Results tagged “Corporate”

The last few days at work in 2012 held another surprise for us. Well, more for the other members of my team because I got the informations a few days in advance. Because of the current project situation it was no longer possible to keep our team together in its current structure.

We all knew that sooner or later one of our colleagues would leave the team and also start supporting other teams as Scrum Master as he has expressed his wishes and goals already some time in the past. Something similar applied to me (just not that openly) as I always communicated to my department leaders that if there is a project or team with the requirement of a Scrum Master who has also a proper technical background in development and there is no other possibility they could get back on me as a last resort. What only I knew in advance was that there were already restructuring plans emerging as the project situation could no longer afford our current team in its entirety. The large project we were working on ends with 2012 and will be continued (with a certain probability) earliest in February. And there are no other short-term projects available which could carry our team in the meantime. Furthermore other teams were also in need of new Scrum Masters and that was the the tipping point why not only my colleague is leaving my current team but also I have to leave it to support another team.

The current team is left with two full time members, one part time member and one member on unpaid leave until March. It has been decided that it will be merged with another smaller team and its Scrum Master to work on small tickets and also the current projects of the joining team. In the end we were victims of an unclear project situation in our technological areas and a high demand for support in other areas.

It's really sad that this is the fate of our team. In the last year we became specialists in our technological areas and had a steady rise in expertise, know-how and professionality. We had to cope with several difficult situations but in the last few weeks of 2012 it became clear that we were working together very effectively and there were also no issues on a personal or communication level (which is not that common in my experience).

I hope that I'll have the chance to keep up regular chats to all of them in the future and stay in contact.

My new team will be in a comparable situation as my old team way a bit more than a year ago. They are also only a few people and in the last year they had seen five other Scrum Masters come and go. That this poses an obstacle to building and adhering to processes should be pretty clear. In 2013 they will also take over a completely new project where there is not much prior work and they can start "green-field". As this is new to most of them I had been asked to become their 6th and hopefully more permanent Scrum Master because I had similar success with my old team(s) and also can offer deeper experience in that specific area of technology (Java, J2EE, etc.).

Thank you my old team for the great ride and I wish you all the best. Welcome my new team, I will do everything what is possible to me to make our upcoming work a presentable item of excellence.

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In the last two weeks there have been some additional events concerning my current role as a ScrumMaster for a development team. Both events have been trainings which were targeted not only but also for ScrumMasters. The first training was an internal one which was intended for ScrumMasters and Performance Managers (an internal role which is comparable to a coach for employees). This one was just an afternoon and quite relaxed because the trainers partly internal employees and was concentrating more on the psychological side of coaching and mentoring activities.

The second training was the more intensive one. It was lasting for three days and was performed by Boris Gloger who is THE professional Scrum trainer in Europe. He founded his consulting company bor!isgloger to spread Scrum and help organisations in implementing this methodology.

Performing the training with Boris was a refreshing experience. In our company we are already working using Scrum for quite some years. But I always had the feeling that some things did not work very well and that a few problems we experienced were caused by inconsistencies in our implementation of Scrum. Yet I could not name or pinpoint the exact causes. In our training with Boris we gained a lot of new insight into "our" methodology and we realized at least some of the difficulties which we are dealing with on a daily basis. To be fair, I think none of our problems poses a serious threat for any of our running projects. Nevertheless they limit our efficiency and effectivity when dealing with our work and on some occasions we're already hitting the borders of what we're currently capable of.

One of those problems affects me personally. A ScrumMaster should be a ScrumMaster for 100% of the time and within Scrum different roles should not be executed by a single person. Which is what I'm currently doing, I'm ScrumMaster and developer within my team. This makes it hard to stay objective on our work and also causes some more organizational problems.

This does all but smoothen the dillema I've already mentioned last time. In the meantime I received additional compliments for my work as a ScrumMaster for the new team which tells me that I'm doing that job not that bad. But if I really would try to improve my performance as a ScrumMaster it would result in having to give up my software development activity completely and concentrate on the development, guidance and coaching of the team.

