Blog-MCT

  • Reading Lately — Teams, Orgs, and Vision
    April 2, 2018
    Previously I shared my “Reading Lately” list with a few books about motivation. Each publication from that list is still relevant in my thoughts, actions, and discussions with others at...
  • Bringing #NoEstimates into an FDA world
    May 19, 2017
    The last few years I have been part of a team that is building diabetes management apps for both iOS and Android. Our client partner is a global leader in...
  • Leveling-up Our Intern Program – With Self-Selection
    May 18, 2016
    With our guiding purpose of “making it easier to hire full-time engineers”, we chose to try out a self-selection process for our intern program. As I mentioned in my post about our...
  • Leveling-up Our Intern Program – With Purpose
    May 18, 2016
    Over the last few years we have been making incremental changes to level-up our intern program. For previous summers we have solidified the purpose of our internship program…we have defined...
  • A different kind of retro…
    July 24, 2015
    This week I facilitated a retrospective for a project that I wasn’t involved with. Immediately after the retro, I asked a few people for their input on how the retro...
  • Reading Lately – Carrots, Sticks, and Motivation
    March 3, 2015
    I was recently inspired by a blogger named Maya. She has a section on her blog called “Reading Lately” where she posts books/articles that she has recently read, or is...
  • Getting even more value from your daily standup…
    October 30, 2014
    Many teams around here are familiar with the “famous 3” standup questions… What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? What impediments do you have? This is a...
  • Test Driven Blogging – using O.R.I.D. to keep my writing focused…
    June 28, 2014
    Recently I read a book called “The Art of Focused Conversations“.  This book gave me a lot of great advice on how to have better conversations, especially with people that...
  • How do I know if my idea is blog-worthy?
    May 19, 2014
    We at SEP know blogging is a Good Thing, both personally and for the company (recruiting, business development, etc.). Knowing what to blog about has proven to be challenging. (Really, we did a...
  • How deep is your Kanban implementation?
    April 9, 2014
    Recently a co-worker and I had a brief discussion about whether we were using Kanban, or simply using a “task board” for visualizing our work. Kanban is so much more...
  • Can you measure "quality"? (spoiler – yes you can!)
    March 25, 2014
    There are 3 main questions that I need to be able to answer in order to monitor a project. How many “thingies” can we get done each iteration? a.k.a. Velocity...
  • Can you measure “quality”? (spoiler – yes you can!)
    March 25, 2014
    There are 3 main questions that I need to be able to answer in order to monitor a project. How many “thingies” can we get done each iteration? a.k.a. Velocity...
  • BoilerMake: A Weekend of Hacks, Hackers, and Dodgeball or a New-aged Career Fair?
    February 11, 2014
    I went to my first university-based hackathon: BoilerMake. A hackathon is straight forward, but BoilerMake was no simple hackathon. Students from across the country came together to build something/anything in one...
  • Android, Robotium and Spoon: A Practical Guide for Testing on Android Devices
    January 6, 2014
    Developing for Android is a lot of fun. It has actually become a niche for me here at SEP. Android has changed quite a bit over the past 3 years...
  • Lighting up Continuous Feedback…
    December 12, 2013
    Co-worker 1: “Hey…is our Jenkins even running?” Me: “Uhh, yes? What do you mean?” CW1: “Well, I’ve pushed 3 different commits, and it hasn’t told me that the build failed.”...
  • Beware of Metaprogramming…
    August 21, 2013
    A few Google searches will turn up many different conversations about Metaprogramming…covering the good, the bad, and the beautifully elegant implementations. (I recommend using “-ruby” to filter out all of...
  • 3Q Book Review: The Return of the Mentor
    June 27, 2013
    The Return of the Mentor by Brian J. Caldwell and Earl M. A. Carter What’s the point? For me, this book really drove home 2 major points – new-comers benefit...
  • Pants-less Driven Development – culture matters!
    May 31, 2013
    Here at SEP, we talk about our culture and our people…A LOT.  But we back it up with all kinds of events, gatherings, and trips.  These things typically involve food,...
  • “How to fail” – by avoiding failure…
    May 14, 2013
    Why do we, as humans, keep doing the same thing over and over again?  Albert Einstein would call that, insanity. Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and...
  • "How to fail" – by avoiding failure…
    May 14, 2013
    Why do we, as humans, keep doing the same thing over and over again?  Albert Einstein would call that, insanity. Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and...
