My approach to leadership even when you’re not The Team Lead, Or how to minimize resistance to change in your company

Recently I have been asked a few times about how to become recognized as a leader when you are not officially appointed a Team Lead title, or even worse, when the particular team you are working on is too small, or you are even working solo on an independent piece.

Another common question I see people around me ask is: how to introduce new practises to a team that still doesn’t recognize what’s holding them back or what they are missing out on, without having too much resistance, especially from senior people. It’s interesting to note that this question is often asked out of a specific struggle, and that leadership is not usually mentioned when the question is framed.

But “how to lead” and “how to drive change” are very related

This blog post was motivated by a question I answered recently on Quora, and another one I answered in a tech group on facebook.

The Quora question is just an example of how this works, so do not mind the specifics.

How can I ask a senior developer to learn Git properly as he always commit code directly on the master branch?

The other question is what I’m sharing with you here. Let’s look at what it says:

What are your tips for developing company performance in Agile, clean code, unit testing, good software design, etc.?
Habits are usually a problem, and there’s difficulty of persuasion

Below I answer the question from my observations working as a consultant for 7+ years, and as a software developer for over 12 years.

The Answer

It depends on your role, your power, how much buy in you got from leadership, etc.
But…

This is the general framework I apply as a consultant whenever I go to a new place (usually every 4 – 14 months):

I keep my ears open all the time, looking for opportunities to help people technically etc.

I like to help, but it’s also good to have people recognize you as someone who helps and come to you directly for help after that. When they come to you for help, they develop habit of listening to what you say, and accepting it.

I ask tough questions from day 1, although only when a relevant topic comes

Questions have always been key to how I function. Asking the right question gets you a very good idea on where the team / company stand relative to what you are asking, and much more.

It tells you whether they already do things better than you thought, or otherwise, how close they are, and whether they acknowledge that they are missing something.

The question also communicates to the team what to expect you to push, what you stand behind. If you ask the question in a neutral tone, and only focus on understanding their position (via few follow up questions as time and situation permit) instead of enforcing a suggestion solution at the time, it also signals to them that you are not a perfectionist who wants to move everything upside down in their comfort zone.

Small talk, coffees, etc.

I have room for improvement here, but small talk, chatting to people about their lives, their kids, their favourite sport / movie, without being judgemental of course, really helps make you a friend.

If your time permits, join in the coffee trips and sit with them for lunch if applicable. This one is optional, but it helps deepen the “one team” feeling.

I embrace coming as honest / vulnerable, do not act like “I know it all”

Stating the obvious, but, I do make mistakes, and that’s OK. When you push for change, even by just asking innocent questions, people hold you to a higher standard, and that’s also OK. Actually it’s a good thing.

When you create a Pull Request, and other people point at a mistake you did, and you smile and fix it. What happened in here? Two things: They put on their “What’s the right thing to do” hat, and you put on the “I hold myself to the same values I ask you to stand for” hat.

This really helps in getting people to have a development mentality, and also helps them own the improvements. It’s not about you anymore, we are all peers, and we all hold each other to what we agree is correct.

It also works in non tech areas, like applying a process etc. When you make the rule become how they judge you, they stand more for it.

I look for opportunities for small wins.

A small Agile or tech practice that people can apply without much effort and can appreciate the results. There is always one if you keep your ears and eyes open, and ask the right questions. The whole point here it to get them to appreciate that change (a small change in this case, that they don’t feel a strong urge to resist) is actually beneficial, which helps when you start pushing bigger changes.

Now that I built enough credibility, I start making the case for the bigger items

This works because I’m often injected into teams as a developer and a mentor, or leading a smallish team of 3-4 developers. It’s different when I’m expected to be an advisor to the leadership.

I watch what we agree on, to decide whether to keep asking or start making statements

Asking works most of the time, but telling / making firm statements is needed too. When people say they don’t want to do something, quite often they ignore the result of their old approach vs the new approach. Your friend in these objection time is the word “Why?”.

If you keep asking “Why?” and “What will happen if…”, people will stop answering at some point, and you’ll have to “tell” them what you think the answer is, and get them to agree or make their own answer. That’s one kind of telling.

When you reach to a point where the flaw of some approach is stated, then it’s time to put on your firm face and “tell” them that we should avoid this problem using the change you are suggesting (detailing the change not using words like “my change”, you don’t want it to be them vs you), and “tell” them that unless they find a bigger flaw in it, that’s what we should follow

At the end of the day, quite often most decisions are trade-offs. You just need to agree on which trade-off has higher cost.

When you do this, you should also sense the air to see if it’s better to make your statements use a neutral tone, or sound a bit more firm, which still should not mean shouting!

