Sunday, January 30, 2011

Global Game Jam Denver University


Global Game Jam 2011, at Denver University, Denver Colorado. 2 hours away from deadline. I still see some people hard at work coding and doing art.

The atmosphere is pretty laid back. I don't know whether that's because they are mostly done, or because they gave up completing their project.

It does surprise me, though, that I do not see written plan, or milestone, or pseudocode. Some kind of checklist to show progress, you know? I think it's crucial to do so, especially in team environment.

We'll see how it goes. It's too bad that I didn't get to participate here, except as an observer. Maybe next year.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hiring People

Hiring people

There is a long-standing believe that when you hire somebody, you're better off hiring a specialist, instead of a generalist. Unfortunately, that can be harmful. You really are better off hiring a multi-talented person who can do anything.

People ask me, "What's wrong with hiring QA personnel if you want QA personnel?" Nothing. However, that person had better be more than QA or somebody of lesser status, trying to get ahead in the industry. Perfectly matched is actually harmful. In my case, it actually end up shutting the department down! I'm not going to convert the people who believe in hiring specialists, but let me walk through the rationale a different way:
"Do you have a job now?" Yes. "Do you want to move to another company?" No. "What if that company offers more money?" It'd better be a lot more money. "How about less money?" Absolutely not. "So, this person you're hiring right now, that you say is a perfect fit, does he come here with 'a lot of money' offer?" Umm, no. "What could convince you to work for somebody else for same amount of money?" If I'm about to be fired. "So, you're saying that this guy you're hiring is about to be fired?" I didn't say that.

Something like that.

Notice that it isn't that deep of an analysis. It is simply putting yourself in the other person's point-of-view.

I had a correspondent with someone who said that when a company is hiring a QA position, that person should stay longer than 6 months. I asked her point-blank, "How long must this person stay in that position?", pointing out that QA as a stepping stone position, 5 years is not acceptable. What do you know? She never answered the question! Neither did the hiring manager of the company, BTW. Yeah, I notice things like that. Not that difficult, actually.

But what gets me is that she then advises people to apply QA position as QA specialist, but that a few months later, after establishing their reputation as excellent QA tester, start to fish for other opportunities. To me, that effectively saying "We want people who stays in their job for more than 6 months, but it's okay to apply to another job in a few months." Talk about mixed signal!

She's actually a nice person, and is trying to be diplomatic. But I wouldn't want to work for her.

Really, the only things you need to know about new hire are:
1. Can you do the job?
2. Will you do the job?
Answer yes to both question, and you have the perfect candidate. You don't have to have a perfect fit. In fact, you shouldn't.

And the good boss? It doesn't matter what the job is, a good boss will take care of things right. It can be the difference between leaving in disgusts, and leaving when a replacement is found.

I have had situation where it's the same company, same job, same salary, same policy, etc, with the only difference being a good boss, and a bad one. With good boss, I was happy. With bad one, I was so miserable, that I'm contemplating of quitting. People, not jobs, makes the difference.

If your people started to have "holier-than-thou" attitude, and belittling the "little people", then watch out! Your company is going down!

Sent from my iPod