Alternatives to Apprenticeships

Today I crossed my review comments for the Apprenticeship Patterns which I wrote back in 2009. I wrote a blog entry back at that time about My long road. Reflecting back over the past – maybe – 3 years, I noticed something I wanted to write about: alternatives to apprenticeships – most of them I came across at my current employer it-agile. I remember that we discussed the topic of apprenticeships a few weeks ago at the local software craftsmanship user group meeting in Münster. We found that the apprenticeship model does not fit well into Germany’s working model in the IT industry. So, we tried to come up with alternatives. Here are the ones I have seen implemented at different companies: Mentoring and Peer-Groups.

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8 things you ought to know if you do not know anything about hiring a software tester

In a recent blog entry over at 8thLight’s blog Angelique Martin points out to 8 things you ought to know if you do not know anything about hiring a software developer. Having been involved with the Software Craftsmanship movement since the early days, and 8thLight has played a major role in that movement early on, this list was compelling to me.

In short, Angelique reminds us to ask potential new employees for the development processes they used, their development practices, – particularly TDD, pair programming, short iterations, and continuous integration – and how they educated themselves and kept their claws sharp. She also points out that she would ask for a proof of their talent, how they estimated, how deadlines are met, and what they can say about the costs involved when developing software.

This list was so compelling to that I decided to put up a similar list with the things I was looking out for hiring a software tester. I believe there are some unique skills I would look for in a software tester that I would not necessarily look for in a programmer. So, here it is.

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Tester Challenge Summary

A while ago I put up a challenge for software testers. Here is the mission I used back then:

Regression Test Calculator

Test the regression test calculator for any flaws you can find. You might gain bonus points, if you can find out how the calculation is done. Another set of bonus points if you can come up with a better approach.

In the meantime I found out that Ajay Balamurugadas actually found the link to the website, and sent it to James and Michael. I think he deserves some special kudos for this.

These are the responses I received.

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Some surveys on the state of our craft

One of my colleagues made a claim yesterday which I would like to put some numbers on. I raised the question on twitter, and received suspicious answers about the numbers of my colleague. Please forward this survey to anyone you know who is programming: It consist of just four question, so you should be able to answer them in a few minutes.

Over twitter I also received the feedback that things are worse for testers. I would like to put numbers on that as well. Therefore I also put up an equally small survey for tester: Please forward this survey to anyone in the software business that you know of.

From time to time to I will publish some of the results. I aim for end of January for the first set of data.

Complexity Thinking and the MOI(J) Model

Last year I started to dive into the theory behind complexity thinking. What puzzled me ever since is the relationship between complexity thinking and the stuff that I learned from Jerry Weinberg. One sleepless night I stood up from bed, and searched my material from the PSL course. There I learned about a model that helps me leading people in different ways. While thinking over it, it occurred to me, that complexity thinking is a small subset of the MOI(J) model. Follow me on my mind-journey.

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