Dev Bites: Changing Work Philosophies and Time-Tested Dev Tools
With Chris Hartjes
Chris Hartjes has been building and testing web applications of all shapes and sizes since 1998, with a focus on best practices and how to use testing as an effective development tool. He is a senior test engineer at Mozilla and owner of Grumpy Learning, Inc., a company that provides consulting and educational videos and e-books for testing PHP applications.
Hoss: With most teams now working remotely, what advice do you have for teams and engineering leaders who are adapting to a new way of working? Do you think many teams will adopt remote work post-crisis?
Chris Hartjes: Teams who are adapting to having a completely-remote work environment should understand that if they already had really bad communication channels and practices, they are going to get even worse in a remote situation. No more being able to just walk over to someone's desk to talk or have a meeting over lunch or make critical decisions over a post-work, outside-the-office meal. I think the teams that have great existing non-verbal communication will make the transition to remote work with a lot fewer bumps than places that have terrible non-verbal communication (whether they realize it or not).
Hoss: What is the worst piece of advice you’re hearing?
CH: That employers should be spying on their employees who are now at home to make sure they are working. People will always find a way to screw around on the job and no amount of mandatory web cameras or keyboard loggers of spyware on computers is going to change that. What is an employer going to do if I decide to go to the bathroom at home and bring my phone with me to play a game or do some other "non-work-related" task?
Hoss: Given the disruption our society has seen, are there any tech trends that you see coming that other people may think are insane?
CH: Our society will move away from a “just in time” philosophy (the idea of reducing production costs by minimizing waste or materials that aren’t absolutely essential to a final product) because it has shown that it cannot withstand even the slightest disruption without huge problems. People are seeing how much damage a philosophy of no waste and no slack (no pun intended) has done to our societies.
Hoss: What do you think the future of software development looks like?
CH: I don’t think much is going to change. Cloud-based computing and containerized applications are now commodities that are in widespread use.
Hoss: Lastly (for fun), what are your favorite dev tools?
CH: I'm actually pretty boring with my core tooling choices: An editor with Vim bindings Relational databases CLI tooling Web browser Complementary tools slide and and out of my everyday use but the core stays the same. Containerized applications and video conference tools are additions that look like they are going to be part of that core for the foreseeable future.
Follow Chris Hartjes on Twitter at @grmpyprogrammer