Vadim Kravcenko

Been building complex systems since 2010; currently in Zürich. I solve business problems - occasionally a computer is involved. I love talking to small businesses and helping them out: drop me an email. I respond to as many as I can.

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How to run efficient meetings with engineers

Meeting

During my time as a software engineer, I always hated meetings, there’s nothing more boring than going to a meeting for which it was not really necessary for me to be there, contributing nothing and just nodding along. That was a long time ago - now I view the meetings as a necessary evil and an efficient communication tool.

Over the years I’ve run lots of meetings - some of them successfully, some not so much, but I think I learned some lessons along the way. I would like to share with you some of my learnings on how to run efficient and productive meetings with your engineers. Take all of this with a grain of salt, as these are my personal observations and not necessarily best practices in the industry.

Simple Truth

Let’s start with the simple truth - to finish any software project you will probably need to conduct at least a few meetings - with clients, with developers, with...

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Dealing with complex projects

We know why projects fail, we know how to prevent their failure - so why do they still fail?

I’ve been reading a lot about working on complex projects and most of it only touches upon the topic superficially with no clear guidance as to what steps to take and what to do in certain situations. So here are some of my personal observations and ideas (that are based on my own experience) on how to deal with building complex systems with multiple agents involved.

The easiest way to build a complex project is to reduce complexity. That’s even more true if the timeline is tight.

First of all, I consider complex projects those that are cross-product integrations with aggressive deadlines and multiple companies involved.

Skills

There are three skills that I consider being essential when working on such projects:

Adaptability
Be flexible, be ready for changes and try to see them before they...

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Growing your interns

I consider this topic very important for everyone working in IT and even those that are currently interns, because eventually you will become Senior Developers and will need to nurture your own interns.

There are few things in the world of software development that have such a huge ROI as nurturing your interns to be the best possible engineers possible. While this goal is not achieved with every intern, I think it is the job of the manager (or the Team Lead) to bring out the best qualities in them and improve those qualities.

Over the years, I’ve had some interns that exceeded my expectation as well as those that didn’t due to being unmotivated. Usually the main difference between those two types was, that the former type had some sort of passion towards programming. And that’s currently my rule of thumb - if I see that a person lights-up when he’s talking about programming (e.g...

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Switching from Engineering to Management

I would like to share with you my experience, in moving to a CTO position. This post will mainly concern people that are in management on the technical side, CTOs, VP of Engineering, Heads of Departments etc.

I think in every Software Engineers life comes a time when they need to decide if they want to pursue a career in engineering or switch to management. There are pros and cons to both of those choices, it all depends on what your character is like, what you want out of life and how well you can manage work-life balance.

I became CTO of a small company (< 40 Employees) almost a year ago, and that switch made me work harder than ever before, suddenly the things I needed to do didn’t fit on a single to-do list, and as the weeks went by the list kept getting bigger. During that year I finally managed to structure my work and I would like to share with you a few things that I think are...

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Test Post

Well this is my first post.

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