October 06, 2013

resonance-0.0.0-RC1: In the beginning was an Idea for an App

I am currently a reformed software engineer.

When I say "reformed", I could be less figurative, and just call myself a manager of engineers, but that doesn't really speak to the style that I like to manage. At some point, I will write proper blog posts about adventures in self-organized teams, architectural patterns of organizations, or my style in leading teams of brilliant developers. Right now, I have a much less glamorous problem... feedback.

One responsibility that I feel strongly about is mentoring other technologists. While a lot of mentoring can happen one-on-one, I mentor engineers that are part of teams with other engineers, QA's, product managers, system admins, project managers, etc. So, to get a full picture of how someone is doing and how they can improve, you need to talk to the people that the engineer works with day to day.

This has led me to having to pull together feedback from many different people. Since those people are not always immediately available to give feedback, I have to get the feedback whenever we can find the time. (Of course, it can work the other way too. I have had some great feedback for people when I was not expecting it, over sandwich at lunch or a beer at the pub or just grabbing some coffee from the machine.) Also, I believe that feedback decays quickly. So, in the spirit of the "Continuous" movement (Wait huh?), I really would like feedback to flow back to the person as quickly as possible. So my not-so-glamorous problem is that I have to talk to lots of people whenever it gets squeezed in and then pass on the feedback ASAP. Doing this feedback thing well ain't easy, and I can certainly do it a whole lot better.

All in all, this makes for quite a bit of accounting to do. Now, I have had systems before: paper notebooks, Google documents, even personal wiki pages systems. None of them have quite worked out well for me. I have liked having feedback in an external system that I can get access at any computer, but I don't always have a computer next to me when I get this feedback. (I also have not had much luck with smart phones either. All of the wiki/Google Docs options that I used were not smart phone friendly.) On the other side, I am not always with internet connection either, so the "offline" mode that a paper notebook gives me is still valuable.

At some point during my manager-drama, my engineer brain perked up, and said, "Why don't you just build a tool for that?" Thus, the idea for Resonance was born. Resonance is my idea for a simple feedback-taking system for taking, tracking, processing, and giving feedback. This is the first project log entry chronicling the Resonance project's journey.