usually after a thorough effort put into these actions being cancelled, forgotten, or deleted and through the switching, or thrashing of effort, extensive costs are spent over effectively having people do nothing.

CADHAD Metrics

Alright, back to answering the question “How many projects, tasks, and other deliverables don’t get delivered because of task switching via corporate attention deficit hyper-action disorder?”.

Here are a few metrics to get us started.

Actions Assigned, Started & Completed


Projects Assigned, Started & Completed

To note, this is projects assigned to and at least 95% of the tasks assigned during the month for that project being completed equates to the project being marked complete for the month. If it’s less than that I leave it marked as incomplete. For example, if I get pulled off of tasks for project A and get put on tasks for project B, and because of that neither all the tasks for A or B get completed, that’s 2 projects started or continud for the month and zero finished.

Another important caveat, if a company is efficiently organizing their projects and efficiently utilizing their labor resources – i.e. their programmers – than this would be a 1 to 1 number, anything less than that means there are significant restarts and changes occuring that are significantly damaging effective utilization of people and resources. The TLDR, without a 1 to 1 metric the company is effectively burning cash.


Alright, so here are two sets of data. Let’s talk about what each tells us about the story of thrashing. The first part of the year, January through August of 2020 I was at one company – we’ll call it “Databases R’ Us” and the second part of the year I’ll call the company what it is, which is Hasura.

A Story of Thrashing

At Databases R’ Us I had joined a team that had numerous projects and tons of actions to get completed. Initially in January was a reset month, and it was, contrary to what the metrics for January tell us, a really productive month. No new projects were started, just preparation by closing up and finished actions or deleting actions. Which even though it doesn’t tell us a lot it does show one thing, there were a lot of actions that were entirely dropped. Of the 76 only 11 were wrapped up and completed. The reason, the previous months had left the team with a lot of technical debt that effectively just got ignored and the actions associated with paying that debt just got deleted.

The next month, Feburary starts to paint more of a picture of the significant levels of thrashing that were occurring. New projects were setup and planning had been done, totalling a massive 123 actions and 6 projects. I was ready to go, the team was pumped in that first week. However by the end of the month one can see that the level of thrashing immediately led to a massive failure of projects and actions to be completed. A caveat I have to add, is this is measuring a systemic failure, which is important to note because I could be messing up things myself but as we’ll see later I can also deliver robust solutoins when the systemic failures aren’t dragging projects and actions into the dustbin of oblivion. February was a rough period of time for the systemic completion of projects and actions that needed done. At month end, a miserable zero projects could be considered to have had their actions completed, and only 11 overall actions were wrapped up.

March rolled in and things improved, thank goodness, I needed the morale boost to be honest! 3 of 6 projects where brought to completion with their respective tasks completed. Bring the actions down to a very reasonable 13 actions to complete led to 11 being completed. An excellent ratio for task completion.

The next four months brough actions and projects into a varied mix of misdirections and failures mixed in with a few successes. Overall the subsequent 4 months Databases R’ Us improved efficiency of systemic delivery to about 50% or so. Not good, but much better than the January and February time frame where everything was a vast systemic failure that largely led to teams delivering on things that effectively didn’t get delivered to product or customers.

August wrapped up my work with Databases R’ Us with final delivery of a project and my departure. A fun time, and a great example of systemic wins and systemic failures around a company delivering or not.

Enter Hasura

I joined Hasura in October, taking a month in September to knock out some of my own personal projects and action activity. As you can see, of the things I planned and started with eventual completion I knocked it out of the park that month. In October, starting with Hasura that streak continued. October had a solid score of 4 projects started, 4 completed and 37 actions started and 29 brought to completed. Not perfect, but really good for just starting out at a new company – when so much time actions linger a bit longer just because one is still setting up their accounts and other requisite but not company useful work toward product or services advancement.

November and December continued that streak, 4 of 4 and 5 of 5 projects respectively. Even though December is often a really dead month for advancement of projects and actions to complete, in 2020 there were a solid bunch that I got into and knocked out. It provided me an excellent win upon new years! Even the actions completion ratio was really good.

Lagniappe Comments

2020 was a strange year, considering the pandemic changes and related characteristics of life itself this year. To compound the intricate complications of 2020 my son was born and I took a chunk of leave in the September and October time frames. Even with this major life event occurring I was still able to – even while taking care of a vast array of baby duties – contribute and knock out work and contribute systemically on a number of level to various projects. So much so, aside from the obvious leave, I’m proud that I went to bat at work at near 100% level even in light of all the pandemic and newborn complexities!

Additionally these were new metrics I had decided to measure and the implications behind them are still a bit hard to describe just from the numbers. Even though it does show the story of the year, it doesn’t really dig deep into where and how the task switching – AKA thrashing – occurred or the end result losses from that outcome. Only that it merely happened. This is something where I need to figure out further metrics that could show how, why, where, when, and what occurred that led to these metrics.

At some point I’d love to work on enriching this story through further data collection and figuring out the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the stories the data is meant to tell. Even more so, I’d love to work with others to brainstorm and figure out how to determine what telemetry should be used to provide this richer insight. If you’re interested, I’m available via the Twitters @adron and also you can directly mesage me here.


The wrap up is, the year definitely involved some significant thrashing that led to projects derailed and action items deferred, deleted, or otherwise thrashed on and left as waste. But the year also led to some striking counterbalances to that with 100% of projects getting worked on and delivered, with an excellent ratio of actions getting completed.