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Velocity - a sustainable pace

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  • Doug Stewart
    XP best practices, in all their glory, exhaust me. I love the business value that is achieved and specifically the courage gained in applying change at any
    Message 1 of 15 , Sep 6, 2008
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      XP best practices, in all their glory, exhaust me. I love the business
      value that is achieved and specifically the courage gained in applying
      change at any point in time. The stories are mostly turned out in short
      order, value is delivered to customers almost immediately (relatively
      speaking). These are great things, but not everything is so great.

      Space - personal space to think about and explore potentials
      Time - time to breath, to remove oneself from the flow of work (bustle)
      Hover - time to coach, teach, learn; basically, not do any work work

      At the end of the week, I've found myself wishing for these things in
      some small order, enough to catch my breath and realize my singular
      humanity.

      My question is, at your shop or in an "ideal shop" how are these items:
      1) viewed - perspective, (e.g. is it ethical not to work sometimes)
      2) handled - solutions, rules, practices

      I wonder how velocity is affected when space, time, hover is banished.
      And, when they are encouraged and built-in.

      Sorry, this is kind of a large question and fairly subjective in nature.
    • Simon Kirk
      ... Hi Doug. In The Art of Agile Development James Shore and Shane Warden talk about Slack, and how they implement it as part of XP to provide (imho) Hover, as
      Message 2 of 15 , Sep 6, 2008
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        On 6 Sep 2008, at 22:48, Doug Stewart wrote:

        > XP best practices, in all their glory, exhaust me. I love the business
        > value that is achieved and specifically the courage gained in applying
        > change at any point in time. The stories are mostly turned out in
        > short
        > order, value is delivered to customers almost immediately (relatively
        > speaking). These are great things, but not everything is so great.
        >
        > Space - personal space to think about and explore potentials
        > Time - time to breath, to remove oneself from the flow of work
        > (bustle)
        > Hover - time to coach, teach, learn; basically, not do any work work
        >
        > At the end of the week, I've found myself wishing for these things in
        > some small order, enough to catch my breath and realize my singular
        > humanity.
        >
        > My question is, at your shop or in an "ideal shop" how are these
        > items:
        > 1) viewed - perspective, (e.g. is it ethical not to work sometimes)
        > 2) handled - solutions, rules, practices
        >
        > I wonder how velocity is affected when space, time, hover is banished.
        > And, when they are encouraged and built-in.
        >
        > Sorry, this is kind of a large question and fairly subjective in
        > nature.

        Hi Doug.

        In The Art of Agile Development James Shore and Shane Warden talk
        about Slack, and how they implement it as part of XP to provide (imho)
        Hover, as you define it. A very brief summary is that they set aside
        half the penultimate day of every iteration (assuming one week
        iterations, iirc) for non-work work.

        As for Space and Time - well I see these as part of Energised Work,
        one of the XP practices (again, iirc). Doing things like, say,
        working 48 minutes out of every hour (see this page for a reason why: http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress/2006/09/the-power-of-48-minutes/)
        , making sure the team room has alcoves too, and spikes where both
        members of a pair go away and implement an idea in two different ways,
        recovening to compare their solutions.

        Just a few ideas, I hope they help.
        Cheers,
        Simon

        [|]



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Matt
        Doug, ... When we designed our new office, we designed a room that we call The Cave . It sits just off the development lab and we can go in there to get
        Message 3 of 15 , Sep 6, 2008
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          Doug,

          --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Doug Stewart <ironmug@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > XP best practices, in all their glory, exhaust me. I love the business
          > value that is achieved and specifically the courage gained in applying
          > change at any point in time. The stories are mostly turned out in short
          > order, value is delivered to customers almost immediately (relatively
          > speaking). These are great things, but not everything is so great.
          >
          > Space - personal space to think about and explore potentials

          When we designed our new office, we designed a room that we call "The
          Cave". It sits just off the development lab and we can go in there to
          "get away" if we need / want to.

