optimism

Recently my company prepared new visiting cards for us, nothing special you could say, but we were asked what do we want to put on them 🙂

There are obvious things like first name and last name, a company e-mail address or web site. We could also add our Twitter and GitHub accounts – as we try hard to save the World giving all we can to OSS 😉

These were the obvious things, but the funny part was that we were able to choose the position name – you know, all that high pumped words 😛 We spent a lot of time trying to find what would be the best (for us and for each of us), like “software developer”, “java passionate”, etc. At some point, we decided to use “software engineer” term as is (apparently) a better sentence than “developer” ?!?

Never mind, with reduced set we started adding some prefixes like “senior” or “java” or … many others. At the end I have selected this one below, what do you think ?

 

And as usual some positively inspiring talk from TED:

hiring

Our company is growing, when I had joined the company, there were working 6-7 people, right now after over a year there are 17 people working on many different projects and clients across the world. I didn’t expect how all this will go, what future will bring. I just made a move to change something. And it was worth to do that move 🙂

At some point we realised that to hire a new person, a team mate, we need a process. Not a strict, multilevel strategy like for example Google has, but something that allows us to improve who we hired, to minimise waste – waste of time when you make a review with improper person, when you ask question which doesn’t give you an answer you’re looking for. And so on.

Simple, straightforward process, easy to be adopted by any other team members as we quite often exchange who will do the review. There is one important rule here – we’re always making a review in two – to have a better overview and different points of view on the same questions and answers.

So we finished with a process where the first step is to send a CV to cv@softwaremill.pl, where it’ll be reviewed roughly and if accepted you will get an invitation for a review – over Skype of course 😉

The second step is the review – we have a list of questions we’re using during the review process. The range is from informal questions, like what you like to read, what kind of hobby do you have, and so on, over strict technical questions up to agile related questions. As we’re inspiring to be the most agile company in the world, so our team of experts must be aware of Agile in all kind 😉

When we ask questions we are looking for honest answers, if you don’t know the answer, just tell us. We don’t expect that everybody will know everything about anything 😉 The review should give us answer to one important question: do I want to work with him on a project ? That’s it, no hidden tricky questions, just simple, honest conversation. You can ask questions as well, we answer them the best we can.

The last step is a project with simple requirements, you’re free to choose a technology stack. What you must to do is to present your technical skills, even if you are applying to be a Team Leader – you must write a code! Just show us what you can do, what a brilliant fancy code you can write. We’ll review your code and you’ll get the answers – you can disagree but … 😉

At the end, even if you were hired by us, there is a golden rule of our CEO: “At the end it doesn’t matter who you hired, but to be able to fire him” 😉

To show you some mercy, please watch that very interesting talk from TED: “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” before you decide to send your CV to us 🙂

a new layout

I’m a Mac user, as you probably know, but I was using Mac in a wrong way – is it possible anyway? 😉 The most frustrating thing when you start using Mac is CMD+W shortcut or CMD+Q is even worst because Q is next to W 😛

Anyway, in my beloved IDE, IntelliJ IDEA I was using the old behaviour to close windows – CTRL+F4 (as I recall). It was again frustrating and slow. Such a key combination isn’t optimal to use, to hit those keys you must move the whole arm. Try and you will see and figure out that you’re doing that few hundred times a day – what a waste 😛

… but there is a solution for that, not for everybody but for those who use at least IntelliJ IDEA 10.5. With that version a new keyboard layout aka keymap was introduced specially for a Mac users. It’s called Mac OS X 10.5. On the beginning is weird, you must very often use keymap reference (printed out and lying down next to keyboard).

It could take few weeks or months to get used it, but after that you become a real Mac user in case of using  your IDE 😉 You will gain a lot of fun and pleasure to use common Mac shortcuts in IntelliJ IDEA and you’ll never want to go back to the old time consuming shortcuts. Give it a try!

As usual at the end some TEDs. For a long, long time there were no interesting talks from TED – as for me of course, but today with a new newsletter I’ve got two very inspiring videos, I encourage you to spend around 20 minutes to watch them.

Questions no one knows the answers to

Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career

what I learnt

Do you remember my posts about the fourth question and fast thursday ?

Here is another constant behaviour for another day – friday with constant question: what you learnt (during this week).

Your answer can be related to your job or to hobby or to whatever you want. Give just one small example of what you learnt, it can be something small and funny or huge and very important 😉 It’s up to you, but share your knowledge, make other start wondering what to do next, maybe you’ll inspire others to do something like you. It’s very informative attitude, you’re expressing yourself, showing you aren’t just a nerd 😉

Ok, so what I learnt ? I remember two things:

  1. below 0 degrees it’s hard drive a bike, not because it’s cold, but because a glass from the helmet freezes and you see nothing on the road 😉
  2. at last I understood what’s the difference between @Inject (JSR-330) and CDI (JSR-299), CDI bases on @Inject, but you cannot put equal mark between them

There were probably more, but it isn’t important to say about all of them, just two is enough. Please try, share your knowledge!

