A Weekend of Fun and Games: TWT Hackathon 2016

wemake-claim

Details

On July 30/31st we are hosting the first TWT Hackathon of all times. It is called „WE MAKE“ you are invited to come and join the fun. You can find more information at wemake.twt.de.

Hack away and immerse yourself in code on both of the days. There will even be prizes to win and interesting mentors to meet. (Yours truly might be one of them *winkwinknudgenudge*).

We will also have a fantastic BBQ feast and lots of food and drinks available.

And don’t forget the interesting topics and challenges which you can tackle: „AUGMENTED LIVING IN A SMART WORLD

There will be three categories in which you can create solutions:

  • Internet of Things
  • Virtual Reality
  • Maps / Location

You can register as a team or as a single participant. Go directly to our landing page and be part of the fun!

TWT Zirkeltraining for Digital Finance – come and see!

On May 31st 2016 we will be holding a series of workshops @ TWT. It is called „Zirkeltraining“ (which means circuit training) and you can move from station to station to learn something fresh from our experts in the fields of strategy, insurance-to-go, omnichannel, and best practices.

I might also be at one of the stations, so feel free to register and tag along 🙂 There is also food and drinks for free!

DIGITAL FINANCE – LÖSUNGSANSÄTZE FÜR BANKEN & VERSICHERUNGEN

Brain Dump May 2015

Learnings
  • Templates matter
    If a customer has templates that they feel at home with, use them! Sometimes you have to adjust your own way of thinking, but you’ll learn something and the customer will pose less problems. It pays to listen to the real needs of people.
  • Mise-en-place
    Staying in the preparation meme: the mise-en-place from kitchens all over the worlds holds an important metaphor for preparing yourself for the next day or the next todo or the next meeting. Think about everything that you need to have to be successful and make sure that it there. At the right place, at the right time in the right amount… I somehow think about mise-en-place when I prepare everything for the next day: putting the plate for making the kids breakfast, put the spoon next to the dog food, put the clothes for the next day on the cupboard, etc. It always shortens my mornings a lot. Thinking about where to use „mise-en-place“ in other situations.
  • Challenge ideas
    I often make the experience that talking to a colleague with opposing or different views helps me get clear on my own argument. Especially when preparing customer meetings or workshops, it helps tremendously in finding the best solution for the participants. It also help ins preparing for presentations and pitches as you can find out counter arguments before they are expressed in the real situation. If you have found someone who you can openly discuss your ideas with, be glad and treat him well 😉
Quotes
What are the brain dumps?
In the nohype brain dumps I try to clear my mind of all the stuff I experienced in a month. I do that primarily as a journal for myself, but maybe some of this information is also helpful to you. Enjoy.

Brain Dump April 2015

Learnings
  • Think High Level
    As I am an efficiency nut, I often struggle with effectiveness. If I take a step back and think on a higher level about the goals I want to achieve with a certain meeting or todo, it helps me greatly in structuring my thoughts and actions and actually achieve the goals. Ha! Who’d have thunk 😉
  • Focus
    Once you have figured out what you need to achieve high level, you need to focus on the outcomes that you need to achieve those goals. This is relevant for emails, meetings, agendas, phone calls, etc. When I don’t focus, I am pretty useless. So I know what to work on even further
  • Don’t ramble
    Get to the point quickly and convey the most important message. Don’t always try to portray every little minute aspect of the subject.
  • Holidays
    They DO work. I had the pleasure to be with my family in austria in a great wellness hotel. My mum invited us to tag along (all five of us). And I resisted checking work email or opening the laptop (well, most of the time). It greatly reduced my recovery and it was just great to read and sit still and eat well and enjoy the guilty pleasures of a wellness residence. I could concentrate on family and kids and I vow to continue this during the next vacations. I always thought that work email would be too much to handle coming back. But batch processing really helps and a lot of stuff just stopped being important to the senders.
  • Talk, don’t write
    A lot of the time it pays to pick up the phone or walk to a desk. Customers, Colleagues, Partners all profit from the direct contact and we should all use it more in our daily grind.
 
Links
What are the brain dumps?
In the nohype brain dumps I try to clear my mind of all the stuff I experienced in a month. I do that primarily as a journal for myself, but maybe some of this information is also helpful to you. Enjoy.

Fascinating Read: The Current State of Machine Intelligence

I read an interesting article on medium about the Current State of Machine Intelligence. Even if I am a mere mortal developer who dabbles in web application development I can appreciate the intricate thoughts and the deep work that has to go into designing „machine intelligence“.

It is fascinating to see how many companies there are and what advancements have already taken place. Add to  that my rekindled enjoyment of „cyberspace“ novels by William Gibson, the subject felt natural to my current interest.

I doubt that I will ever grasp the complex nature of artificial or machine intelligence, but I will definitely try to keep up to date with what these companies are doing. And who will be bought up by „the big boys“ like Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Maybe I should take some courses and quadruple my income 😉

PHP User Group Düsseldorf on 2014-09-23

Use the index, luke!

Last tuesday I finally made it to the PHP Usergroup in Düsseldorf. @andygrunwald invited me quite a few times to participate, so I was very happy to finally follow the invitation.

If you also want to participate or find out more about the group, you can check out the meetup.com page:

The event on Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/PHP-Usergroup-Duesseldorf/events/198343282/

The group on Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/PHP-Usergroup-Duesseldorf

I tried to summarize my impression of both talks and maybe you can take something away from that. So enjoy 😉

SQL – Stiefmütterliche SQL-Indizierung

by @markuswinandhttp://use-the-index-luke.com

Insights

  • Not many developers know how indexing really works.
  • Index and Query must match. As a developer we can either change the Index or the Query. We should do it.
  • We should know how to read execution plans (e.g. via EXPLAIN)
  • We should design our indexes and not just add them. Therefore we should know about every Query that exists so we can optimize for multiple Queries at once.

