John Mann

John Mann

Remote Working and the end of 2013...

dsc_0016 Happy New Year's eve... I have written a bunch of random thoughts, and learned a lot this year especially about remote working. I have worked a lot on WordPress, Node.js, SPA, KendoUI, and of course, .Net. I even did some Rasberry Pi development for fun. All in all, it has been a very educational year for me. I did Crossfit a bunch this year and got ridiculous stronger because of it. My endurance could still use some work, but fitbit has helped me stay motivated recently. I also got promoted to Development Manager at my current company. That was a long time coming... but definitely enjoy the new role. With teams in 3 different states, I am in a great position to learn about remote working. All in all, it was a long, rough year. A final trip to NYC was a nice ending to a long year.

Now, I have been reading more this year than I usually do, and because of that, I am seeing themes. I see bigger pictures now. Technology continues to grow at crazy rate. Corporations are getting bigger, and start-ups are getting funded through crowd-sourcing options. However, there are a few trends that I have noticed and corporations are still holding on to some "traditional" methods that will limit them. So let me start by explaining what I mean...

Remote working is the future for development. It is not just "out-sourced" it is "up-sourced".

We need to realize that the best person to solve the problem may not live where we live. The best UI developer may be in the Ukraine, the best .Net developer in Redmond, and the best QA resource is in Brazil. There are so many tools out there to communicate, with Skype, Hangouts, IRC, Campfire, Goto Meeting, etc... that we don't need to be HERE to be THERE. The book "Remote" by the guys at 37Signals (Jason Fried and David Heinemeir Hansson) talk about how to work remotely and even have the pitch on how to do it. Also, there is another book "The Year Without Pants" by Scott Berkun talks about how Automattic (the people that now run WordPress with Matt Mullenweg) have people all over the world and turn out ticket solutions 1300+ a month PER EMPLOYEE! It is that revolutionary thinking that creates innovation.

I have a problem, "HEY EVERYONE, I am stuck and need help, who can help". Everyone responds (or at least one or two) and they go, "I know that" or, "That sounds fun, let's see what we can do together". That is how you solve a problem. Not in a silo, but with others.

I don't always need to fly all over the world to make sure someone is doing their job, I need to trust that I have hired good people and they do their jobs naturally. How do you interview someone is key for that? Hey, I have a ticket here, here is our source code, fix the ticket. That is how people should be interviewed. Not contrived problems, that hopefully may shine a light of some insight that they may know how to code. There is much more than that. There is culture fit. I wrote another blog entry about changing cultures. It is never easy, but it is almost always worth it. People will leave, change will always causes turmoil, and the dust will never settle... we just keep moving forward. We always wait for the "as soon as, we finish this release" or "as soon as, this buyout happens", or "as soon as he leaves the team...". I have always found (yes, I said always) that there is one person who is "that guy" on every team. If you don't know who "that guy" is on your team, it is probably you. If he leaves the team, ironically someone tends to fill that void. They don't perform like you want, they complain about the project, the have GREAT ideas, but their code isn't always that great. They get the job done, but they tend to be more vocal about their concerns rather than the teams success. Those people always will exist. It is correctly working with them and educating them to help the team succeed. It is key that a team is created, and not a strong individual. I would much rather have 5 average developers who love their team, rather than 5 great developers who love themselves more than the team. Hire for fit, technology can be taught. Personality fit is not something that is easily taught. That goes for life in general. Marry someone who you love to spend time with, who is amazing at communicating with YOU. If they can't communicate, then you are missing 90% of any relationship.

I'm kind of going on a ramble today, and maybe I'll come back to this and rewrite this, but I have some time right now, so I thought I would do a brain dump of everything going on in my head. I am looking forward to 2014 and I am sure I will have resolutions I should break by Jan 2... but I will continue to try to improve myself, through knowledge, through experience, through exercise, and through human interactions. I will always believe that you will always learn more by listening than talking, accomplish more by trying than complaining, and enjoy life more from helping others than helping yourself. Go teach someone something you know this year... watch what happens.

Thanks for stopping by... Happy New Year! More entries coming... I'm considering a podcast, but that takes a commitment, time, planning... but man it sounds like fun! We'll see.

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