Nothing I love more than growing a team of smart developers.
Sometimes all that raw talent needs nurturing. Talent gets you a lot but out of the box it doesn’t get you use of version control, project estimation and tracking, SCRUM/Kanban boards, unit testing, and so on.
That stuff is hard because the right way to run a dev team depends a lot on the team itself. Big-M methodology books sell well but they can be worse than nothing if naively implemented.
I have a lot of experience growing developers. It’s a gentle art, since devs don’t respond to top down authority. It’s also rewarding as hell to see people that I’ve worked with go on to become amazing professionals.
If you have a team, old or young, that could use some leadership and mentoring, I’d love to talk further. This is one of my passions.
People can talk about code re-use all they want, but good development culture is infinitely more reusable
I first started working with Scotty when I re-joined Gin Lane Media, on re-platforming The Reformation, and architecting Sweetgreen’s Online Ordering system. Scotty lead the architecture decisions in both systems, and mentored the younger dev team in agile and git flow methodologies.
That year was hugely formative for me — not only did my understanding of best practices leap forward dramatically, but I also learnt a lot about alternative system architectures and safer programming models. Scotty’s influence from that year alone has had a big impact on how we now run development sprints and think about code culture at Sanctuary Computer.
The Sweetgreen ordering application was a sweeping project which consisted of the following components:
- An Ember application for front end ordering
- A Rails API server to the back end ordering, payment, and loyalty programs
- A Rails CMS
The project was developed at Gin Lane where I took lead on the architecture and development. We took great pains to keep tight iteration cycles with the design and product teams, ensuring that each team’s vision of the project did not diverge.
The application was launched on time and to the great delight of both the client and the users.
My first project consulting with Gin Lane was to build out an ecommerce solution for The Reformation. This website might be the very first ecom React JS front end to hit production. It was launched in the spring of 2014. I led both the front end and the server side development. This included an in depth customization of the Spree ecommerce platform.
WebMD Video Player
WebMD and its professional arm, Medscape, had been trying to build out a new video player for their education department for years. The old codebase consisted of several different video players and had a tremendous amount of legacy code that made the task difficult, verging on impossible. The goal was to consolidate everything into one simple video library that all parts of the business could use.
I came in to consult, introducing React.js and Redux as a nice way to juggle all of the many demands on the video player while keeping it modular enough to use nearly anywhere. Key points:
- Introducing React.js to the team at WebMD demanded a fair bit of consultomancy, juggling the usefulness of new technology while introducing it in a way that did not disrupt the vital workflows of the team.
- Architected a component-based player that could be endlessly configured, replacing the old “ball of yarn” style collection of ad hoc video libraries.
- Mentored developers, helping them to get up to speed with a new stack and left them with the skills to maintain it.
- Communicated with the various departments to coordinate integration with enormous back end systems.
The project ended up being a resounding success and greatly simplified the codebase allowing WebMD to free up resources for other projects.