I learned a thing or two about Rackspace Cloud and OpenStack:

  • You can configure the monitoring agent via config files on an instance, even registering checks, alarms, and notification strategies for the instance if the monitoring agent is installed.
  • Autoscale instances that you create through the Rackspace control panel don’t get monitoring services installed by default, even if you started from an image of a server that was configured for monitoring. 😰
  • Through some black magic and API calls, you can instruct an autoscale group to install the monitoring agent on creation AND install a monitoring configuration file on each instance. 😥

Estimating is hard. Estimating well or even remotely accurately, is really hard. There are some tried-and-true mistakes that I’ve seen many teams make over the years that can hurt morale and efficacy of estimating and planning. Many of these I’ve learned from professional Agile coaches and mentors:

  • Avoid dithering over too-close estimates; always take the larger estimate. If there’s frequent debate over one size over another adjacent size, it’s possible that the range or scale isn’t different enough to make meaningful decisions.
  • Avoid anchoring other teammates towards an estimate too early. Don’t mention a size unless everyone is sharing; playing…

Photo by reza shayestehpour on Unsplash

Well, maybe useful again would be a start. If you’re like me, GitHub notifications ceased to be a useful feature somewhere shortly after launch. I’ve amended my “watching” habits (and settings) multiple times to try to make them more useful, but sending me even MOAR email is not the best way to get my attention. Navigating the not-quite-email experience that is the Notifications dashboard in GitHub is also quite the downer; I just end up frustrated with the noise after a while and “clear all” to make the little dot go away, TBQH.

The problem is, these are ephemeral messages…

I recently attended The Lead Dev conference in NYC and saw Jason Lengstorf give a talk on the dangers of “Rockstar Developers” to your team, presumably from his own first-hand experience. Here’s my longer version.

In 2007 I was a freelance software developer who knew practically nothing about running a business. I knew what I could charge, per hour of course, and how to sell myself a bit from my retail and restaurant experience. I had previously bombed on my first attempt at small-business-focused hardware consulting but had been doing “okay” for the last couple of years with a small…

An article recently made the rounds at work, Reality-Driven Development by Barry Jones, that I made a long thread of comments regarding. I recommend reading his first. I’m going to comment on my experience with Kanban and Scrum and where I feel the strengths and weaknesses lie with each.

On Boards and Backlogs

A little back-story on me: I’ve been a consultant and freelance developer for most of my professional career, which started back in the early 2000s. I built and ran small teams for businesses, coached and taught developers new and old hat, and worked a couple of full-time gigs along the way…

I was recently posed an interesting question: “What are the different kind of (software) engineers that you’ve worked with?” How do you distill 15 years of working with college-educated and self-taught software developers into a few descriptive categories? Well, here are some thoughts…

Worker Bees — of which I am not — seem to tirelessly crank out tasks at an alarming rate and are the happiest just doing so. These are some of the most focused, productive people I’ve ever met, but please don’t invite them to more than 2 meetings a week or ask them to speak for more…

David Rogers

Community organizer and nerd wrangler, instructional speaker, application developer, professional freelancer, dad. | https://about.me/al_the_x

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