Stories about Software


Reader Question Round-Up: Approaching Execs, Micromanagers, and Scaling without Job Interviews

I’ve fallen off a bit with creating video content.  But don’t worry; I recently remedied that.

We left the Florida Keys, stopped in Raleigh for 10 days or so, and finally landed back in Michigan.  But, upon returning, it wasn’t as simple as setting up the ol’ boom mic and tripod and letting ‘er rip.  We returned to a house in a state of flux.

You see, before leaving for the winter, we’d sold our former primary residence and basically just dumped a lot of that stuff here and in storage.  So it was like returning to a house that was in the middle of a move.

But, fast forward a few weeks and I’m relatively settled.  The office looks office-y, and the aforementioned boom mic and tripod are ready to go.  So I’ll get back on the horse with video content.

This Week’s Round-Up

To start that trend, I tackle another four reader questions.  Those are as follows:

  1. 1:20 How to approach executives if you’re “scruffy and nerdy looking?”
  2. 5:43 How did we scale up Hit Subscribe without doing job interviews?
  3. 11:50 Is my manager a micromanager?
  4. 17:39 Can I keep my 401K after leaving the company?

This episode featured several topics that sent me into mild rant mode about organizational scale, realpolitik, and job interviews.  If you like that sort of thing, then you’ll like this video.  If not, well, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

One thing I’ve really come to understand over the last few years of professionally brokering content is that if the only reaction to your content is positive, it means you don’t have much reach.  The content game is about finding the audience that resonates with your message and not sweating the rest.  So, let’s do that.

And, before I link the video, let me offer the usual note about more reader questions.  As you can see, I’m actually committed to turning all of them around these days, so please feel free to hit me with more.  Comment below, comment on the Youtube video, DM me, email me — whatever.  I’ll get ’em in the backlog and get ’em answered.



Reader Question Round-Up: TDD, Yagni, Expert Beginners and Efficiencers

I was just scrolling through the front page of DaedTech and realizing it’s been a really long time since I posted non-digest content.  I’d pardon you if you thought I’d given up software-related content altogether.

Don’t worry, though.  I haven’t.

What has actually happened in my life is this, over the last four weeks (including this one):

  1. Vacation
  2. DaedTech consulting (on top of Hit Subscribe)
  3. DaedTech consulting (on top of Hit Subscribe)
  4. Hit Subscribe client onsite visit

So basically, a vacation followed by an all-too-familiar situation where I work a full time job and then another part time job.  In that situation, I made a few conscious sacrifices, one of which was non-essential content production.

I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

Easing Back in with a Round-Up Video

I am actually in the middle of that 4th week, so I’m not out of the woods just yet.  But I did get that content itch, so I figured I’d split the difference and do another video answering reader questions.  I hope to return with some normal, ranty blog posts before you know it.

Truth be told, I’m actually having a lot of fun with the Youtube videos and getting a lot more efficient at creating them.  And I’m plowing through my backlog at a workmanlike rate, with the oldest unanswered questions now less than a year old.

At this rate, I might get caught up at some point.

Anyway, here’s the question roster, including time-stamps.

  1. 1:02 How to Reconcile YAGNI and TDD?
  2. 5:27 How to Get Expert Beginners Learning Again?
  3. 8:52 Resources for Thinking Like a Programmer?
  4. 12:22 What Has Changed to Make the Efficiencer Path Easier to Follow?

And, below is a frame of the video.

By the way, four of these video round-ups in, you can probably see that I’m reasonably committed.  So, if you have a question you’d like to see me answer, either in video or post format, fire it my way: email, tweets, DMs, Slack messages, blog comments or Youtube comments.  Your choice — happy to log them in any format.


Reader Question Round-Up: APIs, Your Own Business, and Discrimination

I seem to have settled into a pattern of alternating between video round-ups and written posts.  And, I’m good with that.

So let’s follow that pattern once again.

Over the weekend, I posed another Youtube video where I answered four more reader questions.  Here are those questions, as sort of a teaser.

  1. 00:01:14 Should you treat all of your code like an API?
  2. 00:03:21 How do you make sure everything you’re doing is legal when you start your new business?
  3. 00:07:06 What do you do when someone wants to invest in what you’re doing or buy you out?
  4. 00:11:53 What do you think of that Google Manifesto guy, James Damore?

Those timed links will take you to the specific question in the video.  But, you could always just watch the whole thing below.

Also, a quick thank you to those of you sending me new questions these days, and to those of you patient enough to wait for answers to old ones.  I was definitely remiss in my response time to these when I wanted to do a blog post for every question.

But I think this new format is helping encourage me to produce more response content and to get them answered more quickly.  And that, in turn, is leading to a new influx of questions.

Keep ’em coming!


Reader Question Round Up: Micromanagers, Finding Work, and Entry Level Gigs

I’m now officially getting back into the content groove, I think.  Last week I wrote at length about the subject of pair programming.  And this week, I’m doing another reader question round-up.

I’m opting for the video format again for a couple of reasons.  First, because I’m frankly having fun with it.  And, second, because I think it works well for questions that I’d struggle to write a full length post about.

I know, I know.  That seems hard to believe.

But, seriously, things like “how do I find an entry level Java development job” don’t really inspire me to bang out 2,000 words.  And so they wind up just sitting in the backlog, gathering dust. I figure I might feel like writing about them later.

So I think this is a good compromise and a good way to do some topics justice.

This Week on the Round-Up

Now, without much further ado, I offer you a frame of the round-up.  If you’re interested, the topics I cover in this video are as follows.

  1. What do I do, as a consultant, when a line manager tries to micromanage me?
  2. Name some better ways to find work as a freelancer than just blasting out “hey, I’m free” to your network.
  3. How do you get a job as an entry level Java developer after getting your degree?
  4. How do you use Javascript for something that’s going to have to last a long time?

Give it a watch below, if you’re so inclined.  I included a couple of movie clips in this one for variety.  So kudos to anyone who gets the references.


Should You Take a 100% Pair Programming Job?

Pair programming.  Understanding of this topic may vary among the readership.

Some of you might have the vague notion that it means two programmers working together… or something.  Others of you might have a more solid grasp of particulars and a vocabulary that includes terms like “driver-navigator” and “expert-novice.”  And, a few may even understand the full origin story of pair programming as a core plank of the eXtreme Programming (XP) approach.

Hey, Look, a Pair Programming Reader Question

I’ll soon return to that origin story.  But first, let’s look at why I’m talking about this at all.  I’m actually gearing up to answer a reader question:

I was interviewed by a company that [does] full pair programming.  I hate the idea of spending all my day with somebody looking at me writing code.  What do you think about it?

So to clarify a little here, we’re talking about a company that subscribes, full stop, to the XP rule that “all production code is pair programmed.”  For all intents and purposes, this means that dev teams pair program 100% of the time as a rule.

Should you take a job at such a company?

It’s honestly hard for me to say for any given person since my advice would be so very tailored to your individual personality and preferences.  So rather than immediately give a thumbs up or down, I thought maybe I’d explore the topic of pair programming more broadly.

Since my publication of Developer Hegemony and subsequent departure from a traveling consulting/training life, I’ve made this blog increasingly one about software developer empowerment.  Today, I’d like to look at the subject of that pair programming through that relatively uncommon lens.

I want to examine not whether pair programming is a Good Thing (TM), but whether it’s a good thing for you, as a software developer.

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