          > Time - time to breath, to remove oneself from the flow of work (bustle)

          When we are pairing quite often one of us will just get up and go to
          the kitchen to get a Coke, make a phone call or just step outside for
          a breath of fresh air. Usually this coincides with some mundane task
          where the driver is on auto-pilot anyway.

          > Hover - time to coach, teach, learn; basically, not do any work work
          >

          We get most or all of one day a week for "research day". We work on
          projects that aren't "in the pipeline". Usually they are projects
          that we can learn new technologies on or maybe are an internal tool
          that we wish we had time to write. It's pretty much up to us how we
          spend our time but enough "good" comes out of it that the boss is
          pretty happy with it.

          > At the end of the week, I've found myself wishing for these things in
          > some small order, enough to catch my breath and realize my singular
          > humanity.
          >
          > My question is, at your shop or in an "ideal shop" how are these items:
          > 1) viewed - perspective, (e.g. is it ethical not to work sometimes)

          In my opinion "not working sometimes" can lead to "getting more work
          done" in the long run. The boss isn't paying me to work, he is paying
          me to get things done. If taking a 15 minute breather helps me get
          more done at the end of the day... why would that be unethical?


          Matt
        • Doug Stewart
          ... This looks like a very good read. 1/2 day of Slack would be a very welcome opportunity. ... Nice, I probably take more breaks than anyone on my team and
          Message 4 of 15 , Sep 7, 2008
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            Simon Kirk wrote:
            >
            >
            > On 6 Sep 2008, at 22:48, Doug Stewart wrote:
            >
            > > XP best practices, in all their glory, exhaust me. I love the business
            > > value that is achieved and specifically the courage gained in applying
            > > change at any point in time. The stories are mostly turned out in
            > > short
            > > order, value is delivered to customers almost immediately (relatively
            > > speaking). These are great things, but not everything is so great.
            > >
            > > Space - personal space to think about and explore potentials
            > > Time - time to breath, to remove oneself from the flow of work
            > > (bustle)
            > > Hover - time to coach, teach, learn; basically, not do any work work
            > >
            > > At the end of the week, I've found myself wishing for these things in
            > > some small order, enough to catch my breath and realize my singular
            > > humanity.
            > >
            > > My question is, at your shop or in an "ideal shop" how are these
            > > items:
            > > 1) viewed - perspective, (e.g. is it ethical not to work sometimes)
            > > 2) handled - solutions, rules, practices
            > >
            > > I wonder how velocity is affected when space, time, hover is banished.
            > > And, when they are encouraged and built-in.
            > >
            > > Sorry, this is kind of a large question and fairly subjective in
            > > nature.
            >
            > Hi Doug.
            >
            > In The Art of Agile Development James Shore and Shane Warden talk
            > about Slack, and how they implement it as part of XP to provide (imho)
            > Hover, as you define it. A very brief summary is that they set aside
            > half the penultimate day of every iteration (assuming one week
            > iterations, iirc) for non-work work.

            This looks like a very good read. 1/2 day of Slack would be a very
            welcome opportunity.

            > As for Space and Time - well I see these as part of Energised Work,
            > one of the XP practices (again, iirc). Doing things like, say,
            > working 48 minutes out of every hour (see this page for a reason why:
            > http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress/2006/09/the-power-of-48-minutes/
            > <http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress/2006/09/the-power-of-48-minutes/>)
            > , making sure the team room has alcoves too, and spikes where both
            > members of a pair go away and implement an idea in two different ways,
            > recovening to compare their solutions.

            Nice, I probably take more breaks than anyone on my team and oddly
            enough, it usually comes after just over an hour of focus. I really like
            the 48-minute rule. I can see this practice keeping me fresh throughout
            the day.

            > Just a few ideas, I hope they help.
            > Cheers,
            > Simon

            Thank you for the input Simon.

