how does your code smell?

That’s the title of my guest post this week on Satish Talim’s RubyLearning blog. You can read my full article here; and if you do use Reek please post your thoughts on the mailing list. Thanks!


In the last few months I’ve noticed a significant downturn in the frequency of posts on my favourite blogs. So I’ve finally succumbed and decided to try Twitter. If you’re in my blogroll you can expect me to begin following you sometime soon. And if you want to follow me, I’m @kevinrutherford (even if you don’t, my recent tweets are in the sidebar on this blog).

I don’t expect to tweet more than once or twice a day, and I have no idea what it’ll do to the frequency of my posts here. Or whether I’ll ever fully “get” Twitter at all!

All this is making me feel old…

this blog in jurgen appelo’s top 100

I just received this email from Jurgen Appelo:

Hi Kevin,

You might find it interesting to know that your blog grabbed the #91 slot on the all-new Top 100 Blogs for Development Managers. The list is based on a weighted average of Google page rank, Technorati authority, Alexa rank, Google hits and comments. Check it out.

Congratulations! :)

Jurgen Appelo

Cool, and a great honour. Quite humbling to be on the same list as pretty much all of my blogging heroes!

what is your experience of mentoring programmes?

One reason I started this blog is that my left and right brains don’t seem to be connected to each other: I tend not to know what I think until I hear myself stating an opinion, and then I’m often horrified by what I hear. So blogging is a bit like talking to myself. Steven Pinker (I think) even suggests this — talking to oneself, not blogging — is the most plausible reason for the evolution of speech. Anyroadup, I haven’t been doing enough of either during the last few months, and I’m feeling the effects.

However, I have recently discovered the fun of asking and answering questions on LinkedIn, and I’m finding it has much the same effect as talking to myself. So when I answer a question over there, and in so doing discover I have an opinion I like, I’ll share it here too. Here’s the first one…

Andrew Calvert asked: “What is your experience of mentoring programmes? Mentoring; some think is an organic process that cannot be artificially replicated. Others think that you can assign mentors to learning partners (or mentees!) put in enough structure and have a working mentor programme. What do YOU think? Experiences?”

My answer:

I believe mentoring involves a) being a role model, and b) partnering to share knowledge. Institutional mentoring programmes (such as buddy systems for new joiners) can be great initially, but in my experience only pass on basic information. On the other hand, role modelling — and the kind of mentoring that goes along with it — has longer lasting and more positive effects.

In my work in software development I always try to involve both aspects. And I find that mentees (sic) self-select once they’ve seen that I’m working in a way that gets results. So when a developer asks for my help, he’s usually already seen how I work; I can therefore help him solve his problem in the same way.

So yes, I think mentoring is “organic” and should not be forced upon people. But organic growth always starts with a seed, and I believe that seed is the presence of role models who are willing to help and share.

Do you have experience of role modelling or mentoring programmes? Which works (best)?

how to subscribe to the Carnival of the Agilists

Brian Marick emailed me to ask whether the Carnival has an RSS feed. The simple answer is ‘no’, but there are several services around that will allow you to subscribe to a search for Carnival of the Agilists articles – Technorati or Google, for example. In fact, either of these is likely to be more foolproof than relying on us to always remember to tag our carnival posts correctly.

3 years old today!

It turns out that this blog is three years old today! That realisation took me by surprise this week, as it doesn’t seem all that long ago that I began. Many thanks to those few readers who’ve stayed the course all that time, and thanks also to the many new readers who’ve come here since then. And my apologies for the regular downtime in the early days, and for the recent move (which has broken all your links to specific posts).

Many of my earliest posts have remained popular throughout – and indeed the stats show there’s been a lot of interest in avoid boolean parameters and if… just recently – both written in July of 2004. Those two, together with the product owner must pull (revisited), have consistently been the most frequently read posts on this blog.

Back then in June 2004 it seems I was also practising yoga regularly. We lost the time for that when baby James came along, and I’ve just realised that he was conceived the same week as I began this blog. Quite possibly my most productive week ever…