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Hiring Web Designers!

February 23, 2012 Comments off

At Point2, we love doing what we do best  — creating compelling, innovative software.  Do you eat, sleep, and breathe web design? If you are a passionate Web Designer looking for exciting new and interesting challenges, we would love to hear from you!

The ideal candidate for this position will not only possess an experienced approach to design, but will also mesh seamlessly with the rest of our team of web designers and developers. In this role, you will collaborate with designers and developers to help create cutting-edge web experiences for our customers. You will also work closely with many other business units within Point2 in order to help expand our new product lines and maintain our various web-based products.

We are looking for someone who has:

– Extensive experience developing consumer and/or commercial websites
– Ability to create great looking intuitive user experiences

– 3-5 years demonstrated experience hand-coding advanced HTML, CSS, and Javascript
– Proficiency using the Adobe Creative Suite, including Photoshop, Fireworks, and Illustrator
– Ability to design, code, and troubleshoot for all major browsers
– Awareness of the latest design & development trends and technologies
– Experience working into a highly-collaborative team environment
– Bachelor’s Degree or certificate in web/graphic design or equivalent (preferred)

– Experience with jQuery and mobile web design (an asset)

Interested in joining the team? Email your resume to WEBDEVcareers@point2.com  or apply online http://www.point2.com/applyonline. Include samples of your work with your application.

Point2, a division of Yardi Systems, offers competitive salaries, comprehensive benefits, and professional development opportunities.

Join the vibrant team in Saskatoon, SK and enjoy living in place that blends small town appeal with big city amenities.  If you drop by our office, you will notice:

  • Plenty of laughter mixed with a serious drive to be the very best
  • Gourmet coffee and fresh fruit daily
  • Blue jeans, lava lamps, and family photos
  • Foosball, pool tables, and comfy couches
  • Yoga mats, fitness balls, free weights
  • Whiteboards … everywhere
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Categories: Point2 - Technical

Hiring Software Developers!

February 23, 2012 Comments off

Agile, XP, and DevOps. Innovation, creativity, and excitement. Buzzwords? Maybe they are, but we don’t care what you call it. We want to get stuff done. You want to get stuff done? Come and collaborate with our team, so we can get stuff done.

We are developing a suite of new and exciting products. Our base toolkit includes Python, Scala, C#, MongoDB, .Net MVC, Java, MSSQL, ActiveMQ, VMWare, SVN, and Git. More buzzwords? Maybe, but we still don’t care what you call it. You don’t have to search in the deepest and darkest corners of our basement to find these technologies. We use them daily, and we work them hard.

We’ve got lots of exciting projects to do. We want to get them done because winners lead, and we want to be out front. We want to add more awesome people to the group of smart and talented people we already have. We want people that can hit the ground running. We want people that can bring their game and own this job.

You better like having passionate discussions. You better not hold back (because we don’t). You better want to learn and teach something every day. You better deliver value because you write wicked awesome code. What? That’s you?  Then you better apply for this job because WE WANT YOU!

Show us what you’ve got. Email your resume to IveGotWhatItTakes@point2.com or apply online http://www.point2.com/applyonline.

Point2, a division of Yardi Systems, offers competitive salaries, comprehensive benefits, and professional development opportunities. You’ll be working in Saskatoon. The office has lots of geek stuff like fresh ground coffee, foosball, pool tables, and whiteboards. It’s awesome.

Categories: Point2 - Technical

February 3, 2012 Comments off

In one of the MVC3 apps i’ve been working on we decided to make sure that all of the urls specify information in a restful fashion, that is they are all directly in the path(route), nothing in request parameters.  Everything was going smoothly until we hit our first action where parameters are optional.

Lets look at this theoretical route table:

"{controller}/{action}/{year}/team/{teamId}/car/{carId}/track/{trackId}"
"{controller}/{action}/{year}/track/{trackId}/car/{carId}"
"{controller}/{action}/{year}/car/{carId}"

So you could imagine that we would have different urls that apply to these routes like:

http://www.racingstats.com/yearlySummary/Nascar/2011/team/AmsOil/car/12 
http://www.racingstats.com/yearlySummary/Nascar/2011/track/taladega/car/12 
http://www.racingstats.com/yearlySummary/Nascar/2011/car/12 

The problem is that this url pattern isn’t gracefully handled out of the box with mvc3.  If you tried to hit one you would be greated with a nice exception:

The current request for action ‘Nascar’ on controller type ‘YearlySummaryController’ is ambiguous between the following action methods:….

see the solution here…

 

Software Developer and Evolution Conference 2010

August 20, 2010 Comments off

Looks like this October i’ll be making my way east out to Winnipeg where I have the opportunity to present two sessions at the Software Developer and Evolution Conference.  I’m very excited as not only will this be my second conference of the year that i’m presenting at, it’s also going to be my first time in Winnipeg.  If you know of any fun family things to check out in Winnipeg please leave a comment!

