# The Art Of Teaching

## Posted by Filip Ekberg on April 26 2013 1 Comment

### Preface

The following article is an article that I wrote duing my studies for a bachelor degree in Software Engineering. Minor changes might have been made to make it more suitable on this website. It was originally posted on my old blog in 2008 but have now been re-processed.

Both my experience and writing style has changed since I wrote this article, but I still want to share my thoughts from 5 years ago.

Let me know how you prefer teaching others and how you prefer to learn!

Side note: C# Smorgasbord in PDF format is available for €4.99! Buy it directly on PayPal and receive the PDF, ePub and Mobi today!

### Abstract

A teacher knows that there are no straight answers on how to teach. There are multiple ways giving people new information and helping them adapt this in their current work. One of the preferred learning method by me is the Problem Based Learning, I will take up more about this in the upcoming topics. It’s also very important to take the age of the student in mind, how do they actually see on you as a teacher and does your and their age really matter?

### Introduction

By passing on knowledge to new generations we somewhat evolve into a new and different kind life form. This not being as deep as it sounds, every day we somehow pass knowledge to someone. It might be the neighbor, a child, a sibling, a parent or anyone else for that matter.

The important thing to remember is that all new or old knowledge is dangerously important to pass on to those concerned. There are a million ways of teaching something, not all of them are good and not all of them are bad, being old or being young doesn’t matter, all the age gives us is perspective and understanding of how to pass on knowledge and whom to give it to.

By viewing the aspects of teaching, who needs to know what to be able to survive, complete a task or just continue living their life. Of what importance is all the facts, does one give the window of failure or does one give all the fact so that there is nothing left to learn?

### Different generations

This might actually be a sensitive spot to touch, but I’ll be short in these words. There is actually a big difference between teaching 2 different generations. Imagine having a student which was born somewhere around 1960 and a student who was born 1980, depending on the age of the student and the age of the teacher, both these persons will take the information in two whole different ways.

If we would’ve taken me as a teacher example, I’m born 1987 which makes me not very old for being a teacher. Some of my students today are actually a lot older than me, which might give in to complications.

The different generations doesn’t only differ in age but in the attitude and the way of learning. A person born in the 1960:ies might have a harder time actually learning new things than someone born in the 1980, this is because, when this text was written it was the year 2008 which makes someone born in the late 1980:ies somewhere around 20 – 25. In this age, you have much easier to learn and take in new information.

Now this does of course not mean that someone born in the 1960:ies is stupid, rather that there are a big different and when teaching a group with a lot of different generations, this has to be taken into mind when planning a course.

Take another example such as a work place where your co-workers are much older, being young you rarely have anything to say on a work place where the stuff have been done in a certain way for very long.

So when trying to teach an older co-worker, you really need to sell the new information so that the older generation will be more interested.

But going back to the topic of teaching in a class room, it might be a benefit of being older, because older generations have much easier to focus and having a different mindset which will help them succeed.

It’s very important to respect each other, despite the age difference, if a younger person knows something that the older one doesn’t, it’s very important that the senior gives the younger person a chance to actually come forth and tell the information, that might in fact help production or whatever the work space might need.

### Teaching differentials

There are a lot of different ways of teaching and what should be kept in mind when talking about different methods and where they apply is that everyone is different. I might not find it as amusing as you would, if I were forced to be taught with the old style teaching methods.

Thus, as stated in the upcoming topics, there are benefits of the both methods and there are of course a lot more out there, but the ones that you mostly see in action, would be these two.

#### Problem Based Learning

I would certainly say that PBL; Problem Based Learning, is my favorite method of learning. Ever since high school this has been a method that I’ve worked with.

The principles are that a student is given an assignment and there are known factors of failure which will somehow help the student learn what is necessary. After working with the problem for an amount of time, the solution will somewhat appear and the student has learnt something new.

There’s also another aspect of this, or rather, another explanation. Let’s take implementation of the sorting algorithm quicksort as an example. This is a fairly hard algorithm to master and it requires some base knowledge in the field. So when given this assignment, the first obvious part from the teachers perspective is that the student will somehow search for information about the algorithm.

Using internet or a special course literature, both should work very well. This gives the student an opportunity to master this assignment on his or hers own means.

When all the information is collected and the next phase in the learning process begins, which in a programming line of work would be to put up a structure of your software, in this case the software won’t be huge but having a pattern when working is always good, no matter the size.

As a result of this method, the student will have taught him or herself something new and by the individuals own needs.

#### Old Style Learning

As a matter of fact, the “Old style” in from my point of view might not be what you would suggest as an older style. And I am not talking about the old school tutoring where the teachers would be rude and make students learn by force and learn by fear.

In my eyes the old style would be where all the answers are somewhat given and there is no room for self teaching or in any way, a path given where the student can choose to learn just what is needed or learn so much more.

This old style can be seen at many high schools throughout, in my experience, Sweden. Now, the old style, what exactly defines this and are there any benefits? Well to start off, the old style learning method is where the students are put down at a desk, everyone directed to a whiteboard, and the teacher is using a pattern of teaching, where the pattern repeats itself. The old style pattern is when the teacher enters the room, greets the students, and starts talking and then when a question is stated an answer will be provided directly.

Now this point of view might be a little bit dull and it certainly has its good parts, they are just somewhat harder to find than the good ones in a problem based situation.

We have to keep in mind that everyone learns differently and that it’s important to give everyone what is needed to succeed. Thus, this method works in some cases but I would say that it wouldn’t work in most cases.

A benefit of the problem based learning system which the old one lacks is that you give a broader room for questions and thoughts and it’s fair to say that it requires a totally different mindset and maturity.

#### Which is best?

Giving an answer to that question would be somewhat impossible. Just not because everyone differs from each other so much, but in some situations I would also prefer to be tutored using the old style method.

The assignment stated in the PBL-example a couple of words back is a great example of how you can absorb new technology and new point of views. Programming itself is very broad and there are hardly any similar solutions out there. And the quicksort implementation sure is a defined structured algorithm but it can be implemented in so many different ways, it doesn’t matter if there are fewer rows or more rows, and they are just all different.

Which in the end would make you to consider how others are implementing it, what are the benefits?

Using the old style method, the tutor would just present some ways of implementing it and not giving you as a coder any room for own thoughts. A teaching method is always abstract in my eyes, you can’t tell someone to just go with a method, because “implementing” PBL differs from time to time.

### Team work is important

You might think “What does Team work has to do with everything?”; Well actually team work has everything to do with learning. By being a tutor on various programming sections I’ve reached to the conclusion that team work is the most important part of learning and teaching. Now, team work isn’t all important only in the case of teacher to student teaching. This is also very important when we talk about teaching in a workspace.

