The other day, someone on the Crafters’ slack posted a video where someone argued about software craft vs. engineering and asked for opinions from the community. Let’s elaborate on my reaction to watching that video.Continue reading Software – Craft or Engineering?
Stick around long enough in the consulting business, and you might notice something I will coin the Arxta-Moment in this blog entry. I’m pretty sure, I’m not the first one to notice this, yet, I’m unaware of someone giving it a name. Let’s explore some history, and look for some advice from Jerry.Continue reading My Arxta-Moment
Over the years, I have seen many companies struggling with paying off technical debt and legacy code. Heck, I produced legacy code within a 45-minute session at a code retreat on my own, so consider me guilty as charged as well. Over the years, I have seen a pretty tiny fraction of companies actually managing their technical debt. So, here are a few stories that I oftentimes share from these companies and how they tackled technical debt and legacy code – with no claim for this to be a complete list of things that might work. Please add any additional advice you want to share in the comments.Continue reading How to handle technical debt?
A few years back, I ran a public course in Düsseldorf, Germany. While looking through my options for one of the evenings, I noticed a public Coding Dojo run by the Softwarkskammer group there and decided to have some coding fun in the evening. During the dojo, I had an experience with one of the attendees that I keep on sharing every now and then.
I think I wrote up on this a while ago. Since I keep on referring to that experience, I thought maybe a reflection on what I think happened a few years later, might be helpful.Continue reading “I’m an architect.’
Every once in a while I read something like this:
Yeah, [TDD|BDD|ATDD] is great. But how do you convince [your manager|your employer|your colleagues] to get the time to do it?
In the past week I decided that I need something to point folks to when this questions comes up again. So, here it is.
This morning, when I took a look at twitter, I noticed a direct message from Michael Bolton on my latest blog entry on learning:
In your blog post on learning, you’ve left out community, and bafflingly to me, practice.
Wholeheartedly I thanked him for the idea for today’s blog entry.Continue reading More learning as a professional
Testers and programmers are much more alike than some people think they are. Many of us work in organizations, some of them large. There are several dynamics in these larger systems that have an impact on our habits, shape our culture, and influence our private lives.
There is something to say about professionalism, and the practices of our craft. Where and when should we learn about such stuff? Let me tell you my personal story. Though I will refer to software testing, pretty much the same also holds for programming, and most programmers I have seen in the organizations out there.Continue reading Learning as a professional
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Software Craftsmanship manifesto. Doug Bradbury asked me the following question:
Do you think that the bar of professionalism has been raised in the 5 years since the Software Craftsmanship Manifesto was published? Why or why not?
My short answer is “yes” – and “no”. Being around since the early days back in November 2008 when I joined the Software Craftsmanship mailing list, and having been involved in the different thoughts on the Ethics of Software Craftsmanship, my longer answer hides in this blog entry.Continue reading Five years of fighting crappy code
I remember when Andreas Leidig approached me in late 2010. He wanted to get a discussion going regarding a conference on Software Craftsmanship in Germany. We decided to meet up during XP Days Germany in 2010, and see what we could do. We quickly agreed on an unconference format, two days, somewhere laid back. Some folks had organized the German Agile Coach Camp and Play4Agile in Rückersbach close to Frankfurt. We decided on that spot as well, and organized everything for 2011.
Early on, we decided that we will need outside support. That was when we started to reach out to other craftsmen, like Micah Martin, Adewale Oshineye, Sandro Mancuso, and many, many more. We had around 10-20 participants from outside Germany with us. All the tales they told us on how they were running things in London, Israel, Finland, you-name-it engaged us. It felt good to be around so many like-minded folks, and receive outside inspiration.
The first SoCraTes – Software Craftsmanship and Testing (un)conference – was a success. We had some track sessions back then, and a full day of Open Space. During the Open Space I joined a session that was looking for how to continue. With all the energy in the room, we placed ourselves on a virtual map of Germany. That was when I noticed, oh, there are a bunch of other folks around me that come from a similar location as I do. That was also when we decided that we needed to keep that spirit going.
One year later, we came back for SoCraTes 2012. Since the first conference we had founded 10 user groups all over Germany on Software Craftsmanship. There was one in Hamburg, one in Karlsruhe, one in Munich, one in Nürnberg, one in Berlin, one in Frankfurt, one in Dortmund, one in Düsseldorf, and one shared around Münster, Osnabrück, and Bielefeld. We created a timeline of events that had happened in the various local communities since our first get-together.
We were amazed about the various events, code retreats, user group meetings, and so on.
We still adhered to reserve space for foreign inspirations at that time. We had 10-20 people from outside Germany with us. However, Rückersbach had just 70 beds overall available. With ten local user groups potentially joining our unconference, we faced a serious problem. From each location just around 5 people would be able to join. So, with such a large community, we already excluded many potential attendees.
The format of the unconference had shifted. We had abandoned previously-set track sessions all-together. Instead we focused on two full days of Open Space. That provided the freedom necessary. Here’s the schedule from the two days in 2012.
At the end of the day, we decided to run the conference again in Rückersbach, but have it organized by a different group of people. We explicitly decided to pass over the organizing responsibility to one of the local groups from year to year.
Last year, the limited amount of beds became a problem. We discussed again what to do about it, and asked the organizers to seek a location that may scale up to 200 participants.
Rückersbach had an advantage: it was close to Frankfurt airport (about a one hour ride by car). That made it easy for people from other countries to attend, since Frankfurt is the largest airport in Germany. It would be hard to find such a spot with more beds in such a good position.
Late last year, the organizers contacted me. Since I am working in Hamburg, they asked me whether I could take a closer look at a potential spot for 2014 that sounded promising. They had 200 beds, and were located in Soltau. That’s about a one hour ride by car outside from Hamburg.
I agreed. When I finally made the trip there, I was amazed. The new hotel was awesome. There are ten meeting rooms all set up with video projectors, flipcharts, and so on, one central place where everyone meets, one large room for the Open Space opening, a bar with space for 170 people in the evening, a swimming pool, decent space outside close to nature. I got back to the organizers and told them that this spot would preserve the privacy that Rückersbach had with it, and that it seemed to be perfect to scale.
Now, I know that the announcement for SoCraTes 2014 is coming closer, and I can’t wait for the registration to open. Unfortunately I probably will only be able to attend on Friday, since I have a trip to the State to make for an AST board member meeting and CAST 2014 in the following week, but I know that I have to be there.
SoCraTes 2014 is scheduled for August 7th (evening arrival) to 9th, probably with a code retreat on Sunday, August 10th. I know it will be awesome. I know it will be full of craftsmanship, coding, and conferring. I know it will be worth my time. I now it will be worth the trip. You should reserve the date, too.
P.S.: Last week, I also heard rumors that the fine folks organizing SoCraTes 2014 are looking for sponsors. There will be different sponsor packages, some with free slots available. You can meet a bunch of fine folks there that are the top-notch in software development in Germany, Europe, and probably even the world. If you want to support the craft, please tell your bosses. It’s worth their money.
P.P.S.: Did you know that the UK folks – yeah, those that heavily influenced us in the first year – brought the same format to their country as well? I attended SoCraTes UK last year, and it was similarly awesome to the German event. They are organizing another event this year in June. Reserve the date as well.