Jul 29


 Today is my birthday! That always makes me look back on things. The most immediate thing that comes to mind is my need to keep things in perspective.

We all get so caught up in what we are doing that sometimes we forget to take the time to see where we are right now. Take a look back and see all the things you've gone through in life and enjoy where you are now.

I so often look forward at what is happening in the near and far future that the joy of the present takes a back seat.

So today I'm going to breathe deep, smile, and enjoy the now.

If this doesn't seem relevant to software development, think again. We are always running hard trying to meet a deadline or addressing an issue. Take the time to look back at all the progress you and your teams have made over the last year.

Hopefully it will make you smile. Smile

Jul 26

Sprint demonstrations are important for more than just the development team. They are the opportunity for clients and client representatives to provide early feedback on what is being developed. It is an opportunity to get a first look at the new functionality so that when it is released you are not seeing it for the first time.

Attending sprint demonstrations is a valuable use of your time. Anyone who uses an application or supports clients using an application should attend sprint demonstrations whenever possible.

Attending a sprint demonstration should be something that is done actively. It is your opportunity to raise questions, issues, make suggestions and provide your input on how things being added to the application should function. It is your opportunity to give input on how things that you need to use and support work.

Use this opportunity to help make the applications you work with better, easier to use, and easier to support.

How a sprint demonstration is handled varies but the key value is to get real feedback on what is being built. Anything that helps deliver this value is reasonable to consider doing. Feel free to suggest changes to the demo meeting format that would help make this value more real.

Please- attend sprint demonstrations whenever possible and be part of making things work better.

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Jul 22

I've been seeing a lot of articles and books out there talking about how motivation is not about money. Ideas that bonuses are more harmful than helpful and that what really motivates people to commit themselves to their work are relationships and culture. It's the people and being emotionally invested in what you do, not the money.

Well, this is true- in part. People are motivated by these things more than by money but that is not the whole story.

Take a quick search on Google and you can find plenty of the books, websites, seminars etc. on this topic all purporting to tell companies how more money isn't necessary and probably even a bad idea. Remember that these are people trying to sell advice to companies who are looking to keep expenses down. They are selling the answers companies want to hear.

Even though there is some truth to their answers- all good scams involve a grain of truth. I'm not saying that these things are all scams- just that they smell suspicious to me.

The reality is that if your compensation system undervalues your people they will leave. The folks that leave will be the most qualified as they are most able to find someone who will pay them a fair market rate.

If you are being paid 20% under market it doesn't matter how much you love your job. Eventually reality will hit home and you will realize staying where you are or leaving can mean the difference between your kids going to college or not. It might be the difference in retiring at age 55 or 65. These realities will eventually take precedence over liking your job and the people at work.

So please, before you decide to forego bonuses or raises think about reality. When you review the pay scale of your teams take a look at the actual market. If you pay your workforce significantly under market you will lose good people.