Looking Back and Looking Ahead

by Doug Durham 3/12/2013

As we were looking back over the blog's 2012 stats, I was struck (and humbled, honestly) at how many visitors we've received and the attention certain posts had garnered. Our five most popular posts in 2012 were:More...

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Our Goals

by Doug Durham 9/6/2012

When our summer interns started, I sat down with them to cover the nitty gritty details of what, why and how we do things at Don't Panic Labs. I broke it down into three categories: our goals, what we value and what we expect. In what I envision as a series of posts, I'll lay out what I covered with them because I don't think these, at a high level, are unique to just our intern experience. More...

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The Upside of Being Thrown Into the Fire

by Doug Durham 4/4/2012

During a recent one-on-one session, I had a discussion with one of our engineers about her role as "build master" for one of our companies. In this role, she was responsible for building the initial project architecture, and setting up and managing most of the TFS build definitions. But as various project components changed, she had to make sure that any affected aspects of the build process were also changed. We talked about how we might be able to transition that role to someone else, like a new hire. She mentioned that it should now be more manageable because the job was more about maintenance than development. More...

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The Voodoo We Do

by Doug Durham 3/1/2012

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."
Albert Einstein

In the world of software development, there are always religious arguments being made as to which method is best. Most people agree that Agile-based methods are the most appropriate for software development, but we stop short of saying this is always true. I have always felt the type of problem being solved and the personnel involved should dictate the method. Planning, constraints, and preliminary design should be tailored to the level of complexity and uncertainty of the problem, as well as the composition and maturity of the team involved. More...

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Of Internships and New Grads

by Doug Durham 9/15/2011

Internships are new to us. In fact, hiring people straight out of college is new to us. Historically, we have built our teams by hiring experienced (or relatively experienced) people often via word of mouth recommendations. We have always been quite protective of our culture and the impact of bringing new people into our organizations. As a result, we have been pretty successful with our hiring with little, to no turnover and very few disappointments. More...

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Look Before You Leap

by Doug Durham 6/7/2011

At Don’t Panic Labs, we strive to instill individuals with the mindset of “think like an engineer”. By this, we mean that developers should be thinking more than just how to write good code; they should be considering as many aspects as possible regarding their project. This could involve learning more about how their application will be used and about additional technologies that could be leveraged to make their application the best it can be. More...

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What I Would Tell My 15-Year-Old Self

by Doug Durham 5/13/2011

I attended the first day of Big Omaha yesterday and was really impressed with the conference. It was my first time there and I plan to be a regular attendee. At the end of the day there was a general Q&A with all of the day's speakers. One of the questions asked was "If you could go back in time and talk to your 15-year-old self, what would you say?" When I heard the question I immediately thought of two things. More...

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View From The Booth

by Doug Durham 5/4/2011

I've created a new category of blog posts called "View From The Booth" where I will share my observations and thoughts that result from experiences working with students and new hires. Much like a coach watching football practice from the top of the stadium, I see quite a bit in my role at Nebraska Global and Don't Panic Labs. What I will be sharing will run the gamut from mere observations to more direct "guidance" that I feel should be taken to heart. I will also point out some behaviors and patterns that should be avoided in order for one to be the most effective member possible on a software development team. More...

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