Since I generally work as a programmer, the examples of programming workspaces suits me the best, so here goes. Imagine having a workspace where there are 10 – 20 developers, 5 graphical interface programmers and a couple of designers. These all parts need to co-operate for the development to work. If some of the staff has knowledge that someone else doesn’t, it’s very important that if this knowledge will help the company produce more, then this person needs to convey this to the rest of the staff. This is where the team work is important, if someone on the staff feels insecure with conveying the knowledge; this person is probably not right for the position.

I always say that when I work somewhere, I don’t want to be the brightest and the person with the most experience, this is because I want to learn, learning is very important and knowledge is worth a lot.

And if you’d come to a workspace where people is unwilling to co-operate, sure this workspace lacks team work and this will be disadvantage when you want to learn and grow professionally.

### Sharing is caring

Not only does sharing rime with caring but it goes very much hand in hand, almost every time that is. In this case, sharing knowledge to your co-workers, students and family is very important. Especially when you work as a teacher, the sharing part is not only important but it’s a factor for you, keeping this job.

I’ve met teachers who felt threatened by me as a somewhat quick learner and bright student, not to sound too self-righteous this was actually a problem for me when I went to high school. I had teachers that, somehow, felt threatened by my knowledge and therefore didn’t want to share new knowledge with me.

This is a dangerous way for thinking and teaching, you always need to take the student, no matter if it’s a coworker or an actually school student, you always have to see the people you are tutoring new things, to be your student.

And a student is to be handled with care; your personality will in the end reflect in this student and will show everyone, how good of a teacher you are. Of course some people like to learn themselves, but, put your mind around this, initially how do you give someone inspiration? It’s by showing the person what skills you have and maybe how you’d do some things.

Sharing knowledge is in the end a vital factor for evolution, what if Einstein or other important people for our evolution, wouldn’t share their findings? How would this affect our current living environment and our current ways for thinking?

However, when sharing information it’s very important that you do this correctly. As mentioned in the previous chapter, all people learn differently. This is probably one of the hardest parts by being a teacher; you need to find a common spot which almost all students like.

Of course this is often impossible, thus there are more than one path to take and there are almost always presented two or more ways for the students.

One important thing to always keep in mind is that you can never ever just give out an answer to a question without somehow providing a solid explanation or a proof why it works.

Why you might ask, this is because when being a student, you are almost certain to always take the easiest path and not thinking clearly about consequences. By being spoon feed you will never really care about how or why the solution is what it is.

And being a programming tutor, this part is very important, what if I were to give all the students the correct answers to all assignments, and tell them “Here are the answers, go find out why”. Maybe a couple of percent would actually find out why the answers are as followed but the majority wouldn’t. So to keep in mind is that when a solution is presented, always give out a good and pedagogic explanation to why.

This topic actually doesn’t just apply to students, it’s also very important not to just give co-workers the answer and let them be happy about it. I know that sometimes I just want a quick answer, but when I actually encounter the problem the second time, and not knowing how to solve it, I regret not doing more research the last time.

### Giving inspiration not motivation

Not to feed answers and giving inspiration is actually something that we can see go hand in hand. When you actually want to teach someone something you want to give the person inspiration and give them the mindset of wanting to learn.

So why wouldn’t you want to give someone motivation? Motivation isn’t something that can just be handed out, actually motivation is something that I would say comes hand in hand with inspiration, when someone is inspired, the motivation might peek and giving coworkers and students inspiration on a regular basis might in fact help the persons succeed and somehow indirect force them to teach themselves.

### When open source helps programming tutors

Talking about open source could be a completely separate paper and take up many pages of explaining why this is a good way of learning and working. First of all, what is open source? Open source is a way for providing your product open and free, not only the software itself but also the source code, which defines the business logic, the graphical programming and other aspects of the program. This is a definition from Google on open source:

A program in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design free of charge.

This is actually interesting, companies, people and organizations giving out their source code for free, so how does this actually help a learning process? Well for starters, there are software available for development and making office work more easy and there are so many softwares out there that can and will help you learn new ways.

The topic on open source now is very programming tutoring oriented and might not really be of interest if you work in a construction site. But think of it like this, what if there were some free ways to actually make your construction work easier?

When teaching programming we often come to points where we do reference an open source project, Linux is one of those; Linux is a kernel for the GNU / Linux operative system. This kernel has from the start been open source and the community which uses it has always been very helpful and made this a better product.

Now, working on a project like linux might not be very easy, but it does in fact give you knowledge, this is an very important time to take up that you always have space for new knowledge and you are never too old to be learning new things.

Programming on linux or any other open source projects might require that you actually have some experience from the start but you will also gain so much from being a part of this process.

# Project startup difficulties – The usual suspects

## Posted by Filip Ekberg on April 15 2013 2 Comments

### Preface

The following article is an article that I wrote duing my studies for a bachelor degree in Software Engineering. Minor changes might have been made to make it more suitable on this website.

Both my experience and writing style has changed since I wrote this article, but I still want to share my thoughts from 4 years ago.

Let me know in the comments below what your most common project startup difficulties have been!

### Abstract

There are a lot of usual suspects in the terms of risks, problems and other aspects of failure that you need to take in mind, worry less about the customer and more about the communication. This is highly important for success; you must find your way of communicating.

### Be prepared; There will be problems

In the writing moment of 2009 I am currently in a development project of which I have the benefits of being System Architect. Having this position in a project is not something that is totally new to me; in 2008 I had the same benefit.

This experience of mine will be used as a reference point, so keep in mind that my points of view is not strictly from a developers eyes. Being the System Architect you have a lot of responsibility such as keeping track of each developers work process, extending each person’s views of the project and being a leader which never falls apart.

Starting a project, not just development projects but generally speaking you face a lot of common problems; team-work issues, financial issues, third-parties, customer issues and many more. I will not focus on the financial issues because the project we current work on is strictly, as they would say in the world of lawyers, pro bono; which is what we mortals would call free.

So not having to worry about the financial problems, we can focus more on the other areas, which in my eyes actually does cause problems and have as it does in many cases, caused problems in our project. Problems don’t always mean that the project fails or that everything falls apart, it just means that we have something to handle. We also have problems that are planned or more likely anticipated more than planned; a planned problem would be fixed before it became an issue.

### The usual suspects

As mentioned in the previous part there are a couple of problems that you might anticipate in your project. There is no common solution that’s widely used on all projects. As a lot of other things in this world; things are different depending on the situation. This is the case of projects as well. I will merely give an overview of what could be expected and how I would like them to be handled.

#### Team-work issues

Reflect over the following; is there anything like perfect team-work? I once said: Team-work comes from willing to cooperate it is not something that can be forced. It doesn’t matter how different you are; as far as we know, everyone is different. I would like to say something like: just work together, what is the problem?

