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Captain’s Blog

Please allow me to introduce mysel–… my personal user manual

This guide describes how I work. Useful for stalkers and future co-workers (current ones get access to a more complete version).

A stick figure wearing a traffic cone emerges from a red circle
Hats off to all of you!

Hi there! This is my personal user manual, in which I briefly introduce myself and describe how I (like to) work.

My full name is Chun Fei Lung. “Chun Fei” is my given name, “Lung” family name. The best way to pronounce it is 龍振飛 (“Lung Chun Fei”) in Cantonese, but most people simply call me .

As you might have guessed from the name, my roots are Chinese. Most of my family comes from the Far East (Hong Kong and Malaysia), but I was born and raised in the “Near East”, in the Dutch city of Nijmegen. Culturally I’m neither Dutch or Chinese – I probably have more in common with expats who have lived here in the Netherlands for a very long time.

How I (prefer to) work

I thrive in corporate environments, but at the same time I always try to create an informal workplace where people not only get along with each other, but actually like to work and can have a laugh. Different teams and departments don’t have to be siloed from each other. Documentation doesn’t necessarily have to be boring, and neither do unit tests and presentations (incident reports and bids for public contracts on the other hand absolutely have to be boring!).

I strongly prefer doing things asynchronously: I’m pretty bad at pair programming, drawing on whiteboards and phone calls, but I’m pretty good at writing things and giving carefully crafted presentations.

Unlike many other developers I have no need to “get into the zone”. Instead, I’m always on the lookout for economies of scale, which is why I prefer to work on two or three things at the same time. I find that doing so often results in synergy effects that lead to better solutions. In some situations multi-tasking simply saves me time, e.g. when I pick up a new task while I’m waiting for my test suite to complete.

When it comes to work I’m fairly conservative and high on uncertainty avoidance. This means (among other things) that I prefer proven tools and technologies over things that are new and shiny. I also try to preserve knowledge in the form of documentation, automated tests, and formalised team processes. I’m fine with “risky” changes however, partially as a result of all the things I do to mitigate risks.

About my office hours…

Unless the office building is a depressing hellhole or , you’ll probably find me at the office a lot. Especially if that office comes with (good) food and is easily accessible via public transportation. I usually come in and leave fairly late so that I can avoid rush hour and spend my commute time productively.

My virtual office hours are equally unconventional: if I’m awake, I’m available. I generally won’t join meetings on my days off, but I do read emails, private messages, and Slack conversations. I might even review pull requests, fix bugs, or update documentation when I’m bored!

As a colleague you may message me whenever you like. I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible. Feel free to call me if you’re on call and need a helping hand – even if it’s in the middle of the night.

Note that this is how I prefer to work. I do not expect others to be available outside of normal office hours and will always delay sending messages to others until the next business day unless things are on fire (or you’re also clearly a no-lifer).

Tell me how I’m doing!

Sometimes I make mistakes or do something really stupid. Unfortunately I’m not always aware of those mistakes, so please tell me when and how I could have .

The best way to do this is directly afterwards, e.g. after a meeting. Later is fine too, as long as you don’t wait until the end of the year – by then I will probably have no idea what you’re talking about.

Feel free to provide your feedback in a face-to-face conversation or in a private message. There’s no need to dance around things, be direct! You can – but don’t have to – structure your feedback as follows:

  • C: What is the context of the feedback you are about to give?
  • O: What behaviours did you observe that you’d like me to change?
  • I: Explain the impact that this behaviour had on the outcome.
  • N: What should be the next steps, i.e. what would you like me to do in the future?

Known issues

Sometimes I have a resting PTSD face for absolutely no reason, other than (maybe) social anxiety. There’s no need to ask me how I’m doing or if I’m feeling alright – the answer is always the same.

As a workaholic I rarely take days off, and when I do it’s usually so I can focus on other work. I also don’t celebrate western or Chinese holidays, with the exception of New Year’s Eve (which is technically not a holiday). I do have the tendency to disappear for weeks on end every few years for some family visits in faraway places.

Like many other Asians I suffer from lactose intolerance. Unfortunately the Dutch like to put dairy products in everything, so if I abruptly put on a poker face and/or leave during a meeting it probably has something to do with what I had for lunch.

If that wasn’t enough, I also have hay fever. For me, this means that I may have an itchy or runny nose every year from April until September. There’s often one week in June in which I sneeze so often that the wisest thing for me to do would be to stay in bed. But alas, I can’t stay away from my computer that long.