Where I sit writing this email, today is Friday. So tomorrow the weekend starts. Do you already have plans for the weekend? Perhaps we’ll go to the lake, because it’s scorching hot in Europe these days. But I will also continue with my “Automation project: Factory 0.1”. Just a short detour what that’s about: I have my website at holgerfrohloff.de and it’s built using Jekyll, a static site generator. I write my newsletters on my Mac or iPad (or sometimes iPhone). I want my writing to appear as an email, sent to you. But it also should appear on my website, without me having to copy and paste markdown files, commit them and deploy it. Then it should ideally be distributed to LinkedIn, Xing (that’s a German LinkedIn 😉) and perhaps Twitter. All automatically. I am building this with three iOS apps and a bit of IFTTT and perhaps Zapier. I’ll tell you about it in detail once it’s finished. It’s a lot of fun for me.
Now to what I wanted to tell you about in this email: I love to have small projects like that. Projects where I can tinker and explore at my one pace. Where I do not have to keep track of the hours spent and where I can just have fun. I believe projects like that keep my relationship with coding healthy, because I can enjoy other sides of the profession as well. I also believe that you might benefit from having small projects yourself. Michael Tsai wrote about Kindling projects in 2015. But it’s still relevant. A small step into this direction (because not everyone might have a project at hand) could be Code Katas:
How do you get to be a great musician? It helps to know the theory, and to understand the mechanics of your instrument. It helps to have talent. But ultimately, greatness comes from practicing; applying the theory over and over again, using feedback to get better every time. But in the software industry we take developers trained in the theory and throw them straight in to the deep-end, working on a project. It’s like taking a group of fit kids and telling them that they have four quarters to beat the Redskins (hey, we manage by objectives, right?). In software we do our practicing on the job, and that’s why we make mistakes on the job. We need to find ways of splitting the practice from the profession. We need practice sessions.
Have a look around at the website (linked above). Perhaps that’s something you’ll try over the weekend? Anyway, have a great one!