Praise and recognition, lots of it, but keep it genuine

Recognition

I make sure to give people credit for everything good they do, no matter how small. I repeat it in front of more people, and in front of other teams.

Side note: en you do this, you don’t worry about others taking credit for what you did. Because when you keep giving credit to other people around you, external people and management DO see that you are a common factor in these, and while the people you praise get the credit, you too get extra credit!

This plays well with the old leadership playbooks: When talking about good things, name people in every occasion. When talking about bad things, always name facts and avoid naming people, use “we” instead of specific person’s name. If you really have to mention a name, say it neutrally and quickly.

Praise

When someone does something good, whether related to the changes you suggest or not, make sure to praise them, in public, loudly. Praise for small things. And do not make up praise.

I learned an interesting secret: when you look for good things that people do, you always find them. Even people that your might consider a negative net producer will do good things and if you look for them you’ll find them (handling negative net producers is a whole topic on its own).

People love praise. It always strengths your relationship with them. They also feel the urge to do better. It also helps you (me in this case) find positives in the relationship with the team when you are looking for genuine reasons to praise them.

Be warned though: It’s VERY important to keep your praise genome and about good things you found NOT made up. Why? Besides being dishonest, people will see that you are just giving them empty praise. While empty praise still works on others, it reduces your creditability, and it sure still does not work on those who resist change the most (and hence recognize they have the most conflicts with you). It’ll just lead them to disrespect you and fight you harder.

People often recognize me as someone who is approachable and respectful, which I think is mainly due to vulnerability and positivity (which praise is part of), even though I’m also someone cites concerns in the form of questions or statements when required. This leads to them describing me in my LinkedIn profile recommendations as someone who is they enjoy to work, but not afraid to speak up.

The good news is that there’s no secret about it. It’s not too hard to recognize all people for the good work they do when you are actually looking for it.

Finally

When you are already recognized as leader / coach, you don’t have to go through all these steps. You might be better off asking the existing leadership about their priorities and the work conditions, and directly start addressing the low hanging fruit from these.

Do you have any experience / tip you’d like to share on this?

Bring on your own version / perspective

That’s what it’s like to go offline for a week with a scratch in the eye

A few hours ago I tweeted:

In this post I’ll talk about how the experience was like. If you suspect you have a similar issue and came here searching for it, stop, and get the patient to a hospital ASAP. If you are interested in the human experience, read along.

How did it happen?

Things like this can be very easy. The bottom of one of the pants of my pair of jeans hit my left eye while Mrs. was tiding. It hit me like a sharp knife even though it was obviously by mistake.

This happened on Tuesday evening and I didn’t think it’d be a big deal even though the pain was horrible. By morning time, I know I knew I needed to visit a hospital.

What was it like?

It felt like a strong sting. It always felt like I had something in my eye, but sometimes it felt like a knife, or a pin, and sometimes it felt like I had a tiny coin in my eye. At first I was quite sure there’s something in my eye (I thought maybe a very tiny string or whatever).

The hardest part is that it hurt more whenever I blinked. Due to some surgery in the left side in my head as a child, my left eye is already “lazy”. This means I tend to blink/close it all the time. Not to mention the annoyance of feeling pain, automatically closing my eye from the pain, just to get more of it!

Seeking Medical Advice

I had some infection in my right eye a few weeks ago and went to a GP who got me some good antibiotic eye drops. So, I got an appointment with her on Wednesday noon (the earliest I could get). While waiting, I thought that I need someone well equipped to check if there’s something in my eye. I took my wife and went to St. George Public Hospital emergency.

The constant about any medical practice anywhere in the world is waiting. I’m talking about 1-2 hours of waiting especially at a public hospital. I did try a private hospital but they said they didn’t have emergency section and told me to go to St. George.

At the first hospital

I met someone whom didn’t look aware of Albinism (that’s the general medical condition of people with pure white skin + hair like me, especially eye effects). He measure my eyesight and told me “Do you realize you are legally blind?”. You can imagine how freaked out I was.

At this time I was thinking the degradation of sight is just due to so many tears overnight and still nonstop. I thought he is wrong taking it more serious than my pain. I was wrong.

He called a senior doctor, who advised having some fluorescent eye drops. They are called fluorescent because they light up under the light of the eye specialist’s tools and show the cornea very well. That was when they told me that I had a scratch in my cornea.

They gave me some antibiotic eye drops, and told me to use an ointment at morning and night. They gave me a certificate to take Wednesday and Thursday off. By the looks of Wednesday night, I could easily tell this was not enough, so, I asked my wife to email my company, Readify, (which was very understanding) that I’ll take Friday off as well.