Still no answer in sight for me....

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For one month now I'm in charge of a team as a ScrumMaster. To be fair, it's not really a month because in the first week I've just been passively in the new team while we've been still working on our previous projects. My personal conclusion so far for the past 1 1/2 sprints? I think I'm doing a good job as a ScrumMaster. In the first retrospective which in fact was the first real retrospective for this team in a long time. The critic points could obviously be summarized to a lack of Scrum consequence in this team. At the beginning of "my" sprint I immediately began introducing a lot of the things I've been learning, experiencing and using in the last few years in fully integrated Scrum teams.

I did leave out some (admittedly important) aspects at first intentionally because I think I should guide the team back to Scrum step-by-step avoiding a shocking big-bang approach for the team-members. So for example we skipped the estimation meeting because there were no defined userstories yet and we concentrated on the work which had to be done anyway. For the next sprint I already organized a correct estimation and planning. And I think my approach worked out quite well because in our last retrospective almost all of the previous critique points have been resolved. Even better most of them came back as positive responses.

So, what's coming up in the future? Well, the project will be finished in a few weeks. I still have a sort of special position because I'm no exclusive ScrumMaster but also actively developing on the project. Of course it's not easy to keep the balance between ScrumMaster responsibilities and development tasks but for now it's in a green state. I still don't know in which direction I want to continue because I like doing active development but it's also very interesting having Scrum responsibility for a team. I'm also participating in the offered ScrumMaster trainings (upcoming week there'll be a ScrumMaster certification) and it's fun and interesting but I still don't know whats best for me and also my career development. From the feedback I got from my superiors I'm pretty sure they would appreciate it if I keep the ScrumMaster direction. Have to figure that one out, the sooner the better...

On to the personal stuff. This week the 3rd of four semesters of my masters degree started. Some surprises already awaited us, for example some deadlines which were so far completely untold to us. But not a big problem so far. Nevertheless I have still to finish some courses from the last semester and these examinations are already quite near. Some of my former bachelor degree colleagues also started to study on a masters degree. Their and my study situation are a bit different and furthermore I'm a year ahead with the studies but currently we all have the same feeling that our bachelors degree was something special and it seems we're all just comparing our current classes withAn the one from the bachelors degree. Currently the winner is clear (and for me the picture won't change much anymore I guess) but things could still change for my former colleagues when they have had more time in their semesters. Well... good ol' times... And one final thing, yesterday my old car which was still standing around and waiting for someone interested in buying it, found a buyer and was picked up yesterday. No more new memories with this old buddy anymore... farewell.

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It seems now that it's time for me that I switch the sides a bit at work. Two to three weeks ago a certain project came up at work and the Scrum Master of my team made some stretches (thanks for this) to offer me the opportunity to work on this project as a Scrum Master of a new team.

I thought a lot about this opportunity because altough at first this seems as a step up in the company my personal perception is not that clear. A Scrum Master at our company has a certain responsibility for the success of the project its team is working on. But on the other side (our internal setup of) the Scrum Master is not granted the necessary decision power to be able to support this responsibility in an effective way. This has been set up because the "upper levels" sensed a gap in the responsibility chain when something goes wrong. After the Product Owner there is the nebulous "Team" which is responsible for the success. Yet, if there is no success you can't simply blame "the team". So our implementation of Scrum simply lifts the Scrum Master to a team leader role. This has been much-discussed but in the end that was the final decision and so far I think it works in most cases.

Of course it's not all black. There is the opportunity to guide a team, have some insight and influence in project and HR preparations, a better communication channel to the project managers and of course take the time to take care of all this stuff.

A similar offering has been made to me already some years ago but rejected shortly afterwards again because of business reasons. I've been quite disappointed back then (and I'm still a bit because the argumentation was... well... creative) and for a short moment I thought of rejecting myself because of this. Of course I didn't because this would signal a lack of interest which is absolutely not the case. I'm very interested in the opportunity of stepping a bit up from development and some temporarily supporting tasks for organizing stuff and work.

