Showing posts with label The Departed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Departed. Show all posts

Thursday 9 April 2020

Aaaaah... *Me*

OK to continue this occasional series of commenting on ppl who have impacted my tenure at work, as they leave. Time to do another one.

Adam Cameron.

What a prick. Always nagging about doing TDD, always being pedantic about code reviews. Banging on about clean code. Asking for stuff to be refactored and simplified. Being stroppy. Then being even more stroppy.

So it's a bloody relief that after 10 years he's finally leaving, and getting out of everyone's hair.

Cameron is reluctantly leaving behind a whole bunch of people who have helped him grow as a professional (one way or another), enriched his work experience and who he genuinely admires. Both professionally and personally. He'll probably stay in touch with a bunch of them. And knowing him he'll be showing up in Porto to have beers with his squad as soon as he can.

He's been in a coupla good squads in his time, but this one that he's been leading for the last year is the best. He was lucky to get that lot as his first team as "Tech Lead". I doubt he'd've turned out reasonably OK at that role if it wasn't for them. The good thing is they hardly need leading, so will continue to do their excellent work even without him around.

10 years. Fuck me.

See ya.


Friday 3 April 2020


So this really sux.

For the bulk of the last decade I've been working alongside Brian Sadler. We first worked with each other when he joined when I'd been there for a coupla years, back in fuck-knows-when. I can recall thinking "shit... someone as old as I am, this should be interesting", in a room of devs (and managers) who were between 5-15 years younger than the both of us. Not that chronological experience necessarily means anything in any way that talent can be measured, but I had been used to being the oldest and most experienced geezer in the teams I'd been involved in. I've always been old, basically. So this new "Brian" guy seemed an interesting colleague to acquire.

My instinct was right.

[I've typed-in a paragraph of over-written shite four times now, and deleted the lot. I need to get to the point]

I have been a reasonably good programmer, technically. I'm OK with saying that.

What I've learned from Brian is that being a good developer is only a small part of being a good team operative. I've always known and respected that programming is an act of communicating with humans, not the computer, but Brian really drove this home to me.

He introduced me to the concept of Clean Code.

He introduced me to the concept of TDD.

He schooled me in various concepts of refactoring, in that latter stage of Red Green Refactor. I'm still reading Martin Fowler's "Refactoring" as a result.

Every time I am looking at a code problem and I know I am not quite getting it, I hit him up and say "right, come on then... what am I missing...?" and he'll pull out a design pattern, or some OOP concept I'd forgotten about, or just has the ability to "see" what I can't in a code conundrum, and explain it to me.

Every time I ask "how can we make this code easier for our team to work with in future?", Brian's had the answer.

For a few years Brian's has been our Agile advocate, and listening to him and following his guidance has been an immeasurable benefit to my capabilities and my work focus.

I've also seen Brian help everyone else in my immediate team; other teams; and our leaders.

He's probably the most significant force for good I have had in my career.

He's also a really fuckin' good mate, for a lot of reasons that are not relevant for this sort of environment.

For reasons that are also irrelevant to this blog, today was the last day for the time being that Brian and I will be working with each other, and I am genuinely sad about that.

Genuinely sad.

Thanks bro.


Thursday 25 February 2016

Marc Garner


We had a bit of a shock at work yesterday: me mate and boss Marc Garner is moving on from HostelBookers (well: we're part of Hostelworld now, but we still mostly work on the HB brand in our London IT dept). This is a bit crap for HB, but good for Marc, so that's cool I guess.

I've been at HB for closing in on six years now (April is the six-year mark), and when I first sat down I was parked next to Marc. Poor sod (him, not me). At the time he was just a senior developer, as was I. However Marc was the old hand, having been there for a coupla years, and obviously knew the ins and outs and vagaries of how the HB website - and the other projects I came to be working on - all came together. So he was basically my mentor. This was an excellent time as Marc's a bloody good CFML developer, and we shared a lot of commonality in the ways we liked to see things done, so we made a good team. One of Garner's assets is that he's a pretty bloody patient individual, so was also happy to endure my bullshit on a daily basis (well: I say "happy"… perhaps more like "resolved to ~" and he managed to endure it and maintain a positive countenance throughout).

He was also a good honest bloke who liked to have a pint after work too, which was handy. He was always slightly more sensible with how often was appropriate to go for a pint than I was though. Heh.

Another thing I'm thankful for is he has a kid slightly older than my own boy, so when my lad was on the way, he was a good sounding board as far as the concept of being a dad goes, which was a completely foreign notion to me.

Anyway… work stuff… Before too long Marc's technical skill and HR skills meant he was promoted to be our team lead, and I'll always remember he apologised to me when it happened as he didn't want me to think that it was because he was better than me or anything, just had been around longer. Which was bullshit: he was far more able in that sort of role than I'm likely to be. Technically: I could do it, sure; but I'd be a nightmare for HR. Ha.

Marc also excelled as a team lead, running interference between our bods in the team and the bosses of the department, and always came to bat for us. All whilst still delivering the message down to us from above.

One thing I deeply respect Marc for is that occasionally I have needed to get a bit of a ballocking for one reason or another (usually personnel issues, as you can imagine), and he was… well… good at doing it! He was always firm and put his point across, but still always listened, and maintained an approachable demeanor throughout. And then that was that, and we were back to work and there was never any lingering "situation". I think this is a good personal strength to have.

When HostelBookers was subsumed by Hostelworld, there were personnel changes at the top of HB's IT department, and it was clear to the management at HW that Marc was the right person to step up into the Dept Head role. I will be honest and say I think there were a coupla wobbles initially - but nothing major - and the thing is Garner's a pragmatic person and just refined his leadership as he goes. He's really stepped up into the role, and has the respect of everyone in the department (both down to us bods doing the coding, and up to the big bosses over in Dublin).

Over the last year or so we've been reimplementing and rebranding the HostelBookers website. I mentioned this went we went live with the new site a few weeks back: "The end of ColdFusion". But now that project is done, and Marc has seen this as a good opportunity to move on again, to tackle someone else's challenges. I can understand why he's moving on.

Anyway, Marc was a bloody good boss, and I just wanted to put that down "on paper" somewhere.

Take it easy, fella.


Friday 15 November 2013

Simon Baynes

Just very quickly. My mate / colleague Simon finished at today, and moved on to a new position. It's not for me to share the details, but it sounds like a really good gig, and Simon's a good fit for it.

Simon was the Technical Architect at, and was responsible for hiring me. I did not report to him directly, but we worked reasonably closely on various projects over the last almost four years.