At Sydney Eye Hospital

Sydney Eye Hospital - Credit: Wikipedia

By Thursday night, it was pretty much the same annoyance. I visited Sydney Eye Hospital on Friday morning. The eye specialist (after another 2 hour waiting) used less fluorescent eye drops (the first one filled my face, this one felt more right), and told me the scratch was so big that it must have been the same size it was on Wednesday.

He called his senior doctor, who suggested I stop the prescribed antibiotic and use the off-the-shelve ointment on hourly basis!

Getting ready to go back to work

I used the ointment every hour. I got my wife to put it for me, and it felt like an addict in some movie asking for his drug dose, LOL! I also asked her to email my company and tell them I may not come entire next week, just in case.

My pain started to improve on Monday. My vision started to improve on Tuesday, it wasn’t still clear, it still got blurry at not-so-close objects / text, and quite watery.

I visited Sydney Eye Hospital again on Wednesday this week, did my 3 hour waiting (1 hour for the nurse, and another 2 for the doctor) who didn’t call for a senior doctor this time.

She advised me that the scratch is now too small that it is even hard to see. I accepted her feedback as during the long wait I was already feeling hourly improvements in my vision without any medication that day.

She told me that I can go back to work. She said the laptop screen should not cause harm to the cornea even with the scratch. She asked me to reduce the ointment to morning and night only (where did I hear that before?) as it’s probably the main cause for the watery/slightly-blurred vision I have, and suggested a dry eye off-the-shelve eye drops to use as often as possible (up to hourly).

So, I went home, opened Visual Studio, made sure I can read and modify code, and emailed my company by myself letting them know the changes, and here I am ready to work, with a plan to visit the eye hospital again next Wednesday.

What I was doing all this time

The first couple of days I was mostly just in bed suffering pain. My wife had to handle all the things I used to handle for our 4 years old son, and our shopping, etc. (thanks!).

After Friday, having expected this to expand to next Weekend in fact, I started considering something to do. Because I was extremely cautious, didn’t let myself in front of any screen even with covered eye, especially that eye covers were touching the eye lid and I took them off more often, I only got one podcast on my mobile, and kept listening to it all week.

The Entreprogrammers Podcast

The podcast deserves its own post. For now lets say I had about 14 episodes of 1-2 hour long podcast to listen to. I didn’t have any podcast setup at that time, and the default player didn’t always sync the last listened-to position. I listened to duplicated parts, sometimes because I was afraid of finishing the podcast and not finding anything to do, and something because I keep thinking about other things, like my eyes.

The funny thing about that is that after fearing to run out of episodes, I now listened only to 10, and need to catch up with the rest 4 and find room for it in my busy routine, not to mention the amount of personal and work email I need to check, catching up with the project I was working on before this happened, and catching up with other channels I used to follow. Fun stuff!

The Good Parts

O.K., as it’s hopefully close to an end, I can have a better look back, and tell that it wasn’t all too bad. There were some good benefits as well:

  • I got to take a week off. I rarely take any. Mostly I just take the Christmas break as often a mandatory leave for our clients.

  • I got to spend more time with my 4yo son. This is something I always feel guilty about whenever I’m sitting at my laptop at home, even when maybe I shouldn’t. There’s no “enough” time for spending with your son, and there are always tons of competing priorities

  • I didn’t drink coffee for a week. For some reason I thought I won’t benefit from even a tiny pressure increase or awake nerves. I wasn’t doing much anyway. I kept it coffee-free. This is very good for the heavy coffee drinker like myself, and it’s something that I read people only do when they are on leave

  • I think the podcast has got me to think differently about how I want to tackle personal branding and related profitable activities. I’m not too horrible at personal branding (although I can do tons better), but I suck at getting to any other profitable activity other than my full time job. This has to change!

Going forward

Well, I’m still recovering, and have a doctor appointment week, but at least I can resume my usual activities, so …

Identify Your Weaknesses & Optimize For Them

It is very important to understand your weaknesses and optimise your methods for them.

For example, I have a very hesitant random memory. At any point in time, I’ll remember some things in deep details, remember only certain characteristics (important or otherwise) of certain other things, vaguely recognize the existence of other things, and completely forget about the rest.

Ensuring which memory has which degree of remembering doesn’t seem to have a direct relation to be related to the nature of things themselves (people faces/names, papers, told/witnesses situations, etc.), how important the things are or relevant to current time, or even how old the memory is.

 

That’s why, every time I have made a record about what I want my future me to remember, and made sure this record is searchable (physically or digitally) in a way that does NOT require remembering a certain hint (because I tried that, and I ‘sometimes’ forget hints), the future me gets happy, when I search things that sometimes I am not even sure they did exist.