So, today I received the message that starting tomorrow I'll be the Scrum Master of a new team with a new project. The project is still in its preparation stages so I don't know how much of it is already far enough to enter the reach of the team or ready to be worked on. I also don't know exactly who will be on the team itself. Lots of open questions and things to discuss, decide and organize... I take the challenge!

At least one thing is already for sure and out of the question: the final delivery date...

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This is the 6th posting in this year now. My output so far is quite below of what I expected from myself. While I blame stress and lack of time for that until the beginning of July, there should have been some time for an update since then. So the only thing preventing postings has been my own lazyness... Ah well...

Ok, what's changed or noteworthy in the last months? Maybe the most important thing for me personally is that I've purchased a new (used) car. I've been passively looking for potential new cars for quite some time now although I've been very pleased and happy with my car so far. But this time the costs for the required servicing and repairs approached almost 2k Euros without a guarantee that the costs will be lower for the next service intervals. So I decided to take the lemon, say goodbye to my old loyal and reliable companion and pick up something with lower regular costs. Welcome my new car, a blue Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 JTD Emotion with 90 HP. It's in excellent shape and I hope it'll be an as good escort as my previous Fiat which carried me over 180k km in the the almost exactly past 6 years.

The next noteworthy news is that this year I'm a contestant in the Zw�lfkampf which is organized by some friends. It is a series of twelve games where an overall winner is calculated over tracks of 4, 8 or all 12 games. The main event on Sep. 24/25th is preceded by some "sideevent" games in which I made a not too bad impression but they don't count for the finale ;)

Communication is the next topic. Back in May I purchased a new smartphone, the LG Optimus Speed (or P990 or LGOS/LG2X). While It worked for some weeks without a hitch at one day it began to show a very special defect where I could not place or receive calls when I'm registered in the 3G network of my provider. I borrowed some other SIM cards from different providers but the problem only exists with the network of mine. Since I'm denied service for it at my provider (it doesn't have this phone in its portfolio) I have to handle everything myself. Currently (yes, it's August now!) it's on its 4th trip to the LG service from which I hope it will eventually return completely replaced. The previous three times the device was only "serviced" and at one occassion the mainboard (without baseband module) and the camera module (wtf?) were replaced. Of course without effect. At the moment my seller and I are just hoping that LG just relents to sending me a new phone instead of useless servicing of the defect one.

On to the university stuff. Not much to report here, since the last exam in July and last hand-in also in July I pretty much left everything in a standby mode. But I'm warming up already as the next key-dates are approaching and there is still a bit of work to do, exams to prepare for and documents to hand in.

Some holiday-related stuff now. I took two weeks summer holiday at the end of July. Originally I planned to use that time to firstly do the car stuff and to finish building some concrete walls for a terrace behind the house. The car business took sadly longer than expected as my first seller let me down and sold the car to somebody other. I could get my hands on another one as you already read above and retrospectively this was a lucky coincidence as my first candidate car was not in an as good shape and more expensive. The wall works also could not be finished in these two weeks because the bricks we ordered took longer to deliver than planned and also it rained the whole two weeks but for two days.

And finally the work news. Project work in the company is running as usual with maybe some changes for me personally in the near future. But as it's not complete determined, this is all I'd like to say so far. After my holiday I returned in a modified team with three new people and it's still changing as soon one of our colleagues will change to another team and tomorrow we'll receive assistance with another new team member. Yeah, bit of change ;)

Well, that's it for now. I hope that I can raise my posting interval in the future again but I wouldn't bet on that as it didn't work in the past six months....

P.S.: Ah yes, I'm on Google+ too meanwhile. This time with my real name, those who know me are of course invited at any time to show me their presence ;)

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For some time now (about 8 months) I've been working at projects where we had to set up a CMS for managing contents of websites. This had been the first contact of our team with this specific technology and although we had some help we had to dig up the internals and methods of creating a CMS infrastructure almost solely by ourselves.

At some point of these projects we felt the need that we should not reinvent the wheels over and over but utilize already gained knowledge in that area and looked for design- or implementation guides how to design your CMS structure in ways so that the later users of your pages "have an easy life" while managing their content.

