Using a physical object as a reminder


On our team, we have a mailing list where people can report problems. Those people could be testers from our team or they could be people from elsewhere in the company. Everybody on the team is expected to keep an eye on the messages and debug problems in their area. The job of monitoring the mailing list to ensure that every issue is ultimately addressed rotates according to a predetermined schedule, and in addition to receiving a piece of reminder mail at 4pm the business day before it's your turn, you will also find a Mickey Mouse ears hat on your desk when you arrive in the morning.

I bought this hat in Disneyland a few years ago and somehow managed to convince the person operating the sewing machine to stitch the name "Dev O'Day" on the back. "It's an Irish name," I explained, but it also stands for "Developer of the Day", which is the title we use for the person who monitors the mailing list.

One of our team members went on vacation to Disneyland the following year and brought back a back-up hat, which sits in my office. The back-up hat is occasionally brought into service when the primary Dev O'Day hat goes missing, at which point a Search and Rescue mission is undertaken to locate the hat and restore it to circulation. (It's usually just sitting in the office of someone who was Developer of the Day recently and merely forgot to hand the hat off at the end of the day.)

Comments (8)
  1. Jay B says:

    I’m curious to know if you’ve ever tried Scrum. We’ve been using Scrum for a little while, having daily meetings between team members in which impedements and issues are brought up to the "scrum master" (typically a project manager type).

    It’s a pain in the ass, honestly, to have a daily meeting, but it forces us to communicate, which is a good thing.

  2. bramster says:

    I love it. A Mickey Mouse Backup System!

  3. Brad Corbin says:

    So does the backup hat have the same stiched message?

    Or is it the "O’Day Back" hat?

  4. jeffdav says:

    When I was briefly in the shell DoD rotation I really liked the MM hat. I wore it all day; to meetings, lunch, etc. It saddens me that most DoD’s don’t actually wear it.

  5. asdf says:

    Maybe you should use one of these hats as a backup instead so it can be DEVO Day:

    http://www.80stees.com/products/DEVO-Energy-Dome-hat.asp

  6. Norman Diamond says:

    a Search and Rescue mission is undertaken to

    > locate the hat and restore it to circulation.

    > (It’s usually just sitting in the office of

    > someone who was Developer of the Day recently

    > and merely forgot to hand the hat off at the

    > end of the day.)

    Don’t do that. If the possessor wants to be Developer of the Day for several days in a row, let them ^u^

    As for the person in your other thread who worried about the floppy disk semaphore getting copied, the copy of the hat proves that this is a real physical problem ^_^

  7. Leonardo says:

    That trick it’s useful. Once upon a time when we use "sneaker net" (meaning that we had no net, just pass along floppyes) we use a fridge magnet with the image of a little house, to indicate witch PC had the current data. So when someone need to update the "database" (an excel file) would know from witch PC they should took the floppy (and the fridge magnet, of course).

  8. There is an alias at Microsoft that is the front line for the Shell team, the one place where the important…

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