Yes, I just had one of these moments :)

P.S.

Of course, understanding and encountering for your weaknesses should not be a reason to stop trying to overcome them!

For those who wonder, Readify is still (always) hiring

This is an open letter I wanted to share with you…

Anyone doing software development on Microsoft platform?
(or knows someone who does)

I think I may have a challenging opportunity for you.

I work as a Senior Consultant for Readify Pty Ltd. Readify is an Australia-wide software consulting company specialised in Microsoft technologies. We have a lot of MVPs and ALT.NET developers (for example, we have the writers of Castle and Autofac IoCs, and Linfu dynamic proxy used in NHibernate, among many others including several worldwide technical speakers and book writers).

The company is also specialised in hiring the top 10% developers all over the world (so, if you have friends from Egypt or any other country, they are also welcome to apply).

Some of the company’s recent awards:

– Microsoft [[ Worldwide ]] Software Development Partner of the Year 2012
– Microsoft Australian ISV Software Development Partner of the Year 2012
– Microsoft Australian Software App Partner of the Year 2012
– BRW Best Places to Work Listing for [[ 2010, 2011 & 2012 ]].

If you would like to learn more, and then maybe consider applying, I wrote more about what it’s like to work for Readify from my own personal perspective (including notes about the recruitment process and answers to common questions):
http://bit.ly/readify-openings-2012

Readify is always hunting for the best talent all over the world, so, this is open call that you can use any time, although cool stuff better not wait

Once you are ready, apply TO careers@readify.net, CC: mohamed.meligy@readify.net

P.S.

Please note that due to the very nature of Readify as a software development "consulting" company not just a normal software shop, we do not usually offer overseas vacancies for junior developers (we offer "local" internship program). This is for senior developers and beyond. Also, we do not usually offer vacancies for designers, testers, dedicated project managers, or administrators, as these roles are often handled by our clients already.

The Year O’clock! Goodbye 2011, New Year Resolutions for 2012

imageFor many years, people used to laugh at the World End 2012 prophecy. This year, people’s joke was that we’d be very lucky if we manage to get to the end of 2011 even!
Yeah, 2011 is such a bloody, surprising, rich, optimistic, pessimistic, and loaded year. So many events, so many famous deaths, so much fire, so much energy, and indeed, so much hope.

Seems we are lucky anyway. We’re only less than two weeks close get into 2012, Many have either started their holidays already, or just about to.
Unless you believe that year is the end of the world truly (no, not discussing it even!), that alone should make you optimistic :-)

The title “Year O’clock” is not mine, it’s my colleague, Steven Nagy. I may talk about the origin of the name later, for now, let’s say it’s a friendly internal new year’s resolutions cheer-up message.
Few days after I responded to it, I thought I’d share my response with you too, after removing some customer identifying parts and adding some context to a few parts of course.

The Year O’clock Email:

Just Three Questions

  1. Work related highlights for the year

    • Been across 4 different big clients in the same year. Really enjoyed them all
    • Speaking at Developers Developers Developers Sydney conference
    • Not feeling like “a new guy” any more (joined the company September 2010)
    • Learned a whole lot of stuff while doing work. This is great highlight although probably so common
  2. Non-work related highlights for the year

    • Moved from a furnished apartment to non-furnished (renting), same street. More stability FTW
    • My son, Adam (2 years), communicates better, learned numbers and English alphabets plus some words (mixed), developed his own, errr, decisions / opinions!
    • A lot of small improvements to my blog at the last few months. Happy about them
      Hey, that’s GuruStop ;-)
  3. New year resolutions

    • Need to build an idea of my own badly. I worked in 2 start-ups, and did freelance for friend entrepreneurs, it’s really time to own something other than my blog
    • More clients and exciting stuff at Readify is a must, should keep every year even better
    • Do more talks, think of some non-told-already topic for local user-groups in Sydney (open for suggestions)
    • More blogging
      Shout at me if there’s something specific you prefer to read here :-)
  4. How will you be spending your holidays?

    • Home
      (um. don’t count this one)

    How about you?

    Let’s keep this going. I shared my own stuff with you as I encourage you to do the same as well. Blog it, tell me about it. You know I care.
    Happy new year. Enjoy it Smile

    I’m 25 today. Reflections on last {something} years…

    Technically, I have just reached 25 years today, February 24, 2011. Of course if we agree to ignore the time zone difference between Sydney and Greater Cairo, as it’s still February 23 in there.

