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Old 05-28-2012, 03:30 PM
Michael Orlitzky
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

On 05/27/2012 05:18 PM, Alan McKinnon wrote:
>
> You need an existing development house with a reputation to uphold,
> located in the same city as you.

Without getting into the (book-length) details, I'll +1 this.
 
Old 05-28-2012, 04:00 PM
Grant
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

>> I'll be getting my feet wet with this shortly. *Any other tips
>> regarding the management of one or more programmers working on various
>> small web projects? *Maybe workflow or any key procedures a newbie
>> manager should follow?
>
> You can get away with almost anything except these two things:
>
> Do not micro-manage
> Do not tell them how to do what they do

Could you give me an example of this last one?

- Grant


> For everything else, good old communication (that thing you do lots of
> in business) will see you through.
>
> --
> Alan McKinnnon
> alan.mckinnon@gmail.com
 
Old 05-28-2012, 08:50 PM
Alan McKinnon
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

On Mon, 28 May 2012 09:00:55 -0700
Grant <emailgrant@gmail.com> wrote:

> >> I'll be getting my feet wet with this shortly. *Any other tips
> >> regarding the management of one or more programmers working on
> >> various small web projects? *Maybe workflow or any key procedures
> >> a newbie manager should follow?
> >
> > You can get away with almost anything except these two things:
> >
> > Do not micro-manage
> > Do not tell them how to do what they do
>
> Could you give me an example of this last one?

- I see you are using Perl with hashrefs to do function xyz. Have you
considered (i.e. I would like you to) using $INSERT_SOMETHING_HERE?

- Fiddling with the roadmap. Somehow, this always ends up like the
homeowner overriding the architect and trying to get the roof up
before the walls.

- Giving "advice" on the process such as saying how awesome a concept
stakeholders and product owners are in Scrum. But they use
ExtremeProgramming.

- Wanting to personally review the code often. I've seen some managers
want to do this daily.

- Get personally involved on their level.


All these things class as interference. Managers and owners who do this
have miles of justifiable reasons for doing so, but it's always hogwash
- they interfere, plain and simple.

>
> - Grant
>
>
> > For everything else, good old communication (that thing you do lots
> > of in business) will see you through.
> >
> > --
> > Alan McKinnnon
> > alan.mckinnon@gmail.com
>



--
Alan McKinnnon
alan.mckinnon@gmail.com
 
Old 05-29-2012, 08:34 AM
Grant
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

>> >> I'll be getting my feet wet with this shortly. *Any other tips
>> >> regarding the management of one or more programmers working on
>> >> various small web projects? *Maybe workflow or any key procedures
>> >> a newbie manager should follow?
>> >
>> > You can get away with almost anything except these two things:
>> >
>> > Do not micro-manage
>> > Do not tell them how to do what they do
>>
>> Could you give me an example of this last one?
>
> - I see you are using Perl with hashrefs to do function xyz. Have you
> considered (i.e. I would like you to) using $INSERT_SOMETHING_HERE?
>
> - Fiddling with the roadmap. Somehow, this always ends up like the
> homeowner overriding the architect and trying to get the roof up
> before the walls.
>
> - Giving "advice" on the process such as saying how awesome a concept
> stakeholders and product owners are in Scrum. But they use
> ExtremeProgramming.
>
> - Wanting to personally review the code often. I've seen some managers
> *want to do this daily.
>
> - Get personally involved on their level.
>
>
> All these things class as interference. Managers and owners who do this
> have miles of justifiable reasons for doing so, but it's always hogwash
> - they interfere, plain and simple.

This is really interesting to me. Is there a forum/website/book with
more gritty, practical advice like this on managing programmers?
These are the kinds of mistakes I will definitely make if someone
doesn't tell me not to.

Could you tell me really briefly what a manager *should* do?

I think I'll try to manage a single programmer working few hours and
see how it goes. My asking stupid questions is due to my lack of
experience and there's only one way to fix that.