However that statement is bold and doesn’t apply to reality. As mentioned earlier I work in a project, the project consists of 9 other developers where 7 of them are security experts and two of them are, just as me, software engineers. If you look closely enough you can see that there are a couple of things on both sides that resemble a similarity. The security experts have one way of solving problems and the engineers have another, what we need to achieve here is a common ground of both problem solving and the way of communicating.

Our project started out great, there were no direct flaws in the team-work, all parties liked to work together and we solved communication and other future problems very fast. However, as the project has evolved so has the teamwork, but has it evolved enough? As there is no direct answer to that, I can only speculate on the different outcome of today’s progress if we would’ve evolved more with the project.

As of the beginning, there were no issues with the team-work, we did not even argue about small things which can be a big problem in many projects. However as everything evolved and third-party problems came in place, we did come to the stage where we had to raise voices and stand ground.

Not all projects start out with a nearly perfect chemistry between its participants. And maybe it would be for the better to argue it all out in the beginning, finding all these communicational problems from the start and work from there? The outcome from our project is that you start to take things for granted, which is a dangerous path to take.

#### Customer related issues

The first thing that really comes in mind when I write “Customer related issues” is a direct link to money. No matter how you bend on in, when it comes to the customer, it’s always a matter of money. As for our project, this is somewhat a problem as well. Now, you might recall that this project is what we call it “pro bono”; free; gratis. So, what could possible be customer related that has to do with money? Well in our case the customer buys hardware for us, which they want to be further developed, this hardware is in a development stage and therefore not well documented. This means that we need to contact the producer of the product to get information. However, the producer being one of the world’s biggest companies; they do know when to ask for money.

Now this gives us a big problem, since the project doesn’t have any revenue we can’t afford this, so we need to ask our customer to pay for this. This results in a great problem;

• The customer places an order
• The customer expects everything to be done according to plan
• The customer is expecting everything free of charge

Now, the last two stated points above in the work-flow is where our problem is. Is there a solution to this? The project could be delayed, we could be put up in a workpool for other projects to gather resources from meanwhile the producer evolves the product and set up a proper documentation for it. However, we don’t have that time, so what has to be done is either brute-forcing the system gathering all information possible to solve it, or we ask the customer to pay for the education needed by the producer.

In our case the customer actually paid for this education, because this product is very important and scheduled to be delivered and sold after the summer 2009.

There are however a lot of problems not related directly to money, you can see these other problems a lot in the IT Consulting business where I usually work;

• Non-cooperative customers
• The all-knowing customer
• The non-paying customer
• The customer who says one thing and the customer who wants something else

I’m going to state something that many would disagree on; never trust the customer. You might get a surprised face when reading that, but in fact you should trust anyone than yourself; if you can even do that.

Now this is becoming fairly abstract but stay with me on this. If you really think about it, if you start trusting people you suddenly start relying on others to do what they say, always assume people are going to be late and if the customer says “How long will x take to develop?”; The first ting you need to think about is, does it take T hours? Does it take T – 100 hours? What’s the most accurate time? Before you say that, add a factor of 2. So, why add the factor of 2? Because you always over-estimate your skills, you might think that it takes 10 hours, but it takes 20 hours or even thirty hours. If you over-estimated and said for instance 50 hours, and it took only 25, your customer will be very satisfied. But if I take 100 hours and you said 50, you will have a big customer problem.

### Managing the Team to avoid these problems

A great leader is one that makes the workers think they are doing everything that will benefit themselves. In my eyes a project manager is, or should be, very much like a great dictator; A great leader. If you were to revise the book The Deadline3 you would see how they speak of their mangers and what really makes a good project manager. Some of the points that you would consider is:

• The co-workers speaks well of you
• You are considerably good at understanding people
• Not scared of taking chances
• Risk your job every day

As a project manager you might need to risk your job every day, this meaning that you must do things that will benefit the group or the project in longer terms but might not be so good for yourself in the current situation. Managing a software project is just a game of risk management, if you were to find all casual risks and manage them, what else would there be to worry about?

# Friday with Filip – Demystify Spaghetti Code

## Posted by Filip Ekberg on October 26 2012 1 Comment

### Welcome to this week’s Friday with Filip!

Two weeks ago we looked at Dealing with Code Complexity using NDepend. This was the first episode in the webinar series on Code Quality.

This week I am happy to share that Patrick Smacchia and I have recorded the second episode! This week it’s about dependencies, dependency cycles and spaghetti code. I really enjoyed doing these sessions with Patrick and I really hope you will enjoy it just as much. Let me know what you think of it!

# Friday with Filip – Do you deliver high quality?

## Posted by Filip Ekberg on October 19 2012 1 Comment

### Welcome to this week’s Friday with Filip!

During the Fridays with Filip we’ve looked at how to ensure that certain parts of your project conforms to a high standard. I’m talking about the following:

There are so much more things (even small things) that matter when you want a successful high quality project/solution. You can’t rely on a decent testing strategy, security awareness and rapid development to get high quality. There’s still a lot of other aspects in your project that you need to take into consideration.

When I studied for my Software Engineering degree there was a lot of talk about requirements documentation, design documents and all other kinds of documents that you had to write in order to get a good overview of the project. But there were actually less talk about how to retrieve this information.

One of the first things you’ll learn when talking about domain driven design is: use a language that both you and your customer understands. In order to get all requirements or the system design onto paper, you need to understand each other. Do you see where I’m getting at? We need to step back to the basics, to things that was important even before computers and software projects; we need to be able to talk to each other so that everyone understands!

Previously this week I asked something a bit weird on twitter as you can see in the image below.

At a glance, this might be a very weird question. Why would you explain something that is so far away from their reality? Someone responded and said that they would just not do it because they would probably be killed for knowing too much.

Technology is amazing and as a Software Engineer with a burning heart for programming I tend to try (almost) everything new that arrives to the market but not everyone do and this is very important not to forget. Since not everyone is so used to technology, we need to work on the way that we communicate with each other. A couple of years back I built a website that had to do with cars and the people that wanted the website had no idea how the process of building a website looked. So I had to use analogies they understood, I had to talk in car terms.

Therefore it’s very important to actually step back and find a common ground between you and your customer. Otherwise it will be near to impossible to deliver high quality; you’ll never get the right requirements!

As I said in the start of this there’s not one or even 5 things that will ensure you deliver high quality, you need to work on all different aspects. Here are some concrete suggestions (that might seem obvious):

• Find a common ground between you and your customer so that you speak the same language
• Design the architecture in a way that you could talk about objects and structure in the application which the customer understands
• Use the right person for the right job!
• Write lots of documentation before, during and after the delivery
• Have small iterations in the beginning where you continuously deliver parts of the system for reviewing
• Do code reviews, swap people around and let everyone review everyone
• Don’t be afraid to ask your customer questions if you don’t understand
• Don’t be afraid to ask you colleges for help if you’re stuck!
• Don’t get used to putting work off by writing TODO’s in the code
• Take a couple of seconds to write a comment about a method or a complex code block
• Remember that we’re all human, everyone can make mistakes; help each other out and solve them together
• Stay on top of new/old technology and use what is best for the project/customer. If a newer framework or tool means more job, maybe it’s the wrong tooling for this job; even if you want to play with the latest toys

This list can go on and on, frankly there have been books heavier than my laptop written about each point in the list.

