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If your shop has trouble shipping quality software on time -- and let's face it, most do -- then this book is for you. If you're a manager, I'd say that doubly so.
-Ernest Friedman-Hill "JavaRanch Sheriff"
Quoting Watts Humphrey, "Developers are caught in a victim's mentality." We never think it's our fault, it's always somebody else's.
-Jared Richardson
More practical advice from the pragmatic crew. This is another excellent book from the guys at Pragmatic. In this book Jared and William cover pragmatic project management with down to earth advic...
-Jack D. Herrington

Availability in 2016 (Dec 2)
A long-term client is wrapping up after an extended engagement so I'll have more time available in January. I decided posting here was an efficient way to sharing the information.

In the past few years I've done more roadmapping engagements. It's a cost effective way of bringing in a coach without committing to the expense of a full-time engagement.

I'm also starting to use checklists from the GROWS Method as a team evaluation tool. I think you'll find it's an efficient way of evaluating your team's current state, as well providing a roadmap for the future.

I'm primarily looking for clients local to myself (in RTP, North Carolina), but I do travel for some clients. When my children grow a bit more, I'll travel more, but for now I prefer local engagements.

Contact me at jared AT AgileArtisans.com and we can start a conversation.

Category: Misc

Learning Backbone with Derrick Bailey (Aug 21)


I recently started doing video editing for the Pragmatic Programmers and the first title I worked with was an excellent getting started guide for backbone.js.

It’s not a sales job for why backbone is better, but rather it assumes you’ve already decided to use backbone and provides the information you’ll need to start using it. Derrick creates a slick image gallery application that uses backbone in the browser, and a bit of Sinatra server side.

Come check it out and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you can do with it!

Hands On Backbone.js

Category: Misc

We're Shut Down (Jan 18)
To help drive public awareness of SOPA, a very bad piece of legislation, this site is shut down today. Visiting the main page will direct you to http://sopastrike.com/strike after 5 seconds.

You can also read about this at Pragmatic Programmers.com, my publisher's url. They, just like Google, Wikipedia, and countless other sites, are trying to be sure everyone understands the legislation we're in danger of seeing passed.

Category: Misc

Public Speaking 101 (Nov 22)
Last Saturday I was privileged to be one of the IndieConf speakers. If you missed it, it's a great conference that has both technical and infrastructure topics ranging from marketing to budgeting to CSS. I think it's a great event for both full timers and independents... but I digress. :)

My talk was more of a workshop. We covered a number of essential public speaking tips, then practiced. I really wish we'd had more time, but it's a fun talk to give and the audience was very engaged. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Here are the slides I used: Public Speaking 101.

Damond Nolan attended and blogged on key points from a number of sessions, including mine. You can see the list of sessions here. Click through to my talk and see me pointing to an invisible object. ;)

He also posted a number of his IndieConf pix.

For those of you in my talk, the coach I mentioned (more than once) is Alan Hoffler. You can find him at MillsWyck Communications. He's the best coach of this type I've ever worked with and he's got a number of reasonably priced events coming up.

Category: Misc

The Best Government Money Can Buy (May 23)
Here in North Carolina, we've got the best government money can buy!

North Carolina governor refuses to block anti-muni broadband law

I usually try to post more than a link, but this is just so disgusting that I'm posting the link and moving on.

Category: Misc

Trench Warfare and Software Development (May 4)
My article on Trench Warfare is in this month's Pragmatic Programmer's free magazine. Check it out and see if you're already working in a "trench shop".

Prag Pub Issue #23

Category: Misc

North Carolina's Anti-Municipality Broadband Law: Get Involved! (Apr 14)
The great state of North Carolina is considering a bill that appears to be driven by Time-Warner and prohibit "predatory" local municipalities (you know, small towns) from rolling out their own ISP systems.

I'm no lawmaker, but I was born and bred in this great state, and have wished for a "predatory" town to roll out local internet service at a faster speed or better price and forcing my ISP to scramble to keep up. (My cell phone has faster upload speeds than my home internet service.) I've dreamed of having a "predatory" local town blanketing their downtown area with free wireless internet access in a bid to attract the technically savvy into the area.

Instead I'm living in a state where a state lawmaker that, from my point of view, would appear to be in the pocket of lobbyist, has sponsored a bill that would prohibit such a utopia. I suppose rolling out broadband to help local citizenry to compete in the new world of high tech jobs is too much too ask.

Rather than ranting on, let me provide a few links for you to follow on your own.

North Carolina cities mobilize against anti-muni broadband bill This link has the links you need to get in touch with the lawmakers running the committee currently considering the bill.

Cable-backed anti-muni broadband bill advances in North Carolina This is the article that first grabbed my attention.

Your NC Senator by county This bill has passed in the house. Let your Senator know that you care about this bill and that you'll be voting against and campaigning against anyone who votes for it.

Senate Bill 87 This is a direct link to the bill in question.

