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One-on-ones for Beginners

I started my first real programming job when I was 19. It was a small company, and there were five people in total. I had a great time there, writing code that today would make me cringe, but learning every day, and simply getting stuff done. At some point, the two founders told me they wanted to have an annual appraisal with me, and my first reaction was: “What is that supposed to be good for? Isn’t this just an esoteric way of wasting time?” When you are 19 or 20, you just want to code, and move forward.

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Sprints, Artificial Deadlines, and Quality

Do you know these moments when you read a book, and suddenly, there is this sentence or paragraph that resonates so strongly with you that you wish the author was standing in front of you so you could throw yourself on the floor, humbly weeping, hug his legs, and thank him for his words of wisdom and truth? I experienced such a moment lately when I was reading the quality chapter of Peopleware. Let me quote the words that almost touched me to tears:

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A Jump Start Into Software Engineering Recruiting

So, you stumbled into recruiting? How did that happen? Just yesterday, you were a software developer happily rampaging around in your code base, and today you learn that you get to pick who will join the team in the future? Scary? Don’t worry, somebody obviously trusts you to be up to the task, and, since you are reading this, you are also a conscientious person who wants to do the job right and honour the trust bestowed on you.

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Verbalize Your Thoughts

This is my tenth post for this blog, so I thought some reflection would be all right. Originally, I started blogging to write about things I had been thinking about for some time. I wanted to provide value to the readers, because otherwise these readers would not come back after their first or second visit. Moreover, though, I was writing for myself - to better explore my thoughts, convictions, and beliefs. To sharpen my reasoning, and compare my standpoint to that of others.

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Don't Sacrifice Your Maker Time

As a first-time manager, I wanted to be approachable to - well, basically everybody in general, but my direct reports in particular. I had the feeling that there was some management debt lingering around and most people were clearly under-managed and under-mentored, so the last thing I wanted to do is proceed as things had always been. With some coordinative tasks on my desk and considerable involvement in recruiting, I had not been coding for more than 50% of my time even before that. When I was promoted to a people management position, however, it became even less very quickly. Soon, I was fully in “management mode” and my only exposure to code was a code review here and there.

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Book Review: Actionable Agile Metrics For Predictability

Because finding good ways to develop software in a rapidly growing company is a complex problem with many tradeoffs, I am always interested in best practices and real-world examples. This is how I stumbled upon the book Actionable Agile Metrics For Predictability by Daniel S. Vacanti. I was thoroughly surprised!

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Should You Hire by Committee or Should You Not?

I have been involved in recruiting at trivago for two years now, and, during that time, I have read a lot of articles in order to improve and refine my skills in that area. Each article added a little bit of knowledge, some new thoughts, or some new set of questions to use in interviews. However, recently, I came across an article that made me think more and deeper than others, because it touched one of the core principles I thought a recruiting process should follow - and the author definitely has a point.

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Recruiting Advice From First, Break All the Rules

I have finally read First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham, which teaches a lot about how each person has a unique set of talents you should leverage rather than work against. Additionally, it offers some interesting advice on how to reveal these talents in job interviews.

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Good ad-hoc reports

In my previous post, I wrote about hitting the right level of abstraction, especially when giving spoken, ad-hoc reports. While getting the abstraction level right makes a report more understandable and digestible, it is not quite enough. Let’s look at the example from the previous article once more:

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Hitting the right level of abstraction

Have you ever walked away after someone explained something to you, and you had a big question mark over your head? Maybe the explanation was chaotic, disorganized, and was mixing multiple levels of abstraction. We will examine this phenomenon in more detail

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