A review of the year 2011 at Softwareschneiderei

The current year 2011 is coming to an end. This is the traditional time to pause and reflect on what has happened. This blogpost tries to sum up our year in software development at Softwareschneiderei. It was an interesting, entertaining and successful year for us, that’s for sure.

The official parts

Our developer blog was alive throughout the hardest times of the year, when everyone was under full project load. Every week, one of our developer shares a little posting with the world. The blog is still managed by token only. Looking at the visitor statistics, we fully appreciate your attention. The first blog post of this year looked at the remainder of a failed project. “A tale of scrap metal code” was a detailed vivisection in three parts. Over the course of the year, we wrote about bogus error messages, Groovy, Grails, GORM and some confessions about coding style and multithreading. If you have the time, spend a few minutes to browse our blog post archive for this year.

Our “official” company blog, written in german language, had no activity this year. We can certainly do better than this and take it on the list for 2012.

The company homepage, written in german language, had continuous updates and extensions this year. We coupled the “Open Source Love Day” (OSLD) with our “Homepage Comittee”, when every employee has to improve the homepage in some aspects and present the change to the “comittee”. Unfortunately, this somehow lead to fewer OSLDs this year.

The ongoing Dev Brunch sessions thinned out a bit in the second half of the year. This was a concession to the ever-growing workload. We strive to establish a tighter schedule with accompanying blog posts in the next year.

The internal parts

We were under heavy development load this year. This isn’t a bad thing, but impacts the internal communication and team building process. We tried to cope a bit by restructuring the Open Source Love Day to a “Team Day”, when the whole team meets and works on various internal or hobby projects. Some of these days were spend on Code Camps and other training events. This means less love for the open source community, but crucial together time for us.

We picked up several “new” programming languages this year. You can tell by the blog posts that we worked with Python, Ruby, Flex/ActionScript and even VisualBasic on real projects. The VisualBasic experience was a little epiphany that it’s really the developer and not the language that leads to shitty software.

One method of continuous improvement is our “creativity budget”. Basically, it’s money every developer can spend to improve his workplace. This budget wasn’t used at all this year, as the workplaces seem to be optimal. This cannot be true, so we bought brand new computers or a big RAM upgrade for everyone. And every computer has a big enough SSD now. We took our own advice seriously and invested in our productivity.

Our developer crew grew again this year. We are beginning to think about the remaining space in the new office again. But as usual, we grow slowly and deliberately. There’s nothing worse than a team of strangers.

Conclusion

The year 2011 was great! We’re looking forward to the year 2012, with our motto of christmas 2011: “cheery and spry” (the original motto is in german language “froh und munter”, I hope the translation caught the original spirit).

Have a great turn of the year, everyone. We’d love to see you again next year.

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