My first session is about self organizing teams, participating on and leading.  There’s a lot of things to think about when it comes to creating and fostering self organizing teams.  I plan to talk about some of them from the perspective of a manager and leader, as well as a team member on the team.  I’m also coming up with a good exercise that I hope will be fun and help illustrate my points.

The second session will be on iterative development.  I did this session at the Prairie Developer Conference in Regina, and i’ve used the feedback I received from the attendees there to refine the presentation to hopefully be even better, and i’m also incorporating an exercise in to this one as well.

I’ll probably be making more posts on those two topics in the coming weeks, so check back for more.

Self Organizing Teams, a new take on Hiring

August 19, 2010 Comments off

If you won the lottery, the person is exactly what you were looking for, has all the right skills, fits in with the rest of the team, and is paid fairly according to their skills.  Now go log in to your online banking app and check if you’re a millionaire……….No?  I didn’t think so, because as it happens, most of us have never won the lottery 🙂

http://agileshoptalk.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/self-organizing-teams-a-new-take-on-hiring/

Agile 2010 Session Roundup

August 12, 2010 Comments off

So far my experience at Agile 2010 in Orlando has been great.  Great location, great conference center, great people, and great information.  It’s been a very busy and exhausting week so far, although i’m sad to think that i’ll be flying out around this time tomorrow and it’s all coming to an end. 

My first session monday morning was titled “The Incentives Trap”.  It was a session exploring what motivates people, primarily focusing on intrinsic vs extrinsic motivators with some exercises to prove out how the different types of motivators affect the work ethic and productivity of teams.  I was on the “square” team which was divided in to developers and testers.  My role on the team was a tester.  I got paid $1 for testing a story and $1 for finding a bug.  The developers got $1 for developing a story and $2 for fixing a bug.  Only the project manager got paid for delivering value.  Can you see who got screwed over in this scenario?  Lets just say the project manager probably didn’t eat that night.  It turns out that generally the team which is allowed to self organize, and is working for a charity for “NO PAY” is the most productive team that delivers the most value.  Why?  Because they are passionate about what they are working for, they are working for a charity because they believe in the cause and want to make a difference.  That’s why it’s important for your development teams to understand and believe in the work they’re doing, it’s the only way for them to be intrinsically motivated to be productive.

This is lining up to be a long post, since that was only the first session I attended, and i’ve attended 2 – 5 per day…. 

My next session was titled “Beyond Scope, Schedule, and Cost: Optimizing Value”.  It was a reasonably good session in which I primarily just came back with some interesting statistics and a couple of ideas.

  • doubling the number of people working on a project typically quadruples the number of defects.
  • 65% of features do not deliver their expected/planned value
  • what is a more successful project?
    • estimated to get 5 value points done in a week and achieved 5.
    • estimated to get 8 points done in a week and got 6

Tuesday morning was the keynote by “Dave Thomas”.  It was a lot of what you would expect to hear at an agile conference keynote.  There were a couple of things that surprised me though, like when he exclaimed “you know we’ve made it now because the tool vendors are here, but let me tell you, if you can’t do it with paper cards, no tool will help you”.  I don’t disagree with him, but the tool vendors are the major sponsors of the conference, so I found it a little ironic that he was denouncing their usefulness to all of the conference attendees.

In the afternoon I got to see a session by Johanna Rothman which I was quite excited about as i’ve been reading her blog for quite some time now.  Her session was titled “Agile Managers: The Essence of Leadership”.  The purpose was to talk about what role managers and leaders play in an agile organization, as many managers often feel lost.  There weren’t really any surprises here for me as we’ve got it fairly well figured out at Point2 (we can definitely improve on execution of it as a management team, but we have our place figured out at least).  The session was a nice indication for me of how well we’re doing, and it was great to see that Johanna is just as good of a speaker as she is a writer on her blog.

