Web Development Business

Refreshing Your Scrum

Keith Shakib Agile, Consulting, Design, Dev Methodologies, Problem Solving, Soft Skills 3 Comments

Most of us now have some experience with Agile Scrum practices. Many of us have had years of practice on multiple processes. As a consultant, I have the opportunity to see many differences in how organizations implement and practice the most popular development process methodologies.

While the prescription for good practices is well-documented, many of us have lost our “mojo” at least once and seen many of the benefits of using the process decline.

In this blog, I will indicate some key points required to return to optimal agile performance. I will highlight three common pitfalls, some common causes of those problems, and reminders of how to get back to a high-performance Scrum implementation. Let’s dive in.

Web Development Business

Performing Technical Interviews For Consulting Clients

Clayton Neff Business, Consulting, Opinion, Soft Skills Leave a Comment

The situation will occasionally arise when we have gained enough respect and confidence from our clients that they will ask us to help them interview new technical people to join the team. As consultants, it’s important for us to be the person that our client needs us to be at the time, so we are definitely willing to help. But, needless to say, this situation must be handled with ‘kid gloves.’

Many managers are uncomfortable performing a technical interview in an area they do not feel competent in. Typically, that is when they will ask for your help in the interview process. As technical consultants, we should be able to provide useful feedback to them about the person’s apparent abilities. When it comes to the ‘soft skills,’ we want to ensure we’re on the same page with the client as to if we should limit the interactions to just the technical topics.

Whether you’re a consultant helping your client, or the client manager looking to fill your employee team, there are a number of topics that must be considered when searching for the right technical person. In this post, I will point out some useful topics to concentrate on while performing a technical interview– and why they are important questions to ask before hiring a new person to the team

Web Development Business

Life as a Software Consultant

John Boardman Business, Consulting, Keyhole, Opinion, Other Leave a Comment

I’ve been in the field of programming professionally since 1990. I started out as a corporate employee for 14 years, then as a consultant, back to an employee, and finally settled with consulting. In both positions, I’ve worked with small, medium, large, and huge Fortune 50 corporations. There are many similarities between being an employee and a consultant, but there are also some significant differences.

In this blog, I’ll explore what life has been like in each role and hopefully give some perspective to others who might just be starting out. Keep in mind when I write “employee,” I am specifically targeting programmers.

Web Development Business

Technical Debt – Observe, React, Prevent

Keith Shakib Consulting, Opinion, Soft Skills Leave a Comment

The term “technical debt” was coined over a decade ago to help highlight a common problem in software development. Generally you can think of technical debt like this:

The cost of additional rework created by choosing an easy, shortcut solution now instead of the better approach that would take longer.

Delivering software to meet deadlines or functional goals that are wrought with technical debt is like buying items before you can afford them. Both practices can drastically affect your ability to reach your future goals, both long term and short term.

This article is a gentle reminder to recognize, fix, and avoid technical debt in your software projects.

Modernization Lessons: FTP & the Mainframe

Clayton Neff Consulting, Java, Problem Solving, Programming, Spring Batch, Technology Snapshot Leave a Comment

One of my most recent projects involved helping a client move many decades of code from a mainframe environment to a distributed Java web environment. The client had engaged another company to actually transform the mainframe code to Java, and our team was tasked with making it all actually work.

One of the major areas we had to deal with was the transition of all of the batch processes. Of course, Spring Batch came to our rescue for most of the work, and was an easy choice as we were already using Spring Boot to wrapper the converted applications.

The most challenging part of the entire project was that the client did not want to move everything at once in a Big Bang, but rather a few programs as a time. This meant that some programs would be running in the Java environment while others remained on the mainframe.

In this blog, I discuss three data challenges we encountered in the transition of an enterprise mainframe to Java web application with Spring Batch, how we overcame them, and tips to keep in mind going forward when in similar migration situations.