Thoughts on building a library

I’ve always loved to read as a child but what I read depended mostly on the books I got as birthday presents. As an adult I occasionally bought some books at book stores at train stations. But I never had a strategy how to build a library.

Why do I need a library?

Knowledge is power! Books are the easiest way to gain profit from other people’s experience. You can see books as mentors which tell you valuable life lessons. For example the Game book “I will teach you to be rich” got me started with thinking about personal finance. Continue reading “Thoughts on building a library”

Review Code Reading

If you learn a music instrument you have to learn riffs, licks and songs. No teacher will ever say “Here are all the chords and scales. Go into the world and make people happy” Does not work.

But in software development sometimes it seems to look like that universities show you algorithms and data structure and the syntax of a specific language and say you are done – save the world with your code.

In the last couple of years more and more people look at software development as a craft and call it the software craftmanship movement. Continue reading “Review Code Reading”

iMacros for the Rescue 

Bill Gates once said: “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

Sometimes being such a lazy person I’ve discovered a couple of years ago a neat little browser plug in which let’s you automate your browser. It’s called iMacros and is available for Firefox and Chrome.

After the installation you get an icon in your toolbar:

When You click this icon the iMacros sidebar opens and you find a bunch of demo scripts: Continue reading “iMacros for the Rescue “

Review Emsa Travel Mug

After owning a couple of cheap merchandise insulated travel mugs, Jens Dittmar convinced me to spend a couple of euros on a “professional” travel mug. (In the end I convinced my boss to buy a bunch of mugs for the whole team as a christmas present so I didn’t have to buy one myself 🙂 )


After using the mug for one and half year I can say that it really improved my life quality. Suffering from stomach-ache I tried to reduce my filter coffee intake and switched to espresso from a Bialetti stovetop mokka cooker. By using the travel mug I could enjoy my yummy espresso which I cooked at home at work the whole morning, too. As I started to go to barcamps the mug also saved lots of paper cups.

Marketing claims

What I was really interested in -from an engineering standpoint- was to prove if their claim “4 hours hot – 8 hours cold” was valid or not. Continue reading “Review Emsa Travel Mug”

Node.js with PyCharm

PyCharm amazes me every time. Although it is first and foremost a python IDE you can do full stack web development with it, i. e. you have code completion for HTML, CSS, JavaScript and even TypeScript, CoffeeScript.

I wanted to code some node.js stuff and jetbrains already got a plugin for PyCharm. Before installation:

https://www.jetbrains.com/help/pycharm/2017.1/node-js-and-npm.html

The installation is painless and after a restart you have full node.js support!

 

Team Capability Matrix 

One of the many questions You hear as a team lead is: “Who can help me with <topic XYZ>?”

When your team is small you can easily say: “colleague A is expert on X, B on Y, and C on Z”.

But with increasing team size and number of topics you have to handle in your team it can be good idea to write down the capabilities and competencies of your team members.

Step 1 – Write down all of your team members

Easy. If You don’t know who is in your team, shame on You 🙂

Step 2 – Write down all tools and technologies You use in Your team

A bit harder. If You don’t know by heart who uses what, please interview your colleagues.

Step 3 – Combine the information in a table.

Use a simple scheme to tag knowledge

  • :mrgreen: – great knowledge
  • 🙂 – ok
  • 😳 – don’t know what it means

Write down the colleagues on one axis the tools and techs on the other.

[table id=1 /]

To transpose or to not transpose – that is the question

It doesn’t matter which info goes on which axis but in most cases you can say which number is higher: number of colleagues or the number of skills / tools / technologies used in the team. So put the longer list on the y-axis.

What can You get out of it?

When You have your Team Capability Matrix in place you can identify core knowledge areas -things everyone in the team has to know- and fill in the gaps with training and workshops.

Let’s say Tool X and Y are must have skills. So You would schedule training for Tool Y for A and C and training for X for B and C

You can even develop your team by asking your team mates in which areas they want to improve and schedule training accordingly.