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Thread: Programmer's Den

  1. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by RDF View Post
    The extraverts are going to hijack the meeting.
    That is the least of my concerns! Remember this is a thing for developers. Probably 90% of us are introverts. It would be a good thing if one of them wants to crap on for a while about something.

    As I was saying, the one rule would be that you talk about something for 3-5 minutes each. That would imply that during that time people should let that person explain their thing. In this way, I don't think it's really necessary to apply any more structure/rigidity/rules, though maybe that's naivete on my part, in which case I would just adapt it.

    As for having zero authority: If your boss is tasking you with this assignment, you borrow his authority, at least for the duration of that task. Just get him to sign off on all aspects of the structure ahead of time, and you basically speak with his authority. It's called "delegation of authority."
    Ah, even if that were plausible, I wouldn't want to do that. I'm really not into the idea of imposing authority on anyone. (part of the reason why I was an average teacher at best) Maybe, I sort of see the formal granting of authority as being very much inferior to the natural authority you assume by just doing things that make sense.

    You have to understand as well, this is not something that anyone would have any obligation to go to. It's just some random idea I had. It would probably even be outside usual work times, in an afternoon.

    I don't mean to be especially contrarian to your suggestions. It's just, the possibility of formality/authoritarianism, I think, is what I most seek to avoid. I think it would kill it fast. It's just meant to be a fun sharing of stuff.

    One main concern here, is that, it may just be a nothing, given that no one has any obligation to attend or contribute anything. And I don't want there to be any obligation. It should just be an interesting thing. Is it even interesting to anyone else, though? I don't even know if I would find it to be fun. I would probably prefer someone else thinks about setting it up. But my boss seems pretty keen. And maybe I should just give it a whirl, low-key.

  2. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarydoor View Post
    Remember this is a thing for developers. Probably 90% of us are introverts.

    [...]

    You have to understand as well, this is not something that anyone would have any obligation to go to. It's just some random idea I had. It would probably even be outside usual work times, in an afternoon.

    [...]

    It's just meant to be a fun sharing of stuff.

    [...]

    One main concern here, is that, it may just be a nothing, given that no one has any obligation to attend or contribute anything. And I don't want there to be any obligation. It should just be an interesting thing. Is it even interesting to anyone else, though?
    Okay, fair enough. You're talking about something that's more of a "team-building exercise." You could try to schedule something over beers (after-hours) or over lunch (tell people to bring a brown-bag lunch with them). And yes, your biggest problem will probably be getting people to show up and participate, if most of your target audience is introverts.

  3. #193
    schlemiel Faust's Avatar
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    If you're in charge, you have the advantage of shaping this to play out in a more conversational manner and less a dreadful one. Keep it a fast, fast round-table (I don't even think 5 minutes is necessary, but you'll always have those with much more to say about their work), a question round, then pizza and/or beer with conversation. It's more enticing to shoot the breeze and others are more likely to open up one-on-one.
    "All my heroes are dead" - John Zorn

    "It's not selfish if you hate yourself"

  4. #194
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarydoor View Post
    Awesome. Glad you enjoyed it too. Yeah the quality is great hey. Unfortunately, my three month free trial (from the microsoft developer subscription) runs out in just a few days. I think I will take a break from it for a month or two and then actually buy a year subscription.

    Which courses are you working through?
    Even though they don't have the endgame I'm looking for, there's a ton of material they do have that will help me on my path--and I've got about a dozen channels of material setup.

    Currently I'm working through C++. Back when I learned C++ is was piggybacked onto learning C via "stick-shift" theory. It's easier to learn the easier way after the "hard" way than the other way round, and it helps to understand legacy code if you know why people were thinking that way--so my first serious foray into learning programming included things that modern programming languages avoid, like bookkeeping on arrays, malloc, dealloc etc.

    I learned the C++ of 20 years ago. This modern standard is different in some interesting and useful ways, though some of the modern stylistic idioms and rules of thumb grate and are obviously self-limiting. I'll be cherry picking, but it's worth the exposure for the Shibboleths.

    My priorities for my personal projects are C++, Python, Linux, and everything related to digital forensics and data security.

    I'll also be squeezing in CSS/Javascript/HTML. I've had some non-trivial training on front end web development, but the course material sucked. Over and over the course I was taking was pushing me to MDN to look shit up that they hadn't explained to do their exercises, and at a certain point, you notice that MDN has better tutorials than the videos you're working through--as in they fucking explain the basics as they come up rather than pointing you to the ocean and saying it's possible to swim.

