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Monday, August 4, 2014

Lack of Updates and Attention to Detail

Hello All, I know its been a while since my last post.  And I felt that I should at least post something up here for those who have been following along with my updates to this blog.

As for the lack of updates, the reason is actually pretty simple, I've been on vacation, and much like most of us in a professional setting.  There was a lot of work preparing for vacation, and then the actual week of being on vacation.

My wife, and the Munchkin had a great vacation, and I completely enjoyed my time but am excited to get back to work.  I have actually been working on a few new articles, all of which should start to be available as soon as the weekend.  So watch this space for those updates.  Specifically I got one technical, and one that's more like the philosophy articles I've done so far ("How to be a dinosaur" and "Taking the Romance Out of Software Development").

Thank you all for the continued support and feedback.

But I do have simple advice for anyone out there who is a junior developers out there.  And to me honestly, this is one of those things that I wouldn't think are necessary to point out.  But everyone out there wants to Steve Jobs, they want to walk into a meeting wearing bravado on their sleeve and being the smartest guy in the room.

Be honest, we all want that, we've all seen "The Social Network" and want to be Jesse Eisenberg, but again this is a distorted dream, that many junior developers fall prey to.  The truth is that the smartest guy in the room, usually isn't the one who walks in and ignores everyone else's opinion, and he isn't the guy who always gets his way.

The truth is that the smartest guy in the room, is the one sitting in the back, holding a notebook.  You've probably seen him, he's the guy who's setting up the meeting, or encouraging everyone to speak.  Truth be told he probably seems to many junior developers as a fly on the wall.  But my advice to anyone new to this field is to watch this person, and try to become him.

Solicits Opinions of Others:

There is a concept discussed in terms of Web Application Development called Collective Intelligence.  This is hardly a new concept, and its something that many of the most profitable websites / web apps have fully embraced.  Collective Intelligence is the idea that by having everyone involved in a process that we are smarter as a group than we are as individuals.  Its the age old "Two heads are better than one".  The idea that by working together and discussing ideas freely, a better solution will present itself.

Encourages Everyone to Speak:

Margaret Heffernan is a business woman and writer, and recently said "For Good Ideas, and True Innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, and debate."  And she's absolutely right, the best ideas come from discussion, and the process of soliciting opinions only works when everyone is given the opportunity to free express an idea.  Truth be told, even a half baked idea can lead to a major innovation.

Think Before You Speak:

I know, this one sounds counter to the one above.  Just because everyone should be able to share ideas doesn't mean that you need to throw anything out there that comes to mind.  What I mainly mean by this, is before you give a knee jerk reaction to ideas that are thrown out to the room, think about it.  Weigh the benefits and the drawbacks, think about options for mitigating those drawbacks, and whenever you are ready contribute to the discussion in a meaningful way.

Take Notes:

The most important advice I can give, is take notes in these meetings.  Identify action items and make notes of the items discussed.  The more detailed notes you can take, the better you can walk away from the meeting with knowledge that can effect change and enable you to accomplish more.

If you follow these steps, you'll find that you get more out of these meetings and become a better member of the team.  Your peers and supervisors will take notice, and you will find you enjoy your job and the process more.