Book Review: Range

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Like many readers, I have enjoyed many of Malcolm Gladwell’s books. His book Outliers has been very influential on our culture’s thoughts. The 10,000-hour rule is known by most of us at this point; it has almost become a rule that people believe to be true. But in the book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in…

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Quick Thoughts on My Time at the IDesign Architecture Clinic

Doug Durham, Andy Unterseher, and I recently returned from an IDesign Architecture Clinic held in Kansas City. This week-long class was taught by Michael “Monty” Montgomery, who has a very engaged and driven approach to education. He provided a lot of real-world / from the trenches feedback that I certainly appreciate. We started the week…

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More Engineers, Please — Things That Need to Change in Software Development

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Hiring software developers is hard work; any employer looking to fill developer roles will tell you that. This is made more difficult by the number of employers looking to onboard new hires while, at the same time, there are few developers looking for a job. Finding a good developer is tough. And making the problem…

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Helping Grow The Development Tree

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As I move on from Don’t Panic Labs, I thought it would be a great time to reflect on the last 6 ½ years. I realized that I haven’t really done any retrospections or reflecting as I have always been looking toward the future, and I think I may have missed out on a few…

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Design and Development Clinic Review – April 2019

Doug Durham and I recently completed another Software Design and Development Clinic. This week-long set of classes is designed to help level up software developers into senior developers. For us leading the classes, the week is always exhausting but they’re still one of my favorite weeks of the year. Leading even a small group of…

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The Danger of Incomplete Pictures, Part 3: Framework for Structured Critical Thinking

Have you ever wrestled with a problem in your mind and then, while trying to explain it to someone else, had an epiphany of how to solve it? This has happened to me on numerous occasions. Or have you ever jumped in to develop some code for a piece of business logic that you felt…

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The Danger of Incomplete Pictures, Part 2: Story/Task Decomposition and Estimation as Design

In my first post of this series, I discussed how ambiguity and lack of shared understanding between members of a product development team can occur when we rely on unstructured, ad hoc, and abstract communication processes (i.e., conversations and high-level user stories) for expressing our thoughts and ideas. We feel like we are painting a…

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incomplete pictures

The Danger of Incomplete Pictures, Part 1

I was recently re-introduced to one of my favorite essays, Why We Should Build Software Like We Build Houses, by Leslie Lamport. Leslie is one of several thought leaders within our industry who I really admire, both for his insights into the nature of software design as well as for his contributions in terms of…

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Beer && Code: One of Our Favorite Local Meetups

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One of the great things about Lincoln is its growing number of educational opportunities centered around technology and software development. One of them is near and dear to our hearts: Beer && Code. Started by Don’t Panic Labs software engineer Branden Barber (aka Beebs around the office), this monthly get-together meets at various locations around…

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On Leaving the Best Job You Ever Had

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I don’t like to use the word “quit.” It makes it sound like you’re giving up, that you are leaving things incomplete. I write that because I am leaving Don’t Panic Labs; I’m leaving the best job I’ve ever had. This was the plan all along I suppose. During one of my first staff meetings…

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