And as usual some nice presentation from TED – be smart, play games 😉

shared experience

The 10th annual Devoxx conference is over and I was there, honey & win drank [1] 😉

It was my second time when I’ve participated in the Devoxx conference and it was the second time like almost all of us from SoftwareMill were joining the conference together. What can I say, it was worth to be there, to meet people from around the world and to have fun for all of the three days (in fact, four days 😉 ).

Maybe I wasn’t so happy to see so many Android related talks, but there were few talks that I enjoyed.

First was about how to become an awesome developer by Diabolical Developer aka Martijn Verburg and this talk filled out the gap in my thinking about how to be a great developer and how to follow all those shiny stars like Uncle Bob and others. I cannot say that everything is clear and perfect, but at last I’m not alone with my thoughts – there are other. If you’ll have opportunity to join that talk, I real encourage you to do that.

The second talks was given by Matt Raible about his Play Framework learning experience. It was very funny and educational as well. As always, Matt was very well prepared to give his talk and I real enjoyed it. He inspired me how can I learn Scala. So the plan is to learn Scala with Play Framework.

Another great thing was the OSS dinner with friends from the Apache Struts community – Rene, Rainer and Philipe and few others. Nice to met people you know just from the Internet, to talk face to face and to drink few beers (especially belgian’s beers 😉 ). It was awesome, really enjoyed that moment, hope we can meet next year as well.

Right now, after catching up mails, todos, I’m back at work with few ideas to implement. And in context of the conference and sharing experience I’m recommend you to see that TED’s presentation – share your experience 🙂

a fast thursday

Do you remember the post about the fourth question ? If so, there is a little backward of that. Some people like to talk, they talk a bit too much, especially in a case of the Daily StandUp. You should answer short and on topic, not to talk about what if … just answer the three questions: what I did, what I’m going to do, what blocks me.

The fourth question should be used to bit relax the discipline (it isn’t the Army ;-)) , but overused it can have negative influences. To stop that, we introduced a fast thursday – the day without the fourth question, you must answer the standard three questions. Nothing more.

Some says, if you talk too much, you did nothing 😉 So, don’t talk, answer!

Today I have another interesting presentation from TED, to sum up: “All right, so for some of you, this may be really, really out there.”

fourth question

Many of you know how the Scrum’s Stand Up Meeting is going to be held. There are three questions you must answer:

  • what did you do ?
  • what are going to do ?
  • what is blocking you ?

It’s quite obvious and after some time it’s getting bored also. So to change a schema you can add the fourth question. It was proposed by Pawel – our Scrum Master and I must say, it was a very good idea – think out of the box 😉

What is the fourth question ? It depends … as say consultants 😀 It shouldn’t be related to your tasks, it must be more about surrounding environment. Like for example: what kind of book have you read recently (not related to software development) ? or what was the lats boardgame you have played ? or what did you learn from the last week ? and so forth …

Why the fourth question is so important ? To break rutin, to express a different you, to show up that there is something other than coding 😉 When people are laughing, sharing experience in different areas they’re socialize, they become more a team of friends instead of a team of geeks. We aren’t just geeks, behind we’re humans 🙂

This time no new interesting TED’s presentation, but if you understand polish language you maybe find something interesting in talks from Confitura 2011 conference. Enjoy!

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copy pattern

Recently I’ve joined a new ongoing project. In theory it should have been easily jump into it, but as usual each project is specific. The team developed a custom framework to generate JSF view base on an entity class. The framework after first look is quite simple, but as always the devils is in the details 😉 So, I’ve spent a bit of time to catch up what is real going on. The next thing I had to implement was an option to export entire view to PDF – there was already an example how to do it and I followed it. Just copied the source and started adjusting it to my needs.

That’s the Copy Pattern. It’s used very often when you join a new project, when you learn a new language, when you do something first time. You need a pattern to base on, to follow.

So, it isn’t a bad idea to use the copy pattern, but you cannot stop on that. After first step, after you grasped the problem you must apply another patterns – real software development patterns. Leaving the code as is after using the copy pattern is bad – we’ve seen it a lot in many places. The copy pattern is just a beginning, is the easiest way to get into the project.

And the beauty of this is that you can change the name of the class, extract methods, extract new classes – just before messing with a code repository, before posting too match changes,that no one will know what is really happening;-)

Don’t be afraid to use the copy pattern, but also don’t stop on it!

And as usual at the end a talk from TED, this time about a car for blind people. And about new control interfaces we can face soon 😉 Enjoy!

How to make the Confitura ?

Less than three weeks left to Confitura conference and we still have discussing with new Partners. Many of the local companies are supporting us, it’s so nice to see them with us! But it’s a hard work, lot of mails, phone calls and some paper work at the end. Especially it’s hard for me as a one of the Organizers – I’m ordinary Software Developer and quite often don’t understand what moves business forward 😉

Anyway it can be the largest free of charge conference in Europe (regarding Java, software development, etc). Right now we have over 800 participants (some of them will give up just before the conference – as usual 😉 ), 13 Partners (and we’re discussing with another few), 20 lectors from around Poland – huge event and everything because of passion 🙂

So, if you don’t know what to do on 11th of June, come in and see how it is.

And at the end two presentation from TED – maybe not really, but they’re funny and practical as usual 🙂

Gel: Gotta share!

and How to tie your shoes ?

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