What’s your pro tip to increase quality in the code, project and customer communication?

# Friday with Filip – Being productive

## Posted by Filip Ekberg on September 28 2012 3 Comments

### Welcome to this week’s Friday with Filip!

Earlier this week I wrote about how to organize your thoughts by using tools such as Evernote and XMind. Both of these are very easy to work with but are somewhat limited to getting your thoughts into a persistent format. Since productivity is important to all of us, I wanted to spend this Friday on exploring more tools that can be of great use to primarily developers. We live in an era where everything needs to be done as quickly as possible, with the highest quality and costs as little as possible. This can pose as a problem in many cases because they don’t quite fit that well together.

In my previous article, Let’s write better software, I discuss how we’ve been entering a world with more and more hardware and software; whereas bugs are more an expectation than an exception. This is of course a big problem, since we all want bug-free world. As many have pointed out though, the biggest problem are the people that are unwilling to pay for quality; of course, that’s not the way it’s sold. In many cases it’s either getting the contract or not getting the contract which can lead to doing the same thing within a more narrow time period.

Before this get’s out of topic, let me explain why this is about productivity. When we need to do something faster but still maintain the same amount of quality. We need tools to help us with analysis, suggestions and in programming we want help with refactoring. Without such tools, we would be less productive. This expands over many areas, not only development.

### The right tool for the right job

This week I want to be more concrete and give hands on examples on what tools that I use in my day-to-day work environment. Feel free to leave suggestions on what productivity tools that work best for you and for your team.

There are a couple of areas where I try to be as productive as possible (of course I always want to be productive!):

• When I’m in a meetings
• When I’m coding
• When I follow up on a bug

As I stated in my previous post organize your thoughts, I use some tools to get my thoughts down quickly. But it is also important when you’re meeting with a customer or a college and a bug is presented, this needs to be documented in a good way.I’ve been using Pivotal Tracker for a while now and I like it; I would however like to give TFS 2012 a fair chance.

Pivotal Tracker allows us to track development, bugs, ideas and both give the project members and the customer a great overview of the project progress. This together with Evernote and XMind is very powerful and gives me a total set of powerful applications to use in a meeting.

Another tool that I like to use, which makes my understanding of a system better, is balsamiq mockup. This mockup tool lets you create nice overviews of how the UI will look when the system is done. When you’re brainstorming with your customer around what the UI will look like, this is a very productive tool to have in your collection.

When we’re done with a mockup, we can simply save it on the corresponding bug, task, feature or idea in Pivotal Tracker.

When I’m coding it’s very important to me that my tools are not in the way of my development. For instance, I don’t want a lot of non-natural keystrokes or popups to use. I’ve been swapping between ReSharper and JustCode.

When using ReSharper I get a lot of nice instant feedback on what I can do to improve my code, this makes it easier if someone is going to review the code at a later stage:

JustCode supplies the same amount of keyboard mappings, analysis and refactoring capabilities but one other thing that it provides is a way to stick a cheat-sheet on your desktop. This makes it very productive when I need to get use to some keyboard shortcut:

If you want to code productively, here are some recommendations:

• Spend a while analyzing what keyboard shortcuts your IDE provides
• Use productivity tools such as ReSharper and JustCode
• If you’re using Visual Studio, learn how to use Snippets
• Use a source control that is not in your way

These might seem obvious, but adapting to these sure helps me being productive. If I can solve a problem faster with just as much quality, I can spend the additional time that I just won on making the solution better.

What are your recommendations on being productive?

## Posted by Filip Ekberg on September 25 2012 5 Comments

### Do you get a lot of ideas when you go to bed, that you forget in the morning?

I sure do and I know that this is very common. The reason that I’ve got explained to me is that because when we go to bed, we relax our entire body & mind. When doing so we also start reflecting upon the day or even week that has passed so far; subconsciously.

At least for me, seconds before I actually fall asleep (last thing that I can remember) I get the best ideas but often I lack things around me to get these thoughts on permanent record.

As I live, love and work with code this is where most of my ideas orbit. But occasionally I get other ideas as well, things like where I want to travel, what I want to see and what kind of changes I like to do in our home.

Last year, I attended NDC (Norwegian Developer Conference) and I somehow got to join the speaker/staff cruise. At this party, I met a lot of very interesting people and one of them gave me a very good insight into how he captures the moment; he always has a pen and some paper in his pocket. On these papers he writes all kinds of interesting ideas, suggestions and anything else that you can imagine.

As I hate “analog” writing, I didn’t really like the idea of carrying pen and paper with me everywhere, but the idea was great; I just had to find something that worked for me. I’m still in the process of finding exactly what works best for me!

### Finding the right tools

There is something that is always by my side, everywhere I go and it would be awesome if this accessory could have an easy way to log thoughts on. Of course, I would want to be able to access these thoughts anywhere, even if I drop the accessory.

I’m of course talking about my smartphone and storing the content in the cloud!

As for just writing down my thoughts, taking photos and storing smaller portions of information; I tend to fall back to evernote. This is by far the best application that I’ve used for rapidly store notes in the cloud!

Here are some reasons to why I use Evernote:

• It’s easy to rapidly create new notes/images
• There’s a free version!
• It works on all devices (PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone)

Since I always have my phone with me, no matter where I am; I can instantly add a note with my most recent ideas. Then it’s of course up to myself to actually follow up and checking my own notes now and then.

This is what the PC version of Evernote looks like:

One very cool feature is that you can actually search inside both your notes and your images! If there’s text in images, Evernote will be able to find that!

### Mapping your mind with a mind map!

Up until recently I felt it was difficult keeping track of all my thoughts that I had in meetings together with all the feedback from customers and co-workers. This is because either I put everything in a text document using Notepad or an Excel spreadsheet. Neither of these two alternatives have been very fun to work with. Another problem is also that it’s not quite so fun sharing just plain text with your co-workers or customers. So I wanted to find something else that was fast and that gave me great possibilities at the same time.

I actually stumbled upon a software called XMind, which is a tool for creating all sorts of diagrams. Best of all, there’s a free version! It doesn’t include all the fancy export possibilities or some of the more interesting modes; but the free version sure does the job well enough!

XMind can be used to create the following diagrams (more can be downloaded):

• Blank
• Project Plan
• Project Status Report
• Project Dashboard
• Organization chart
• Short meeting
• Meeting Manager
• SWOT Analysis
• Cause & Effect
• Timeline
• Make a Decision
• Weekly Plan

As you can see by the image below, there are a lot of very nice diagrams that can be created.

