The PowerTools Team's Power

I wanted to recognize the work the PowerTools group has done with the code and setting up shared, re-usable resources (wiki updates, JavasScript base class, code standards, examples).
Here are some excellent take-aways from the group's first month. The PowerTools Team's power comes from collaborating, balancing best practices with understandable examples, and through sharing.


(help but also get help)
  • Team members don't hesitate to ask questions, share, and offer feedback. We may still need to be careful and pace ourselves to avoid burn out while enjoying the work. Volunteered time is appreciated, but not at the risk of someone's health, sanity, or career. I like seeing people take breaks, it makes the rest of us learn better. :-)
  • The team has started logging known issues and continues to add useful comments to source control. I personally love the progress on the wiki pages!
  • I'm not sure what in the group DNA that encourages the collaborative software, but I suspect this will make our next steps towards releasing version 1.0 (documenting, testing, and reviewing code) that much easier.

Best Practices

(keep doing the good stuff and encouraging others to do the same)
  • Balance maintainability with easy-to-understand examples came up early on when the project started. The group does a great job of first talking through potentially contentious scenarios, then choosing an immediate next step and long-term goal. This isn't easy and may continue to come up, so it helps to know:
    • An informal project isn't a chance to "throw away" or ignore the good, professional practices developers are forced to do at work. It's a chance to leverage what we know and improve on them. Best practices, standards, refactoring, clean code, testing... it all applies, but...
    • We still need to keep it simple enough to follow.
    • Since we may find ourselves on different sides of this discussion, it also helps to remember code is (relatively) easy to change. Attitude, respect, and group dynamics can be harder to adjust, especially when heading in a bad direction. See Rands for wisdom on balancing similar issues between "incrementalists" and "completionists" as a good primer when interacting with other technical team members.
  • Expertise helps, but sharing lasts. Some of the individuals that started this project are known as "gurus" or are top consultants in their field. If fame, prestige, expertise, and/or glory appeal to you it's ok (and if you'd like to build out your personal brand, increase your Twitter followers, and/or use this project to showcase your talents, be Nuno's guest)! But (IMO) the real leverage comes from sharing, helping others, and making this type of project easy to understand and follow. Knowledge sharing is as important as the code and seeing senior {fill-in-a-technical-job-title} take the time to walk someone through an issue on Skype is so-freaking-awesome (TM).

Social Media's Role?

I'm biased. I accidentally wielded social media (actually older technology--a forum really) and got uber geek recognition. I appreciate all the mentions and continue tell other project members, "if something looks useful document it, share it, or even add a +1 button on it on the wiki". Tweet, blog, or ask for volunteers. Not everyone can/should work on the code all the time; we need

  • analysis
  • requirements
  • feedback
  • leadership
  • graphic skills
  • UI
  • testing
  • communication skills
  • product champions (it doesn't have to be all at the same time or all in the same person)

...and the occasional break. I'm still not sure how I ended up here, but it's definitely not because I'm particularly good at programming (though I've been known to solve problems, and communicate... a lot). :-)

I'm still impressed by how cool is it to work with an open group with friendly attitudes, filled with talented people working on leading software. So no matter your current role or extreme (lack or amount of) expertise, we could use your help and feedback on the project. However, I'll still ask you to update that wiki page. :-)

Again, this group has solid amount of expertise, but we're not the best or only Tridion project out there (maybe just some of the more vocal!). Check out some other great work on dynamic delivery as well as extensions on TridionWorld. It's a growing, engaging technical community that could use your help.

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