     

    Originally I didn’t plan to write about it, although I had very nice comments on few  posts about couple other birthdays (lost in blog move I guess). Now that I look behind, my life was always moving so fast, and I have always been feeling it moves too slowly (to the extent of screwing things trying to get them earlier than I should).  Now looking back, it’s weird.

     

    Most of life as a kid I used to prefer sitting with older people, like their talks, reading, etc than the usual interests of other boys around. This kind of got me fewer friends (with –only little- help of being an Albino, which is not usual in Egypt). Things got slightly better by university time but I used to live with different personalities.

     

    In beginning of 2004, I attended Microsoft Middle east Developers Conference, and was of the earliest bloggers about it and one of the most annoying attendees with plenty of questions. Somehow this got me to be the best attendee for the conference winning MCAD courses during the year. I used to go to the 2nd term in university at morning and courses at night. Was still being a student in both. I was lucky that all other students were senior devs and used to bring problems from their work and such. Later, I had a couple of friends from there, Nisreen and Mohamed Samy. Both were around 9+ years older than me, which was usual.

     

    Later I asked Nisreen to get me a job at her company. This was the time I turned into 2 personalities. During daytime I’m the computer engineering student at university, and at night the developer at 3 different companies that I stayed in each from few months, to 2+ years.

     

    It was weird, and exhausting. It used to sleep at company offices and go to university from there in the morning, only go to home to change clothes before(??) getting a bad smell. I didn’t have to do that and actually after some issues in first company I was planning to leave the second one after I finish the first project I did there and return back to “just student” mode. Obviously I couldn’t. I loved it. Along with time, working in really inspiring workspaces like SilverKey and meeting abnormal people like Dody, the co-owner got me more into it (by this time I was decided to continue anyway, but t enhanced the experience).

     

    During work, I got used to dealing with older people as peers in a quite different way. People used to have good impressions about me and give me qual tasks (as I was working full-tie during nights and working most hours of the weekend). Of course, I loved this equal treatment and not getting any nasty comments about age, but what I didn’t talk about is that internally, I happy to be the guy 6-7 years older than all the rest and still treated equally in talks and responsibilities. Was so happy I managed to hold a “Senior Developer” title at age of 21 while still at university and later started to be recognized in different events that I gave sessions at, like SKDD and DotNetwork, and CairoCodeCamp.

     

    By the time I got near graduation, I was really tired of this life. And I mean physically. I felt I may never graduate (although I spent the normal 5 years, didn’t have to do extra terms or so), and university duties especially graduation project becoming a headache while I’m trying to be the “workaholic” guy people used to call me (and I loved to be). I got introduced to “Sawy Culture Wheel”. They had a lot of special concerts by not-well-known-but-superior teams. They also had performances of some of great singers and musicians  too, like Ali Al Haggar and Naseer Shamma. MAn, I LOVE music. I have a pretty classy taste in it and people at my old workplaces recognize that having headphones on and starting singing with them means that I’m in one of my most productive coding hours. Being in Sawy Culture Wheel 2-4 times a month gave me the break I needed to keep going.

     

    Somehow, I met Mona, my wife, at work, we got engaged, I graduated in August 2008. Got a cross-teams architect kind of  job in a large company that managed to keep agile. Got an offer from UAE that all my friends even at this company advised me to take, got married, got to UAE, my wife got pregnant, I suffered securing proper housing and more importantly lack of developer meetings and user groups and such in Abu Dhabi, I met my friend, Ali Ben Yahia, who got me to look at entrepreneur/start-ups world., another friend, Tuna got me to realize Readify might be the heaven of developers on earth, my wife gave birth to Adam, my beloved, so-much-acting-alike son, I had hard 4 months waiting for unconfirmed visa in temporary housing that had legal with renter and building owner (but there was no other affordable temporary thing in Abu Dhabi, all yearly). We came to Sydney, again looking apartments in a complete different rent system, got housing, I got a couple engagements at Readify and got a slightly different style of work as a consultant than a normal dev in some software house, started attending groups and thinking of speaking in some, and I got 25….

     

    By now I look,it’s like 2 years already when I started giving up being the exceptional young guy. I’d say there are a couple of guys here at Readify that are a year or more younger than me and did way more than than me at their age, in many magnitudes. Suddenly I’m a husband and father with tons of daily and long term responsibilities involved of course (including exploring how to fulfil different needs in the new country), and doing well-enough at keeping being a community guy and having passion about technology, I start more to think all my strong excitement about new technologies and frameworks today need to be applied in some startup idea / product (especially I worked on some different products for others before in companies and for freelance) and die to think of one being always ignoring the business part of the world unless it relates to requirements, estimations, etc.. Evaluating how to start building a name in a new country with completely different communities than the ones in Egypt where I am somewhat recognized as frequent speaker.

