December 2011 Blog Posts
Chicago Alt.Net November 2011 Kanban Presentation Video and Presentation Deck Available

You can get/see them here.

I’m pretty self-critical, and so in my head, I graded it out as 3.5 out of 10.  Having watched the video, I’ll bump it up to a solid 4.  I deduct .5 points simply because I had it lined up to show how Kanban shows that the Software Craftsmanship manifesto/movement is garbage (note: this is not an officially supported position by anyone else practicing Kanban, just me being me), and then *completely* forgot to put in the punch line.  Doh!

For some reason, the voice doesn’t sound like me.  It is usually high-pitched and squeaky.  Kidding.  The tone just sounds strangely off to me (and I mean that literally.  The diction and smart-ass-ness is all there, but it just sounds different.  Whatever.)

Hopefully, someone will get some benefit from either/both.

posted @ Monday, December 19, 2011 10:32 PM | Feedback (0)
Do Developers understand budgets?

Had an interesting conversation with a good PM recently (yes, there are such things as good PMs).

There was a project that revolved around upgrading an application from a much earlier version of the .NET framework to a more current one.  Even after the upgrade, the overall workflow process includes a number of manual steps in error scenarios that are sub-optimal.  A developer on a different team suggested that it was a mistake to allow such manual steps.  Surely, proper usage of the capabilities of the .NET framework could eliminate these manual steps.

From the outside, this suggestion seems correct.  However, what the developer in question didn’t know or recognize is that the scope of the upgrade did not include eliminating these manual steps, and so wasn’t budgeted for (rightly or wrongly).

When discussing this with the PM, I pointed out that the developer wasn’t considering things like budget or scope.  The PM suggested that this was the norm.  Even good developers don’t consider these things.

Though I get his point, this took me a bit by surprise.  Almost all of the best developers I’ve ever worked with do consider these things, yet he was insistent that in his experience, this isn’t the case.

It seems to me that any developer that wants to consider themselves to be a good developer needs to take these into account.  Although this is especially true when dealing with more traditional corporate environments, it also should be true in start-up situations.  All development efforts are constrained by time, quality and cost.

posted @ Sunday, December 11, 2011 8:55 PM | Feedback (2)
Jesus does not influence the outcome of NFL games

After watching yet another miraculous Tim Tebow led comeback, I began to reconsider my stance that Jesus was not interested in the outcome of NFL games.

There are two particular aspects about the Tebow phenomenon that I particularly enjoy.

One is the obvious religious aspect. Although it isn’t the only factor, by far one of the largest aspects that drives the Tebow-haters, and drives them nuts, is the fact that Tebow is openly Christian, and unapologetic about it. These same people generally wouldn’t mind thuggish behavior in their athletes, or manslaughter convictions, or what have you, but an occasional mention of Jesus and it makes them go batshit. I love it.

<digression>“He’s shoving it in our faces!” You mean like the way Muslim athletes ‘shove their religion’ in our faces when they change their names after converting? If you object to Tebow, you’d better object to Ali. And why should anyone care about people who are offended by displays of religious belief anyway?</digression>

<another digression>I was at the Bengals-Steelers game last week and was reminded while watching that Troy Polamalu crosses himself after every play. Given his tendency to suffer from concussive-like symptoms, I wonder if the training staff focuses on that? “Troy’s stopped crossing himself again, yank him!”</another digression>

<yet another digression>I forget the comic who I first heard this from, but as the antithesis of Tebow’s thanking Jesus, Marion Barber should have told reporters after the game “It’s not my fault. Jesus made me fumble.”</yet another digression>

But the other aspect that I love is that his success is a giant “fuck you” to everyone at ESPN (and everywhere else) who decided that there was no way he could succeed, and often suggested he shouldn’t even be in the league, except maybe as a converted tight-end. For instance, the fact that Trent Dilfer is the worst Super Bowl winning QB this side of Jeff Hostetler doesn’t actually necessarily make him all that knowledgeable about everything to do with the game, and that goes with the rest of the “ditto-heads” at that monopoly suck-fest of a network.

<digression>Using another sport, how many of them predicted that the NBA lockout would not end this season or at best in January, after the union decertified? I think it was everyone.</digression>

I still think he won’t have a long-term career, because at some point on one of his ridiculous scampers from the pocket, he’s going to get drilled in the knees or something. Enjoy it while it lasts.

However, it is clear that Jesus did not influence the outcome of the game, because the Broncos didn’t cover. If Jesus was involved, they would have covered.

posted @ Sunday, December 11, 2011 7:45 PM | Feedback (2)
Development Train Wreck Days: Mama said there would be days like this

So, it got to the point, I believe after error #7, that I started calling out the numbers for each subsequent error.  By the end of the day, I reached 21.

Developers talk about “being in the zone” on those days when everything comes together, and you feel ‘hyper-productive’, often accomplishing more in code in a day than you normally would in a week.

Train wreck days are like “being in the anti-zone.”  And I’m not talking about days when you just don’t get a lot of code written, for whatever reason (too many meetings, confusion about requirements, etc.).   Depending on your environment, that could (unfortunately) be BAU.

I’m talking about days like this when everything you do goes wrong.  You fix one problem, but do so in a way that causes 3 other problems.

One of my “glass half full” co-workers pointed out “Well, at least you caught all 21 errors at the time.”

Just suck it up, and hope the next day is better.

posted @ Thursday, December 08, 2011 7:54 PM | Feedback (0)
Wilco – One Wing (Live)

Wilco is a Chicago band, so I suppose I should like them more than most for that fact.

I don’t, but they continue to provide amazing songs, so what the hell.  Enjoy.

We may as well be made of stone
We can’t be flown
One wing will never fly
Neither yours nor mine, I fear
We can only wave goodbye


posted @ Friday, December 02, 2011 9:30 PM | Feedback (0)