The Peter Principle by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull

I think I first came across the Peter Principle in the context of The Dilbert Principle.

Where Scott Adams states in a satirical fashion that “leadership is nature’s way of removing morons from the productive flow”, Peter and Hull just say that everybody in a big enough hierarchy always gets promoted to a position where he no longer can succeed and so reaches his personal level of incompetence.

Pretty  shocking, huh? Continue reading “The Peter Principle by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull”

Code Kata: Roman Numeral – Part 1

Christmas is over, so we get rid of the Christmas Tree.
Today I want to show You another Code Kata: Roman Numerals. The task seems to be quite easy. Write a program which converts a decimal number into a string which contains the equivalent as a roman literal. E.g. convert 1984 into MCMLXXXIV.

The requirements

We just use the characters from I to M.

Symbol I V X L C D M
Value 1 5 10 50 100 500 1,000

We first write a simple conversion function which ignores the abbreviation syntax, so instead of IX for 9 we write VIIII. To do so we use integer division and modulo operation.  We start with the highest number and work our way down. Have a look: Continue reading “Code Kata: Roman Numeral – Part 1”

New Year’s Resolutions & Technology Learning Roadmap 2017

I made a list of technologies I’m going to learn – or at least get an overview of – in 2017. I’ve already started to look into Rust and also did some web tech tutorials on codecademy. Because I read “4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Learn to Code from Codecademy” I will not leave it there but am going to introduce one or more of the following technologies into some actual projects at work. Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions & Technology Learning Roadmap 2017”

Code Kata: Christmas Tree

Inspired by a blog post of Dave Thomas I started to implement my technology learning roadmap by writing little code katas.

To kill two birds with one stone I first solve a programming puzzle with my lingua franca Python. That helped me to concentrate on solving the algorithmic part of the puzzle because I don’t have to constantly worry about syntax and semantics.

Then I did the whole thing again this time in the language I want to learn: Rust

To give You an example how that works I will elaborate on the Christmas tree kata. Continue reading “Code Kata: Christmas Tree”

#SWEC16

I was reading “The Passionate Programmer” by Chad Fowler and came across an action point which literally read “go to a software conference”.

But spending hundreds of euros on a conference like OOP in Munich with travel costs and expenses for hotel and meals wasn’t quite the way to go as a father of two infants and plans of building a house.

A friend of mine – Thomas Berger – was always fancy about little independent conferences and barcamps which are very common in Berlin where he lives.

Sometimes You just have to keep your eyes open. And lo and behold I found a barcamp hosted by method park just 500 meters away from my company’s site. Like driving to work, getting home in the evening. Except on a weekend.

I purchased the ticket via openspacer and payed 29 €. I had not so high expectations because some colleague of mine stated that this event would likely be a recruiting thingy of the hosting company. Oh Boy, was he wrong! Continue reading “#SWEC16”

Review “Lessons learned in Software Testing”

I became aware of James Bach through the Google Techtalk “Becoming a Software Testing Expert”. Then I quickly got his book “Lessons Learned in Software Testing”.

In this book Bach presents with his colleagues Cem Kaner and Bret Pettichord 293 tips and tricks (“lessons”) from the test practice.

Divided into 10 chapters, this book covers almost every aspect that can be encountered in daily SW test work.

Similar to Rework, the strength of this book lies in the small, self-contained chapters. You can individually rate and apply each tip individually or not. The authors are advocates of the context-based test strategy; So there is no all-encompassing concept / strategy that works for every kind of SW product.

Therefore, the recommendations are sometimes deliberately contradictory, e.g. whether SW tests according to IEEE 829 should be documented or not. Just as a doctor only makes a diagnosis after a detailed medical history and then treats the patient, “lessons” are tools that are only to be used after a detailed analysis of the situation (industry, company, team, project, product).

