Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Seven Revolutions

Looking out to the year 2025. It's not that far away. Twenty years ago I was 16. Learning to drive. Playing guitar in a band. Shooting out stop signs and blaring Van Halen on the radio. Ah, the good old days. Nothing heavy to think about.

Here are a few gems from the major forces shaping the world:
  • Currently at 6.30 billion, the total world population will grow by almost two billion by 2025. Eighty percent of the world's population will be in countries least capable of supporting further population growth.
  • Revenues of the Wal-Mart Corporation in 2002 totaled $246 billion, placing it significantly ahead of the entire GNI of Sweden ($229 billion) and making it the 19th largest economic entity in the world.
  • The accumulated wealth of the 225 richest individuals in the world is equivalent to the combined annual revenue of 2.7 billion people at the bottom of the global income ladder.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Best Software Writing

I'd say not the best, but not bad. Here's a page with the links.

Best one for me is "What to do when you're screwed".

Restoule Provincial Park

Just returned from a week at Restoule provincial park. Nice place, lots of warm shallow water for the girls to splash in. Now I need to dig through 455 emails... I miss the SpamBayes filter for Outlook. Notes just doesn't cut the mustard. The cheese, maybe.

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Grrlz rule

Dori Smith says girls should steer clear of the IT field. A recent study tells us that women with children don't compete as well in the job market as men with children, or childless men and women.

My daughters are four years old and one year old now, so it will be a while before they're ready to make career decisions (although the four year old is pretty sure that she wants to be a bus driver), but I would recommend to them that they pursue a high-tech career. Whether it be in development, engineering, IT, whatever technology career they choose should serve them well. Especially in this area (Waterloo, Ont.), where there are 400+ "high-tech" companies. I can't see them all disappearing, or "offshoring" in the next 20 years.

When I was leading a development team I was always sure to get a good mix of people on the team - from different backgrounds, different genders (more limited range to choose from, I think - never actually checked), and with different educational experiences. Over the years we've had an Art History grad, a couple of Math/Comp Sci. grads, a theatre school dropout (me!), and a handful of College (Community College, to our US readers) computer grads. We've had anywhere from 30-50% women on the team, and I think we've been better off for it than some of the other teams here.

So fellas, if you've got daughters, sisters, wives, steer them to IT. It's really not as bad as it looks.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Live the brand

We've talked about how motivation is a major factor in software success. Many of today's young workers are massively disaffected with their jobs. Maybe it's because they're wearing the wrong clothes.

Here at SuperMegaCorp, we used to give everyone a golf shirt, or T-Shirt, or sweater, or some kind of clothing with the company logo on it, every year. In any given meeting room you would find 25-30% of the people wearing corporate clothing. Walk into the cafeteria - you'd think you were in the company store. Logos everywhere. People living the brand.

What's it like today? You rarely see anyone wearing corporate clothing. And if they are wearing it, it's clothing from the Before Time. Can't be long now 'til that's banned...

Want to gauge the mood of your team? See what they're wearing.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Ownership

You're a software development manager/team leader/evangelist/whatever. You're in charge of a group of developers. You need to get your product out the door. Walk up and down the cube farm and ask everyone, "would you put your name on it?" Your mileage will vary as to how many "no" responses you'll accept (none is probably a good number), but if you get too many, you've got a problem.

Ownership in software development means owning the work you do - owning the code, owning the features, owning the product. Can you accept responsibility for the product's quality? How about for your features? The team's?

If you're the team leader, how do you foster a sense of ownership in your people? Can you get them to recognize problems before they spin out of control, and get the proper escalation going? Can you see when they're struggling, and help them out?

Why are people reluctant to put their name on the team's software? Is it a case of "not my problem?" or are they just lost? If you've lost your team, how do you get them back?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Curling association nixes TV deal with CBC

The CBC has a story this morning about their [lack of] curling coverage. Maybe the little guy does sometimes win...

Tim, I'm coming over for a large black today.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

More performance rating madness

More ideas on motivating employees. Think a bonus helps? Think again...

Should a kick in the head rate more than a "meets expectations"?

And Mini-Microsoft has an update on the stack ranking process.

The sweet smell of a great sorrow lies over the land

CTV, bless them, manages to cut away from Ben Mulroney just long enough to show two of Pink Floyd's four songs at Live8.

It's not enough, it's not enough...

At least I can watch all of Jann Arden murdering a song. Stomach... churning. Bowels... clenching.