- Grant
 
Old 05-29-2012, 12:08 PM
Alan McKinnon
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

On Tue, 29 May 2012 01:34:52 -0700
Grant <emailgrant@gmail.com> wrote:

> > All these things class as interference. Managers and owners who do
> > this have miles of justifiable reasons for doing so, but it's
> > always hogwash
> > - they interfere, plain and simple.
>
> This is really interesting to me. Is there a forum/website/book with
> more gritty, practical advice like this on managing programmers?
> These are the kinds of mistakes I will definitely make if someone
> doesn't tell me not to.

Everything I know about dealing with technical people is from the
school of hard knocks :-)

I don't think it's something that can be taught or
properly described adequately. But there are some obvious concepts:

Programmers are essentially not too different from any other type of
technical people, and you are already very familiar with those just by
reading gentoo-user. All that stuff we do here wrt top-posting, html
mail, udev and pulseaudio developers having strange ideas and
(being perceived to be) ramming it down people's throats - all that
stuff applies.

I don't know how you personally deal with such things but whatever you
find works is probably good enough.

Techies don't like being second-guessed and told what to do when they
are perfectly capable of doing the job properly. This is just a normal
human reaction really and is always solved by simple communication. You
always have to get to know people first, to get a grip on their
personality, and then find out how to successfully interact with them.
If you are married, consider what it took to learn how to interact with
your wife smoothly :-)

> Could you tell me really briefly what a manager *should* do?

Ouch. That's another encyclopedia-length answer :-)

I'll give you a short oblique answer that seems to work for me:

Managers do not lead, they serve. They are not there to call the shots, get covered in glory,
be seen as the best of the best or issue decrees. I've been fortunate to
have had a few good managers in my working life and they all seemed to
instinctively do the same very important thing: make it possible for me
to do my job.

They would deal with finance issues, they would help find out where new
hardware was in the shipping process, they would be a buffer between me
and the customer (or between me and the annoying executive). They would
publicly cover me in glory when things worked out well and cover my ass
when they didn't. And all too often they would clam me down when I went
off on one of my rants. The point is, the manager took care of
everything on the project except the part about being a programmer :-)

Good managers are very good at observing. They don't impose themselves
on the job at hand, they watch it and see where things are going great
and where things can be improved. They are also patient and only
try to improve one thing at a time, getting that thing right then move
onto the next thing.

My current manager is great, we're both a similar
age (mid 40s), and we have an understanding - I'm good at my job and
he's good at his. It took a while for both of us to recognize this and
build that trust but I think we got it right eventually. The key thing
was to communicate to the other guy and be honest and listen. In the
beginning there was some "alpha-male" posturing going on and we had to
drop that somewhat quickly :-)

He's also particular in finding out what the whole team thinks about
things, so really listens to our input.

That's what I find works for me, but unlike computers I can't put it
down in step-by-step fashion that will give a certain result.

>
> I think I'll try to manage a single programmer working few hours and
> see how it goes. My asking stupid questions is due to my lack of
> experience and there's only one way to fix that.

Sounds to me like you already grasp the essentials :-)

Good luck with the project.

Oh , one last thing: despite all appearances to the contrary, most
people out there can be trusted to do the right thing as far as they
are able, and do want to do a good job. Don't let occasional lapses
cloud your view of this. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, we all must
learn to be tolerant when it happens.

--
Alan McKinnnon
alan.mckinnon@gmail.com
 
Old 05-29-2012, 12:30 PM
Pandu Poluan
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

On May 29, 2012 3:39 PM, "Grant" <emailgrant@gmail.com> wrote:

>

> >> >> I'll be getting my feet wet with this shortly. *Any other tips

> >> >> regarding the management of one or more programmers working on

> >> >> various small web projects? *Maybe workflow or any key procedures

> >> >> a newbie manager should follow?

> >> >

> >> > You can get away with almost anything except these two things:

> >> >

> >> > Do not micro-manage

> >> > Do not tell them how to do what they do

> >>

> >> Could you give me an example of this last one?

