Managing from India – 5 tips

by

I’m writing this post from Mysore, India where I’m working for the entire month of February.

Coming here was a nail-biter for me, but not because of typical western concerns like bedbugs, heat, smog, or monsoons. What terrified me was the idea of traveling all this way and not being able to do my job effectively. I oversee operations and finances at Grio, participate in business development, and am currently managing two projects. If anything were to prevent me from working, I would need to grab the next flight and go home – arriving a minimum of 40 hours later!

The fundamental paradox of Stack Overflow’s requirement of objectivity

by

Stack Overflow requires that questions be largely objective, but is based around a voting system that would be largely unnecessary if all questions actually were. The requirement for objectivity can be readily tested by asking a subjective question and watching how quickly it’s removed, but it’s also made explicit in their blog posts:

Stack Exchange is about questions with objective, factual answers.

their FAQ:

…open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site…

and the reasons a question might be closed:

We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

The message is quite clear: objective good, subjective bad.

A Software Consulting Conundrum: Providing Estimates While Staying Agile

by

Software Estimates

As a software consulting firm, Grio strives to provide high quality, high value software to its clients. We embrace an agile software development methodology based on Scrum. This iterative approach provides our clients with flexibility to adapt and change their product over the course of development as discoveries are made while using the software.

This flexibility can prove challenging when providing up front estimates regarding project costs. The problem arises that providing an estimate that is too high may lose you the contract; Estimating too low can result in several outcomes:

Adventures in Unity

by

Constructing our next internal video game (Whack Attack) in the Unity software system has been a joyful experience and a return to my roots as a video game programmer. Instead of dealing with tables and lists for an enterprise web application, I find myself programming mole AI and hit reactions. As an internal project, the few hours a week I get to spend making cartoon mammals run around my phone are a welcome diversion, and makes my return to client work that much more satisfying.

Unit vs. Acceptance Testing (Part 1)

by

You don’t know the power of Test Driven Development

As a recent convert to Test Driven Development (or TDD as his friends call him), I was surprised to hear that there were in fact 2 kinds of developer driven testing.  The standard one that everyone knows of is unit testing:  writing little testXXX methods that test a single publicly exposed method.  But the lesser known – but just as important – are acceptance tests:  tests which verify that  a group of classes working together properly fulfill some functionality.

So this first post will take a closer look at the first type of testing, unit tests, and will go into the value it provides to you as a developer.

A Lightweight jQuery Notification Bar

by

Notifying users with quick messages and alerts in a website is one of the most recurring needs of a web developer.
Every time I need to implement something like that, I start looking around the web hoping to find some Javascript/jQuery plugin that would do the work for me.
The good thing is that a lot of people have already faced this problem.
The bad thing is that the results of the search are way too many and often very confusing.
Chances are that most of the time, you don’t really need a 3MB-super-fancy-hyper-customizable-highly-priced plugin, but you just want something that works, and that you can quickly incorporate into your code.

How to Tell When a Meeting is Pointless

by

Lame Meeting

Meetings. When used correctly, they lead to synchronized teams, informed stakeholders, and better requirements. They help to identify issues affecting an organization. They’re great for resource planning, sharing vision, and all kinds of useful stuff.

A clear, focused meeting energizes the participants. These meetings are a force for good. These meetings make the office smile.

Then there are those other meetings.