Code documentation generators (free tools)

Source Code documentation is an often neglected  aspect of Software Engineering. In most software projects, an overview of the code structure is useful both for new developers looking at the code for the first time, as well as a reference for all developers interacting with this code.

Fortunately, there are many useful tools to help us with this issue, namely, Code Documentation Generators. These tools pick up the code’s structure through syntactic  parsing and typically augment it with information supplied by the developers directly in the source code. In the last step, a nice HTML-based reference manual is typically exported.

The following sections  present some interesting examples of this type of tool.

C/C++

Doxygen

Screenshots of doxygen documentation:

HTML:

Screen Shot 11-12-17 at 05.57 PM

Latex:

Java

Javascript

C#/VB

  • Sandcastle Help File Builder (SHFB)
    • https://github.com/EWSoftware/SHFB
    • A standalone GUI, Visual Studio integration package, and MSBuild tasks providing full configuration and extensibility for building help files with the Sandcastle tools

    • Screen Shot 06-07-17 at 10.54 AM

 

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Project management anomalies: Death March

Some situations are often so common that they get a name. A friend of mine pointed me to this interesting Wikipedia article describing a “Death march” during a project:

In project management, a death march is a project where the members feel it is destined to fail, or requires a stretch of unsustainable overwork. The general feel of the project reflects that of an actual death march because the members of the project are forced to continue the project by their superiors against their better judgment.

(quote from Wikipedia)

It is creepy to find that some real-life situations are so common that they already have creepy names.

Gamification of Education

Gamification is a very interesting concept for motivating individuals and teams for business objectives, by using concepts usualy found in games, and more specificaly in computer games. For example, I have been involved in the development of a tool for motivating contact center agents using leaderboards and KPIs.

I have stumbled upon this interesting video/lesson where these concepts are explored for educational purposes:

The following advantages over conventional education are interesting to think about:

  • faster failure feedback
  • retrying tests (faster learning with multiple oportunities to take tests)
  • more frequent tests

Fear of failure could be reduced with multiple chances to take a test, don’t you think ?

Coporate Psychopaths

Recent research has demonstrated that many psychopaths are in control of senior management positions.

“A surprising research has found out that there could be an increased number of psychopaths in high levels of businesses especially at senior managerial positions. This correlation has been demonstrated by a talented undergraduate Carolyn Bate, aged 22, of the University of Huddersfield.

According to Bate, her project was triggered when she read about research which showed that while one percent of population were categorized as psychopaths, the figure rose to three percent when it comes to business managers.”

http://sparkonit.com/2014/09/09/psychopaths-is-in-control-of-high-levels-of-businesses/

Several authors have researched this topic, as the following references demonstrate it. Be aware of it.