When I just want to brainstorm and get my thoughts organized, I create a Blank document and just start adding nodes. By pressing Enter/Tab you create a child to the current node. So if you double click the first big blue box in the middle and name it, press Enter and then Tab, it will create a child to that.

You can see on this image below that I’ve created a map over what I have and want to write about and then added sub-sections to each topic to make it easier for me to remember what I want to write about.

The alternative that I used before is not as nice and does not provide as good of a overview. This could as mentioned above have been doing it in a notepad document, spreadsheet or even the built in Sticky Notes application in Windows.

I think it is very important that we find good ways, especially ways that we are personally comfortable with, to keep track of our thoughts and ideas. It might feel a bit unusual to start, but stepping out of one’s comfort zone can lead to something very good.

It’s a great feeling being able to enter a meeting, taking notes and directly after the meeting not be ashamed of sending your mind map to your co-workers.

How do you normally organize your ideas and thoughts and what tools do you recommend for taking notes during a meeting?

# Self-publishing a book – Part 3 – Using a good typesetting system

## Posted by Filip Ekberg on September 23 2012 8 Comments

This is the third part of the blog series “Self-publishing a book” if you haven’t already check out Part 1 & Part 2.

Word was acting up, I spent too much time trying to work around it and less time on the content — this was not going to work. I decided to drop Word. But for what and how would it make anything easier when all CreateSpace supplied was a Word template?

### Stepping out of the comfort zone

Before I actually dropped Word completely I had gotten a lot of feedback from friends on IRC; Most of them recommended me to check out LaTeX. At this point I really had a very little knowledge about what LaTeX was and how to use it. Wikipedia describes LaTeX like this:

LaTeX is a document markup language and document preparation system for the TeX typesetting program. The term LaTeX refers only to the language in which documents are written, not to the editor used to write those documents. In order to create a document in LaTeX, a .tex file must be created using some form of text editor.

Being a geek by heart, I immediately got interested in trying this out. It sounded pretty much like I could code my own programming book. Which would be very cool. Comparing it to something else, LaTeX is pretty much like HTML and CSS. This makes it perfect for writing something both where you have and not have a known layout when you start writing.

Since I didn’t know anything about LaTeX I needed a crash course and somewhere to get a little bit of inspiration/help. Fortunate for me, I found a LaTeX channel on IRC, #latex on freenode. As mentioned in the Wikipedia quote above, LaTeX is actually just a language used for the typesetting system TeX. This explains why the other place where I got a lot of feedback is called tex.stackexchange.com. Both of these (plus google of course) has been very helpful!

Getting a crash course in LaTeX wouldn’t be enough, I still needed my book to conform with the CreateSpace guidelines. I hadn’t decided the trim size(page size) of the book yet. I was thinking about going for 7″ x 10″ but then I created a poll on this blog which later changed my mind. It actually turned out that the size I had in mind was the one you guys wanted the least.

So before I could completely step from Word to LaTeX, I had to know if there was some information about LaTeX + CreateSpace. I googled and stumbled upon a forum post on the very good CreateSpace community forum. This post mentioned a CreateSpace package for LaTeX. Best of all, this was open source and available on github!

Now I knew that I could use LaTeX to create my CreateSpace work, I knew that I wanted to step away from Word but I didn’t yet know how to write anything in LaTeX or what tools to use.

### LaTeX Crash Course

Since I didn’t really know anything about how to write LaTeX markup, I searched for a free tools that could help me; I found a program called TeXnicCenter. However, just downloading and installing TeXnicCenter is not enough, you also need to install the “compiler”. According to TeXnicCenter, I could get something called Tex Live for this. Tex Live has binaries for both Windows, Unix and GNU/Linux.

When I had both Tex Live and TeXnicCenter installed, I just had to learn how to write LaTeX code and what kind of “stuff” it produced for me. If you install TeXnicCenter and open it up, this is the first thing you will see:

This looks pretty much like any word processor from early 2000.

Just as with HTML, you need to define where your document starts, where it ends and if you have something in the preamble (header section). Here’s an example of how to define a document and just have some text in it:

\documentclass{book}
\begin{document}
Hello there!
\end{document
}

If we build(compile) and run this, we will see that we got no errors and that 1 page was produced. You run it by clicking the “Build & View current file” button or pressing Ctrl+Shift+F5:

As you might have noticed, it says “LaTeX => PDF” just left of the build icon. This means that when we build the file, we will actually have a PDF created for us! This PDF will be styled as we’ve said, in this case it will use the default styling of a book.

LaTeX allows us to produce much more than just books, we can create articles, papers and much more. This can be decided my changing the document class. In the above example I used the document class book.

This seemed very easy and there was a lot of good information around the net that I could benefit from since TeX wasn’t something new. My next concern was the document structure, code samples, chapters, sections and much more. I soon found out that all of these was pretty easy to achieve; at least when using the standard layout it came with.

I decided that I wanted to split my document up into seperate files, 1 file per chapter to keep the master document clean and each chapter as clean as possible. Luckily for me, this was probably the easiest thing to solve.

All I had to do was create a new file, I named each file ChapterX.tex and just included it into the master file like this:

\documentclass{book}
\begin{document}
\input{Chapter1.tex}
\end{document
}

When installing TeX Live, I also got a lot of very nice packages that I could include that provided additional functionality. One of the most used packages that I found was listings. This package allowed me to embed code samples into the text with a lot of nice options to it.

The following code sample produced a very nice looking output:

\documentclass{book}
\usepackage{listings}
\usepackage{color}
\lstset{language=C,keywordstyle=\color{blue}}
\begin{document}

\begin{lstlisting
}
int x = 10;
if(x % 20){

}
\end{lstlisting}
\end{document
}

There were of course a lot of things not yet in place, the final design for the book was not done; since there was no content to style yet. Lots of packages and lots of tweaks was waiting along the way.

### Actually writing the content

I was very happy with what LaTeX allowed me to do, I felt comfortable with the way that I could change layout as I went on. One of the most important things during the time that I wrote this book was to share early and share often. A good example of this is the initial draft; if I had not shown this until everything was done, the book would not have turned out as good as it did.

Moving to LaTeX was a very good move and I have never regretted it. It took a couple of days to get used to everything but once everything was in place the focus was a lot more on the content than on the buzz around it. It also felt a lot better writing everything from scratch when doing it like this.

I still had a lot of work to do, but I at least had a typesetting system that I was feeling comfortable with and I shared as much screenshots and snippets as possible to make content looking as good as possible. There are a couple of math equations in the first chapter of the book, in the first draft this equation was just plain text; but after sharing almost 15 different versions of the same equation (style wise), it turned out as it did. Again, if I hadn’t asked the potential readers and those people that have worked with typesetting before, it would never have turned out as it did!