At the beginning of this analysis, the tester must scrutinize himself and his mission in the development process. Insights such as that you can never find all the mistakes and therefore never completely test, sound obvious, but should always be kept in mind to get your own motivation.

The tester does not verify that the product is working, but shows that the product has a defect at a certain point. Word!

The fact that the tester primarily supports or relieves the developers is an idea that is far too rarely taken into account in practice. Test departments are often perceived as opponents rather than as partners.

The following chapters cover the handling of test techniques, bug reports, automated tests, test documentation, the exchange with the developers, as well as the management of the own test team.

The conclusion of the book are the two topics career in SW-test and creation of a test strategy.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a strict roadmap that simply has to be implemented one-to-one to ensure software quality, you will not find it here. On the other hand, if you are looking for suggestions and critical questions to continuously improve yourself and your work, you will find enough material in this book to deal with it for several weeks to months.

Review “Rework” by Jason Fried und David Heinemeier Hansson

Today I introduce you to one of my favorite books, “Rework – Business Smart and Simple” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. The two authors are the founders of 37signals and have developed the framework Ruby on Rails, on which most of their products are based. After devouring their first work Getting Real in the online edition (http://gettingreal.37signals.com/), it’s time to spend the money on a hardcover. I like books that pragmatically approach the topic of business start-ups / company founding, so get straight to the point: Continue reading “Review “Rework” by Jason Fried und David Heinemeier Hansson”

Review “Der Bohlenweg” by Dieter Bohlen

We continue with motivational literature. After having lured you with reviews of the biographies of Richard Branson and Gene Simmons, today is a book from local climes.

Why Dieter Bohlen?

“Phew,” I hear some say, “I’m supposed to read or even buy a book from this dude?

Of course this is the parting of the ways: some consider him the superstar par excellence, the others would never admit publicly that you watch his programs, listen to his music and even envy him a little bit for his success.

One thing you have to let Dieter Bohlen: his almost painful honesty when he expresses his opinion. That never gets boring.

Anything but boring is his book “Der Bohlenweg – Planieren statt Sanieren”, although it could be classified primarily as a business advisor.

Business counselor?

Yes. What many do not know is that this man not only started a business degree but also successfully completed. “Completing”, “putting into action”, “finishing” is his mantra that sets him apart from the pure verbal acrobats.

“The key is to have an idea and to push it against all odds”

The little Dieter was anything but predestined to become a titan of pop music, we learn in Chapter Two: not a musical early education but the prospect of taking over the paternal road construction company. No one has been waiting for him and his music, on the contrary.

That which he throws at the head of the DSDS candidate today, he heard himself often enough in his early days and still or just because of this continued. To enforce his idea against all odds, one thing is needed:

W O R K – HARD  WORK

So, at this point you could put the book aside, because everything is said. But we would still miss a lot of good material and spokes for example. Never find out why it is better to live in a small apartment than in a large villa.

His excursions into the handling of money are also extremely instructive. Bankruptcies and / or personal bankruptcies as with Matthias Reim, Roy Black and Drafi Deutscher: This can not happen to Dieter. Spend less than you take and realize from the outset that the uncle of the tax office is half of all revenue. Nix gross equal to net!

He also warns us against windy financial advisors, which of course only appear when there is money to invest. Why is that?

The motto that control is better than trust runs like a thread. Also, that falling is no shame, as long as you get up again, is one of the wisdom with which Mr. Bohlen delights us.

What impresses me most is that Uncle Dieter zuschmarrt one with his successes (1000 times platinum or so) but mainly describes the experiences in which he has properly used the toilet: Toggle contract, home purchase (scrap property) and the robbery he does not out.

Conclusion

Of course, his book does not replace his studies at Harvard Business School, but when someone like Dieter Bohlen, who apparently “made it” (TM) chats, I get a clue.

Often it is the simplest of rules (“always putting something on the high end”) whose consistent application makes the difference between success and failure. And no matter how one agrees with him: “Consistent” could be his middle name.