  • Leadership and the rise of the corporate psychopath: What can business schools do about the ‘snakes inside’?
    • “Leadership styles are reviewed and reassessed given recent research that links
      destructive leadership behaviours exhibited by unscrupulous executives with traits commonly identified as indicators of corporate psychopathy.”
    • Destructive leadership and the rise of the corporate psychopath
      • exploration of the ‘dark side’ of leadership is equally critical because of the negative impact that these leaders have on
        • productivity (Ouimet, 2010),
        • employee morale (Boddy, 2011)
        • the financial performance of the organisation (Takala, 2010)
    • Psychopathy
      • Clinically, psychopathy is a disorder of the personality (Andrews & Furniss, 2009),
        involving a lack of empathy and attachment to other s, superficial charisma and charm,
        manipulation, and the violation of social norms (Hart, et al., 1994)
      • Put simply, people without a conscience or empathy may be categorised
        as psychopaths (Hare, 1999)
    • Corporate psychopaths
      • Searching to explain unethical, deviant and criminal executive behaviour, scholars haveidentified a number of corporate executive leaders that portray sub-clinical psychopathy traits,
      • Such leaders have been referred to in the literature as successful corporate
        psychopaths (or executive psychopaths, industrial psychopaths, organisational psychopaths, or organisational sociopaths) in an attempt to distinguish a psychopathic individual operating in
        business from other successful psychopaths
      • Successful corporate psychopaths have been characterised as
        • self-serving,
        • opportunistic,
        • ego-centric,
        • ruthless and
        • shameless, and yet who are also charming, manipulative and ambitious
  • Leaders without ethics in global business: Corporate psychopaths (Boddy, Ladyshewsky, & Galvin, 2010)
  • Psychopathy, intelligence and emotional responding in a non-forensic sample: an experimental investigation
    • “It may be the case that higher levels of intelligence facilitate the regulation of emotional responses in individuals with high levelsof psychopathy. Given that psychopaths have been demonstrated to be capable of regulating their GSRs (Steinberg & Schwartz,1975), these individuals may
      understand and be able to reproduce normative physiological responses to
      evocative stimuli, which could facilitate their remaining undetected in wider
      society. Thus, our findings may have implications for understanding the phe-
      nomenon of corporate psychopaths (Boddy, Ladyshewsky, & Galvin, 2010)”
  • Boddy, C. R. (2011). The corporate psychopaths theory of the global financial crisis. Journal of Business Ethics, 102(2), 255-259.
  • Boddy, C. R. (2010). Corporate psychopaths and organizational type. Journal of Public Affairs, 10(4), 300-312.

Cultures of fear and bullying in organizations

Culture of fear (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workplace_bullying#Culture_of_fear)

Ashforth discussed potentially destructive sides of leadership and identified what he referred to as petty tyrants, i.e.leaders who exercise a tyrannical style of management, resulting in a climate of fear in the workplace.[28]

In a study of public-sector union members, approximately one in five workers reported having considered leaving the workplace as a result of witnessing bullying taking place. Rayner explained these figures by pointing to the presence of a climate of fear in which employees considered reporting to be unsafe, where bullies had “got away with it” previously despite management knowing of the presence of bullying.[27]

Typology of bullying behaviours

With some variations, the following typology of workplace bullying behaviours has been adopted by a number of academic researchers. The typology uses five different categories.[31] [32]

  • Threat to professional status – including belittling opinions, public professional humiliation, accusations regarding lack of effort, intimidating use of discipline or competence procedures
  • Threat to personal standing – including undermining personal integrity, destructive innuendo and sarcasm, making inappropriate jokes about target, persistent teasing, name calling, insults, intimidation
  • Isolation – including preventing access to opportunities, physical or social isolation, withholding necessary information, keeping the target out of the loop, ignoring or excluding
  • Overwork – including undue pressure, impossible deadlines, unnecessary disruptions.
  • Destabilisation – including failure to acknowledge good work, allocation of meaningless tasks, removal of responsibility, repeated reminders of blunders, setting target up to fail, shifting goal posts without telling the target.

Abusive workplace behaviours

According to Bassman, common abusive workplace behaviours are:

  • Disrespecting and devaluing the individual, often through disrespectful and devaluing language or verbal abuse
  • Overwork and devaluation of personal life (particularly salaried workers who are not compensated)
  • Harassment through micromanagement of tasks and time
  • Overevaluation and manipulating information (for example concentration on negative characteristics and failures, setting up subordinate for failure).
  • Managing by threat and intimidation
  • Stealing credit and taking unfair advantage
  • Preventing access to opportunities
  • Downgrading an employee’s capabilities to justify downsizing
  • Impulsive destructive behaviour

Bullying in information technology

Another interesting article about the subject, focusing in IT :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullying_in_information_technology

Downsizing: brief literature review

Downsizing is an enterprise management practice used for different reasons in different contexts. It has been widely studied in research literature.
For an introduction to the topic (and to be prepared to deal with it if it knocks on your door), I recomend the following articles. I recomend you to take a special look at the sections regarding the impact and consequences in the company culture and in survivors.