  • My Ideal Software Project: 7 Values I Believe In…
    April 13, 2013
    At SEP, we have very diverse teams, clients, and projects. With all of that variety and diversity, comes a lot of variation in how projects are run. Almost every project, in my experience, has used different processes and techniques. I was recently inspired by one of my coworkers, Jennifer, by a letter that she wrote to herself describing her ideal job. Given that we experience so much variety, I decided to try and describe my ideal project. I was not able to describe my ideal project, but I was able to come up with a list of my beliefs and things that I value. Below, in no particular order, are the values of my ideal project.
  • Constraints Driven Development…my favorite line of code
    April 4, 2013
    This post is inspired by the recent blog battle topic "My favorite line(s) of code" and a recent line of code that I was, literally, Laughing-Out-Loud at. (I apologize for disturbing any of my neighboring SEPeers.) Not the kind of laughing where you are like "man, what were they thinking!?!". This was the kind of laughing like, "oh yeah, I've had to do some crazy stuff before...I understand what you were doing there." This simple, yet beautiful, line of code took me a minute to understand what it was _actually_ doing. Yes, the readability was less than desired. Yes, it was nearly impossible to search for in the code base. And yes, it was flat out ugly (in a beautiful way). But sometimes, you are so constrained, that you have to come up with amazing little tricks like this one. So, without further ado...
  • “That wasn’t so bad…” – but why did we find so many dead-end streets?
    March 28, 2013
    SEP is having another blog battle, and this week my topic is “That wasn’t so bad”. Once upon a time, a teammate and myself were tasked with tracking down this...
  • You Won’t Know, If You Never Ask…
    February 5, 2013
      I was recently copied on an email thread where some requirements were discussed between a project lead (Bob) and the client (Fred). (FYI – the names are made up)...
  • You Won't Know, If You Never Ask…
    February 5, 2013
      I was recently copied on an email thread where some requirements were discussed between a project lead (Bob) and the client (Fred). (FYI – the names are made up)...
  • Test First Programming – It is kind of like Martial Arts…
    November 21, 2012
    Test-Driven-Development/Design (TDD) has been a hot topic of conversation in our office recently (lots of external and internal training about TDD). I think the biggest “ah, ha” for me, throughout...
  • "Motion != Progress" – Code moves in 5 different ways…
    November 15, 2012
    Week #4 of the SEP Blog Battle 2012. This week our title was “Motion is not Progress”.  If you are making changes to your source code, then clearly your are...
  • “Motion != Progress” – Code moves in 5 different ways…
    November 15, 2012
    Week #4 of the SEP Blog Battle 2012. This week our title was “Motion is not Progress”.  If you are making changes to your source code, then clearly your are...
  • Getting even more value from your daily standup…
    November 11, 2012
    Fill Out the Form to Download the Daily Standup Worksheet.
  • "Good Idea, Bad Idea" – I'll have both please.
    November 5, 2012
    Week #2 of the SEP Blog Battle 2012. This week our title was “Good Idea, Bad Idea”. For me, this one is short and simple…I will have both! In our...
  • “Good Idea, Bad Idea” – I’ll have both please.
    November 5, 2012
    Week #2 of the SEP Blog Battle 2012. This week our title was “Good Idea, Bad Idea”. For me, this one is short and simple…I will have both! In our...
  • “I don’t have time” – because I didn’t take it…
    October 28, 2012
    Week #1 of the SEP Blog Battle 2012. This week’s title is “I don’t have time”.  First off, it has been great to see, and read, all of the activity...
  • "I don't have time" – because I didn't take it…
    October 28, 2012
    Week #1 of the SEP Blog Battle 2012. This week’s title is “I don’t have time”.  First off, it has been great to see, and read, all of the activity...
  • How to be more confident in your changes – Test First…
    April 7, 2012
    I was tag-teaming a change with one of my teammates, Brian, and I didn’t even know where to begin.  I wasn’t nearly as confident with the scheduling logic as Brian...
  • Android UI/X – don’t go overboard with your list views
    March 17, 2012
    The Android ListView is one of the simplest UI widgets to implement.  There are plenty of ListView tutorials and examples, so I’m not going to talk about how to implement...
  • Android UI/X – don't go overboard with your list views
    March 17, 2012
    The Android ListView is one of the simplest UI widgets to implement.  There are plenty of ListView tutorials and examples, so I’m not going to talk about how to implement...
  • Android AsyncTasks, for updating your UI
    March 11, 2012
    Last time, I talked about how to use Android Handlers for handling a blocking task in the background.  While Handlers are very powerful, they can easily get too complicated for larger...