To give a bit more background on it to make it clearer:

  • we're working with RedDot/OpenText CMS
  • we create the overall structure of the website, not the actual content
  • we also set up an area, where (at a later time) editors enter and manage the actual content of the webpage

And the last two points are the area which caused us some headache. How should we implement the structure of the webpage and set up the administrative areas so that it's easy for the editors to maintain the actual content? Are there any guidelines how to design the implementations so that if editors complain about something we can fix the structure/process without having to overhaul the complete website?

Searching through the Internet I've found a bunch of pages on how to design a CMS system itself, but none of them covered my questions...

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Yes, it's the final stretch of my current university education. On October 1st I'll have to pass the last and final presentation and exam of my bachelors thesises. This means in the upcoming few days I have to prepare two presentations and also have solid knowledge of my bachelors thesises topics. Furthermore I have to prepare for the third part of the exam in (again) another area of expertise.

At work I had also the chance to take over responsibility for the project I'm currently working on in the team while the project lead was on vacation two weeks ago. I've had some difficulties but I think I could manage them although I still have to gather some feedback on my performance during that time. What I already know is that I have to get a bit more organized during the activities of communicating with the customer, performing tasks myself, distributing tasks to others and keeping track of all new information and agreements during that time.

Last week I also have been to Germany and receive a training on a new hardware part which is introduced in a customers infrastructure and which we're integrating with our services. The time in Germany was quite ok but because of preparations for the university I had only few chances to have a look around in the city.

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Just yesterday I read the article from Joel Spolsky about A Little Less Conversation. Despite it being an article from the future, Feb. 1st, it reminded me a lot of the experiences I've collected in our company myself.

In short, Joel repeats once more the sadly not-common-knowledge that the more people are on a team the slower and less effective it gets. "Adding people to a late project makes it later!". He explains this counterintuitively effect, that the number communication paths does not grow in a linear way with the number of team members. Instead it grows much faster so that on a team with 10 people you already have 45 different paths of communication which have to be managed and synchronized. And if everyone on the team has to kept up-to-date with the information-flow the overhead for managing this information (even if just sorting into relevant/irrelevant) can quickly reach nontrivial amounts.

There are two ways to soften this problem. The one with the bigger impact is to keep your teams below a certain size. In our company the experience seems to come up that our Scrum teams work best if they do not exceed eight people. If with or without Scrum Master depends on the team. The second measure which can be taken is, that not everyone is invited or updated with information which is unrelevant for his or her position. Even more so if there is no influence possible for these people. But people also have to understand that it's not out of personal dislike or conflicts that they aren't kept up-to-date with everything on the company but that this lowered information-level allows them to concentrate more on their actual stuff which they are working on and removes a lot of unnecessary interruptions.

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This Sprint was an unusual one for our team. Firstly most of our team is on vacation and furthermore we're dealing with a project in an area where we have never worked before. Luckilly the project manager for this new project is very helpful and gave us enough assistance that we could handle the planned parts for the project better than we thought.

As of now there should only be minor work left for tomorrow and we expect to be finished with it by tomorrow afternoon which is much better than all our expectations. So today we began with estimation meetings to add some additional work to the current sprint. This is not exactly following Scrum but fits our business needs, boosts our sprint productivity and just does make sense.

I do not know where this excellent productivity originates. One possibility could be that we just overestimated the upcoming work at Sprint-start because we never did something in that direction. Or it could be because the project manager prepared and helped us much more than any other in the past. Admittedly he's much more into the technical stuff then our other project managers. Or it could just be coincidence.

Nevertheless. In my opinion in this sprint I've been much more productive compared to many of the past sprints, except the ones where I've been assigned to another team. I personally think that the reason for my improved performance is that I and a colleague did quite strong and effective Pair Programming. We did that at my computers where my setup allowed us to work on a single screen and computer using two keyboards and mouses. It enabled us to instantly switch the active/passive roles if needed every few seconds. I haven't been that concentrated for quite some time. Also I think if you work together it's the same thing as in sports where you motivate each other.

