18. September 2010, 09:43, by Silvan Mühlemann

ORM tool or handwritten SQL?

We recently had a discussion about whether to use an ORM tool or code the SQL manually. These are discussions like “Apple vs. Nokia” or “Spaces vs. Tabs“. Very emotional.

You should know that tilllate is using a self-made “ORM” tool: Our ORM framework maps table columns to object properties. But it is agnostic of relationships between tables. And when you want to write a complex query, you end up programming long lines of native SQL. Unreadable.


Filed under: Management,Web Development
8. September 2010, 09:42, by Silvan Mühlemann

Make them feel welcome

Recently a friend of mine had his first day of work with a new employer. The company was famous to be very employer-friendly. Surprisingly, my friend experienced the opposite: When he came, his boss was not around. No one told him what he had to do. An initial training was not announced. And when he wanted to go to lunch, he found himself alone in the office. He just felt lost at his new workplace. Bad start.

Filed under: Management
17. March 2009, 23:33, by Silvan Mühlemann

Scrum: How we do Sprint Retrospectives

Four weeks have passed since the last sprint planning meeting. Sprint number two has come to an end. It’s time for the sprint retrospective.

The motivation for the sprint retrospective is:

  • Visualize the accomplishment – important for the team morale
  • Review any impediments and discuss measures on how to avoid them in the next sprint

Here’s how we are structuring the sprint retrospecives:

The set up

The team and the product owner are allocating one hour in the meeting room. We’re looking at the wall with the task board showing the user stories, the burn down chart and the impediment backlog. This is a big paper with a post it for every impediment encountered during the sprint. We collected the impediments during the bi-weekly scrum meetings (aka daily scrum).

Visualize the achievements

First, I go through all done user stories and say a few words about every story. Time for praising the team. Developers often think “we haven’t achieved anything”. So it’s important to visualize the finished user stories.


16. February 2009, 23:14, by Silvan Mühlemann

Implementing scrum at tilllate.com

The first sprint is done! Yes we finally started doing Scrum at tilllate.com*. Well, it’s not exactly how Schwaber and Sutherland would expect it. But our way fits our team. And the acceptance in both the IT team and the rest of the organization is high. It improves motivation and therewith the performance of the team. And that’s what matters.

Sprint planning meeting

Sprint planning meeting


7. January 2008, 08:39, by Leo Büttiker

Trevi is online!

Trevi FountainTrevi is not only a fountain in Italy, it’s our new application framework as well. We migrated our first pages to this new platform and brought them online three weeks ago. But let me explain the story of Trevi.

Another Framework?

There’re already thousands of web frameworks out there so I would sink into the ground if we really wrote another one. But serving pages for 2 million unique clients, it would also not have been a solution to just go to a shop and take the beautiful looking, nice boxed xyz framework from a big company. So my co-worker (and Trevi project lead) Maarten started a year ago to evaluate a framework that fits our needs best.

Filed under: Management,PHP
30. December 2007, 23:49, by Silvan Mühlemann

Holiday season: The best time to… work

Christmas TreeFor me, the time around Christmas and New Year is the best time of the year. Of course, there’s the peaceful family reunions around the christmas tree. The cozy evenings at home on the couch. Or days where you can shamelessly sleep in. In my case I am expecting my son Orell who should be born anytime.

But stop: This is a business related blog. And so I am not talking about my private life. When I say “the best time of the year” I am thinking about work. There’s no better time of year for not taking vacations. Here’s why:

Filed under: Management
4. December 2007, 20:33, by Silvan Mühlemann

What motivates your programmer?

We’d like to deliver great products on tilllate.com. For great products you need motivated developers. So recently, Leo, Stefan, Maarten, Mario and me did a brainstorming about “what motivates programmers”. Here are the results:

1. Offer him the best type of work

Avoid giving finished specs to your developer. Let him do the specifications himself. Let him do the technology selection. Let him define the architecture. Give him challenging tasks to do on technologies he has never used before. Keep routine and maintenance work from him (nevertheless, someone has to do those tasks).


Filed under: Management
19. October 2007, 10:04, by Silvan Mühlemann

Five ways to impress at the job interview

Job interview

As CTO I often have to do job interviews. Recently, I spent two days interviewing candidates for our tilllate development center Belgrade (Yes, I am one of these brave CTOs having a distributed team :-)). So here’s five tips to impress your employer of your dreams:

Keep a low profile!

Andy writes in his CV that he’s "extemely experienced in OOP". And when I ask him why he thinks he’s so experienced OOP he tells me: "My biggest class has 25’000 lines.". Ooops. God class. Classical Antipattern. Not only he showed that he has no idea of good OOP coding style. But also he cannot judge his own skills. Once at your company he’ll be the guy grabbing every cool project but then not finishining due to missing skills. Zap. Disqualified.


Filed under: Management
11. October 2007, 08:07, by Silvan Mühlemann

Visit of the Silverlight evangelists


There are two ways convince a company to switch to a new programming language. The old fashioned way is to send out salesperson. They get in touch with the CEO show them a few Power-Point slides, throw some buzzwords at them and voilà, Mr. Manager will introduce that new technology.

Well, he will try to introduce that new technology. In most of the cases it won’t work. Because usually the CEO looks at other things when deciding for a programming language than the development team. The dev-team won’t accept the new technology. This will slow down development and thus reduce productivity.


Filed under: Management
1. July 2007, 21:10, by Silvan Mühlemann

Applikationen von Drittanbietern integrieren.

IntegrationBei tilllate ist momentan eine Diskussion zum Thema “Integration von externen Applikationen auf www.tilllate.com” im Gange. Dieser Artikel beleuchtet Kosten und Risiken einer solchen Integration.

Beispiel: Anstatt ein Forum selbst zu entwickeln, soll FUDForum oder phpBB genommen werden und auf tilllate.com integriert werden. Damit sollen Entwicklungskosten und -zeit gespart werden. Warum etwas, was es auf dem Markt schon gibt, selbst entwickeln?

Filed under: Management

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