> >

> > - I see you are using Perl with hashrefs to do function xyz. Have you

> > considered (i.e. I would like you to) using $INSERT_SOMETHING_HERE?

> >

> > - Fiddling with the roadmap. Somehow, this always ends up like the

> > homeowner overriding the architect and trying to get the roof up

> > before the walls.

> >

> > - Giving "advice" on the process such as saying how awesome a concept

> > stakeholders and product owners are in Scrum. But they use

> > ExtremeProgramming.

> >

> > - Wanting to personally review the code often. I've seen some managers

> > *want to do this daily.

> >

> > - Get personally involved on their level.

> >

> >

> > All these things class as interference. Managers and owners who do this

> > have miles of justifiable reasons for doing so, but it's always hogwash

> > - they interfere, plain and simple.

>

> This is really interesting to me. *Is there a forum/website/book with

> more gritty, practical advice like this on managing programmers?

> These are the kinds of mistakes I will definitely make if someone

> doesn't tell me not to.

>

> Could you tell me really briefly what a manager *should* do?

>

> I think I'll try to manage a single programmer working few hours and

> see how it goes. *My asking stupid questions is due to my lack of

> experience and there's only one way to fix that.

>

> - *Grant

>


Off the top of my head :


* It's OK to ask the team about their roadmap and milestones schedule, and even raise objections and/or suggest changes AT THE VERY START OF THE PROJECT.


* When the project is under way, DO NOT EVER interfere unless asked.


* It is okay to regularly (weekly or biweekly) ask for progress report with regards to the previously agreed milestone schedule. If delays happen, you must also ask what the cause of the delay is, and what the team plan to overcome and/or compensate



* Ask the team to keep a 'weather report' regarding the project, updated continually, stored in a shared folder. This is less a report to you than something you can present to your superiors when they start asking, "Are we there yet?"



Rgds,
 
Old 05-29-2012, 01:58 PM
Michael Mol
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 4:34 AM, Grant <emailgrant@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> >> I'll be getting my feet wet with this shortly. *Any other tips
>>> >> regarding the management of one or more programmers working on
>>> >> various small web projects? *Maybe workflow or any key procedures
>>> >> a newbie manager should follow?
>>> >
>>> > You can get away with almost anything except these two things:
>>> >
>>> > Do not micro-manage
>>> > Do not tell them how to do what they do
>>>
>>> Could you give me an example of this last one?
>>
>> - I see you are using Perl with hashrefs to do function xyz. Have you
>> considered (i.e. I would like you to) using $INSERT_SOMETHING_HERE?
>>
>> - Fiddling with the roadmap. Somehow, this always ends up like the
>> homeowner overriding the architect and trying to get the roof up
>> before the walls.
>>
>> - Giving "advice" on the process such as saying how awesome a concept
>> stakeholders and product owners are in Scrum. But they use
>> ExtremeProgramming.
>>
>> - Wanting to personally review the code often. I've seen some managers
>> *want to do this daily.
>>
>> - Get personally involved on their level.
>>
>>
>> All these things class as interference. Managers and owners who do this
>> have miles of justifiable reasons for doing so, but it's always hogwash
>> - they interfere, plain and simple.
>
> This is really interesting to me. *Is there a forum/website/book with
> more gritty, practical advice like this on managing programmers?
> These are the kinds of mistakes I will definitely make if someone
> doesn't tell me not to.
>
> Could you tell me really briefly what a manager *should* do?
>
> I think I'll try to manage a single programmer working few hours and
> see how it goes. *My asking stupid questions is due to my lack of
> experience and there's only one way to fix that.

I'd probably suggest reading The Mythical Man-Month.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mythical_Man-Month


--
:wq
 
Old 05-29-2012, 02:05 PM
Michael Orlitzky
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

On 05/29/12 09:58, Michael Mol wrote:
>
> I'd probably suggest reading The Mythical Man-Month.
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mythical_Man-Month
>
>

As long as we're suggesting books, this is one of my favorites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peopleware:_Productive_Projects_and_Teams

At worst it's an entertaining read.
 
