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The Life and Times of a Dev Yes, we're really that weird

I’m going to write my history with Agile here.  That way, in future posts, I can refer back to it, instead of typing it out in the post that contains information you may actually want to read.  Note that I’m actually a pretty senior developer, and do lots of technical interviews.  I’m an Agile fan because of the difference it makes in peoples lives and the improvement in quality it brings, and I’ll sacrifice my technological advance to help teams.

Management History

I started management pretty early in my career, starting with the first job that I ever had.  I actually do NOT have a CS or similar degree.  I have a Bachelor’s of Business Administration with an emphasis in Computer Information Systems.

My first management gigs were around call center work and were very schedule oriented.  I didn’t understand the true value of teams, and I’m ashamed to admit, I actually installed a fingerprint scanner as a time clock in this job.  I shudder to think of the impact that I had on the team spirit.  I didn’t even trust them enough to fill out their time cards correctly.  How sad.

I was managing nearly 100 people in this position, with the help of a great set of subordinates.

I did try to come up with reward programs for the team, but again, didn’t understand the concept of team, so instead of letting the team determine how the rewards should work, I mandated from on high, which isn’t a good thing.

I was told that I wasn’t the type that would be a good manager by people whom I respected a lot.  They said it because I was a computer geek, since they don’t understand good management either, but in retrospect, they were right about me then.  I was too green.

After my first job, I went on to other jobs and with the exception of one job, I’ve managed people at them all.  The rest of the management story is important for understanding agile, so I’ll save it for my next post.

Technical History

I’ve been in software development for many, many years.  I technically started programming on a commodore 64 in basic.  I didn’t know that I was programming, but I was sure having fun.  That was followed by batch files, Gorilla hacking (I always had to win), WordPerfect Macro programming and other things that taught me the basics.

My first “real” job was with a telephone company, and that’s where I made my first database application in DataEase, wrote my first VBA app and started using real programming tools, like turbo pascal, vb3-vb5, and semi-real tools like RPG and VisualRPG.  I wrote my first web page in 1994, and built my first data driven web page in 1995 using perlDB.  You really can do anything with Perl.  At this time, I also started a Linux based internet service provider that is still in operation today.  One of the people I worked with is now a Microsoft employee building and designing frameworks you probably know well.  Smart guy.  I also built my first ASP applications connecting to Sql Server 6.5, setup Exchange 5.5 for the company, and many other system administration stuff.  I’m a programmer by choice, mostly because I don’t really like PC support.

From there, I went on to a large state agency.  I got to see and maintain true waterfall projects.  5 years of maintaining the 200 VB COM+ (MTS, actually) dlls that were used to calculate a single number is a long time.  That was all Microsoft DNS technologies.  SQL Server and VB6 were the tools of choice, although .net started to be a factor near the end of employment.  I did some heavy XML work at this job and even wrote an XSD parser and validator in VB6 that was a shim until MSXML 3.0 came out.  Prior to 3.0, XSD’s weren’t supported, and I didn’t want to write DTDs.

Ironically, jobs after this were more generic.  I pretty much settled in on the .net framework and revisions of it.  Lots of WPF, some silverlight, lots of ASP.NET, some SQL Azure, lots of SQL Server, some Oracle, but I don’t think that I was as passionate about development and technologies.  I was more into the management of development.  I like people.

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Posted on Sunday, May 9, 2010 8:52 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: My History with Agile

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Such a nice and inspiring story to read. We can really learn something from here. - Bath Planet Franchise
Left by Jared MIchaels on Feb 09, 2017 9:27 PM

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