Sunday, March 25, 2007

Knowledge Vs Techniques

I always argue with Rohit Sharma, one of my best friends, at times just for the heck of it and at times just to make him see the other side of the story. The topic of argument is anything from United Nations role or lack of it in world politics, India's awful performance in Cricket World Cup 2007, to, where we are going to lunch on weekends.

Few days back I had an interesting discussion with him, please note a DISCUSSION and NOT an argument, guess a good change. The topic of discussion was why some people are successful and others not so much. Even though they might be equally smart, believe me knowing smart people is not easy, even if you are from India or working for technology company!!

The discussion took lots of twist and turns and some tangents (as usual). The conclusion of the discussion was, the differentiating factor between successful people and not so much was the techniques people use rather than the knowledge they possess.

The main problem is we are keen on accumulating knowledge, which has possibility of being obsolete over time, but we rarely work on improving our techniques. This is applicable in whatever domain you might be working. The techniques are acquired over years unconsciously, through your schooling, college or your first job when dealing with different issues. We never consciously try and improve our techniques on the other hand we are totally focused on accumulating knowledge.

Sure you need knowledge but to be really successful you need to refine your techniques along the way. In today's competitive world improving your techniques in addition to good knowledge can take you places. I am analyzing how I can improve my techniques, what about you?


Visual Studio Team System Guidance

There is lot of good product documentation available for Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server, but very little contextual guidance. Whatever little guidance is available, its dispersed over the net. There is no single source of comprehensive trustworthy quality guidance, which is easy to consume.

I am really excited to share that, in an attempt to fill up this void, I have teamed up with J. D. Meier, Alex Mackman and Jason Taylor on Visual Studio Team System Guidance project. Being a small team, we are planning to go by "divide and rule" mantra. So we are focusing one area at a time.

Last week we focused on Source Control and came up with some good Practices, How Tos , Explained and Q&A. Additionally we are creating Video Based Guidance, which are short, focused videos for performning a task or learning a concept.

We have published these guidance on . You are most welcome to provide feedback on these guidance and be part of an exciting journey!!


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Performance Testing Guidance

Currently I am working on Performance Testing Guidance Project. Last week we did a major sweep through our existing performance testing guidance modules. We updated the existing modules with some key fixes and incorporated feedback from internal and external reviewers. You can go through the Completed Modules List and see all the available performance testing modules.

This week we have added following new How to modules.

  • How To : Consolidate Various Types of Performance Requirements and Testing Objectives
  • How To : Coordinate Performance Testing with an Iteration-Based Process
  • How To : Evaluate Systems to Improve Performance Testing Effectiveness
  • How To : Model Application Usage without Empirical Data
  • How To : Quantify End-User Response Time Goals
  • How To : Use Data Binding in Load Tests in Microsoft Visual Studio Team System
  • Friday, March 9, 2007

    Lunch at Piecora's Pizza

    Since the time I started working with JD, we have made a point to lunch at Piecora's Pizza on Fridays. Well of course we don't make it all the time, but whenever we do, we are not only chewing on our garlic bread and mouth watering pizza, but grinding our gray cells as well. We not only reflect on what we achieved through the week, but also do some soul searching on improving ourselves, do some technical discussions etc. It's one thing I always look forward to, now I know the real meaning of TGIF!

    Today was one of those days, as happened, between my chicken + jalapeno pizza bites, I was complaining about not being able to improve on my soft skills especially my networking skills. In response JD gave me insights about his "30 days sprint" which he has applied for his 30 days of living foods

    I liked the concept, 30 days of commitment for improving an area, be it your soft skills, day job skills or for that matter even blogging!! Things you have been postponing or starting and stopping in fits, qualifies for the "30 days sprint". The basic idea is choose a area / focus you really want to improve and commit to work on it for 30 days. Sounds simple, isn't it!!

    The reasons why it works, you are not committing to longer time duration and hence its easy to accept (the hard part) and implement. At the same time its long enough time, to use different techniques and methods to work on the focus / area to really make the difference. You may not be 100% satisfied with what you achieve in those 30 days nonetheless you ought to walk away wiser and confident with your achievements.

    Inspired by the discussion, I have already started my "30 days sprint", you will know the focus area when you see "Prashant V2.0" after 30 days.


    Thursday, March 8, 2007

    Finally I jumped on the blog wagon!!

    I had been planning to start blogging for so long, but did not for some silly reasons. After lots of pushing from J.D. Meier finally I have decided to jump on the blog wagon!!

    JD and I have been working on various projects for patterns & practices for last 2 years. The most successful of them have been .NET 2.0 security guidance - which includes .NET security related guides and books available on MSDN together with modular content of various types including scenarios and solutions, guidelines, explained, checklists, and How Tos.

    We also worked together on Guidance Explorer - a tool that enables discovery, composition and consumption of high quality development guidance.

    These days we are working on Performance Testing Guidance - The purpose of this project is to build some insightful and practical guidance around doing performance testing and using Visual Studio 2005. It's a collaborative effort between industry experts, Microsoft ACE, patterns & practices, Premier, and VSTS team members.

    We have just started with VSTS 2005 Guidance - The purpose of this project is to build some insightful and practical guidance around using Microsoft Visual Studio Team System. It's a collaborative effort between patterns & practices, Team System team members, and industry experts.

    As we make our way through Perf Testing and VSTS 2005 Guidance, I will blog about our learning's.

    Once again thanks JD for making me blog, I am already enjoying it!!!