Paul's Final Iteration

by October 11, 2009 12:16 PM

I was poking around in my data the other day doing a bit of housekeeping and ran across the recoding of Paul Clements' final presentation to devloop before leaving the company. I hated to see it hidden away on my HDD so I decided to chop it up and post it for all to enjoy!

Wise words from a wise man: Paul's Final Iteration


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by October 11, 2009 12:08 PM

For those that haven't heard or don't remember, DEVLOOP stands for Developing Excellence Via Leveraging Object Oriented Principles. It's basically an internal user group started by Paul Clements and myself back around late 2006 or early '07 (I believe Jay Smith was heavily involved early on too). The acronym was coined by Paul himself if memory serves. Since we're OOP and pattern zealots, the name fit perfect!

For me personally, devloop has been invaluable in my career and I can't think of a single thing that has done more for me.

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Wiki To The Rescue

by November 20, 2008 03:09 PM

It's review time at work and I was caught slacking. I realized far too late that I had forgotten one of my goals and that I've not been keeping up with those little nuggets that exemplify how I have been a good little programmer. I was forced to say sorry about the goal and I'm having to drum through extremely horrible memory of a year gone by. My main goal for the next review period is to not suck so back come the next review!

A few years ago I had this strategy of keeping an Outlook post in a special folder where I kept this kind of information. I would just open this post and edit it all year long so I would be uber prepared when the reviews rolled around. Worked quite well I suppose (it's much better than nothing!), but it had one problem - it wasn't in my face constantly reminding me to think about it. As the wife would attest, I have a hard time thinking about anything other than whatever I'm currently obsessing over. Thus it wouldn't ever be as complete as it could be.

So the wheels start turning and I realize the one place that will always be in my face - my browser home page! Like all good employees, I'm pretty sure my browser gets more action than any other program on my computer. So now the only question is what my home page should point to...

My first thought is some kind of CMS. So I open up the browser (or open a new tab - it's already open of course) and start googling for inspiration. Somehow or another I find my way to Stackoverflow and specifically this question. Yes! A wiki is exactly what I need! Well, need might be a bit strong, but I think it'd work excellent and be cool at the same time.

Well, to cut a long story short, I did look into many of the choices, but ultimately settled on screwturn wiki. There were three things that bumped it to the top. First, I did like the interface and ease of use which is ultimately the most important thing. Second was that it was super easy to setup and deploy. This was probably due to the fact that it is written in .net which was the third thing I liked about it. The only thing I wish it has is a markdown editor instead of the standard wiki markup.

So then, how will this help me not feel like a slacker come next review? I uploaded the wiki engine to another subdomain on my website so I can get to it from both work and home. I then set it as my homepage in both places. On the home page of the wiki is a short list of links I hit a lot followed by a section for keeping track of my yearly review info. So now I get reminded to think about it every time I open my browser. And even better, I can edit it constantly in place.

Of course, time will tell whether or not this turns out to be a good long term solution. Hopefully my next post about the subject will be one of joy and happiness due to its success.

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Why I Would Leave

by August 19, 2008 04:36 PM

Today at work I was talking with a couple of friends about leaving the company and the reasons why we would. In addition to this, I was contacted earlier in the morning by a recruiter and then again later in the afternoon by another. So my mind spent a fair amount of time today pondering the idea of leaving my current employer in search of greener pastures. I think these are some of the things that would push me from dreaming to action.

Learning. This is the big one. I’m currently a Lead Programmer Analyst – this is the top of the tree for our programmers. Usually titles at my company are merely the result of time in service or luck rather than a declaration of skill. However, many of my peers believe that I’m not only at the top of the title pool, but that I’m one of the top talents as well. This sounds great and comfortable and all, but I don’t quite buy it. I feel like I have so much to learn and so much growing to do as a developer. I would love it if I were given the opportunity to join a team where instead of being the mentor, I had mentors that could teach me great OOP, TDD, DDD, Agile, etc. I read tons of blogs and try to pull in a good tech book as often as time allows, but I’m only making so much progress learning these things on my own. I would leave in a heartbeat to work with a team where these things are valued or even mandated by all.

Community. I love the local .net user group. We also have an internal user group called DEVLOOP (Developing Excellence Via Leveraging Object Oriented Principles) that I co-started a couple of years ago. Both of these make for great mingling with others who seem to truly enjoy what they do for a living. In general though, I feel like I’m surrounded by people who merely have a job that happens to be in IS. You know, people who you go to lunch with and the last thing in the world they want to talk about is work. How cool would it be to be surrounded by people who shared your passion?!

Freedom of Time/Dress/Location. Maybe I shouldn’t have read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, but it’s too late now and I can’t stop thinking about it! The 8-5 40 hours a week in dress casual mantra sucks. Even if I couldn’t trim my work week down to only four hours, a little license would be nice. I’ve pushed for the 9/80 work week* several times with my current employer, and it is always shut down. And that’s not even cutting down on the total work time! So anything that would allow me to dress as I please, work an alternate schedule, and maybe even work from home would completely rock. As long as I could still pay the bills, I would also take a significant pay cut for something that allowed me to take more frequent and longer vacations. You know, kind of like part time except that you work in full time spurts rather than only a few hours every day all year long. I almost counted this one as “the big one”!

Appreciation. It would be very cool to work for a company where the developers were considered assets rather than merely expenses that are necessary evils required to get the job done in today’s environment. It would also be cool to work in an environment where developers were enabled in their job rather than mired in the bureaucracy that so many companies use to police their people. Trusting the experts to be great at what they do and appreciating them for it – now that would rock.

Now there are many specific things that I could cite about where I work that one might count as reasons for leaving, but I don’t give them much weight in the grand scheme of things. It seems to me that no matter where you work, there will be things you don’t like, people you don’t like, or company practices and policies that you just think could be so much better. These things simply don’t matter in the end. I say chase the things that make me happy and ignore the rest. If I run from the things that make me unhappy, I’ll be running forever and will never be truly happy. Unless it’s simply the running that you enjoy :)

* 9/80 work week: allows the worker to accumulate 80 hours over a two week period in only 9 days instead of the standard 10 giving the worker a three day weekend every other week.

Happy coding!