Posts Tagged ‘personal development’

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World Class Mindset

I had an interesting experience some time ago when I went up eight flights of stairs to go to a meeting. When I arrived at the meeting room badly out of breathe, someone remarked that I must be in good shape because I took the stairs rather than the elevator. I was shocked by the […]

My System for Writing

People from time to time ask me how I manage to write all the articles on my website despite having a family and a demanding full-time job. My simplistic, off-the-cuff answer is “one sentence at a time” :) Seriously, however, over the years I have developed a personal writing system that I would like to […]

Growth through Operating Under Constraints

The other day I was composing a tweet and it struck me that the difficulties I faced in crafting my message to fit within 140 characters without using abbreviations was a good exercise for making me a better writer. After further reflection I generalized this specific case to a broader principle about personal development: performing […]

Connecting with Calgary

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Calgary, Alberta to visit the CGI office there and hang out with several of the development teams. These teams have extensive experience with larger-scale agile development including both XP and Scrum and have a good reputation for having a great development culture that excels at mentoring and […]

Minimum and Optimal Thresholds of Competence

People naturally have varying levels of ability in the different aspects of their work (and life). These varying abilities are often divided into two categories: strengths and weaknesses. In the reading I have done in the literature on personal improvement, employee performance management, and entrepreneurship I have come across widely differing advice on how to […]

How to Become an Expert Developer

What if I told you there was only one activity you needed to do to become an expert, high-performing software developer? You might be doubtful of my claim. Yet this is exactly the finding reported in the book Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. Across multiple professions research points to the same activity as being […]

Adopting Test Driven Development

I have always been keen on using automated unit tests since I first heard about them almost a decade ago. I have known about test driven development (TDD) for almost as long but the practice of writing tests first before writing production code never really clicked for me when I first tried it years ago. […]

Evolving my Vision and Mission

If you are a regular reader you may have noticed that I use guiding statements like a vision or mission to motivate and inspire myself and clarify my future direction. The following articles contain some of my past efforts: My Vision for IT Our Mission as Software Developers Becoming a Champion of Continuous Improvement I […]

Using Rotations to Develop Expertise

This article continues on from my prior article Improving Computer Science Degrees for Software Developers on the topic of better methods of developing expertise as software developers in the work place. The original inspiration for these articles is the post Master Craftsman Teams by Robert C. Martin in which he proposed a formalized development path […]

Using the “Next Step” to Improve Your Focus and Productivity

I have discovered a powerful technique for improving my focus and productivity on work tasks that I call the Next Step. I have been consistently using this technique for a while now and I am quite pleased with its benefits. How Does it Work? The basic concept is simple: clearly identify the next task you […]

Becoming a Champion of Continuous Improvement

I am pleased to announce that I am a Champion of Continuous Improvement. The story of how I became such a champion starts a few months ago when I spent some time reflecting on my mission / purpose / vision as a professional software developer and architect. I was inspired to do so by two […]

Personal Development for Software Developers

I am a big believer in the value of personal development, especially for software developers. I have already written a a number of articles relating to personal development, most of which focus more on professional development for your career. The full scope of personal development, however, is much broader. It is applicable to all aspects […]

A Love of Learning

I recently attended a convocation ceremony at the University of Alberta for the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry where I noticed one theme that was emphasized throughout the ceremony: life-long learning. The speakers emphasized that the graduates should strive to remain eternal students, keeping the passion and excitement about learning and their profession that they […]

Achieving Excellence in Software Development

What is excellence in software development and how can you achieve it? This is a question of interest not only to software developers, but also to managers of software teams. I recent read the book First, Break All The Rules: What The Worlds Greatest Managers Do Differently which provides some great insights into this question. […]

Lessons Learned in 2006

As a proponent of perpetual learning, I like to periodically take the time to reflect on what I have learned. Looking back at this past year, I definitely expanded my understanding in a number of areas based on my experiences at work and at home. My most significant growth was in the area of personal […]

Working Four Days a Week

For over six months now I have been working four days a week instead of the usual five. I originally made this change in schedule in order to spend more time with my young son. When I started, I was unsure how it would go, and how long I would be able to maintain it. […]

Being Thankful

Celebrating Thanksgiving Day here in Canada inspired me to write this article. Too often, we focus on the negatives – the obstacles or problems in our way – and fail to appreciate and be thankful for everything else. I find this to be especially true at work, where part of my responsibility is to investigate […]

Personal Learning by Doing

As part of my series on personal learning, I’ve previously written about learning via online reading and reading books. Reading websites and books is a good strategy for gaining knowledge, but works poorly for gaining skill at doing something. Your ability to retain the information you read is also greatly increased when you actively use […]

How to Achieve Peak Performance

Being a professional at the top of your field means being able to consistently perform at a high level. Those underneath may have the same knowledge and abilities, but if they cannot apply them consistently, then they will never rise to the top. This is true across a diverse collection of activities including athletics, photography, […]

Personal Learning via Reading Books

My previous article on online reading described how I use online resources for personal learning. Online articles are usually short and provide only shallow coverage of a topic. To delve deeply into a subject, I find that books are much more effective. Books are easier to read than a computer screen, and can be read […]

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