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Re[4]: [XP] How to grow an XP team

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  • Tony Byrne
    Hello Luiz, LE I find this absolutely wonderful. Any ideas for good example projects? LE It should be something complex enough to demonstrate analytical
    Message 1 of 20 , Dec 2, 2004
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      Hello Luiz,

      LE> I find this absolutely wonderful. Any ideas for good example projects?
      LE> It should be something complex enough to demonstrate analytical skills
      LE> and simple enough to take a day or two to finish it.

      I think one to two days is probably a bit too long for a toy project of
      the sort I mentioned. Something that could be completed in an hour or
      two would be better. You can tell a lot just from a toy project of
      that size.

      Some examples:

      1) Write a calculator program that can evaluate simple expressions
      in infix notation containing any of the following operators
      ('*','/','-','+'). E.g. "2 * (16 - 4)".

      2) Write a program that can take a list of money amounts in various
      currencies, add them together, and express the total in a single
      currency.

      3) Write a program to parse a roman number.

      Regards,

      Tony.

      --
      Tony Byrne
    • Luiz Esmiralha
      ... I was thinking about how long it takes to interview people at a big company. It usually takes days to do all the tests, interviews, group dynamics, etc.
      Message 2 of 20 , Dec 2, 2004
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        On Thu, 2 Dec 2004 09:39:56 +0000, Tony Byrne <yahoogroups@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hello Luiz,
        >
        > I think one to two days is probably a bit too long for a toy project of
        > the sort I mentioned. Something that could be completed in an hour or
        > two would be better. You can tell a lot just from a toy project of
        > that size.
        >
        > Some examples:
        >
        > 1) Write a calculator program that can evaluate simple expressions
        > in infix notation containing any of the following operators
        > ('*','/','-','+'). E.g. "2 * (16 - 4)".
        >
        > 2) Write a program that can take a list of money amounts in various
        > currencies, add them together, and express the total in a single
        > currency.
        >
        > 3) Write a program to parse a roman number.
        >

        I was thinking about how long it takes to interview people at a big
        company. It usually takes days to do all the tests, interviews, group
        dynamics, etc. Maybe using more of this time on a sample project
        would be more rewarding.
        But two days is a really long time. Maybe something you can do in an
        afternoon is enough.
      • Anthony Williams
        ... We ve got a candidate doing this as we speak. I ll let you know how it works out. Anthony -- Anthony Williams Software Developer
        Message 3 of 20 , Dec 2, 2004
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          Tony Byrne <yahoogroups@...> writes:

          > 1) Write a calculator program that can evaluate simple expressions
          > in infix notation containing any of the following operators
          > ('*','/','-','+'). E.g. "2 * (16 - 4)".

          We've got a candidate doing this as we speak. I'll let you know how it works
          out.

          Anthony
          --
          Anthony Williams
          Software Developer
        • Randy Coulman
          ... During my last job search, I participated in several come in and code with us sessions. I loved them. It gave me a good sense of the people I d be
          Message 4 of 20 , Dec 2, 2004
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            Tony Byrne wrote:
            >
            > I've been on the receiving end of one of these "come in and code with
            > us" sessions and I consider it a splendid idea. From the
            > candidate's perspective it's a great way to demonstrate ability,
            > something which isn't so easy to get across at interview. I found the
            > experience more comfortable than a standard interview and I left with a good
            > feeling about the company.
            >

            During my last job search, I participated in several "come in and code with us" sessions. I loved them. It gave me a good sense of the people I'd be working with and how they work. In one case, I even asked specifically to do this. The company was receptive, and it was a good time.

            More recently, when hiring for our current team, we did the same thing. We started with conventional interviews, and then brought the best candidates in for a half-day session. We, as the people doing the hiring, really appreciated the extra insight.

            However, we were hiring entry-level/fresh-out-of-school developers, and they found the sessions very intimidating. They were pretty much convinced they'd made themselves look stupid and completely blown their chances at the job. We tried to reassure them before and after the session, but I'm not sure it helped much.