What I also changed this sprint is that I tried to manage the tasks I take over with Eclise Mylyn. When I started with it it was not very comfortable but after some time, I think one or two days, I got used to it and development became more fluent and I was able to better focus to the task at hand. What helped me with the start was reading some introductory literature like the Mylyn 2.0 Tutorial (still highly relevant even if Mylyn is already at version 3.2) and watching the Mylyn 3.0 video presentation by Mik Kersten. My experiences with Mylyn will be content of another posting some time in the future. Just two things I think which are very important: Create mylyn tasks for issues or other workable topics as soon as they cross your mind and try to keep them focussed and small, maybe so that they can be done in not more than two to three hours. You can group them to larger tasks later.

I'm very curious how the feedback after this sprint from the project managers and development leaders will be and also from the other members of my team. I also hope, that we can maintain a bit of the effectivity from this sprint in the future.

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Today our company celebrated its anniversary. It was moved to this date from another date because of bad wheter back that time. Well, it hasn't been better today. It started to rain quite strong at about 3pm and went on with lighter rain into the evening.

For this anniversary our company even invited all ex-employees and people which are connected to it. Doesn't matter if our company had set them free or if they left on their own, everyone (from whom we could somehow acquire contact information) was invited. And as it turned out, quite a lot of the people who worked at our company some time in the past showed up.

It's always a great pleasure for me to meet my former work colleagues and long-unmet friends and exchange thoughts and experiences with them. I get a peek on what work they are busy with, how they work and what problems or chances they are faced with. And most of the time I can be sure, that work is almost the same in most companies and they all face the same problems and issues.

I also met my former boss who way back in time was the responsible person to have the final decision if I would get the job at the company or not. And I'm happy that he agreed. Altough he is not employed in our company anymore for years now, he is still some sort of motivation and acts as a model for me. I'm impressed how he managed to do what he has done, how he built up the connections he has and just how he seems to be successful with most of the things he touches. And when I talk to him I always get peeks into the other world of our business, the management and organisation world. The one, where things are much more volatile and political than in my developer-world.

I've always been interested in the management of projects or teams but until now I only managed to get small chances to get a deeper insight here and there. This may or may not be connected to my interest that I do not want to loose the connection to the hand-on engineering and development of software. And I have the opinion that when someone is managing a team or project this person should focus solely on this task and help the team by removing all obstacles for them but he should not join the development of software itself actively. But it's always been a tempting idea in my head...

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In the last few weeks I've got the chance to look into the sourcecode in a lot of different modules of the product our department is working on. The more code I had a look at the more a certain insight was forming in my head. What I saw when I looked at the different parts of the sourcecode from a lot of different people is, that it's cruical for the maintainability of code to know the advantages and possibilities of the frameworks you're working with. Otherwise you're going to reinvent the wheel over and over again. And I recognized many different wheels in this code.

We're working with Java here and among our used frameworks is also the Apache Commons. It's a framework which greatly eases the solving of common problems every Java developer faces every day. To give examples I'll focus on working with collections here. The Java framework itself has already some convenience methods available when working with Collection classes in the their generic interface classes (like Collection, List, Set or Map) but the Commons Collections Classes provides further methods which cover many day-to-day operations with their xyzUtil classes (see CollectionUtils or ListUtils for examples).

A lot of the operations I came across in our code deal with creation and manipulation of different collections, transforming from/to arrays, intersecting or summing them and so on. Lots of loops and different ways to solve always-repeating problems. With the utility-classes and methods from the frameworks we're using a lot of these sourcecode-parts can be reduced and simplified from up to a few dozend lines to just a few ones or in a lot of cases even a single line.

Not only does this reduction aid the readability and comprehensibility of the code it also makes it more robust as most of the framework-methods are already for example null-safe and thus take the burden of null-checks from the developer. And less code is easier maintainable than endless pages of difficult logic. Of course, the usage of frameworks also requires the developers who get at it later on to have at least a little knowledge of these but the invested time to get familiar with the framework almost always pays off manifold.

