Gant Software Systems


The Words You Use

I’ve been noticing something in my network of friends and family of late. Really, it’s been there all along, but I suppose it started really jumping out at me a few months ago. Like most things that really jump out at me, I notice it more when other people do the same crap I do, so this is not presented as an indictment of them. I’ve noticed a remarkable difference between people who really excel at moving their lives forward and reaching their goals and those who trudge along more slowly, or fail altogether. While lots of things can impede success, from dumb luck, to bad timing, to rashness, or lack of skills, one thing I consistently see out of people who aren’t doing well when they should be (ie., in the absence of those other things) is that a large number of them seem to describe their situations, both to others and themselves, in terms of their own powerlessness.

Instability Is The Default Plan For It

As a few of you know, I was briefly employed from the tail end of February until late last Thursday, when I got downsized. It was an excellent group to work with and I plan to stay in contact with those guys. While I can’t get into too many of the details, it wasn’t due to performance or anything like that. It’s just that the sort of clients I work with sometimes have things change out from under them and things go in different directions. It stinks, but life is full of surprises. If I wanted a boring, perfectly safe job, I’d get that tomorrow (and some HR algorithm would probably reject me, but let’s just go with the optimistic case for now). That’s not what I do though. I’ll go back and work for them again in a heartbeat if the opportunity presents itself.

When To Automate

As software developers, one of the main things we are tasked with is the automation of business processes. Typically, we’re given a task to do, with much of (if not all of) the process laid out and told to get it done. As a result of this sort of thinking, it tends to be our default mindset to either attempt to automate everything, or to avoid automating anything in our own workflows. The decision of when to automate is something a lot of developers struggle with, as it’s very easy to either put up with irritating, repetitive processes, or to get lost in the weeds trying to automate something that really isn’t worth bothering with.

How To Write A Blog Post Quickly

I know this is a bit outside the normal content for this blog, but since I get asked frequently, I figured I would share my method. It usually takes me an hour or two in total to build a blog post, although some of the longer ones might take as much as three hours. I do sometimes get interrupted, but for the most part, I’m able to write the whole thing without too many problems. I’ve refined the method over time to help improve my speed as well.

Advice for Green Developers

Someone pointed out to me the other day that I am a bit of “an old fart” in the .NET development space. At first, I was about to protest and insist that I wasn’t that old. Then it occurred to me that I have been using .NET since the first public beta, which came out in 2001 (if I recall correctly, which I may not, because I’m old). That said, as I think back over my career and the loads of developers who eventually got out of the industry, I wistfully contemplated giving some advice to the folks just getting started. The reasons for it are many. First, I want to see more people succeed. Second, I’ve watched loads of people fail (or worse, not rise to the full level of their potential), including screwing up via self-sabotage. Here, then, are some things that I’ve noticed that might serve as “lifehacks” for making your climb through your career a little easier as well as making your survival more likely.

Book Review: Getting Things Done

Many years ago, at the suggestion of my friend and coworker, Stan McFarland, I picked up a copy of “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. This book is an excellent primer on getting yourself organized. David Allen does an excellent job of showing you how to get a handle on managing your time and attention well. I cannot recommend this book enough.

How I Get Things Done With Evernote

I use Evernote as my software package of choice for managing to do lists, as well as for archiving the little bits of data I need here and there. Following (somewhat loosely) David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology, I’ve created the following notebooks in my evernote account.

16 Things No One Told You About Freelancing

Wise generals of the past have an old saying. No battle plan survives first contact. It’s true. Whatever you have planned is subject to the whims of fate. I had plans going out on my own as a freelancer. Some have come to pass. Others have been…adjusted by experience. I think everybody that makes it through their first six months or so has a list (and everybody further out probably has updated their list as time goes on). This is my list so far of the things I’ve noticed that nobody really told me (or they suggested, but I didn’t listen very well). Here are my top 16 things that I just didn’t really understand fully until I started freelancing.

How To Read A Book On Soft Skills

Since I’m going to soon start adding some book reviews as part of my regular blogging rotation, I’m going to share an insight that I didn’t really realize was insightful. That is, for a very long time, I read a lot of books incorrectly, in way that not only insured I would get little value out of them, but that also insured that I couldn’t act upon any value I got with much success.