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Preview: Jonathan Cogley's Blog

Jonathan Cogley's Blog



C#, Test Driven Development, Pair Programming, MVP C#, ASPInsider, Secret Server



 



The secret to a great software engineering team...

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:51:59 GMT

Some people will tell you it is Aeron chairs, private offices, free soda and maybe even a foosball table.  Sure, those things are nice but they have nothing to do with greatness.  Firstly we need a definition for "great software engineering team" so that we are all on the same page.  The things that I value most in a software engineering team are:

  • Smart - handle any technical hurdles
  • Autonomous - requires little oversight
  • Productive - gets things done
  • Plays nicely together - teamwork trumps heroics any day

How do you achieve these things?

Smart - This initially comes through hiring procedures.  Make the person do the job in the interview.  Yes, that means writing real code (not pseudo code on a whiteboard).  Then ask lots of questions in context.  You will learn how they think and if they are really smart or not.  Hint: Their resume doesn't matter much.

Autonomous - This tends to be a team structure thing.  Do team members have autonomy in their day to day tasks?  Have you eliminated micro-management?  Do they have a feedback loop to improve processes?  Is the team empowered to make a difference?

Productive - What have you done to eliminate barriers to productivity?  Our developers have less than 1 meeting per week on average.  Developers should be designing, building and reviewing great code, not sitting in meetings.  Make sure they have fast equipment and access to the best tools.  We also use Pair Programming to make developers accountable to someone else which eliminates procrastination and improves focus (along with knowledge sharing, higher code quality and better team comradery).

Plays nicely together - Many companies translate this to the "no a$$holes rule" when hiring.  The essence of the idea is do you tolerate someone who is very productive but upsets their coworkers.  We deliberately hire for team players and have baked this into our company's core values.  The result is that people collaborate, learn from each other and enjoy coming to work.

The other secret ingredient that I haven't mentioned yet is learning.  Developers yearn to learn.  If you can create an environment where they are really learning then you have it.  The best developers want to improve every day and achieve mastery.  This can be achieved through interesting projects, unusual challenges, personal career development, being mentored, mentoring others, giving presentations and more.

By the way, we are hiring - if you want to join one of the best software engineering teams on the East Coast, then check out Thycotic.




Hiring .NET Developers in Washington DC

Tue, 07 May 2013 13:32:00 GMT

My company, Thycotic Software is hiring for .NET Developers. 

Thycotic - available positions

This is a great opportunity - competitive salary, great benefits, awesome developers and fun problems to solve - you will be challenged!

 

 

Visit Thycotic on Facebook. Also check out these Thycotic reviews.




oAuth versus Application Keys

Wed, 20 Feb 2013 00:37:00 GMT

I have not spent hours reading standards for interacting with websites.  However I did recently have to integrate with various services across a few projects:  MailChimp, GoToWebinar (citrixonline) and LinkedIn.

The easiest to integrate with from simple C# / .NET code was definitely MailChimp.  Their API has a simple REST interface and they provide application keys in their Admin dashboard that you can create and then use in your integration (this is basically a simple “password” that is tied to your application and you can revoke the key if necessary).  For typical backend plumbing/integration work this is perfect … you authenticate simply from your script or code and then do the work of the integration (adding data, pulling data, whatever).

Now let’s talk about oAuth … so I get it, the user needs to give their permission for your app to act on their behalf.  And here we have the first #fail … GoToWebinar has implemented this model although I am willing to bet the vast majority of their integrations are really just backend plumbing (grab a list of available webinars and show them on our website, etc.)  Using oAuth in this environment is really the wrong fit and is painful – but they provide no alternative.  That said, once you have done all the gyrations for user tokens, at least the actual API calls are just REST and make for simple code.  The biggest problem is that the oAuth access token will expire (after about a year I think per GoToWebinar docs in which case a human has to do the whole process to get things working again … yikes).

Next I got to try out integration with LinkedIn … in this case oAuth did actually make sense for me, since my use case did require permission from the user (not just plumbing work).  Unfortunately the API is just not simple – the description of the authentication process in the LinkedIn docs is confusing and doesn’t really explain all the bits about AccessRequestToken, AccessRequestTokenSecret, OAuthAccessToken, OAuthAccessTokenSecret and OAuthAccessRequestVerifier.  Then the second killer is it just isn’t simple to call the API due to all the signature generation required (nonce, timestamp, etc.)  I used the oAuth code from here which made it easier but still not simple.

It seems like API developers need to be careful about which route they choose (for the typical use case) and how simple these things are to use… 

Whatever happened to “Make it is as simple as possible and no simpler”?

Visit my company, Thycotic on Facebook. Thycotic is also hiring and check out these Thycotic reviews.




Hiring for TDD .NET engineers in Washington DC

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 23:56:55 GMT

Thycotic/LogicBoost is hiring for .NET engineers at our office in downtown Washington DC.  This is a team that has been doing Test Driven Development and Pair Programming since 2004 (very mature agile team).  This is an amazing environment to work with great engineers in a team-based atmosphere (free lunches on Wednesdays, loads of personal development and learning is at our core).