     

    The world is different. My current place from it is different, the places I want to reach and see / be in it are different. 25 years old. They feel to me like 52 years old. But it’s still early, the journey has to continue. I’m enjoying different parts of it. It’s just, when I look back, even if as little as 3 years back, I see a much different world that I have been in, looking back way more, I see a completely different person. Even that it makes most sense, I still feel cold when I think about it.

     

    I needed to write those lines so much, even that the length of the post and me not happy to add titles to it will make reading it too hard that maybe nobody will. Even that if it gets read, many readers will jump into false conclusions about who I am at the moment and that some close people will blame me for that, I still needed to write it, yes, and get it published.

     

    Thanks for reading, and wish you all great progressing times…

    On the arrival of Mr. Adam Meligy

    Image007000 - Copy

    Today (technically yesterday, since it’s 3:26 AM already while I’m starting this), Mr. Adam Mohamed Meligy finally arrived home, after staying 9.5 days in nursery. This –dear audience- given Mr. Adam arrived to our world only in October 5, 2009, a date that the entire world will (sooner or later) always remember!

    Mr. Adam is now taking a personal cover, pretending to be a normal baby, while he is pretty professional, he cannot sometimes hide his special natures, being relatively quiet compared to normal babies, and highly responsive to touches and (believe it or not) spoken notes/requests.

    These are things that the world will remember once Mr. Adam finishes his first big achievement in the field he will take up for living (God Willing). Some other small details matter more to the family, both his grandparents –for example- note him as their first grandchild. I –personally- recognize him as my extra chance in life! If I fail to manage to be another Anders Hejlsberg/Martin Fowler, Scott Guthrie/Brad Abrams, or Scott Hanselman/Rob Conery/Phil Haack (still trying), Mr. Adam has a bigger chance; else wise, he’ll be digging his road as a notable figure in some different field (God Willing).

    I feel that I was blessed with not just two more legs and hands, one more tongue and a couple of stronger eyes, extra more years to live, but also with an extra brain and superpowers. You can always upgrade your thinking methodologies, even reinvent the way you think completely, but you are always limited to your physical brain constraints that -although can be always stretched more and more- have their limits. Now I have an extra brain that can do pair thinking with me and reinvent the way things happen by the experiences he will be having on his own (God Willing).

    So, this is to log that Mr. Adam (temporarily until he decides to replace that with “Eng.”, “Dr.”, and/or “Prof.”) has just finished implementing phase zero,  coming to existence!

    Few More Facts About Mr. Adam’s Arrival

    • The exact time of arrival to world is October 5, 2009, 10:30 AM Abu Dhabi Time, that’s 8:30 AM Cairo Local Time (CLT), 6:30 GMT.
    • Although born in Kornesh Hospital, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Mr. Adam holds the Egyptian nationality, just like his parents. He also inherits the Islam religion, which he will be (God Willing) discussed about as soon as starts making conversations, so that he practices it for the sake of belief, not inheritance!
    • Mr. Adam reached our world after hiding in a secret cafe for slightly less than 35 weeks, reaching our world at the weight of 2.25 Kg.
    • Mr. Adam has his email, Facebook and twitter accounts created on the day of arrival and moderated by parents. Soon (God Willing) he will be running those himself, and creating his own LinkedIn account on his own once he finishes his first school and starts a professional expert career simultaneously.
    • Mr. Adam has come with the message to make the world a a better place to live for humans, not to dominate the entire world ;-).
    • Since arrival, the protocol requires using the prefix “Mr.” when mentioning Mr. Adam’s name in conversations. Only tweets/categories, etc… are allowed exceptions due to technical/official nature. This prefix is temporary as per the relevant note above.

    On behalf of the family, I congratulate the world on having Mr. Adam with us. I’ll be following up with his significant news until he starts blogging (hopefully soon, God Willing).

    I changed my twitter username to @Meligy

    Yesterday I changed my twitter username from @Mohamed_Meligy to just @Meligy.

     

    Why?

    I have been thinking about this step for a long time, as my tweets are relatively long, and when I want to to allow people to re-tweet. With my old username, I used to have to write at max 120 characters per tweet to allow re-tweet (leaving 20 characters out of the real 140 characters limit to “RT @Mohamed_Meligy: ”). With my new twitter username I can use up to 128 characters (leaving 12 for “RT @Meligy: ”). I know I ‘m a person who can make nice use of those 8 extra characters, but is this worth doing? For sometime I thought: No.