Wednesday started out with quite likely my favorite session of the conference so far “Scrum Metrics for Hyperproductive Teams: How they fly like Fighter Aircraft”.  It was given by Jeff Sutherland and Scott Downey, Scott had the title of head agile coach at MySpace and now holds the same title at Napster which I thought was pretty cool.  They had a lot of good information which I couldn’t possible discuss in it’s entirety in one paragraph, so i’ll just stick to a couple of points that stuck out for me which we’ll need to try.  The first is we need a “keystone” story, probably estimated at 3 points, which because the reference point for all estimation done by the team for the rest of eternity.  Why do we need this?  Because as the team gets better they will naturally migrate their estimates along with their increased productivity which makes it hard to track improvements over time.  It also makes it hard to have consistent estimates across sprints when you don’t have a never moving reference point to estimate against.  Another thing I want to try focusing on is getting as many people as possible working on getting the top priority store from in progress to done.  We typically have a pair sign up and work on a story until it’s complete.  If 3 pairs can all work on the same story to get it done faster, we should do that.  A sprint that ends with the top half of the stories finished is better than a sprint that ends with all of the stories 75% done.  The other big area that I want to try some changes is in the team standup meetings.  For now i’ll just say that the scrum masters are doing do much of the driving at the meetings.  Their role in the standup should essentially end with making sure everybody on the team has shown up.  More about that when I get back 🙂

I had another great session on Wednesday morning called “Coaching Agile Teams: Using Silent Work Techniques to Get to Astonishing Results”.  It was a very interactive session with a lot of activities.  I learned a number of techniques in this session on how to get a greater quantity of ideas out of brainstorming sessions about projects/products, as well as some ways to get much more innovative ideas.  Jesse and I are planning to run at least 2 workshops once we’re back based on the exercises I learned in this session.  I think it’s going to be very valuable for having the entire team feeling more involved in providing ideas that can help shape our roadmap and product decisions.  Jesse and I are both really excited about it.

In the afternoon I went to a couple sessions that didn’t produce too much worth writing about with one notable quote “There’s a big difference between half-assed and half done” referring to people’s natural tendency to prefer delivering something half done with a high level of detail over delivering something finished to a lower level of detail.

Today, thursday, is a bit slower.  It’s the last day of real sessions so everybody is starting to look burnt out (everybody at the conference including presenters).  I went to a session about Design Complexity this morning that was quite interesting.  I had a short debate with the speaker about building what you need instead of what you think you need, as she was advocating spending effort up front designing your implementation to be extensible in the way you think it will need to be extended at the time.  We agreed that if you know it’s going to be extended immediately after this isn’t necessarily bad to do, but we disagreed on if you only “think” it will be extended in that way, but had no plans to do so.

I later went to a session titled “Confessions of a Flow Junky” focused on helping create an environment where people can get in their “flow” to become really productive.  The speaker asked how many people have tried pairing and astonishingly half the room raised their hand, the speaker was pretty impressed.  Then he asked how many do it regularly, and only about half a dozen people put up their hand.  When he asked who know how pairing helps flow, I was the only person in the room with my hand up, so he asked how.  I told him “you feel obligated to the person beside you not to screw around” which had the desired result of everybody laughing, and the presenter agreeing, saying it’s one of the littlest known benefits of pairing.  I enjoyed the session, in particular because after the previous comment I had made, people were asking me questions at the end of the session about how we do things at Point2 and how I thought they could make improvements to what they do.

Networking at the conference so far has been great.  I’ve met a lot of cool people from all over the world.  I’ve met a few people from Ireland, a guy from Finland, a couple from France,  many from the US of course, and a surprising number of Canadians.  I actually happened to run in to a girl that I went to school with at Kelsey in Saskatoon that I haven’t seen since we graduated in 2000!  What are the odds?  I also happened to run in to one of the presenters that I met at PrairieDevCon in Regina this year and it sounds like I might get an opportunity to present at a conference in Winnipeg this October so i’m looking forward to finding out more about that. 

I wanted to post some pictures but uploading them over the hotel wireless hasn’t been working so that will have to wait for later. 

Agile 2010 here we come!

August 5, 2010 Comments off

This year i’m extremely happy to be one of the 4 lucky people selected to attend the Agile 2010 conference.   I’ll be attending along with David Ford, Jesse Redl, and Marcos Tarruella. 

This conference is an all you can eat buffet of Agile information, whether you’re a developer, qa specialist, manager, team lead, scrum master, executive, or alien, there is something there for you.  Did I mention that it’s also being held in Orlando Florida at the Disney Dolphin Resort?

There were so many sessions during each time slot that I had a hard time deciding which ones i’m planning to attend.  I eventually managed to boil it down though and hopefully I made good choices!

Some of the sessions i’m the most excited about are:

  • Improving Decision Making in Your Agile Team by Meghann Drury and Ken Power
  • Making feedback work in your teams by Sumeet Moghe
  • Leading a Self Organizing Team by Mike Cohn

There are many others i’m attending that should be very valuable as well.  I can’t wait to get there and meet as many people as possible.

By Chris Dagenais