Certifiable

image I’ve been following the “war on certifications” for a while. It’s not new, since scrum had certifications for many years now, and Microsoft adds fuel to the fire with the newly created “Certified scrum developer”.The latest from Uncle Bob’s R.E.A.L.I.T.Y show made me smile. And yes, if you thought I was going to oppose the attackers, sorry, not going to.

We scoff (I’m really including myself here) at any paper thrown at us. For the last 15 years, when looking through resumes, I’ve really wondered why people paid for the certs. My mind just filters them.

And yet…

The papers are originally there for a reason. A business reason. For centuries, diplomas or references are the same papers that are worthless in our eyes now. They were the deposition of someone else stating that we are fit to a  job. (yes, some of them references of family members, but that was the custom, who am I to judge these people?). And that was as good as it gets for the hiring person, apart from putting the applicant to certain tests to get the job.

And that’s what we’re doing today – we’re trying to ascertain with a high probability that someone is suitable to do the job. And if we disregard the paper, tests are what’s left.

But that’s not enough so we’re sending the people to do some aptitude tests, hoping that someone else will tell us that person is suitable or not. It’s the same as the paper, but these days, we trust psychology more (hurray for us). Oh, there’s social media as well, which tells us how careless (or stupid) the person was before his or her application.

The bottom line is that we need to help not make the mistake of hiring the wrong person. We have lots of options, and the paper is one of them. We still looking for that illusive reference telling us – it’s all right, relax, you’re right.

And I’m thinking – what’s the respectful equivalent of a certification? What' is the business-related proof that tells me I’m not doing a mistake? If we had a “real” certification for developers, from the “international developer bar” would that be good enough? Or an extremist group will say: we’re not joining this one, we rather like the bar across the street, where there are no rules or papers?

Ah, forget it. Software is doomed to be like this for a long while. And until then, we’ll probably keep hearing about stupid certifications once in a while.

Speaking at the Typemock Academy, April 27th 2010

It's been a while since my last post. I've been busy preparing for the Typemock Academy this coming week in Oslo, Norway. And that makes me a bit of a hypocrite.

You see, I haven’t made time to write this post earlier, because of more important stuff. But telling everyone that I’m going to be there, is also important. So here I am fixing that, right now.

If you want to catch up, come to the Grand Hotel in Oslo. This is where we’re having our Academy, where I’m going to talk about Typemock products and be a panelist. And for more relaxed meet up, there’s the birthday bash later that evening.

So if you want to meet up, let me know. I’m really excited about this event, being part of a whole team working to make it happen for the last month and a half.

See you there!

Old dog, new tricks

Sometimes I see the wonders of the universe in small things. And I’m not talking about my kids this time.

When I try to formulate some text or idea, I usually use Word. One of the skills I’ve adopted, is to put down everything I think on the document first, then edit and re-edit. I used to do the opposite – try to formulate the correct sentence in my head, then write the exact form. But I’ve noticed the former is much more effective for me.

Why is that? Maybe I’m a visual person. I need to see stuff in order to analyze it better. I am certainly more effective with visual data than with audible data. As many of my colleagues know, I can filter many a-word being said to me. Sometimes even deliberately.

Today I saw a colleague does the same thing, but with a different tool. Photoshop. By moving parts of an image, and manipulating these parts, he used Photoshop to come to a more coherent full image. Actually, we both paired on the editing of the image.

So a couple of findings from this odd little moment in history:

  • Better communication leads to effective results
  • The right tool for the right job
  • You never know what you’ll learn next

Focus

With Scrum certification dividing proponents and rivals, one voice of reason appears: Ron Jeffries tries to focus the discussion back on fighting bad software, with or without certifications. Mostly without.

I want to take this up a notch. We want good software that makes good business sense. And this goes well with Uncle Bob’s blog on dropping the buggy 20% part of the app for getting the other 80% great.

Software is there to get business results. Let’s focus on what we really need for our business, drop the fluff, and get the rest working properly.

Is XP harder than Scrum?

XP is not harder than Scrum. Or easier.

The problem/challenge (depending on how you look at it) for any successful adoption of a practice is the willingness of people to change what they are doing now, and stick to it.

If people do not commit, to say, daily stand-ups they wouldn’t do it, even though it’s much easier than doing TDD. Developers do TDD in Typemock because they know it’s better than how they coded before. They were willing to change and they are able to stick to it, also because everyone on the team works like that. “This is the way things are done here”.

Don’t blame the system. Blame human nature. Then get people who are up to the challenge.

For Technorati

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Lazy and Effective

I had a great moment at work last week. It was of the things that with zero work, I got a win-win-win situation.

A few weeks ago I caught a tweet from Eric about him presenting on EF. I replied with a link to a video, that was made by Muhammad Mosa, one of our Typemock MVPs. This  week I got asked if I could do a guest post on unit testing Entity Framework.

Yes, of course I can. But here’s what I did. I asked Muhammad if he would write it. He agreed.

Here’s the result: Eric’s happy, because he’s got interesting content on his blog. Muhammad’s happy because he’s getting the exposure on a big blog. And I’m happy because I get more people exposed to Typemock and unit testing, helping my friends and all that with a couple of keystrokes.

I said that laziness can get you so far.Sometimes, laziness can be cool.

NoSQL and real life

I read this post and really sympathized. I see that a lot of these in software – there’s a new flavor of the month every, well month. And we forget how we got to this point. And then we throw away the baby with the bathwater. And then we do it again.

Another thing we discussed in alt.net last week was how although there are new technologies popping left and right, and we don’t have time to master even a few, what businesses really rely on are COBOL programmers, for examples. They already have working software, they just need people for modifications in the current system, and nobody’s shouting we have to rewrite it from scratch, because there’s no business value there.

Real world problems don’t always rely on technology solutions. We don’t always need the newest shiniest tools. We do need the best tools for the job.

So next time you go on a crusade for a technology or tool – are you solving real problems?

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