PS: Another extremely useful utility class in the Apache Commons is the StringUtils class. Just have a look at the impressive convenience methods in its interface and I bet there are many methods in there which you immediately could use at some places of your code.

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I'm running Firefox on all my computers. And I have a habbit of collecting lots of tabs for later reading or further actions. Furthermore, a lot of the pages I'm visiting have at least a little bit of JavaScript running. Some of those use scripting quite extensively.

So it was no surprise that over time the oldest of my computers at work, which I use for reading email, was getting slower and slower with Firefox using up to 0.5 GB of the available RAM. Which got paged out to the harddisk a lot, when I also switched back and forth to Outlook and some other applications. It became quite inconvenient to use.

I decided to take action and try the speed- and memory-optimized Firefox-Builds from pigfoot (via Lifehacker). Installation consisted of unpacking the downloaded package (available as self-extracting archive or also as portable version) and copying over my Firefox-Installation (after making a backup of course).

Upon startup the first thing I recognized was the new application icon and startup screen. And it felt just a bit faster, almost unnoticeable. In all other manners it behaved exactly like the original Firefox. But now after having it runnig continuously for some days, which would have made the old Firefox crawling like a disabled snail, it is still running fluently and reacting a lot faster than I expected it.

I'm very satisfied with this build of Firefox and hope, that some of the optimizations somehow make it into the original build. I think many power-users like me would only appreciate that.

One drawback should not stay unmentioned: I do not know, if this version follows the automatic updates from Mozilla. Nevertheless, new versions have to be installed manually after these are available at pigfoot's weblog. But for the improvements I'm experiencing on my stressed computer I'm happy to live with that.

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On Friday I got feedback from the team where I've been assisting for some time. It seems, that I did quite well, the feedback was 100 percent positive and also accompanied by the statement that they would welcome it if I decided to permanently switch to them.

I have to admit that I already played with that thought a bit, but for now I think I'm not switching (yet). After checking back with my superiors there would be no problem at all, so it's really completely my own decision. After these results I think it will get more comon to exchange team members for a limited time cross-department. And I think that such exchanges will largely be positive as all concerned parties can learn from the experience.

In other news, I'm in bed. Yesterday in the very last minutes of playing Badminton I somehow tripped and hurt my ankle. It was quite painful but after about 10 minutes it went away and I could walk normally. Over the course of the afternoon and evening the ankle began to hurt just a bit and became swollen. This morning my ankle had the shape of a tennis ball and hurt much more than yesterday so I decided to give the hospital a visit. The physicals resulted in pulled ligaments and now I'm on sick leave for at least this week. And I guess, the revisit on Friday will result in that I should stay away from such fast-running sports for some time. Damn...

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This week, the first week back at work after vacation, had quite an interesting start. Monday was without surprises, just Sprint demos and a bit of administrative work. But on Tuesday the interesting stuff began when I received an invitation for Sprint planning meetings of another team.

As it turned out, there had been some initial conversation about me helping in another team for a specific task but the discussion had no clear conclusion. In the end and after some negotiation between the teams we agreed that for the upcoming month I'm assigned to the other team. There I'll assist with their current tasks so that the task I've been originally requested for can be finished faster after the ones with higher priority are completed.

So I'm now completely shifted to a different team (the same I've already joined some time ago) for four weeks and after the first few days my impression is that as well the other team can benefit from my knowledge with the Scrum methodology as well as I can benefit from the different tools and experience how they solve their problems. A clear win-win situation.

Of course everything has been discussed with my other team and it posed no problem to them in the upcoming time.

Just one drawback is that the next vacation block in two weeks had to be canceled because of these changes. But since I've got plenty of vacation left for this year, this is fine with me.

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Yesterday I was one in the department who got the order to get rid of accumulated holiday and compensatory time. The target was set to have at most 10 days combined by the end of this year.

I personally have collected quite a large backlog over the last few years which means now I've got quite a hard time to shrink this pile of time. In fact, I could go on vacation for four months straight.