            Doug Stewart
          • Doug Stewart
            ... Excellent idea unless of course everyone goes to the cave at the same time :) ... This is common in my experience. ... I love this practice. I can see
            Message 5 of 15 , Sep 7, 2008
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              Matt wrote:
              >
              >
              > Doug,
              >
              > >
              > > XP best practices, in all their glory, exhaust me. I love the business
              > > value that is achieved and specifically the courage gained in applying
              > > change at any point in time. The stories are mostly turned out in short
              > > order, value is delivered to customers almost immediately (relatively
              > > speaking). These are great things, but not everything is so great.
              > >
              > > Space - personal space to think about and explore potentials
              >
              > When we designed our new office, we designed a room that we call "The
              > Cave". It sits just off the development lab and we can go in there to
              > "get away" if we need / want to.

              Excellent idea unless of course everyone goes to the cave at the same
              time :)

              > > Time - time to breath, to remove oneself from the flow of work (bustle)
              >
              > When we are pairing quite often one of us will just get up and go to
              > the kitchen to get a Coke, make a phone call or just step outside for
              > a breath of fresh air. Usually this coincides with some mundane task
              > where the driver is on auto-pilot anyway.

              This is common in my experience.

              > > Hover - time to coach, teach, learn; basically, not do any work work
              > >
              >
              > We get most or all of one day a week for "research day". We work on
              > projects that aren't "in the pipeline". Usually they are projects
              > that we can learn new technologies on or maybe are an internal tool
              > that we wish we had time to write. It's pretty much up to us how we
              > spend our time but enough "good" comes out of it that the boss is
              > pretty happy with it.

              I love this practice. I can see great value coming from it on a number
              of fronts.

              > > At the end of the week, I've found myself wishing for these things in
              > > some small order, enough to catch my breath and realize my singular
              > > humanity.
              > >
              > > My question is, at your shop or in an "ideal shop" how are these items:
              > > 1) viewed - perspective, (e.g. is it ethical not to work sometimes)
              >
              > In my opinion "not working sometimes" can lead to "getting more work
              > done" in the long run. The boss isn't paying me to work, he is paying
              > me to get things done. If taking a 15 minute breather helps me get
              > more done at the end of the day... why would that be unethical?

              I agree. I don't see it as unethical, but I wondered if maybe there are
              those who do and wanted to understand that point of view.

              > Matt

              Thanks a bunch Matt, very helpful.
            • Arnaud Bailly
              Hi, ... I do not _think_ it is unethical not to work when you are in your office, but I sometimes _feel_ it is. The difference lies in some form of social
              Message 6 of 15 , Sep 8, 2008
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                Hi,
                Doug Stewart <ironmug@...> writes:

                >>
                >> In my opinion "not working sometimes" can lead to "getting more work
                >> done" in the long run. The boss isn't paying me to work, he is paying
                >> me to get things done. If taking a 15 minute breather helps me get
                >> more done at the end of the day... why would that be unethical?
                >
                > I agree. I don't see it as unethical, but I wondered if maybe there are
                > those who do and wanted to understand that point of view.
                >

                I do not _think_ it is "unethical" not to work when you are in your
                office, but I sometimes _feel_ it is. The difference lies in some form
                of social pressure that is exerted on me (or anybody, for that
                matter), that slips in your mind and make you feel bad when:
                - you take a little nap after lunch
                - it's 11am and you want to stop working and go out get fresh air and
                yet you are short on your deadline and you continue plowing your
                field like an ox
                - it's 6pm (or 5 or 7 YMMV according to your culture) and you want to
                go home because your kids and your wife/mary need you and everybody
                else in the office will be there for one or 2 hours more

                And yet, I know I work and provide value to the people I work for. And
                nobody ever told me anything for indulging (sic!) in any of these.