Now I just needed to write the content. As I wrote Chapter 1, I started to think about how I could ensure quality of the overall book and where to go from now. I knew that I wanted to write high quality content where each sentence had been revised many, many times.

The focus so far had been to find a way to comfortably write the content; I now had to find a way to make the content as good as possible. Possibly with the help of the community, but where do I get such help and how do I organize all the feedback?

# Self-publishing a book – Part 2 – Back at Square One

## Posted by Filip Ekberg on September 2 2012 7 Comments

This is the second part of the blog series “Self-publishing a book” if you haven’t already check out Part 1.

I was back to square one, with only my raw material. But the hope was not gone, I now had a goal; I am going to publish a book — but how?

### What now?

At this time, the snow fell over Sweden and Christmas and New Years was just around the corner. I decided to just do some googling and researching over the holidays while I recharged my batteries. After all I needed all the power that I could get in order to achieve something like this. When New Years passed, I had found a great resource for information and a great print-on-demand service.

I felt that CreateSpace would be the answer to all my questions and that it would indeed be very straight forward from here. I decided to create an account and contact their support with a lot of questions. Before I went any further, I wanted information about distribution and how everything worked.

Remember that I didn’t have anything written yet, as for my content; I was still at square one. However, it was not only the print-on-demand services that I was researching, but also how to do proper type-setting.

When registering with CreateSpace, everything is very straight forward. You get to add new titles very easily, select trim size, type of paper, color or no color and so on. The overview of a published project looks like this:

There are a lot of very interesting things in the image above, we’re going to look at some of them in more depth later on. But for now, let us focus on all the questions that I had and why I decided that CreateSpace is what I want to use.

### Why CreateSpace?

First off all, their community is outstanding. There are so many good authors, proofers, designers, typesetters and so forth on it. Secondly, CreateSpace is a part of the Amazon group of companies. This means that a title that you publish on CreateSpace, is automatically available on Amazon (US/EU). As you might recall, this was one of the issues that I had with the Swedish print-on-demand company Vulkan.

If a great community and great possibility to get your book out there was enough you also get a lot of good help from their tools if you are new to publishing. To top this off, you can do what is called “Member orders” which means that you can place an order on your own book very cheap.

CreateSpace supplies what is called a “Buying Copies Calculator”. For instance, if you want to buy 1 copy of your book that is in Black & White and has 500 pages. The price per book will be $6.85 and the Shipping (to Sweden) would be$14.38 that means a total of $21.23. This might seem like a lot, but if you were to order 100 copies instead, the price per book would be constant at$6.85, but the shipping wouldn’t increase that much. Depending on where you live, there will also be a matter of value-added-tax and customs.

Here’s an example of the calculator:

As you might figure out, the margins aren’t super good, but they are a lot better than the royalty percentage that you would get from a publisher. If you are thinking that the margins are in fact very good, you’re neglecting marketing or any other things around your book that might have cost money during the time.

One last reason as to why I really enjoy CreateSpace: I ordered 5 copies to proof/review it took them 3 days to handle my order, make the books and ship them from USA to Sweden and deliver them to my door. That is pretty amazing.

### Print-on-demand it is!

I still had a lot of questions that needed answers so I started sending questions to their customer support and got a lot of Very verbose answers in return. In short, this is what I asked them:

• If I want to print my book elsewhere and sell that, is that OK?

CreateSpace answer: Yes, but you cannot use the same ISBN if the ISBN is generated by CreateSpace.

• I want to sell my book in book stores in other countries that USA, what do I need to do?

CreateSpace answer: You can use the expanded distribution to get a deal with “Barnes & Noble” in USA, but if you want to go outside that you need to order member copies and supply the store yourself.

• You are witholding 30% of my money for “tax reasons”, my country has a tax treaty with the US, what do I need to do?

CreateSpace answer: File a valid W-8BEN form

Now I had a lot of useful information, even if a lot of this information didn’t become clear until I actually pressed the “publish” button on the book.

### Time to start writing?

I had a lot of information about where I wanted to publish the book and how to do it. But I still didn’t have a clue on how to typeset the book. There was still a lot of work to do and a lot of questions unanswered.

I downloaded a word template from CreateSpace that used a trim size (book size) that would yet to be changed and I started aligning things as I wanted, writing a stub for the first chapter. Then something happened, I wanted to be able to easily change the layout of elements; because I knew early that this was going to be something that grew over time.

Word was acting up, I spent too much time trying to work around it and less time on the content — this was not going to work. I decided to drop Word. But for what and how would it make anything easier when all CreateSpace supplied was a Word template?

# Self-publishing a book – Part 1 – Where it all began

## Posted by Filip Ekberg on August 27 2012 11 Comments

### What’s this blog series going to be about?

It might not have been clear to everyone that my book C# Smorgasbord was self-published. In short self-publish means that I did not have a publisher that backed me up when writing this book.

But if I don’t have a publisher how do I get my book printed? How did I get the book up on Amazon? How do I market my book?

Those are some of the questions that I receive on a daily basis. I’ve had in mind to write this blog series even before those questions arise. So I am going to try to answer as many questions as you might have, I don’t know how many blog posts there will be. Those that have followed this blog before knows that I tend to like lengthy posts, but this time I will try to do more posts that are a bit “shorter”. Because covering all of this in one post will just be too lengthy, I’ve joked about it and said that I can probably write a book about writing a book (bookception!).

If you have any questions just give me a comment, tweet or e-mail, I will try to answer all questions.

### Where did the idea come from?

It all began long before I decided to make a book. During 2011, I blogged a lot, had a lot of in-house presentations for co-workers, did screencasts and spent a lot of time on StackOverflow.

So here I was, with all these great raw materials that I didn’t know what to do with. I felt that I wanted to reach out to the people that didn’t attend my presentations, that didn’t read everything in my blog and that didn’t even know about my work in the first place. This started to grow on me, in late November 2011 I started doing some research on how to convert a blog to a book. My initial thought was just to copy and paste everything from my blog into a (what I thought at the time) nice Word template.

This resulted in something looking like this:

At this time, I didn’t have any experience at all with publishing, authoring, type-setting or anything at all like that. Once I had copy and pasted everything from my blog, I had a Word document with about 120 pages.

I showed this to a couple of other developers and got comments like:

This is the worst type-setting I’ve ever seen

This got me thinking, if the first reactions are not even constructive, something must be wrong. I had an idea that I liked, I wanted to take a vast variety of different, interesting and new/old concepts/technologies.

So what now?

### Doing it right

I am not the kind of person to give up and once I put my mind into something, I want to make it as good as possible. I decided to contact a bunch of publishers, just to see if they liked my idea. Never ever had I contacted a publisher before so I had no idea on what they expected from me.

