Entries Tagged 'Sabbatical' ↓

Adam Mordecai – Advomatic

Adam Mordecai is co-founder of Advomatic a small web technology firm specializing in Strategy Consulting, Website Development, and Hosting for progressive non-profit advocacy organizations.  They do some work for commercial and governmental organizations.   Their clients include the ACLU, TCKTCKTCK, the Center for Democracy and Technolgy,  the New York State Senate, and Young People For.   Adam has also been doing pro bono work for KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program).

Advomatic is an example of a “virtual company”.  That is, most of the employees participate in there work day using tools that operate over the Internet.  A typical arrangement is a client to connect to Advomatic’s IRC chat room, a web browser opened to their project management system (sometimes referred to as the ticketing system) , and of course any tools the developer is using to program, design, or manage projects.  Advomatic’s developers and themers are located all over the country and the world including New York New York, Harrisburg Pennsylvania, Santa Fe New Mexico, Reno Nevada, and Hong Kong China.

Advomatic uses Drupal an open source content management system supported by a large community of developers.  Drupal is LAMP based, with thousands of contributed modules,  and has straight forward access to creating custom modules.

As a warning, the video interview was recorded while Adam was on vacation and in the background you may hear the sounds of cooking and children playing.

The interview is divided into sections each addressing a particular topic.  Particularly interesting in this interview are Adam’s description of Advomatic’s in house project management system (5:56) and the section on communicating with clients (12:44) where he talks a bit more about their project management system (14:48).  In these sections Adam says that Advomatic doesn’t use an Agile development process, but it is clear from how tightly coupled the client is to the project and how tasks are allocated that their process has many Agile characteristics.   In many ways their development process is more Agile than many companies that claim to use Agile development.

Other areas you might find interesting are the section on Creativity in Software Development (20:45) and As a High School Student (25:35).

Below is list of the time stamps of each section of the interview.

  • Before Advomatic ———————————————- 0:18
  • Advomatic Startup ——————————————— 1:49
  • Advomatic Grows ————————————————2:45
  • A Virtual Company?  —————————————— 3:56
  • Developer Workstyles —————————————- 5:07
  • Project Management System —————————— 5:56
  • Biggest Coop —————————————————– 8:39
  • When Projects Go Wrong ———————————- 11:40
  • Communicating with Clients  —————————— 12:44
  • Estimating Costs ———————————————— 15:07
  • Working Virtually ———————————————— 15:53
  • Managing Software Developers ————————— 16:45
  • What got you started in software Development – 17:44
  • What is Software Development —————————-19:56
  • Creativity in Software Development ———————-20:45
  • Become a Software Developer if… ———————— 24:30
  • As a High School Student ———————————— 25:35

Introduction to my sabbatical project

Welcome to my blog chronicling my Fall 2009 sabbatical project. My purpose was to gain insight and experience into what the software development industry doing today and where it is headed. I also wanted to know what the software development world would think of the job we were doing in teaching software development at Adams State College. Finally, I was also seeking to understand todays culture of software development, where it came from, and where it was going.

Over the course of a semester, I met with, video interviewed and observed over 30 software developers from 14 organizations. I traveled to Silicon Valley California, Bismarck North Dakota, New York New York, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Raleigh North Carolina, and of course Denver Colorado. I got to see, first hand, the workings of small startups, virtual companies, web developers, research contractors and consultants. More importantly, I got to see not just the way people actually do their work, but also how they feel about their work, their discipline and in many cases their avocation. I got to see what motivates the people in the field.

What I witnessed was inspiring. Whether developers work on customer account data bases, ground water analysis, I-phone apps or cutting edge multilayer video games, they all love what they do. While working on this project I got to record their passion. From the woman who wants to build a better medical information system because she credits the Mayo clinic’s system for saving her father’s life, to the politico who would change the world though automated analysis of voting records, they all love what they do, and like me once you get them talking about their projects you can hardly slow them down.

On this blog you will see edited video interviews with 35 software developers talking about what they do, what they love, and where they think the software world is going.

As a side project, I asked all my interviewees how they would define the words “nerd” and “geek”, and whether they considered themselves a “nerd” or a “geek”. These answers will appear in the future as a separate topic so if you’re interested keep checking the site.

I am also interested in continuing my exploration of software development culture. So if you’re reading this and want to participate let me know by email (gwsellma@adams.edu) and I’ll try to arrange a visit.

Develop On!