                My 50 cts,
                --
                Arnaud Bailly, PhD
                OQube - Software Engineering
                http://www.oqube.com
              • Tim Ottinger
                ... I purchased some egg timers to do this, and they were noisy. When I m alone, it s okay because it s a constant reminder that time is passing, no matter
                Message 7 of 15 , Sep 8, 2008
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                  Simon Says:

                  > Doing things like, say,
                  > working 48 minutes out of every hour (see this page for a reason why:
                  > http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress/2006/09/the-power-of-48-minutes/)

                  I purchased some egg timers to do this, and they were noisy. When I'm alone,
                  it's okay because it's a constant reminder that time is passing, no matter how
                  I use it.

                  But for us two-screen guys, I think that the online stopwatch is a pretty good tool:
                  http://www.online-stopwatch.com/full-screen-stopwatch

                  Tim
                • Ron Jeffries
                  Hello, Doug. As others have suggested, the Sustainable Pace practice addresses your concerns rather directly. Some people take time on their own to be in a
                  Message 8 of 15 , Sep 8, 2008
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                    Hello, Doug.

                    As others have suggested, the Sustainable Pace practice addresses
                    your concerns rather directly. Some people take time on their own to
                    be in a private physical or mental space, or to learn.

                    On the last, learning on the job, I have mixed feelings. I do
                    believe that we have an opportunity and responsibility to learn on
                    //our own// time, not just the company's time. After all, we are the
                    one who benefits.

                    That said, I expect that I'd take time to learn work-related things
                    on the job, and be disinclined to learn stuff that wasn't job
                    related on company time.

                    Regards,

                    R

                    On Saturday, September 6, 2008, at 5:48:18 PM, you
                    wrote:

                    > XP best practices, in all their glory, exhaust me. I love the business
                    > value that is achieved and specifically the courage gained in applying
                    > change at any point in time. The stories are mostly turned out in short
                    > order, value is delivered to customers almost immediately (relatively
                    > speaking). These are great things, but not everything is so great.

                    > Space - personal space to think about and explore potentials
                    > Time - time to breath, to remove oneself from the flow of work (bustle)
                    > Hover - time to coach, teach, learn; basically, not do any work work

                    > At the end of the week, I've found myself wishing for these things in
                    > some small order, enough to catch my breath and realize my singular
                    > humanity.

                    > My question is, at your shop or in an "ideal shop" how are these items:
                    > 1) viewed - perspective, (e.g. is it ethical not to work sometimes)
                    > 2) handled - solutions, rules, practices

                    > I wonder how velocity is affected when space, time, hover is banished.
                    > And, when they are encouraged and built-in.

                    > Sorry, this is kind of a large question and fairly subjective in nature.



                    Ron Jeffries
                    www.XProgramming.com
                    I try to Zen through it and keep my voice very mellow and low.
                    Inside I am screaming and have a machine gun.
                    Yin and Yang I figure.
                    -- Tom Jeffries
                  • Ken Boucher
                    ... I don t know this to be true because I don t think everyone has the same sustainable pace. I know that there were people with pagers that went off more
                    Message 9 of 15 , Sep 8, 2008
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                      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries
                      <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

                      > As others have suggested, the Sustainable Pace practice addresses
                      > your concerns rather directly. Some people take time on their own to
                      > be in a private physical or mental space, or to learn.

                      I don't know this to be true because I don't think everyone has the
                      same sustainable pace.

                      I know that there were people with pagers that went off more than mine
                      every night, and yet this didn't bother them. On the other hand it
                      exhausted me, stressed out my wife (who was woken up by it) and the
                      marriage stress that came as a result of that had a large impact on my
                      ability to work.

                      I couldn't sustain the pace others could.

                      On the other hand, I was sustaining a pace that had caused other
                      people to leave the team and I was at least taking a pager home (which
                      is more than I can say for some others in the room).

                      I spent the better part of a year recovering from what I realized was
                      an unsustainable pace for me and seeing how people were treated who
                      had what appeared to be an even slower pace, regardless of their
                      actual contributions.