Take the code test to apply.

http://www.thycotic.com/career_tdddeveloper.html




Thycotic/LogicBoost is hiring for a Senior .NET TDD Developer in Washington DC

Fri, 09 Nov 2012 13:16:00 GMT

This is really quite a unique team - very smart developers who really work together as a team - using pair programming and test driven development. Lots of room for technical growth and a technical career. Small company - 20+ employees. Hiring is only for full time employees onsite at our offices in downtown Washington DC. http://www.thycotic.com/career_tdddeveloper.html



Thycotic/LogicBoost is hiring for a UI Engineer/Developer

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 13:01:00 GMT

Here is the posting:
http://logicboost.com/careers_uideveloper.html

Thycotic was recently named one of the 10 Best Tech companies to work for in 2012
http://www.businessinsider.com/10-of-the-best-us-tech-companies-to-work-for-in-2012-2012-3



First night at Business of Software 2011 in Boston!

Mon, 24 Oct 2011 03:23:00 GMT

I have finally made it to this conference after several years of conflicts with other shows. Registered, got my attendee bag - some nice books (too bad I have some of them already). Met some founders already and had some good conversations. I am going to drive my team batty when I get back to DC with all these ideas! http://www.businessofsoftware.org



Secret Server 7.4 released–password management for IT Admins

Mon, 02 May 2011 22:30:07 GMT

We have just released Secret Server 7.4 – this is an ASP.NET based web application with a SQL Server backend for storing passwords for IT Admins, DBAs and even developer teams.  Get rid of that spreadsheet and start using a robust password vault designed for teams.  It can be used to store server passwords, provide web-based password management, or even automatically change network passwords.




The important of transparency in development

Sat, 16 Apr 2011 16:11:00 GMT

David talks about the value of transparency in development.



Easy SQL totals and other Aggregates with rollup and cube

Thu, 31 Mar 2011 15:32:33 GMT

David talks about SQL totals and aggregates using rollup and cube.

 

 

Jonathan Cogley is the CEO of Thycotic Software Ltd, a Washington DC based company who make the web-based password manager Secret Server.




Do websites need to be experienced exactly the same in every web browser?

Mon, 14 Mar 2011 19:31:13 GMT

Jimmy has a new post about browser compatibility on websites and how to think about it from a developer and business perspective.

 

Jonathan Cogley is the CEO of Thycotic Software Ltd, a Washington DC based company who make the web-based password manager Secret Server.




Secret Server 7.3 released – store your team’s passwords securely.

Mon, 14 Mar 2011 13:10:02 GMT

The Thycotic team just recently released 7.3 of our enterprise password management system.  The main improvement was the UI – we used lots of jQuery to make a Dashboard-like interface that allows you to create tabs, drag widgets, add/remove widgets etc.  This was a great face lift for a tool that is already the cornerstone for password management in many IT departments.

Check out a few videos that show off the new stuff.

 

Jonathan Cogley is the CEO of Thycotic Software, an agile software services and product development company based in Washington DC.  Secret Server is our flagship enterprise password manager.




Fix your IE7 select lists

Mon, 13 Dec 2010 16:25:49 GMT

Jimmy (on our team) has posted about how to fix your IE7 select lists.

 

Jonathan Cogley is the CEO of Thycotic Software, an agile software services and product development company based in Washington DC.  Secret Server is our flagship enterprise password manager.




How to build a Google Finance client app with Windows Phone 7

Tue, 26 Oct 2010 12:54:58 GMT

Ben has a new post.  Check it out.

 

Jonathan Cogley is the CEO of Thycotic Software, an agile software services and product development company based in Washington DC.  Secret Server is our flagship enterprise password vault.




Only 12 days left in the Code Contest!

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 12:41:41 GMT

We are having a fun coding contest to find the best solution to a fairly trivial coding problem.  Come along and show off your skills … you might just win a totally awesome Gyroscope Powerball!

Participate in the Code Contest!




Are you the Chuck Norris of C#? Code Contest – win a Gyroscope Powerball!

Fri, 13 Aug 2010 21:14:54 GMT

We are having a fun coding contest to find the best solution to a fairly trivial coding problem.  Come along and show off your skills … you might just win a totally awesome Gyroscope Powerball!

Participate in the Code Contest!




Surgery using leeches?

Fri, 23 Jul 2010 12:39:16 GMT

Jimmy pokes some fun at Kevin and talks about the minimum tooling needed to be productive as a developer.

 

Jonathan Cogley is the CEO of Thycotic Software, an agile software services and product development company based in Washington DC.  Secret Server is our flagship enterprise password vault.




Looking for .NET TDD Developers

Wed, 21 Jul 2010 22:01:48 GMT

Are you based in Washington DC and do you love Test Driven Development and Pair Programming?  If so, take a look at our posting.




Using the Parallel class to make multithreading easy

Thu, 22 Apr 2010 16:22:30 GMT

Kevin has posted about the Parallel class and how to use it to easily do multiple operations at once without radically changing the structure of your code.  Very neat stuff.

 

Jonathan Cogley is the CEO of Thycotic Software, an agile software services and product development company based in Washington DC.  Secret Server is our flagship enterprise password vault.




Better Agile Retrospectives

Mon, 05 Apr 2010 17:07:50 GMT

David has posted about the Agile Retrospectives book and his experiences.  Incremental change is fundamental to so many agile practices (probably the most important in my opinion) – and retrospectives are the best way to foster discussion and prompt change.  The problem is how to get everyone involved in the process.

 

Jonathan Cogley is the CEO of Thycotic Software, an agile software services and product development company based in Washington DC.  Secret Server is our flagship enterprise password vault.