February 2018

Coaching? Like People | Video

Hey, there, it’s GeePaw! And you are watching the first ever GeePaw video aimed specifically at coaches. I hope you like it. Do you know what the first absolute prerequisite for being a successful software development coach is? You have to like people. You have to like people. You have to like their style. You have to like their resistance. You have to like when they do the thing you want them to do. You have to like when they […]

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Coaches: Whence Confidence?

Coaches, we all know that confidence is key, yes? It’s not the only key, but it’s key, especially in the beginning. People look to you for ideas, then. And they’re lookinig to you for a number of reasons, but one of those reasons is because they think you’ll have some. And early on, there’s very little reason for them to think that. They don’t know you, they are guessing. And that perceived confidence in them is matched by an internal

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No One Way: GeePaw On Method

When I was geek-young, not quite forty years ago, I worked in a tiny two-person shop, and we were entirely without "method". We just wrote code. At that time, there were plenty of analysts of geekery, and they were certainly writing about how to geek, but 1) their ideas were seen as more of a bazaar than a cathedral, and 2) most of the trade did exactly what we did at good ol’ MIS. (Chris Martz, or Jan, if you’re

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The First Metric: How Are You Feeling?

Of all the routine requests I get from clients, the one I find most difficult to deal with is this: "Help us choose a metric so we can tell if things are going well." the problem is that "numbers as health indicators" is so deeply embedded in our worldviews, so deeply correct on paper, and so deeply counter-productive in every case i’ve seen in practice. Think about your own health for a minute. Is it a 9 or a 3?

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TDD & The Geek-Young: Is Tdd Right For Noobs?

Possible causal point for a failure to value TDD: geeks thinking the main source of bugs in professional software is not handling the main case successfully. In any feature in any app, there are one or more primary cases. A given story is likely to be concerned with one of these at a time. When you’re geek-young, the great challenge is just to close out the primary case. Hell, you barely learned the syntax, you’re just learning the library-set. Just

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The Rigorous Playpen

I’m bettin’ u already got some code. If yer a geek in a substantial code base in an org w/more than a half-dozen other geeks, i’m bettin’ u already got a lot of code. In your team’s head, if not somewhere on an out-of-date piece of paper, there is a picture of "our code". I want to draw a box somewhere where there’s room in that picture, and I want to label it "rigorous". Let’s call it the rigorous playpen.

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Sync Points Reduce Our Trade’s Effectiveness

Companies spend a great deal of time and energy seeking to get their teams synchronized. Several forces motivate these efforts. It’s worth taking a second to look at these. One force: the belief that synchronization provides steering points. The notion here is that since we’ve just synchronized, now is a good time to react to the market and adjust the direction in which the project is headed. Second: the belief that no given team is able to do all the

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Desiderata: On Motives

So. This is hard for me to approach. The circumstance of my radicalism began when I was but 5 years old. At age seven, under pressure, I became aware that some adults were dumb-asses. By the sixth grade, age twelve, I saw most things around me lies. I encountered people I thot were good and just behaving not good and not just. I was fully radicalized then. Around that time I stumbled upon the poem "desiderata". It was a popular

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The Hardest Problem In The Geek Trades

Software development is a temporal activity: it takes place over time. Any temporal activity can be shown as a series of snapshots. This is a way of "speeding them up", usually for the purposes of analysis or instruction. It’s a kind of "as if" thing. For some kinds of thinking, we can just elide, ignore, or lightly annotate the face that the activity takes time to happen. There’s nothing inherently sinful about these "as if" visions, but sometimes, when their

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The “Software For Money” Game

So, apropos the earlier muse that was fairly muddled about the hardest problem in the geek trades today… I can’t think of a better way to describe what I do as a geek than to speak as if we were playing one of those wild modern world-building games. Lately, i’ve been playing Oxygen Not Included, but there are lots of them. The most famous are probably the Civilization and Age Of franchises. In these games, whether smooth and real-time or

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