7,240 reputation
11432
bio website sites.google.com/site/…
location Boston, MA
age 38
visits member for 3 years, 11 months
seen Apr 28 at 23:12

I'm a software task manager, formerly a software engineer. My career has been the unity of digital security, Java Enterprise development, and being a system-level thinker. I'm a jack of all trades, master of none. My strongest skill is communication.

These days, my main goals are making the right big picture choices for my team, building a solid team of great engineers, and making sure that the rest of the world leaves them alone long enough to get good things done.

When I'm not doing software stuff, I study medieval India, study dance, and work in the Burlesque scene.

I'm currently an Engineering Manager at Akamai - I have to admit, it's simply cool to finally work in a company with a real social media policy that will let me be public about where I work! But all views expressed on this or any site by me are my own, for better or worse.


Jan
2
comment “A good programmer can be as 10X times more productive than a mediocre one”
Needless to say, I have too. :)
May
4
comment I'm a manager. How can I improve work relationships and communication with programmers?
Agreed! I'd call that "attempting to be psychic and failing" - when in doubt, it's good to check in words.
Apr
2
comment Not getting paid for hours you've worked?
If that's how your manager works, I suggest getting a new one... speaking as a manager, I generally get feedback from my team about time estimates, particularly when the work is new, risky, or otherwise difficult. About the only time I don't is when I have a very good basis for estimate (like great historical info). Not to say I don't fight for the team to work "smart not hard" and be as efficient as possible... but I don't dictate how that happens, and I don't wing an estimate w/out checking in...
Jul
27
comment Funding Agile Projects
I wonder if you can steal from a contracting model? It does add the risk of downtime if customers abruptly say "thanks but no", which should be similar to the model of contract labor?
Jul
20
comment Interview: Review another developer's code
Love the answer. One addition - keep an eye out for how this candidate's code differs from what similar code might be in your company. A big point will be seeing if the candidate can successfully make the transition to your group, so if you see things done differently, it isn't wrong, but the question becomes "why?" and "will change to a new way of doing things be trivial or difficult?"
Jul
18
comment Handling Coding Standards at Work (I'm not the boss)
I love the idea of starting among those who agree! I'd add to it that the easier you make it to find and follow standards, the more likely it is that people will do so - make sure that if you have IDE formatting tools, the setup instructions and any config files are easy to find and the install is documented well.
Jul
18
comment Company Size and Career development
I've seen a large company turn down a small company person, but often the "cultural" issues I've seen have been things like "this person does not seem like they will respect or follow our process or procedure because they are used to having more freedom" - in those cases, I think the reaction has been justified, since the interview indicated a lack of interest or willingness to abide by painful big company procedure stuff... A similar candidate who showed different attitudes would not have had the same problems - IMO.
Jul
14
comment I'm a manager. How can I improve work relationships and communication with programmers?
Thanks gang! I can't say how nice it is to see comments like these! It keeps me writing! :)
Jul
7
comment Is Displaying Degree In Office Appropriate?
"mind you, their work area is constructed of partition walls instead of drywall, but I don't think this is the deciding factor, but may be" - this gave me a chuckle... this is exactly why I didn't hang my company-given plaque on my cube wall for many years... I literally couldn't figure out how! After all, I'm a SW developer, not an architect! :)
Jul
7
comment New Team Lead - How to deal with a resentful former peer
No... no! The next bullet is "create villainous lair", followed by "capture hero", and "explain devious plan to hero".
Jun
29
comment Be a better programmer or an irreplacable employee?
What a perfect point! Add to it - the struggle to be the only one who can do certain things will often lead to a contest of wills with a good manager who knows that the team should be able to back each other up. Fight too hard with management and you will quickly find out how replaceable you really are ... not matter what your skillset.
Jun
15
comment Going about increasing salary during performance review
@Kevin - I totally agree, but that isn't a game I'd try unless I had a better offer in hand. :)
Jun
7
comment How much can you talk about your job experience during an interview
As a side note, some of the very strict defense systems will require that the project/program not be associated with the technology. The solution for engineers I've seen is that no one talks about the program they worked on. Everyone does talk about what technology they have experience with.
May
26
comment Are basic level programming skills taught at elementary necessary/helpful for success in maths?
I learned BASIC and LOGO at age 8. It was a blast. Being that I'm old, the cool thing was drawing E.T. in LOGO. :)
May
19
comment How to protect yourself from being sued by patents?
I'm tempted to vote you up for the great link to a poor man's patent and then vote you down for listening to the advice in the link. The guy writing this article is a patent attorney and better qualified than anyone on this site is likely to be in the areas of US patent law - I'd listen to the advice in the link you posted and keep notebooks of your ideas.
May
18
comment How is a “Software Developer” different from a “Software Consultant”? What makes a consultant?
I'm not saying I'm an expert in the area... when I need to go way outside my area, I'm still asking questions of the consultant and asking him to explain. I also tend to ask the general "what do you think the top 10 things to avoid in your area of expertise". This usually lines up to SOMETHING I know about, or I can do a bit of research on forums like Stack Overflow and see if the guy is on the money. The biggest mistake I ever made was hiring a guy who didn't make any sense when he explained stuff. I thought it was my lack of knowledge... turns out the guy didn't make sense to anyone.
May
17
comment Technical test for a senior developer
@Daniel Voina - great... but I've seen situations where it's taken 6 months to 1.5 years to fire someone. Given the pain and suffering involved not just for the person and the people directly managing them, but on the entire team, I'd say there's a valid point to making the person jump through some seemingly unnecessary hoops, especially if it's part of a CYA mechanism.
May
17
comment How is a “Software Developer” different from a “Software Consultant”? What makes a consultant?
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of papers and certifications. It's a bonus if they've got them, but if I'm looking for someone who knows something fairly cutting edge, then I don't expect that there's a certification that will help, and not everyone is a paper writer - after all writing a paper and writing good code are pretty different things. I can generally tell that someone is giving me bullsh-t if I ask them to explain an architecture using a given technology and they make no sense. I usually have enough depth in the area I'm managing to be able to keep up past the BS level.
May
17
comment Technical test for a senior developer
@Daniel Voina - Have you tried firing someone before?
May
16
comment Increase motivation in Our Project's Wiki with achievements?
Giving it a shot... but not all of them proved fixable.