  • Which Is Worth More, Education or Skills?
    March 10, 2012
    In a previous post, I talked about what skills I look for in our new hires at Software Engineering Professionals. But what happens if you have all of those skills,...
  • How to improve your entire team – Practice Positive…
    March 7, 2012
    I recently watched a video from TED Talks about happiness and productivity.  If you haven’t seen the video “The Happy Secret to Better Work”, by Shawn Achor, then take 13...
  • Are Certifications Old News?
    March 3, 2012
    As people try to get recognized, certified, and prove their skills…it can still be difficult to convince your peers, potential employers, and fellow industry people that you can walk-the-walk. One...
  • Skills that I Look for in a Software Engineer
    February 15, 2012
    I’ve been with Software Engineering Professionals for the past five years, starting right after I graduated from college. A few years ago I joined the recruiting team for SEP, and...
  • git – It's Not So Scary After All — BrownBag
    February 8, 2012
    Well, better late than never, right? :-) This is my slide-deck from a BrownBag @_swanson and I gave late last year. [field name=iframe]   Recap of presentation: Lead with some...
  • git – It’s Not So Scary After All — BrownBag
    February 8, 2012
    Well, better late than never, right? :-) This is my slide-deck from a BrownBag @_swanson and I gave late last year. [field name=iframe]   Recap of presentation: Lead with some...
  • Difficult conversation? No worries, just remember – S.O.S.
    December 15, 2011
    Have you ever been in a situation where you had to have a difficult conversation with someone?  I imagine we all have.  It’s tough – you get deflated, you dread...
  • Product Engineering is like road construction…
    December 8, 2011
    Product Engineering is like road construction.  You have to satisfy the utility.  The utility of a road is pretty straight forward – I have to be able to drive my car from...
  • Git Extensions has some sweet new toys…
    December 2, 2011
    I use Git Extensions on a daily basis.  It is a great git interface for a mouse-lover like myself. Well, it looks like Git Extensions grew some sweet new toys...
  • “Overcoming Momentum” – laws of physics applied to software development…
    November 20, 2011
    Week #5 of the SEP Blog Battle. Read about it here. Follow us on twitter. Ever find yourself in a rut?  You just can’t crank anything notable out this week.  It’s so...
  • "Overcoming Momentum" – laws of physics applied to software development…
    November 20, 2011
    Week #5 of the SEP Blog Battle. Read about it here. Follow us on twitter. Ever find yourself in a rut?  You just can’t crank anything notable out this week.  It’s so...
  • “Weapon of Choice” – assumptions
    November 5, 2011
    Week #4 of the SEP Blog Battle. Read about it here. Follow us on twitter. My weapon of choice is an assumption. It’s so much more efficient for me to just assume...
  • "Weapon of Choice" – assumptions
    November 5, 2011
    Week #4 of the SEP Blog Battle. Read about it here. Follow us on twitter. My weapon of choice is an assumption. It’s so much more efficient for me to just assume...
  • “Engineering – Over/Under” – evolution…
    October 31, 2011
    Week #3 of the SEP Blog Battle. Read about it here. Follow us on twitter. Many times, I’ve heard the cliche – perfect is the enemy of good enough.  I...
  • "Engineering – Over/Under" – evolution…
    October 31, 2011
    Week #3 of the SEP Blog Battle. Read about it here. Follow us on twitter. Many times, I’ve heard the cliche – perfect is the enemy of good enough.  I...
  • "Get Better" – make it uncomfortable…
    October 21, 2011
    The SEP Blogoff challenge this week was to write about getting better.   I had to think a little about this.   I mean, there are some good reasons that...
  • “Get Better” – make it uncomfortable…
    October 21, 2011
    The SEP Blogoff challenge this week was to write about getting better.   I had to think a little about this.   I mean, there are some good reasons that...
  • SEP Blog Off…
    October 16, 2011
    So, a few of us here at SEP are having a friendly (yet competitive) blog off with the intention of getting in the habit of blogging. The prize is simple...
  • "The Applebee's of software development" – we aren't your neighborhood waiters
    October 14, 2011
    This phrase, “The Applebee’s of software development”, really rings home with me.  We are not waiters!  We are extremely bright and helpful problem solvers (who happen to be passionate about software)....
  • “The Applebee’s of software development” – we aren’t your neighborhood waiters
    October 14, 2011
    This phrase, “The Applebee’s of software development”, really rings home with me.  We are not waiters!  We are extremely bright and helpful problem solvers (who happen to be passionate about software)....