    If their coursework for that is as good as their coursework for C++ it should make for a much more useful experience. I doubt I'll like it any more than I presently do, but I might. Even if I don't, it looks like that stack in various forms is the current king of the hill in developing UI frames, so it's worth knowing and being competent in.

    For fun I'll be looking at their Photoshop and modelling stuff--and general extension, Powershell.


    On your inter-team communication--maybe ambassadors? You don't necessarily need everyone in every team to be cozy with everyone in every other team. I think a sparse network can achieve similar goals with less time and energy. When I was doing QC for a PCB facility, that was kinda my jam. I went and talked to people in different departments I identified as diligent workers who gave a fuck about doing good work. I was able to facilitate a network of people who represented their departments and could give me info about what was going wrong, and could fix things without screwing up their day.

    It didn't require weekly meetings to work. I was facilitated a bit by the corporate training program which spent some time teaching people basic conflict resolution skills, and more importantly, emphasized a paradigm shift of interdependence where everyone can win by working together.

    It may sound cheesy as hell, but this was the basic exercise they used for that purpose:

    We were divided into two teams. There was a large grid laid out on the floor. Each team sent one person at a time to attempt to cross the grid. They got to take one step. We took steps in turns, each team working from opposite sides of the grid. The objective--and the wording is important--was to get to the other side of the grid.

    There was a correct path through the grid. Stepping in a grid-square that wasn't on the path meant being sent to the back of your team's lineup. If you were on the path, then on your next turn, you could take another step.

    If you're like me, the game is obvious after a moment's reflection. Most people, when put into different teams, presume competition. But this wasn't that sort of game. The path was the same regardless of which side you started on, and it wasn't about who crossed first. It was about crossing at all.

    I was the first person to step out of line (you didn't have to be in it) and try to see the whole picture. This lead to people from the opposing team following suit, which also gave me time talk to them, because they were trying to see what advantage I was taking. It took a few moments of persuasion, but once people realized they're mistaken assumptions about victory conditions, the whole thing went smoothly.

    The purpose, of course, was to get people to realize that different teams don't mean the teams are competing with each other, and provide a paradigm shift for ingroup/outgroup instinct. It also helped me to subconsciously identify people who would make good potential points of contact, though ultimately I just made contact and tried to focus on people who spoke English well, and using them as needed to bridge gaps with those for whom it was a challenge, and of course, focusing on people that I recognized as craftsman who cared about doing their job well.

    Being in QC helped with identifying the craftsmen type too. Even in an industrial line, you can see workmanship. You can tell who wants to good and who just wants to be paid.

    Make your network of people who care about being good at their job, and you should see better benefit than mass meetings.

    What if you have lead lunches? Have the leads have lunch together and make casual shop talk. If someone has something they're proud of, they can have opportunity to talk about it, either informally or formally, and banter about the good, the bad and the ugly--but that part would be more long game. Short game is just building that network of faces and personalities that know and talk to each other.

    Somewhere in there should come up things that are important to each team--bits and bobs or whole projects that they care about getting right. Ideally this will lead organically to post-mortems on those projects, though it might take a bit of deliberate prodding in form of a direct question about how something worked out--just taking an interest and listening. That's where you give your leadership, and it's the sort of leadership that introverts excel at: being interested in the accomplishment and development of the people they manage.

    Ideally, that example leads to imitation, and now your network is disseminating a new culture of inter-team interest. If it were me, my goal would be for leads to be returning to give briefings to their teams on any cool shit that was discussed, and sharing post-mortems and encouraging their team members to present their own post-mortems at these luncheons.

    The craftsmen will care. The paycheck code-monkeys will not, but some might be converted when they see the opportunity to develop and practice arguments for their value during performance reviews.

    Just my two cents on the matter--and it might just be high-minded ineffectual bullshit in the end, but it's what I would try to do in your position. Win or lose you get your own post-mortem opportunity for your own performance review or resume. For what it's worth, my experience building that network in manufacturing has been an asset in every interview I've had since doing it as it demonstrates initiative, diligence, conscientiousness, and the ability to play well with others. YMMV.
    Most of time, when people ask why something terrible happened, they don't realize they are looking for someone to blame.

    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

  5. #195
    schlemiel Faust's Avatar
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    Nim is shaping up to be the next big fad in programming. It's a jack of all trades, good enough at everything. Elegantly Python-esque, yet fast. Could end up being a preferred language for WASM.
    "All my heroes are dead" - John Zorn

    "It's not selfish if you hate yourself"

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