                      Of all the practices, it's the one I understand the least in practice
                      nowadays because I see it as a goal, not an actual practice. I realize
                      that we benefit from finding that pace, but I don't see a way there
                      anymore.
                    • Ron Jeffries
                      Hello, Ken. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 2:23:31 PM, you ... Odd. So you don t notice when you are tired, or cranky, or stupid? Well, more so than usual.
                      Message 10 of 15 , Sep 8, 2008
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                        Hello, Ken. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 2:23:31 PM, you
                        wrote:

                        > Of all the practices, it's the one I understand the least in practice
                        > nowadays because I see it as a goal, not an actual practice. I realize
                        > that we benefit from finding that pace, but I don't see a way there
                        > anymore.

                        Odd. So you don't notice when you are tired, or cranky, or stupid?
                        Well, more so than usual. :)

                        Ron Jeffries
                        www.XProgramming.com
                        A lot of preconceptions can be dismissed when you actually
                        try something out. -- Bruce Eckel
                      • Ron Jeffries
                        Hello, Ken. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 2:23:31 PM, you ... They don t. You have to set your own. Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com How do I know what I
                        Message 11 of 15 , Sep 8, 2008
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                          Hello, Ken. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 2:23:31 PM, you
                          wrote:

                          >> As others have suggested, the Sustainable Pace practice addresses
                          >> your concerns rather directly. Some people take time on their own to
                          >> be in a private physical or mental space, or to learn.

                          > I don't know this to be true because I don't think everyone has the
                          > same sustainable pace.

                          They don't. You have to set your own.

                          Ron Jeffries
                          www.XProgramming.com
                          How do I know what I think until I hear what I say? -- E M Forster
                        • Ken Boucher
                          ... My problem is that when I m tired, cranky, and stupid, I make dumb decisions (like working myself to death) or smart decisions (like realizing I ve gone
                          Message 12 of 15 , Sep 8, 2008
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                            >> Of all the practices, it's the one I understand the least in
                            >> practice nowadays because I see it as a goal, not an actual
                            >> practice. I realize that we benefit from finding that pace, but I
                            >> don't see a way there anymore.
                            >
                            > Odd. So you don't notice when you are tired, or cranky, or stupid?
                            > Well, more so than usual. :)

                            My problem is that when I'm tired, cranky, and stupid, I make dumb
                            decisions (like working myself to death) or smart decisions (like
                            realizing I've gone too far) but explaining those decisions in very
                            unproductive ways (because I'm tired, cranky, and stupid).

                            And if I'm explaining these decisions in a unproductive way to someone
                            who is also tired and possibly etc. etc. well, it all goes downhill
                            from there.
                          • Ron Jeffries
                            Hello, Ken. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 2:57:37 PM, you ... Well, OK. If you can t tell the difference between when you re functioning and when you are
                            Message 13 of 15 , Sep 8, 2008
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                              Hello, Ken. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 2:57:37 PM, you
                              wrote:

                              > My problem is that when I'm tired, cranky, and stupid, I make dumb
                              > decisions (like working myself to death) or smart decisions (like
                              > realizing I've gone too far) but explaining those decisions in very
                              > unproductive ways (because I'm tired, cranky, and stupid).

                              > And if I'm explaining these decisions in a unproductive way to someone
                              > who is also tired and possibly etc. etc. well, it all goes downhill
                              > from there.

                              Well, OK. If you can't tell the difference between when you're
                              functioning and when you are not, and in the cases when you can
                              manage to tell, you still can't deal with the situation effectively,
                              I really don't know how to help.

                              Ron Jeffries
                              www.XProgramming.com
                              To Fly, Flip Away Backhanded -- Master Frisbee
                            • Dale Emery
                              Hi Ken, My problem is that when I m tired, cranky, and stupid, I make dumb decisions ... I notice that when I start to get tired, the first thing that goes is
                              Message 14 of 15 , Sep 8, 2008
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                                Hi Ken,

                                My problem is that when I'm tired, cranky, and stupid, I make dumb decisions
                                > (like working myself to death) or smart decisions (like realizing I've gone
                                > too far) but explaining those decisions in very unproductive ways (because
                                > I'm tired, cranky, and stupid).