  • Patterns for Getting Your Ideas Heard – BrownBag
    October 13, 2011
    Here at SEP, we have some pretty awesome engineer-led sessions…book clubs, academy courses, and brown bags (just to name a few).  Recently, I gave a brown bag on a topic that...
  • Get a list of Months by Locale in Android…
    October 5, 2011
    I was working with a client trying to decide on long and short DateFormats for an international mobile application.  (Yes, that’s a mouthful.)   I wasn’t able to quickly find...
  • Android Handler, in a nutshell…
    August 5, 2011
    The most basic way to handle multiple threads is to use the standard Java threads.  I won’t cover those in detail in this series; however, there are some good docs...
  • Too many options for Android threads? Let me help!
    July 28, 2011
    As smartphones continue to gain popularity, the demand for mobile applications also continues to grow.  The increase in usage of smartphones elevated the issue of “multitasking” on mobile devices.  (I’m...
  • 3Q Book Review: Persuasive Business Proposals
    June 28, 2011
    Persuasive Business Proposals by Dr. Tom Sant What’s the point? The point of this book is to write clearly and concisely, to differentiate yourself, and to better equip yourself with...
  • Today Mt. Hood Was Stolen!
    May 3, 2011
    Today is the day that I stopped thinking about doing something new, and started actually doing it.  I’m talking about Ruby on Rails. I wanted to learn something outside of...
  • Variety is not an option…
    March 11, 2011
    Many times I hear that people want a variety, and that variety is a good thing.  With everything – food, work, exercise, hobbies, etc. It dawned on me this morning...
  • How do you decide!?!
    March 7, 2011
    Lately I've found myself digging deeper into Heuristics. This is FASCINATING to me! I've been reading more and more about different ways that humans make decisions, and it continues to amaze me. ...
  • Conversations in Outlook…
    September 2, 2010
    If you’re anything like me, you probably get a TON of email each and every day. In addition, you probably get emails that span a conversation over multiple days. Well,...
  • Story first, then design…
    July 13, 2010
    I had my first opportunity to apply some of my recent training on discovery and usability.   I had a very short stint on an internal project, where I got the chance...
  • More bragging about SEP…
    May 11, 2010
    Okay, I don’t think it’s a secret that I REALLY enjoy working at SEP. However, I’m going to continue to brag about this company. Recently, SEP was awarded the #1 BEST...
  • Can it get any cooler over here???
    April 6, 2010
    Just had to brag about this company a little bit… http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=40993 The managers at this company care about their people, and this is just one more way they show it....
  • Are UX/UI “standards” lacking???
    April 1, 2010
    Jared Spool has reported that only about 10% of the user interface design questions raised by developers over the course of a typical project can be answered by reference to...
  • Are UX/UI "standards" lacking???
    April 1, 2010
    Jared Spool has reported that only about 10% of the user interface design questions raised by developers over the course of a typical project can be answered by reference to...
  • Usability, and more…
    March 29, 2010
    Last week, we had 3 days of training.  Jeff Patton came in to talk to us about usability, and how to work with our clients to make sure we produce...
  • "stand-up" meetings are more popular than I thought…
    March 10, 2010
    I recently came across a post about a “22 minute meeting”.   The claim seems to be that shorter meetings are more productive and efficient. Most of us here at...
  • “stand-up” meetings are more popular than I thought…
    March 10, 2010
    I recently came across a post about a “22 minute meeting”.   The claim seems to be that shorter meetings are more productive and efficient. Most of us here at...
  • Developers' libraries…
    March 1, 2010
    Being that my background is primarily with embedded software (namely, C and C++ w/o the .NET framework), I have not had much experience with online libraries. They seem awesome in...
  • Developers’ libraries…
    March 1, 2010
    Being that my background is primarily with embedded software (namely, C and C++ w/o the .NET framework), I have not had much experience with online libraries. They seem awesome in...
  • To document…or not to document…
    February 4, 2010
    As an engineer, I tend to error on the side of “this should be documented”. However, I think that with the recent push of being agile and lean, the word...
  • Choose Your Own Adventure, SEP style…
    February 2, 2010
    Do you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? It was great because depending on what you wanted, you could change the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Sometimes...
  • Things recruits should be mindful of…
    October 8, 2009
    By actively being part of the recruiting team at SEP, I get to speak with many college students that are looking for internships, co-ops, or full time positions.  I feel...