Should I Speak Up?

Regular readers of Atomic Spin probably already know that Crucial Conversations is required reading for all new Atoms. The authors—Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzler—didn’t stop there, however. They’ve written several books, including the one I’ve been reading lately, Crucial Accountability.

While reading one of the earlier chapters, I was struck by four simple questions to determine whether or not you should speak up at work. Imagine the very plausible situation where a manager walks into a meeting and presents the “plan” that he or she developed in isolation and expects everyone to follow. You may have some reservations, but should you say anything? The following questions can help you decide.
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Introducing Cell Zero, the Four Developers in Atomic’s First Accelerator Cohort

As part of our new Atomic Accelerator program, four developers were carefully selected to join our molecule in Grand Rapids. Together, they form “Cell Zero,” the first generation of an annual cohort of recently-graduated Atoms. I asked each to tell me a little about themselves and to share their favorite thing about Atomic Object so far.
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Quenching the Fire of Clients From Hell

Have you ever seen the website Clients from Hell? It’s a collection of crowd-sourced horror stories about client interactions from across the tech industry. I don’t frequent it anymore, but I have found the stories humorous in the past. To be honest, the website could just as easily be called “Self-Entitled Designers from Hell” or “A Master’s Degree in How to Be Inept At Managing Client Expectations.”

While a blog full of tropes in which two parties verbally assault one another isn’t the most helpful thing ever created, I do think it serves to highlight a reality in software product design and development: Sometimes, projects go to hell.
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How to Debug Stored Procedures in Visual Studio in 3 Steps

My first project at Atomic was a C#-based web application using Visual Studio. As time passed, I became familiar with many of the shortcuts and tools that Visual Studio provides to help with common development tasks. Whenever there was a section of code that I didn’t quite understand, I would use the debugging tools to my advantage.

The application relied quite heavily on stored procedures, which I was used to writing within SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Unfortunately, SSMS doesn’t provide many tools to help with writing complex stored procedures. Not having much SQL experience beyond basic SELECT, INSERT, and UPDATE statements, I decided to use Visual Studio’s tools to help me out.
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Conference Room A/V Build-Out

We recently moved to our new building at 1034 Wealthy. We took the opportunity to update the A/V equipment for our conference rooms. Previously, we largely relied on projectors for presentation capabilities, an external USB microphone/speaker for audio, built-in webcams on laptops for video, and a table where we staged everything. This worked, but it was certainly not ideal. With the new building, I had the opportunity to standardize a new conference room A/V build-out that would be better suited to our needs.
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The Tradeoff of Multiple Repositories

More often than I expect, I come across software projects that consist of multiple source control repositories. The reasons vary. Perhaps it’s thought that the web frontend and backend aren’t tightly coupled and don’t need to be in the same repository. Perhaps there’s code that’s meant to be used throughout an entire organization. Regardless, there are real costs involved in the decision to have a development team work in distinct, yet related, repositories. I believe these costs are always overlooked.
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Getting Android ListView Right the First Time

ListView is an Android UI element commonly used when you want to display a scrollable list of items. Unless you have a simple, static list of items, you’ll probably end up subclassing BaseAdapater in order to provide content for Android ListView. The basic process of doing this is fairly straightforward, but there are a few mistakes that are easy to make if you’re not careful.
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Respecting the Value of Face Time

The way we interact and work with others has changed drastically over the past few decades. Email, chat, and teleconferencing have bridged huge gaps of geography and facilitated us to work across boundaries.

This flexibility has allowed individuals to work from home so they can tend a sick child or deal with other real-life complications. Work/life balance is tough, but these advances in technology have helped bridge the gap. While all of today’s communication options come in handy, there’s still real value in face-to-face communication. In this post, I’ll suggest when in-person meetings are helpful and offer some tips about how to conduct them.
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