                                I notice that when I start to get tired, the first thing that goes is my
                                judgment (including my judgment about whether I'm tired, and my judgment
                                about what to do about being tired).

                                One possibility is to set up a kind of "vulnerability contract" among team
                                members:

                                1. Invite team members to watch for signs that you've become tired, cranky,
                                or stupid.

                                2. Suggest specific ways to intervene, ways that you believe you are likely
                                to be able to hear and heed -- e.g. call a break; say, "You seem tired";
                                turn off your computer; tell you to go home; hand you a pillow; caffeine IV
                                drip.

                                3. Give explicit permission to intervene in those ways when they see those
                                signs.

                                By setting up this kind of "vulnerability contract" ahead of time, there's a
                                better chance that when a team member intervenes as you suggested, you'll
                                hear it in the spirit in which it was intended. No guarantees, of course
                                (given that you'll be tired, cranky, or stupid at the time), but agreeing
                                ahead of time gives you a chance.

                                Dale

                                --
                                Dale Emery, Consultant
                                Inspiring Leadership for Software People
                                Web: http://dhemery.com
                                Weblog: http://cwd.dhemery.com


                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Doug Stewart
                                Hi Ken, I experienced much of the same (strange as we worked at the same place ;) ). I have found that after fully healing, I now recognize the pain instantly.
                                Message 15 of 15 , Sep 8, 2008
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                                  Hi Ken,

                                  I experienced much of the same (strange as we worked at the same place
                                  ;) ). I have found that after fully healing, I now recognize the pain
                                  instantly. It is helping me to make adjustments in time to make a
                                  difference. I hope you have gained some of the same alarms.

                                  Everyone,

                                  Thanks so much for your feedback, ideas, and input. I love the timer
                                  idea. Now armed with these approaches, I just have to convince my work
                                  to move from "Agile/Single seat/No tests" to XP/pair/tdd - a tall task
                                  indeed O_o.

                                  On a good note, they are noticing a lack of defects from breaking up my
                                  stories into small/testable tasks, tdd'ing, and pairing so perhaps there
                                  is hope. Velocity is beginning to show also, but it's a legacy system so
                                  the progress is slow. Teammates are taking notice.

                                  Thanks,

                                  Doug Stewart

                                  Ken Boucher wrote:
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                                  > <mailto:extremeprogramming%40yahoogroups.com>, Ron Jeffries
                                  > <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > > As others have suggested, the Sustainable Pace practice addresses
                                  > > your concerns rather directly. Some people take time on their own to
                                  > > be in a private physical or mental space, or to learn.
                                  >
                                  > I don't know this to be true because I don't think everyone has the
                                  > same sustainable pace.
                                  >
                                  > I know that there were people with pagers that went off more than mine
                                  > every night, and yet this didn't bother them. On the other hand it
                                  > exhausted me, stressed out my wife (who was woken up by it) and the
                                  > marriage stress that came as a result of that had a large impact on my
                                  > ability to work.
                                  >
                                  > I couldn't sustain the pace others could.
                                  >
                                  > On the other hand, I was sustaining a pace that had caused other
                                  > people to leave the team and I was at least taking a pager home (which
                                  > is more than I can say for some others in the room).
                                  >
                                  > I spent the better part of a year recovering from what I realized was
                                  > an unsustainable pace for me and seeing how people were treated who
                                  > had what appeared to be an even slower pace, regardless of their
                                  > actual contributions.
                                  >
                                  > Of all the practices, it's the one I understand the least in practice
                                  > nowadays because I see it as a goal, not an actual practice. I realize
                                  > that we benefit from finding that pace, but I don't see a way there
                                  > anymore.
                                  >
                                  >
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