alacrity in action
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By the time my own copy of “97 Things Every Programmer Should Know“, edited by Kevlin Henney, arrived I have already seen a few copies around and heard a few people’s opinions. I was quite keen to reflect on some of the wisdom shared by the contributors so I picked it up for the summer holidays and got going.

As I was reading about automation, simplicity, boy scout rule or code comments my initial reaction was lukewarm. Surely these are all interesting articles, I thought to myself, but feel familiar, perhaps even obvious; maybe an interesting read for a beginner. I wasn’t sure what I could really take away from the book apart from a few ideas I have not come across before.

I think I would have read through and put the book back on the shelf, just to affirm myself as a decent developer since these things all looked familiar, if it wasn’t for the entry by Jon Jagger – “Do Lots of Deliberate Practice“. Only once I read it did I realise that perhaps I have something rather different in front of me than I initially thought. Perhaps it is more than just a collection of thoughts, ideas, best practice that I could refer to.

I realised, that what I actually have is an excellent collection of exercises that are a perfect starting point to do more deliberate practice with. Ideas that I might know about but ideas which are only truly valuable if I can act upon them. Now I have a great source of inspiration and direction that I can pick from and think how can I apply each and every pearl from the book in my everyday actions. How I can deliberately practice being a better programmer.

I must remember though not to simply perform those tasks to complete them but to do deliberate practice to improve my ability to perform them. I’m setting off to turn 97 things every programmer should know into 97 things I, as a programmer, do and so should you.

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I like when that happens. I grabbed a “random” book in the office, flicked through and it turned out to be a real gem. “The Trusted Advisor” by Tom Peters, David Maister, Charles Green and Robert Galford is unsurprisingly all about trusts. It talks about the role and importance of creating and sustaining trust for professional consultancy services. You can use it as a guide for building and evolving trust. It describes what it looks like when you experience a trust relationship and gives good reasons why trust is more important that technical excellence.

I really liked this book primarily because I attribute similar importance to trust. I also think it is still greatly underrated in both management and in IT industry but it is changing. Agile manifesto as well as XP both emphasize that software development is primarily about interaction between people (at all different levels) and about technical practices second. One of the principles behind Agile Manifesto explicitly refers to it: Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

Refer to my mindmap as a guide through the book or a reminded of some of the key themes. Good, useful and relevant read. Recommended.

Give them the environment and support they need,
and trust them to get the job done.