     

    My old username has some nice features. First, it includes my full name, so, that’s nice for people who don’t know me very well. Second, it has been around for over a year and over ~2390 tweets! That’s something!! People got used to using this twitter username when replying to me (mentioning me) and I did my best to put it everywhere in my Google and Facebook profile and blog and everywhere, and also used it with many twitter applications that require entering username/password.

     

    Few days ago, one of my friends brought up the topic and encouraged me to do the change. I tweeted asking my friends whether they would promote the change, and encouraged me even more, so, I switched twitter username to @Meligy.

     

    How

    Some friends may wonder, how did I change my twitter username and still kept all my previous followers and reserved the old username also still on twitter. What part of it is a feature of twitter, and what part is something I did?

    So, here is the story:

    1. I created a new twitter account with username @Meligy, and same password.
    2. I changed the @Meligy username to @Mohamed_Meligy2.
    3. In another browser I went to my old @Mohamed_Meligy account, changed username to @Meligy. Now I have @Meligy and @Mohamed_Meligy2.
      I noticed When I go to twitter replies in twitter website, it shows all replies that came to me, even those including @Mohamed_Meligy. This is good.
      The bad part is that when I click on @Mohamed_Meligy link in those replies/mentions, it goes to @Mohamed_Meligy not @Meligy.
    4. I changed the new account @Mohamed_Meligy2 back to @Mohamed_Meligy.
    5. I deleted the old @Mohamed_Meligy account from tweetdeck, and added both @Mohamed_Meligy and @Meligy (as default).
      I couldn’t just add the @Meligy account even with same password in both – I had to delete the old one.
    6. I used tweetdeck to tweet from both accounts “Changed twitter username from @Mohamed_Meligy to @Meligy. Followers needn’t change anything except using @Meligy in future replies/mentions”.
    7. I started trying to remember all the websites and applications I logged with the old twitter username and change it to @Meligy.
      Having the same password on the other @Mohamed_Meligy account, I’ll be monitoring it for a while in case I forget some application or so.

    Note that any link to previous tweets (in the format: twitter.com/{username}/status/{tweetID}) before changing username will still be broken.

     

    Follow Me!

    If you already followed me back with the old username, you should still be able to receive my updates.

    If not, follow me on twitter via @Meligy.

     

    By the way, I got married. She’s a really really nice lady :)

    The “BTW” Announcement

    Hey guys, remember when I posted my engagement to Mona, the cute smart kind beautiful super cool sweetie?

    Well, we have got married :).

    wedding4 - Copy

    It was on Friday, January 23rd. I’m writing this after the honeymoon vacation, which was practically a honey half moon vacation, due to work conditions in this speed world!

    So, how is that going?

    Based on my small experience so far, I’d answer a question some friends asked on mobile phone…

    YES, marriage is GREAT, but of course only when you marry the perfect person that best fills in all your feelings. It’s very hard to find. Usually, you don’t search for that; you just find THE ONE accidentally. When you do, you know it, and your life becomes just nice, and, all fun. If you don’t, God be in your help.

    Thankfully, I have found my one, and I can assure you, life with her is really sweet. I truly feel like I need nothing from this world when we are sitting together at home. This girl just rocks :).

    To Mona, The Masterpiece of My Life

    Thank you very much Mona for being in my life with all your blesses, and all the increasing happiness they bring with them. I hope we’ll be always happy (God Willing). With you, it feels like an easy wish.

    Love you so much. You empower all my abilities.

     

    N.B.

    When I look back, I find it very weird that I didn’t submit this to the weblog by wedding time. This facebook thing is making things quite weird, while the whole technical thing is making things weirder. I have found that a facebook event, along with some SMS messages were almost enough for most contacts to attend the wedding ceremony (It was a good way to collect friend pictures afterwards as well – thanks for the cool friends who posted their pictures there).

    Joining RAYA Software in October

    I’m joining RAYA Software starting next month (October), part of RAYA IT, a business line of 3 main business lines that form RAYA Crop., a well known name in the IT industry over the Middleeast.

    My role is very interesting. The entire company is interesting to me, not just for the size and brand, but for the nature of how things are going in there nowadays, which makes RAYA the perfect place to join at this specific time.

    About the role

    I’m joining RAYA with the same title I hold current, a senior software engineer, yet, I’m going to be a member of a team of only 3 guys, M. Yosry, whom I haven’t met but is said to be a real guru by all guys I met in RAYA, M. Zahaby, an ex-RAYA returning in it recently and a personal friend of mine whom I had technical chats with and even worked with in a single freelance and knew what kind of a geek he really is, and myself!

