Steve Rowe's Blog

Ruminations on Computing - Programming, Test Development, Management and More

Posts
  • Steve Rowe's Blog

    The Complexity Hammer

    • 12 Comments
    I’ve been doing a lot of interviewing lately, especially of college students. There is one tendency I see a that really separates those that are good from those who still have more learning to do. This is the tendency of the good programmers to see elegant...
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    Plan Intentionally

    • 6 Comments
    I previously wrote about being intentional , but focused mostly on intentionality in execution.  Being intentional is also important in planning.  When planning a new product or the implementation of a feature, it is important to explicitly...
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    Resolved: To Blog More in 2010

    • 6 Comments
    As the year closes I look back and see that my blogging really dropped off this past year. I intend to try to blog more over this upcoming year. My position at work has changed from a lead to a manager and that gives me a whole new perspective on things...
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    A Taste of Stack Overflow DevDays

    • 0 Comments
    If you missed Stack Overflow DevDays , there is some audio from it available on Stack Overflow Podcast #71.   I wish there was a longer version of this.  It’s only about 1/2 hour of outtakes from the conference, but it is still interesting to...
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    Design Patterns Are Not Outdated

    • 0 Comments
    A comment left on my answer to a question over on Stack Overflow has me a little worked up. I've seen this meme come out of programmers more and more and it just doesn't seem accurate. The statement goes something like this, "Design Patterns were only...
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    Is there really a benefit in lossless audio formats?

    • 9 Comments
    Lossless codecs are all the rage amongst those who aspire to be audiophiles.  Whether it is ripping CDs in a format like FLAC or WMA Lossless or listening the TrueHD track on Bluray movies, there are those who swear by it.   Most audio...
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    A Review of a Kindle

    • 2 Comments
    Six months ago I purchased a Kindle 2 .  I originally bought the Kindle to make travelling easier.  I tend to carry a lot of books with me when I take a trip and those books get heavy.  With the Kindle, I could carry just this one device...
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    StackOverflow DevDays

    • 2 Comments
    I spent the day at Benaroya Hall for the 1st (annual?) StackOverflow DevDays conference. Overall eight speakers took the stage on topics from .Net MVC to Python to the Google App Engine. The room appears to hold just over 500 people and it was filled...
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    Forging a Team Identity

    • 2 Comments
    For a group of coworkers to have a chance of becoming a team, they must share a common sense of purpose or identity.  Dave Logan in Tribal Leadership calls this a “Noble Cause.”  On small teams this often comes naturally.  Everyone is working...
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    Own the Feedback

    • 1 Comments
    Some time ago I was at a management training course. The group was divided into those who were managers of managers known in this course as M2s and those who were what I have been calling leads–that is managers of individual contributors–which they called...
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    How to Interact with Your Team as a Manager

    • 0 Comments
    As one moves from being a lead (manager whose reports are individual contributors) to a manager (manager whose reports are leads), there is an important decision to be made about how to interact with your skip-level reports. That is, how should a manager...
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    Be Intentional

    • 1 Comments
    My old manager used to always say, “Be intentional.”  It took me a long time to comprehend exactly what he meant by this, but eventually I did and have come to appreciate the advice.  What he meant was to always make active, conscious decisions...
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    Five Books To Read If You Want My Job

    • 4 Comments
    This came out of a conversation I had today with a few other test leads.  the question was, “What are the top 5 books you should read if you want my job?”  My job in this case being that of a test development lead.  At Microsoft that means...
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    Some Programming Languages to Consider Learning

    • 3 Comments
    Learning a new programming language can affect the way you think. While most modern languages are Turing Complete and can theoretically all accomplish the same things, that’s not practically true. Each language has its own strengths of expressiveness...
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    Inbox Zero, Take Two

    • 3 Comments
    A year and a half ago I tried to get to “ Inbox Zero ” and failed.  This is the idea that you get your inbox down to zero mails every day.  I’m making another run at it and this time have been a little more successful.  I’m not perfect...
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    Don’t Worship at the Altar of Accuracy

    • 3 Comments
    Earlier today I found myself faced with a common management situation.  I had been sent an e-mail which showed that a piece of data we were using was inaccurate.  The specific issues was what percentage of a certain test run was automated. ...
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    Simple Management Tip: Tracking 1:1 Conversations

    • 1 Comments
    Here’s a quick tip I’ve found very handy.  When doing 1:1’s with your team (you are doing these regularly, right?), take notes to keep track of the conversations from week to week.  I currently use a 5-tab notebook with one tab for each direct...
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    Becoming a Manager: Learning to Rely on Data

    • 1 Comments
    Having been a manager* for a while now, I’ve learned more about what it means and what changes it requires in thinking.  This installment of the “ Becoming a Manager ” series covers the increasing reliance on abstract data that is required as you...
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    I'll be posting on Twitter occasionally

    • 1 Comments
    As I surf the net I often run across articles of interest. If I feel they warrant a comment, I'll post them on this blog, but most don't rise to that level. I've decided to try using twitter as an outlet for such items. If you want to see the articles...
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    Review: Peopleware

    • 3 Comments
    The book, Peopleware by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister, comes highly recommended by Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood over at the Stack Overflow Podcast.  It is probably most famous for its repudiation of the idea that cubicles make a better work environment...
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    Spotting the "Uncoachables"

    • 1 Comments
    Interesting article from Harvard talking about how to spot people who can't be coached. The author gives 4 symptoms to look for, but they basically boil down to one. Does the person want to change? If someone isn't interested in changing because they...
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    Review: The Effective Executive

    • 1 Comments
    I read The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker because it was highly recommend on the Manager Tools podcast.  Despite what its name may imply, it isn’t written to company executives.  Instead, Drucker defines an executive as anyone with decision...
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    E-mail Is Not A Good Motivator

    • 6 Comments
    Another conversation I find myself having over and over is telling people that e-mail isn’t a sufficient mechanism for communication.  I already discussed how e-mail isn’t a good medium for handling disputes.  It also is not a great motivator...
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    10 Papers Every Programmer Should Read

    • 2 Comments
    I’m always on the lookout for good reading material.  Michael Feathers over at ObjectMentor has served up a great post entitled 10 Papers Every Programmer Should Read .  I intend to.
  • Steve Rowe's Blog

    Now, Discover Your Strengths

    • 2 Comments
    This is the title of the follow-up to First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham.  The first book was brilliant and really challenged the way we think about what makes someone successful at their job.  Now, Discover Your Strengths attempts...
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