My takeaway

  • We should all read Markus’s stuff on his website, buy the book or hire him as a consultant. Although I have read some of his writings beforehand, he really knows how to present it to a crowd. And I like the austrian accent (my mother in law is austrian, too) 🙂

Reverse Engineering von Pfandbons

by @PlantProgrammer

Insights

  • The human brain is very good for recognizing patterns in small to medium
  • You can print money with Pfandbon Barcode manipulation

My takeaway

  • Very interesting to see the scientific method applied to real life situations, seems very useful
  • Software systems in all scenarios DO HAVE security problems
  • You can gain a lot of knowledge about black box systems by observing the input and output
  • Big companies are not very responsive to constructive criticism :/

Agile projects in an agency context

During the last 18 months I made myself familiar with agile methodologies. They have been a hot topic at conferences, lots of articles have been published and even some customers asked for it. Especially scrum. So I started to learn about it.
I think that scrum is a good fit for many scenarios. But I do have some reservations in regards to using scrum as an agency. In this article I want to point out some of the problems that I have found.

Understanding of scrum roles

Lots of times the customer is very excited to use a method like scrum. But they don’t grasp all of the ramifications. And most problematic, they often don’t understand their own role as a product owner. This puts a heavy burden on the whole project. And it may lead to overhead on the agency side if you want to put in a proxy product owner to make up for it. It will also lead to a lot of of discussions during the project and especially after finishing the project.

Procurement regulations

Sometimes the project team on the clients side is very enthusiastic about using scrum. And all the roles might be understood. But many clients who use an agency have very strict procurement regulations. And the procurement department is very straightforward about this. They need a fixed price and they need a fixed final result. And at best they also need a fixed date. This is very understandable as they need to minimize risk. But this makes working in a scrum context very hard if not impossible.

Resource allocation

In many projects there will be an ongoing support contract. This means the agency has to plan for supporting a project on a longer time frame. And they need to plan their resources accordingly.
People from the original project need to be able to make time available for feature requests or bug fixes. They might also have to stand by for call support.
They also need to take into account the effect of emergencies. In this case developers from the original project team might need to support.
But as you can’t plan emergencies and as this problem might also occur in project contexts in general, this is only a minor consideration.
There might also be a need for certain types of experts. These experts are typically shared between parallel projects. This makes planning for these resources very difficult.
Resource allocation for scrum projects needs some type of exclusivity of the people who work in the project. This is very hard to do in a ongoing support situation.

Workplace limitations

Many agencies prefer open floor offices. It reduces friction while working together and makes communications a lot more inclusive.  When a project becomes hot, some switch to a team- or project room or even a war room. But in regards to the requirements, a scrum project is always hot. So it might be tough to find a room for each scrum project.
Please don’t get me wrong, I think that scrum is an important project management methodology which has many benefits for a development team.  And we will definitely continue to use it in client projects.
But I also think that you need to consider the limitations and risks of using this methodology in certain contexts.
What are your experiences? I would be happy to discuss this further via Facebook or twitter.
Maybe you have already solved a lot of these problems…

Stimulating Playgrounds

Fantasy Playgrounds

As a father of three I often think about what is good for my children. I came across this wonderful blog post about creative playgrounds on one new idea.

I think that creative surroundings do a lot for the upbringing of children. And I would appreciate it if normal city playgrounds would look more like these examples.

Maybe vandalism would also be less of a problem. In my experience people value the creative accomplishments of others more than rules and regulations. So that would be a classic win-win situation, even if the initial cost is higher. In the long run, you would have very creative playgrounds and it would cost less in total.

Feel free to make the world a better place for yourself and our children. Build some great playgrounds 🙂

Or, if you don’t want to build them yourself: support sikitas.de or similar associations.

http://www.inewidea.com/2013/09/03/56389.html

PHP Unconference 2013

Wow, a whole year passed since last year’s Unconference. This time we were able to visit Hamburg with 6 developers from TWT (thanks again for the support) to rock the (un)conference.

For me, the Unconference is always a very intense three day event. To make it even more intense, I decided to also propose a talk this time. So I through my hat in in the ring for „Versionskontrolle mit git-flow“ as we are currently implementing git-flow in our teams.

And it seemed to hit a nerve as I got voted in to give my talk in room H2 at the Geomatikum. A big thanks to everyone who voted for it. Being in the first slot was a bit of a challenge, but I hope people were entertained at least 🙂

For those interested in the subject, you can find the slides at Github.

After that I was a bit relieved and could concentrate on taking in the atmosphere, the great food and the very interesting talks other people held.

Of course there was too much good stuff to see so that we all had to pick. Here is my schedule:

You can find slides for the talks at the Unconference Wiki.

Not to forget the social aspect. We met with a bunch of colleagues, ex-colleagues, acquaintances, gurus, experts and Star Wars characters:)

Naturally there’s lots of entertainment in HH.

I hope that next year’s Unconference will feature another one of my talks and I am looking forward to the next incarnation…

Take care 😉

Vooza – cooler Name, witzige Videos

Vooza

Unter vooza.com finden sich einige der witzigsten Startup-Videos, die ich seit langem gesehen habe. Jeder Bereich der Silicon Valley Kultur wird pointiert auf den Arm genommen und es finden sich stetig neue Videos auf der Seite.

Welches ist euer Lieblingsvideo? Ich fange mal an mit „Code Pigs“ zum Thema Entwicklung 😉 Ist ja naheliegend…