Art of Project Management

I won this book, Art of Project Management, at the Chicago PHP User Group meeting, when Andy Lester spoke about Preventing Crisis: Project Estimation and Tracking that Works (PDF slides). It was a great presentation. It really helped me learn how to break down and project into smaller pieces. One thing he said, you should break things down into tasks no longer than 4 hours. 4 hours, thats not so bad...I can spend 4 hours doing something, even if its boring. Looking at a big project in smaller pieces is a great way to do it.

I've been reading and I think its pretty good. One thing Scott talks about is solving problems. How bad ideas lead to good ideas. Many times I have written code only to come back the next day and go HEY, I can do that function beter.

He has a quote from Ernest Hemmingway:
"I write 99 pieces of shit for every one page of masterpiece."

I found that kinda funny..and true.

Another point he made was about figuring out what problem are you trying to solve? He said he goes around talking to his employees, and occasionaly asks what problem they are trying to solve? In fact, he said he made it into a poster and hung it up above his desk.

Sometimes when I am just plain stuck on something. I'll sit down and write out my problem on plain old paper, write out some possible solutions -- even when they seem kinda dumb, because although I haven't realized it before reading this book ... bad ideas lead to good ideas. Stepping away from the keyboard lets me think without emails popping up and the sudden urges to go read some blogs.

Anyways, so far I recommend this book :)


Burning the midnight oil

Seems like when I post in my blog most often is when I'm up late and there is no poor sap online to whom I can bare my soul. Lucky for them! I've been busy as can be ...

Working on:

Something I'm calling Stupidly Easy MVC framework for PHP. Its the barest of frameworks. I had a fleeting though, OH FINALLY I might have something worthwhile to start a sourceforge.net account.. then I thought.. nahhh.. nobody wants this. But I am going to write up an article about it for CodeSnipers none the less. Perhaps it might help a few people.

Made a new friend this week from the PHP User Group in Chicago. He has an interesting site at MalaProp.org. I met him very breifly at a PHP group lunch, but didn't get to chat till the last meeting. We talked about the book PeopleWare. Interesting. I correctly guessed after the meeting that he was not a regular coffee drinker...... he asked Why? I said you didn't have that crazed caffiene look in your eye.. which I know quite well. Heheh. Gotta have my coffee.

Speaking of coffee... a few weeks ago for sunday school at church, they made decaf by accident. I was unware of this until noon. But I was wondering why I felt so weird and someone came up to me and said I didn't look so good..and I was all irritated with Nick for no real reason. Guess they'd beter let me have my coffee dang it! :)

Been working a side job updating a OS project.. previous person did half the work, leaving me to figure out what was going. Fun fun.

Peter got me interested in Python. I thought, Peter seems like a smart guy, I should check this out. He uses it at his company, so that also made me curious. I already had Python installed on my computer and had bought a $2 O'Reilly Python book -- BARGAIN! I bought it because I heard Ruby was sort of like Python so I thought, heck 2 bucks! I didn't really expect I would learn it, although I have some obsessive complusion to learn every language possible.

This site is my friend: PLEAC ... This is a really neat idea. Simple standard recipies in all sorts of languages. They are missing in some areas, maybe you'd like to fill in the holes?

So far in Python I've learned this:

You can add documention to your code, the first line in your function you have a string
""" this is the docs for the code """

And then you can look up the docs for any function by going functionName.__doc__ ... cool huh? Similar in concept to javadoc, but you don't need to run another app to look at it, you can just bam look it up. I don't know if it has as many features as Javadoc-like systems or not.

Blocks are indented. I've heard people moan and groan about this. But today I was thinking (yes, a rare moment) .. well if its a REQUIRED thing, then it gets done? I bet all phython code is very readable because they are all intented. From what I could tell, it didn't matter if it was 1 space, 2 or a tab. Just so long as there was a space. Interesting.

Anyways, thats what I've been up to :)


Hey where you beeeen?

Been busy over at CodeSnipers.

I wrote some posts about ruby, comparing it to PHP. Its pretty interesting to see how they compare, the readers and fellow bloggers have been really helpful in pointing out additional ways to do things as well.

I've been "branching" out and going to user group meetings. Next week I have the Chicago Macromedia user group meeting on monday. The topic is interesting to me, I tried making components with Flash 5, it was pretty hard. Hopefully its easier now.

Tuesday is the Perlmongers group, the Ruby Meetup group is crashing the Perlmongers group. I'm going with a few perl friends, one of them already in the group. She says she'll show me what the "one true language" is all about. Hehe.. I've done some perl, just haven't been really into it. I think its rather cryptic. The Ruby guys are going to present Rails to the group, and the Perlmongers is going to present Catalyist. It will be a BATTLE OF THE FRAMEWORKS. My friends and are I going to get a sandwich before the meeting.

Wednesday is the PHP UG meeting.. but.. seeing as I won't get home till 10 or 11 each night from the other two meetings.. I think I might be too tired.

I guess I'm just tired of being the lone developer at work and I want to meet and talk about programming. I like to discuss design patterns, security, frameworks..etc. Its fun. :)

OH yeah, to you comment spammers. You suck.