My e-mail to the publishers contained an introduction to myself, a Little bit about my ideas and a link to the 120 page PDF with horrible type-setting. It didn’t take long before all the publishers that I contacted responded to my inquiry. Some of them had a more personal touch than others, some of them just felt auto-generated. Basically they (all) asked me to write a proper proposal and attached a quite robust PDF on how to do so. The proposal should be a chapter from the book with about 20 pages. It shouldn’t be the first nor the last chapter, but a chapter somewhere in the middle of the book.

Another thing that they asked was about the name of the project. Instantly when I got that question, I thought to myself:

What is a good Word for “a vast variety” that also is connected to me being Swedish?

Smörgåsbord!

Since the programming language in this book was about C# I instantly gave it the name “A C# Smorgasbord” (why “A” was removed is a later story!).

What about the proposal? Let’s go back to that for a second. None of the “chapters” in the PDF that I sent to the publishers contained 20 pages, I didn’t have a 20 page proposal. This gave me an idea of what a publisher expects. If the publisher expects 100%, the reader expects 500% quality.

With that in my hands, I now had a goal.

### What kind of goal did I have before me?

You might think now that the goal was to create 20 pages and send a proper proposal to each publisher. On the contrary, I knew that there was a lot of work to do to meet everyones expectations so I wanted to focus on making something that the end-users liked, instead of something that was according to a guideline from a publisher.

I “threw” away the PDF that I had created, never to be looked at again (not entirely true, I just took a screenshot of it). I still had a lot of raw material and what I didn’t get into my first in-proper proposal was my presentations and screencasts, this is something that I wanted to cover as well.

Before I gave the idea up completely on the PDF, I did some research on “print-on-demand”. I found a company in Sweden called “vulkan“, I even created an account and had a dialog with them about how everything worked. There was a lot of problems with them though, one being the integration possibility with foreign stores (Amazon etc.). It was also a pretty expensive process, compared to what I later found.

I was back to square one, with only my raw material. But the hope was not gone, I now had a goal; I am going to publish a book — but how?

# Communication issues when adapting outsourcing

## Posted by Filip Ekberg on December 14 2008 4 Comments

### Background of Outsourcing

#### A first view

Let’s assume that you run a company, no matter if the company is big or small. Just imagine having to build a project where you know that your current staff either doesn’t have the right knowledge to solve this problem or the number of staff members is not sufficient. This is where your company will face a problem, either you hire some new personnel or you consider Outsourcing your project. In this text, we will talk only about outsourcing when it comes to information technology projects not any other work fields such as call centers etc.

So when browsing Wikipedia¹ we see that the following description is given “Outsourcing involves the transfer of the management and/or day-to-day execution of an entire business function to an external service provider”. This means that we can transfer our activities on our project to another country and have others take the work load. If we think closely on this, for how long has really outsourcing been available, when did it become easy to Communicate with countries far away? The answer is fairly easy, assume we had no internet and no computers, how would we then communicate with ie India? It would be impossible to this without our technology we have today. So considering a good interaction with computers is both a requirement and in today’s work spaces something that we can assume exists.

Outsourcing your project has in the last couple of years become a bigger and bigger way of solving company problems, these problems being Cultural, communicational and other areas of inconvenience as discussed by Sofie Alriksson².

This gives a good overview of what exactly Outsourcing is and how it’s adapted, now let’s continue discussing benefits and how technical problems might affect our work.

#### Main benefits

As roughly mentioned above the benefits of outsourcing in general is to take the work load of your staff or to gather new personnel. As mentioned by Sofie Alriksson², adapting Outsourcing is mainly because you want to work on your core activity and let others focus on the outmost parts of the project, having companies’ overseas working on your modules while you are focusing on the main frame.

When having a computer project the price today is often very high, especially the production const, personnel in ex Sweden is very high this will of course give a result that the project will either be rushed or that the company will not afford having the project running for long. By outsourcing your project this scenario might change dramatically meaning that the cost for personnel is much less and this giving more money to more personnel having the project released faster.

#### Handling work load over seas

One of the first things you might consider when starting a project is to have all the documentation ready, this means that having UML-documentation, project plans, time tables and other planning papers ready when outsourcing, because being over-prepared doesn’t exist in the world of outsourcing.

Another thing to consider is; how will the outsourced company handle regular deliveries? What project models do we need to follow? These are some key points to consider, which again takes us to the most important part of all, the computer interaction. We can’t have fairly good English speaking personnel overseas calling us in the middle of the night giving us a project status report. A lot of the countries where outsourcing is cheap, is in another time zone that where the staff is actually expensive.

So how would report on a daily basis work? E-mails might not be as secure as you’d like, because the service itself is not encrypted, meanwhile there are of course solutions for this, but not to take this too much off topic, I’d say that using a closed project platform such as Sharepoint or any other project organization software out there. You can probably find a lot on the open source community which you could customize for your needs.

However, let’s not talk more about the software to be used but rather how we use the selected way of reporting. This is something that we really need to point out to the outsourced company, how we want them to report. As mentioned before, being to clear on what you need, how you need it and when you need it, is never a bad thing.

#### Communication problems

##### Main problems

Outsourcing might sound very good and sure can be a good solution for your situation. However, there are always downsides with solution that presents them as being this perfect. These problems are taken up by both Sofie Alriksson² and Jeff Atwood³, besides from the obvious that your project might be shipped to India where you will have no visual perspective over the work, you might find troubles such as the ones Jeff Atwood³ states here “They get cancelled. Or the consultant who bid on the work never delivered, or delivered poor results. Or the client has unreasonable expectations, or doesn’t actually know what he wants.” What actually does happened if you bid too low and the consultant or outsourced company realizes this and in the middle of the process decides to quit? There’s no good solution for that problem, being repetitive is the best learning process, so here goes again, never ever give to little information.

##### Cultural problems

The above problems isn’t the only issues when adapting outsourcing, you might as well find that the cultural difference it way to big and this problem is clearly talked about in Sofie Alrikssons² paper, she also presents a possible solution which in this case was to inform the company where you outsource of your culture and how you like your work to be handled. It’s also very important that the hiring company has knowledge about the other culture, understanding is very important from both parties.

How does the cultural problem affect the computer interaction? For instance imagine outsourcing your project to India where they have totally different believes than we have here up north, this means that they might have different rituals than we do such as preying on a regular basis and on a specific time. If the hiring company does not have knowledge about this, what happens when we try to call them at this time, or when we assume to have something delivered? As you can see, this is not really a computer interaction problem, but rather a religious misunderstanding. But a cultural problem that actually will affect the interaction is the Technical perspective. Sweden per say is one of the countries in the world with the best technology, meaning that we might actually have different assumptions regarding technology and how we use computers, than the company in the outsourcing country. The reason for this might be a lot of different ones but for instance that the country is in general poor and can’t afford to take in new technology and adapt to the new standards. This is a very important point when viewing and discussing human computer interaction.