Please share this. If you have a blog, feel free to plagiarize this in it's entirety. I have no financial stake in this matter, but as a lifelong North Carolina citizen, I want the best possible infrastructure we can have at our disposal.

Internet access is crucial to the current, and next, generation of jobs and eduction. Let's share this message!

Category: Misc

Writing a Great Resume (Nov 22)

I've been filtering resumes recently and one I had to read this morning inspired me to write this. I hope it helps a few people improve their resume. Remember that the resume is what gets your foot in the door. If people don't ever get to meet you, you're not getting the job! Be sure your written ambassador is the best it can be.

Certifications
There's nothing wrong with them, ~unless~ you think they make you competent. Treat them as a gentle introduction to the topics, and they'll supplement your resume.

Place all your certifications as the top item on your resume and be very sure it (and you!) won't get much respect.

No Paragraphs

I just read someone's description of work at their last job and I don't understand what they did. I think I started to understand the work details after the fifth time I read it.

Instead of prose, use terse, bulleted lists that a resume reviewer can quickly scan and understand your work history. If I'm forced to read a sentence more than once to understand it, you're wasting my time and your chance at making the cut.

For the record, a bulleted list of sentences isn't what I'm talking about!

Work History and Multi-page Resumes

I'm sure you did great work 10 years ago, but I don't care. I assume you've forgotten it all anyway. If you feel the overwhelming need to list your work from years ago, make it brief. The older the job, the fewer the details.

If you want to provide detail, make it about your recent work. That's what I'm most interested in learning about you.

Many developers I know insist on providing multi-page resumes. "But Jared, I did this much work and I'm proud of what I did." I believe you, but as a person filtering resumes, I don't care. Sorry! If I'm running through pages of candidates, I'll go deeper on a two page resume, but on a seven page resume? I'll skim the first page and move on.

When you provide page after page on your resume I assume you don't know how to boil down things to their essence. You'll create wordy code, long unreadable docs, and contribute to overly long meetings. Are these fair assumptions? Probably not. Will I make them anyway? Yes.

Listing Skills

Adding a skills block is fine, but please differentiate between what you know at a detailed level and what you're merely familiar with. Tech you used five years ago doesn't fit in the current skills block. Don't make me read through your resume and figure out what's current and what's old.

Sum Yourself Up

Do you like to work with a variety of technologies and projects? Would you rather dig in on one project and stay there for a long time? What do you really enjoy doing? If you don't know, you can't tell me (and that's another problem completely!).

When I hire someone, I want them to hang around for a while. If you don't tell me where you'd like to be placed, I have to guess. And that's a risk for me and the company I'm hiring for. Save me the trouble and let me know you understand yourself.

Summary

Your resume is your one chance to get your foot in the door at a company. Ask other people to read and critique it. Be sure it's short and easy to read. Design it to be easily skimmed and understood.

A good resume is unusual. A great one is truly rare. Be sure yours helps you stand out from the crowd!

Category: Misc

Indie Conf: Not Just Independents (Nov 9)
Having an entrepreneurial point of view is essential for a independent consultant, but it's also great for a small to medium size company full-time employee as well. You can learn to be aware of upcoming trends. Of managing costs. Of always keeping one eye on the future. These are skills your manager wants you to have anyway, and we all have them in some measure, but the independents among us have honed these skills to a razor sharp edge.

These skills are essential for any consultant, but also vital for a full-timer (like myself) who wants to be more than a cog in their organization.

Do you want to rise above the herd? Be more than mediocre? Come to Indie Conf this Saturday.

Can't make it? Then be sure to find another way to get this mindset. It can be the difference for you, and your company, surviving a corporate in tight times.

Category: Misc

Don't Wait (Mar 16)
I have a friend who's out of work... actually, a few friends like this. He's never gotten involved with the local user groups, never gotten on the local mailing lists... really never gotten involved in the community.

I've encourage "him" to join the local Java group, Ruby group, and Agile group (as appropriate). I've suggested posting his background and talk about looking for work.

Nothing yet.

Some of you are very happily employed. Others are not... maybe you're just not doing what you want to do. Maybe you're miserable.

So, how long are you going to wait? When are you going to take the steps to get involved in the local community? Who do you think does the resume filtering? Quite often, it's the same people who attend the local user groups. Wouldn't you like for them to recognize your name? It won't guarantee you a job, but it does get you a second look.

So when will you get started? One night a month isn't a huge commitment. Don't wait until you're miserable, or unemployed. Start today. And it's not just a job hunt. You might be filtering resumes yourself in a few months. It might be nice to recognize a few names.

And, sometimes, you might learn a few tips and tricks at the user's group that make your day job a bit more fun.

Here's a link to get you started.

Meetup.com is a great place to find user groups (and a lot more!)

Update: I got this great link on North Carolina User's Groups. Do you have one for your area?

Category: Misc

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