            On the other hand, they learned a bit about how we worked, and the job offers we made were accepted. Both of the people we hired now understand why we did things that way, and would love to be interviewed that way in the future. But it's intimidating when you've never heard of or experienced anything like it before.

            Randy
            --
            Randy Coulman
            Senior Software Engineer
            Key Technology, Inc.
            RCoulman@...

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          • Tony Byrne
            Hello Randy, RC However, we were hiring entry-level/fresh-out-of-school RC developers, and they found the sessions very intimidating. They RC were pretty
            Message 5 of 20 , Dec 2, 2004
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              Hello Randy,

              RC> However, we were hiring entry-level/fresh-out-of-school
              RC> developers, and they found the sessions very intimidating. They
              RC> were pretty much convinced they'd made themselves look stupid and
              RC> completely blown their chances at the job. We tried to reassure
              RC> them before and after the session, but I'm not sure it helped much.

              It's hardly surprising, really. Any process that requires an actual
              demonstration of ability is going to feel intimidating to the
              inexperienced candidate and I think that such a candidate
              would probably be fearful of things that may not be all that important to the
              'interviewer'. For example, I feel that as agilists we would probably
              be more interested in a candidate's social skills, attitude and instincts
              than their preferred brace styles.

              Personally, I've always found more traditional interviews
              intimidating, but maybe that's just me. :-)

              Regards,

              Tony.

              --
              Tony Byrne
            • Anthony Williams
              ... Just to follow up on this: I felt it worked quite well. It gave us insight into how he works, and what skills he has that I don t think we could have
              Message 6 of 20 , Dec 3, 2004
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                Anthony Williams <anthony_w.geo@...> writes:

                > Tony Byrne <yahoogroups@...> writes:
                >
                >> 1) Write a calculator program that can evaluate simple expressions
                >> in infix notation containing any of the following operators
                >> ('*','/','-','+'). E.g. "2 * (16 - 4)".
                >
                > We've got a candidate doing this as we speak. I'll let you know how it works
                > out.

                Just to follow up on this: I felt it worked quite well. It gave us insight
                into how he works, and what skills he has that I don't think we could have
                gained any other way. I'll definitely want to do this again in the future.

                Anthony
                --
                Anthony Williams
                Software Developer
              • Tony Byrne
                Hello Anthony, ... AW Just to follow up on this: I felt it worked quite well. It gave us insight AW into how he works, and what skills he has that I don t
                Message 7 of 20 , Dec 3, 2004
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                  Hello Anthony,

                  >> We've got a candidate doing this as we speak. I'll let you know how it works
                  >> out.

                  AW> Just to follow up on this: I felt it worked quite well. It gave us insight
                  AW> into how he works, and what skills he has that I don't think we could have
                  AW> gained any other way. I'll definitely want to do this again in the future.

                  I'm glad to hear that it worked well for you. If you can share with
                  us, I'd love to hear what the candidate thought of it all.

                  Regards,

                  Tony.

                  --
                  Tony Byrne
                • Anthony Williams
                  ... We asked him, and he said he thought it seemed a reasonable request, but didn t necessarily show off his best work. Whether this was a reasonable
                  Message 8 of 20 , Dec 3, 2004
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                    Tony Byrne <yahoogroups@...> writes:

                    > Hello Anthony,
                    >
                    >>> We've got a candidate doing this as we speak. I'll let you know how it
                    >>> works out.
                    >
                    > AW> Just to follow up on this: I felt it worked quite well. It gave us
                    > AW> insight into how he works, and what skills he has that I don't think we
                    > AW> could have gained any other way. I'll definitely want to do this again
                    > AW> in the future.
                    >
                    > I'm glad to hear that it worked well for you. If you can share with
                    > us, I'd love to hear what the candidate thought of it all.

                    We asked him, and he said he thought it seemed a reasonable request, but
                    didn't necessarily show off his best work. Whether this was a reasonable
                    representation of his true opinion, or whether he felt that he had no choice
                    but to say that, I can't tell. I hope it was the former.

                    Anthony
                    --
                    Anthony Williams
                    Software Developer
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