##### Technical problems

Some of the technical problems are talked about in the previous topic but there are another perspective than the “cultural technology perspective”, the upcoming issue is however a result of that problem. If you imagine the scenario where a company in Sweden needs a new application to be developed for the new mobile technology. If this was a couple of years ago, let’s say 2004 when 3G was fairly new in Sweden and the company 3 was the only ones having this. What if the company 3 would want to develop a new mobile application using the 3G technology, but the application is so advanced and needs a huge amount of staff members to complete. This is simply too expensive for a new company like this to invest in.

However outsourcing this will help and make it more cost effective. But outsourcing this to a country like India which might not yet have this technology, will cause an inconvenience. This problem will therefore make the project cost much more, since the customer needs to set up a test area and development area for this to be developed and from a strictly computer interaction perspective, who says that the people adapting this technology in India, will follow the same principles as we do here?

We need to keep in mind that different people think different and that different cultures are very different meaning; Applications created by an outsourced company might not be as you would’ve made it yourself. Keep in mind that we are talking about software and / or general computer development and research. With this in mind, how differently would you think that an outsourced company documents, programs and do other tasks differently from how you or your staff would?

This question brings up a huge problem when outsourcing, the technology and the way of adapting it, will cause issues between the parties and as Jeff Atwood³ said “For example, people asking for a clone of ebay for under \$500”

A new company in Sweden that might not have any experience working with software development might think that it’s just typing as Jeff Atwood4 talked about. But this is in fact wrong, it’s complicated being a software developer and having to do with a software project might not always be so easy. Thus the applications that developers, managers and other involved staff members use has a quality requirement, they need to be top notch. Using such software and styles might not be widely known, a company might have its own developed software which they do not care to share with other companies. These are also aspects to take in mind when taking on a project which needs outsourcing.

Having discussed the benefits of using outsourcing and the downsides with the applications, culture and other aspects, we need to take a look at a final point on the downside this being, the result of the software product. We can assume that people from ex India are smarter and have another mindset than other countries such as Sweden, they work for less, they know they can easily be replaced, which leads to a harder work style. Now what can possible have to do with Human Computer Interaction and the “samrtness” of a population? Having a usage base that is generally smarter and thinks on a completely different basis will result in your application being made for this crowd. This directly affects the computer interaction, on the visual basis that is, because the hired personnel might interpret how to solve something graphically in a way you would never imagine.

### Outsourcing and Open source what makes them similar

Open Source is a very broad topic and will not be discussed thoroughly here. But the main purpose of an open application is that the community, being either developers or users can easily get the software and / or its source code; Source code being the logic for how everything behaves.

You could say that all software projects share a specific way of working and this is mainly the structure and documentation of the project. Some projects require this more than others; such as an open source project and an outsourced project. An open source application is often free of use, but there are of course applications that do cost money but are still open source. Either way, the most important part is to help the contributors understanding your business logic and the graphical user interface programming.

This is done by having good documentation and well commented code where you explain all the steps, of course you should never make code unreadable by adding to much comments, then the interaction with the code will just back draft.

When you create an open source project, you force this structured work way from the beginning, there’s no space for spaghetti code or ugly solutions. These parts will be replaced immediately and the programmer will probably not be welcome on this project further on.

This is a big advantage, letting the community contribute to your project and giving you a lot of feedback on it. However, what happens when you want to go global and have a paid for application? The contributors will then require some kind of assets for their work.

The feedback from the community is worth very much on a big project and might help you in long terms; the community is often willing to help out with the most outrageous projects just for fun or for experience. On an outsourced project however, you might not feel that you have the same commitment, however this is because you actually pay for something getting done, and you need to rely on the programmers to do their work. In an open source development you can’t force anyone to do your work.

#### Marketing and new technology, community help

Let’s play out the scenario where you somehow come up with an idea of a technology or a software that isn’t on the market, but you know that this will help the community a lot in many ways. A project of this sort might be an electric car or a car driven on water, however that has nothing to do with software projects so let’s not talk more about cars.

When you have this kind of idea you either want to make a lot of money or you want to help the public community, but who ever says that money isn’t equal to motivation lies. The main purpose of a project is, in most cases, about making money. So you stand before a dilemma, either you publish your diagrams, project description and other project plans on a public community forum or create a website where you explain your situation. Which then might actually lead to someone else stealing your ideas and benefiting from this which results in them being rich and you being back to square one.

But planning the project well and having good license agreements can help you on the way, you might state that if anyone works on the project they are entitled to their name being written in the EULA or somewhat like that. Keep in mind that an open source project might not be a completely usable alternative for an outsourcing solution but it’s a good point to take when we talk about computer interaction because both type of work requires some common work ways which are good to think about.

Having an open source project which grows big might not only help you development wise but also marketing wise, because having a lot of programmers sharing their thoughts and interface suggestions and so forth will attract a crowd.

And think about it, when having an outsourced project you need to have the following aspects top notch:

· Project plan

· Commenting templates

· Documentation templates

· Wiki

· Forums

· Bug reporting system

· Source control system

These are just the aspects that really need to be perfectly planned no matter if it’s an open source project and outsource project or a local project on your company. For human computer interaction purposes these need to be top of the line.

Can you yet see another similarity between open source and outsourcing? If not, let’s present it; People around the world contributing to software development. See that as a headline of both Open Source and Outsourcing and the two latter names as an “implementation” of this expression. When having an open source project you never know what culture a contributor comes from or which time it is in his country. This forces an adaptation to new technology and a generic culture understanding.

### References

1. Wikipedia. Outsourcing. Wikipedia. [Online] 12 08, 2008. [Cited: 12 08, 2008.] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outsourcing.

2. Alriksson, Sofie. Communication problems by using outsourcing international . Communication problems by using outsourcing international . Halmstad, Halmstad, Sweden : Halmstad Högskola, 12 08, 2008.

3. Atwood, Jeff. Coding Horror. Can You Really Rent a Coder? [Online] 11 23, 2008. [Cited: 12 10, 2008.] http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001190.html.

4. —. Coding Horror. We Are Typists First, Programmers Second. [Online] 11 17, 2008. [Cited: 12 10, 2008.] http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001188.html.

5. David Axlund, VD Mailopages Sweden AB. VD. Karlskrona, 11 20, 2008.

6. Ekberg, Filip. The Art of Teaching. 05 : 12, 2008.

7. Masses, Development for the. Development for the Masses. Communication problems in outsourcing. [Online] 2008. [Cited: 12 10, 2008.] http://www.dev4masses.com/a_communication_problems/.

By Filip Ekberg and Göran Petersson