I'm not very happy with that because I like to work and be productive and tinker with problems and optimize stuff and so on. But I can also understand the position of our company because they have to keep the monetary value of these holidays and overtime hours aside and it builds up quite some weight on the balance sheet.

So, now I'm busy planning how I'm going to distribute that time and thinking about what I'm going to do in that spare time.

If you had four additional (and unexpected) months in your life, how would you spend them?

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Last week another round of the internal reviews started.
The purpose of those reviews is to perform a two-way-feedback on the work performance of the employee. What went right, where are the strengths of the person, what went wrong, where are the weaknesses and what are the possible ways in the future to improve the personal performance.

I've had mine mid last week and there haven't been much surprises. One thing I've already recognized personally is, that I'm not as active in my main project because I'm constantly disturbed by other stuff which arises from old projects where I'm the only one left to do the work.
Also, the project management got the impression, that I'm more "connected" with the older projects than with my main one which is partly true partly false.
True in the case that I'm more confident in the older projects as I'm the impersonated knowledge of almost everything which is necessary for those projects. False in the case because that doesn't mean that I'm not trying to increase my knowledge in the current project. But I could have done better.

Of course there were an equally number of good points but I don't want to elaborate on that because I cannot improve there. My improvement chances lie in the points where I got feedback that it could be better and I'm definitely working on it!

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For a few days now I've been joining another development team in our company to work on something which is more related to this team than to my current SCRUM team.

This experience is like a Deja'Vu.
The new team is just existing for 2 sprints (~4 weeks) and being in it reminds me of the beginning time of our own SCRUM team a year ago.

It's like a look in our own past where we hadn't applied SCRUM as we do today and our team was not working as closely together.

But they have the same learning progress which we had, even faster than ourselves. And that's something they have to do on their own, this cannot be done by explaining or trainings.

I think this team has the potential to become very successful.

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At our company we're using RSAs SecurID hardware tokens to connect our computers to the central company network infrastructure.

As my computer, for unknown reason, drops out of the VPN connection regularly I have to log on using this token quite often. And the more I have to look at the generated numbers, the more I get the impression that the tokens often generate "symmetric-looking" numbers. Just at the moment I'm looking at 568561. The next such ones (in a timeframe of about 8-10 minutes) are: 804508, 259825, 438858, 832738.

To me these numbers look not as random as they should, but of course I could be wrong and everything is really just coincidence. Is it really just randomness which causes so many codes with such a symmetric display and so many repeating numbers?

One could now begin to calculate the chances of two digits appearing twice in a collection of 6 digits. How high would the probability be?

I don't really know because I don't have enough time to investigate, but it leaves a curious feeling...

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Yes, the promised additional photos are still lacking presence. Yes, there are still blog-updates happening every two to three weeks. Yes, I know.

Sorry for that. I've been trying to keep up with work and the stuff we have to do this semester for the university. This time we've got a project assignment in almost every subject also with some quit tight schedules.

Also at work there have been some interesting changes as we have made significant changes to our Scrum development process. We changed the teams completely and also mixed up all of the upcoming tasks which means that the new teams have to adopt to the new areas they're working on now. But so far I think it works even better than expected and we're producing results faster than we hoped. I'm quite positive that this will advance even more in the near future. Exciting times ahead...

What has been some sort of a setback in the last weeks were some expenses I had to take for my car. A big regular maintenance, some rust removal (rust has been no surprise but the amount was unexpected) and a change of my handlebars. New winter tires were also necessary. Bye bye, last months salary :( At least it's cheaper than having to purchase a new car (with more unexpected sidecosts) and I'm dependent on being mobile. But I think my car is now prepared for some more years to come.

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Yesterday was the last appearance of my former manager of the project I spent a great part of my time in this company on.

Two days ago he announced a small farewell-party and invited lots of people to it. It was quite a nice party and we all had a great time. There were some sad moments tough, especially when one after the other had to leave and made a final goodbye handshake.

Goodbye K., you've always been one of the bright spots in every project we've participated together.

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