Why on Earth would you need a kernel?

One day, Einstein was walking around, trying to figure out an unifying theory. He found one, unfiying matter and energy: E=mc². Gravitational energy still eludes that theory at this time, but only because it is part of a yet to be found more global theory. What is this worth? A lot. That's why we get nuclear "stuff", from plants to submarines, and maybe one day space vessels (there is some talk about ionic engines tough). To extend on that, we, in the software field, are exposed to a lot of fashion. You may have heard Dr Ivar Jacobson speak on this (I've got one of his transcripts on my blog), and getting quite motivated in talking about Kurt Lewin. You can read more about this guy on the web (e.g. http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-lewin.htm) and the quote that Dr Ivar Jacobson keeps on repeating: "There is a nothing as practical as a good theory". At the end of that article, you get this: The consistent theme in all Kurt Lewin’s work, ... was his concern for the integration of theory and practice. This was symbolized in his best known quotation: ‘There is nothing so practical as a good theory’. Mmmh, and Kurt lasted 1890-1947. Quite a while ago. And his findings do apply very strongly to us. So, as Einstein and Lewin, we would be quite interested in having a unifying theory. Because the good theory (in contrast with a theory that sucks) is that practices will easily be grafted on it. Things will make sense. And such a good theory will exhibit several characteristics for being believable: It will work with abstract concepts that can be instantiated within the practices. It will be small enough so that people can understand it It will cover enough ground so that there is a place for fitting details It will be agnostic when it comes to selecting one of several competing options Obviously there is more to that, but it will do for my purpose. So, the good theory that we seek will have to deal with essential elements. An essential element is one that you cannot do without. Let's look at what is essential in software engineering projects. One key essential item that you cannot be without is what could be named "the Opportunity". This is what you are pursuing to create so that some value (usually in monetary, fame, or love terms) is being accrued over time when it will be ready. And there are more things like that: The system that is being specified is one, the team that will make the system is another or, as is the project itself. All of these (and other ones) are important in any software engineering "process". So, here is our quest: is there a core set of key elements that can work for us? A core set around which we can get organized? That's what a kernel does provide. So, it is indeed true that we need it. What's in there is another matter and I'll discuss it in a future post. Until then, keep on improving your way of working!

How did 2009 looked like from your perspective?

As 2009 comes to an end, it is now a good time to reflect on our objectives, and our progress towards them. If not now, when? I just turned 40 on Dec 22 last week. It is amazing how fast time flies by! 40 years already? You’ve got to be kidding me! It appears that 40 is some kind of turning point. Well, if it is something, it is a massive kick in the assets to move forward in a big way to achieve dreams. This in turn makes me want to reflect on my current status. What about you? Want to reflect on your current status? Just use the 3 following questions for helping you getting a view of yourself: 1. Are you clear on what you want? Do you know what your outcomes are? 2. Do you find inspiration or desperation at the end of the year? 3. Are you better off than last year? Moving forward into 2010, let’s have a look at what makes people succeed. Even with the crisis (and unfolding recovery), some people succeeded, and did so big time. First, rememer that power is the ability to act. Feeling powerless is a sure sign that someone or something is holding you back. Ususally, there is a fear somewhere. Do not let that stall you. Just do a first step, then another one, and so on. Soon you’ll have covered kilometers without realizing it! Next, please consider that in order to reach success, you have to work on multiple perspectives: 1. Health 2. Relationships 3. Wealth There are the ones I have for me, this can be different for you (For almost dying in 2006, I’ve got to tell you that all other perspectives are depending on this one in my view). So, to get results, you neeed to learn how things do work in these domains. Do your research. But also realize that knowledge in itself is only potential power. You need to act, act consistently, act over time. And there, repetition is the mother of skill. So, you'll have to apply and refine on a consistent basis. Commit to this routine. Routine is your friend. As I read two days ago: professionals do not have moods. Happy, sad, or angry? No matter what, get this item in your action list done. This is where discipline is going to help you, help you grow, help you achieve. I am quite a moody person. But when it comes to achieving, I better have to be able to let that aside and get things done. Case in point: my newsletter with which I want to keep in touch with you, while at the same time providing you with value that can improve your way of working. It is not happening magically. I have read my share on how newsletters do work, but the real test is to create it, face the blank sheet situation, deal with the addresses and the like. The fun thing is that by doing it, I never learned more than I ever could by reading about it. Is it hard to come up with. You bet! But putting these toughts on paper is really helping in seeing what’s important, adding one more issue to the list, so that I can refer people to the content when it makes sense for them do access it. So whenever you can turn your intellectual capital in some kind of property (intellectual or otherwise), just go for it. So, for 2010, get yourself working on one thing that is key for you. Do it consistently and reap the rewards by commiting and following through. You may well face a breaktrough sooner than later! Looking back at 2009 and forward to 2010, get yourself in a better shape! You are at the center of our on universe and by changing yourself, waves of change will ripple around! Thinking about it, nothing precludes you from creating a positive tsunami!

Is your way of working driving you crazy?

Some insights into what works and the future in an interview with my good friend Luc Taesch.  

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Le Facteur Chance: Excellent!

#devoxx Keynote transcript: Robert Martin aka Uncle Bob

Here is my transcript about Robert Martin's talk on professionalism for developers. A great talk, talking about Black Holes. Was great and inspiring.

#Devoxx keynote with Ivar Jacobson transcript

Here is my transcript of the Devoxx keynote of Ivar Jacobson about working smart (PDF).