    The team is very special inside RAYA Software. We as team are responsible for helping other teams standardize coding practices all over the company (well, this is all within Microsoft technology development teams, I know nothing about Java technology department), and help other team leaders and members implement agile processes (specifically Scrum) in the way that fits work nature in RAYA. We stand with other teams in design sessions and researches/investigations required for specific projects, and we help create and enhance a rich toolset, reusable components and modules over applications. We work with all other teams and report directly to the "Microsoft Partnership Manager", El-Mohanned, who is like the CTO for Microsoft technology development, and a very interesting guy as a boss. Both very respectable, and still having his geek nature deep inside not affected by his current high management rank!

    About the company

    RAYA is a well known name in the software industry. Like many big companies, it had its special advantages, and eve problems. These days, the guys at the company starting from junior developers, the the GM, Aly Zweal (not sure of the spelling), whom I really enjoyed meeting him as a part of my recruitment process. The guy has a great smart mentality that measures the technical aspects to the business aspects for just the right balance, and whose meeting was as well as  El-Mohanned’s description of the interesting job duties some of the main reasons I accepted the job offer.

    Right now RAYA is going through some really revolutionary changes. The smallest of those are switching to Scrum and migrating many projects to using latest technologies and having a big yet very precise recruitment campaign. The company’s line of business is rebuilding itself for more progressing forward, which makes it the perfect time to join and share in this building, especially when the role allows more impact on this process.

    Regarding Agile, it’s cool how El-Mohanned’s first communication with me included a link to one of the two videos he uploaded to YouTube, "Raya Software Goes Agile":

     

    This is the technical part, which is for someone like me a must-have base for having talks about anything else. But still, there’s more about RAYA Corp. in general. Belonging to a big corporate is another paradigm that I lived some of its blessings in my previous company GNS (Gulf Network Solutions). Now, I’m into the full experience of living within a corporate environments. It just helps you think differently about your entire life, and opens new areas to think about. A worth-it experience indeed that many people once taste find it very hard to change.

     

    Vacancies

    Oh, yeah, by the way again, RAYA is hiring! I mean it. THERE ARE OPENINGS. There’re openings for junior and senior developers, team leaders, and testers. You can check the careers page, and send your CV to the email mentioned under each vacancy, or to El-Mohanned, or simply to me! Hey, make sure to specify the position you are applying to in the email subject please. This is the rule, isn’t it? :D

     

    What about SilverKey?

    That’s what SilverKey is to me:

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    Geeky days and even nights, company kitchen talks, volunteering entire public BIG free DemoDay events, pre release tools and platforms, varying nationalities, cultures and mindsets, wedding and birthday and even farewell parties, virtually wearing multiple hats at work(roles), analysis and design negotiations. launch celebrations treats, Scrum process customizations, teamwork, Dody and Alia’s guitar, having breakfast in Ramadan tent, …

    There’s much about SilverKey that I cannot explain by just saying. It used to be almost my house for more than two years now. I think I know about some of the people there more than I know about my own family and maybe same for them. There’re people who sure have made a difference during this period, Dody and Kent come on top of those. There’re guys who make for best friends like M. Nour. There’re some special personalities that are hard to meet occasionally like Amir Magdy, H. Zein and M. Tayseer. There’re people who are not just interesting as techies but have their own other interests like Ahmed El Malt and Tamer Zaki and Karim Ennarah. There’re fun foreigners like Sharron, Tosin, and, very quiet yet still really fun foreigners like Brian, Chris, Luke, David, and Olivia. There are very passionate and promising guys like Kariem Soudy and Amr Ali, There’re true fun guys like Mostafa Murad (AKA, TATA beik), M. El Sayyed (AKA, SAYYYED), Emad (AKA, iMAD), and M. Alaa (AKA, Developers friend). There’re kind guys like Ibrahim Marzuk and Taher. There’s an old buddy and community partner, Mohamed Hossam (AKA, BASHMOHANDES), business guys like Adam and Farid. And there’s for sure M. Kassem and Ahmed Ali and so many names that it’s easy to miss a lot of those over different generations (by the way, no categorization intended!). Although not so many of those names are still there today that most guys will not recognize the rest of all other names, this is much to carry for the company itself.

    If it was only that I met Mona, my lifetime love, current fiancee and soon my wife (God Willing), and, the girl I believe is the best to exist in our world today, I met in occasions all related to SilverKey, that would be enough.

    So, technically I’m not leaving SilverKey completely for the upcoming while. Afterwards, who knows,, most likely the new generation will take over on its own afterwards (God willing).

     

    DISCLAIMER

    The thoughts and states expressed in this post and entire blog are solely mine. Neither of my past/current/future employers nor any of their employees/owners hold any kind of responsibility for or commitment to any of them, even if mentioned in behalf of this employer.