Old 05-29-2012, 02:37 PM
Alan McKinnon
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

On Tue, 29 May 2012 09:58:00 -0400
Michael Mol <mikemol@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 4:34 AM, Grant <emailgrant@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>> >> I'll be getting my feet wet with this shortly. *Any other tips
> >>> >> regarding the management of one or more programmers working on
> >>> >> various small web projects? *Maybe workflow or any key
> >>> >> procedures a newbie manager should follow?
> >>> >
> >>> > You can get away with almost anything except these two things:
> >>> >
> >>> > Do not micro-manage
> >>> > Do not tell them how to do what they do
> >>>
> >>> Could you give me an example of this last one?
> >>
> >> - I see you are using Perl with hashrefs to do function xyz. Have
> >> you considered (i.e. I would like you to) using
> >> $INSERT_SOMETHING_HERE?
> >>
> >> - Fiddling with the roadmap. Somehow, this always ends up like the
> >> homeowner overriding the architect and trying to get the roof up
> >> before the walls.
> >>
> >> - Giving "advice" on the process such as saying how awesome a
> >> concept stakeholders and product owners are in Scrum. But they use
> >> ExtremeProgramming.
> >>
> >> - Wanting to personally review the code often. I've seen some
> >> managers want to do this daily.
> >>
> >> - Get personally involved on their level.
> >>
> >>
> >> All these things class as interference. Managers and owners who do
> >> this have miles of justifiable reasons for doing so, but it's
> >> always hogwash
> >> - they interfere, plain and simple.
> >
> > This is really interesting to me. *Is there a forum/website/book
> > with more gritty, practical advice like this on managing
> > programmers? These are the kinds of mistakes I will definitely make
> > if someone doesn't tell me not to.
> >
> > Could you tell me really briefly what a manager *should* do?
> >
> > I think I'll try to manage a single programmer working few hours and
> > see how it goes. *My asking stupid questions is due to my lack of
> > experience and there's only one way to fix that.
>
> I'd probably suggest reading The Mythical Man-Month.
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mythical_Man-Month


My favourite non-fiction book of all time :-)

Most favourite quotes are the ones about women producing babies, and
adding manpower to a late project makes it later. Oh, and this one is a
classic too:

Q: How do you get a project to be 3 years late?
A: One day at a time.





--
Alan McKinnnon
alan.mckinnon@gmail.com
 
Old 05-29-2012, 05:02 PM
James
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

Grant <emailgrant <at> gmail.com> writes:


> I'm debating whether I should hire an expert programmer for $X/hour,
> or a company of expert programmers for $2X/hour. It makes sense from
> a financial perspective to hire programmers directly, but I wonder if
> there are benefits to hiring a really good company.

OK Grant,

Here is my suggestions:

Think about code integration/management/maintenance
of what your goals is. WHO is going to do this;
the consultant/programmer or someone in your company?

If you know or get solid references to a qualified individuals,
the direct is always better, imho.

What is your target linux distro? Flexible?
Just coding or some deep thinking about the
server(s) processes and distributed/redundancy
or other hardware issues that will affect the
running code and configuration?


If not direct, you can use a company and and replace the programmer
until you are satisfied with the work-product. Big companies will
often present marginally qualified folks and then move up the
skill tree, as it is always easy for them to place top-notch
folks; so you have to be a bit demanding on the software house.


If all you have to do is fuss to the Company and they manage everything
else, 2X is the best solution. However, I've used some
pretty big houses with lots of experts and had to
'surf through' quite a few folks, until you get the one(s)
you want. It is still better than searching yourself,
unless you or somebody you trust knows someone really good.
Expert coders may charge much more, but, they get work
done faster and with a higher (easy to maintain)
degree of excellence. Often the best is the least
expensive, if you are well organized (have written a
specification of exactly what you want and expect).


hth,
James
 

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