Lessons Learned + News in May and June 2021


Posted by Steven

This is what I learned in May and June 2021:

  1. First, I learned that there are things that force me to publish a lessons learned article that spans two months instead of one. :D For example, publishing a book. "Developer on the Stage" is finally available on Amazon and it took some effort to coordinate all the side projects for the book. This includes marketing, Amazon management, newsletters, getting the website up to date and, I still feel honored, interviews. These are the reasons you’re reading a pretty longish article now. Sorry. :)
  2. I came across the widely spread article "Your Spaltmaß is killing my software". The author describes an immense problem between classical engineering and the relatively new IT in German car manufacturers.
    According to the article, the focus is on the mechanical engineering part, not on software. In a world where a car is a driving computer and especially young consumers want many digital services, this is not the right focus. The title of the article describes the tendency to solve all mechanical problems instead of managing the inherent complexity in software systems. There simply is no acceptable metric a software can fulfil to be perfect, like a minimal Spaltmaß is.
    There are some other interesting observations in the article and I highly recommend reading it, even if you are not a software engineer in Germany.
  3. In the most recent HackTalk, I heard a talk about AI projects. Although I have no practical experience in that area, I took part in a project relating to AI a couple of weeks ago. The HackTalk brought me new insights and knowledge.
    One speaker said that developing in an AI project resembles a classical software engineering project and is not heavily science-based, as you could think for artificial intelligence. The tools and frameworks have matured over the last years so we can use them even without understanding the theoretical foundations of the underlying models.
    Another interesting thought was that every developer has to know at least the fundamentals of every technical aspect of the project. I highly relate to that. Despite the growing complexity of software development projects, I think every developer should at least be able to talk to every other developer in the team about their respective specializations. Having specialists that only work for themselves and solve specific problems that no one else in the team understands is an anti-pattern.
    So yet another successful HackTalk. If you speak German, visit the next online event at https://hacktalk.de.
  4. During these times of endless online meetings, we’ve been gotten used to background noises. However, these can be filtered out pretty good by krisp, a desktop application that filters out everything but your voice. Here's a video showing the effect. Doing some experiments with the tool, I noticed Microsoft Teams already uses a pretty substantial noise reduction. Adding krisp to Teams will not bring much benefit.
  5. Someone made me aware of the “second brain” productivity system. Here's a nice video about the key concepts. It borrows heavily from GTD but has some unique pragmatical concepts, too.
  6. Grammarly, a company that develops an app for improving your English writing, recently published a blog post about changes in their company culture. It’s titled "The Future of Work at Grammarly". One goal of the company is to become a remote-first hybrid. All the employees are allowed to work from wherever they want. The existing offices are reinterpreted as hubs and are used for quarterly gatherings for strategic topics. Being a fan of remote working myself, I’m looking forward to further reports about the results of these experiments.
  7. My Twitter bubble brought me two interesting sites I didn’t know: database-modelling and daily coding problem. They offer coding and database modelling exercises.
  8. I wrote about my Three-Project-Rule here. The quick version is that you should only work on three projects at once to stay focused and make good progress.

Books I read:

  1. I finished post-processing "The Checklist Manifesto". Here are my insights.

This is what I'm working on right now / planning to do in the near future / other stuff:

  1. There will be an online speaker mentoring for “Developer on the Stage”, featuring very experienced speakers who help you to develop your first talk. More information can be found here.
  2. Now that “Developer on the Stage” is released, I can focus on other projects. The most important right now is to create a new version of my personal website. I plan to use Jekyll, a static site generator, instead of Drupal.

(Photo: adrian825http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/monthly-management-reports-36658768)

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