Software Development Posts

Posts on the practice of software development.

Should Fail Be a Four Letter Word

Should Fail Be a Four Letter Word

“We don’t have enough failed sprints,” my boss said during his staff meeting. The comment was said completely out of the blue as the meeting was winding down and I have to admit it threw me for a loop. Surely not failing a sprint was a good thing right? ...

Developer Productivity, taking the bigger picture

Developer Productivity, taking the bigger picture

My last post touched on developer productivity, and while we’re in that space we really should address the elephant in the room. It’s easy to take a micro economic view of productivity and pick away at individual issues, like I did in the previous post. The hope is that as you eliminate each problem the sum of your efforts will build up and eventually you’ll double or triple the productivity of your team. ...

Remote Working Shouldn't be a Remote Possibility

Remote Working Shouldn't be a Remote Possibility

One of my colleagues Anthony Langsworth has recently documented his experiences and opinions on [Working Remoely and Successfully](http://randomactsofarchitecture.com/2011/12/23/working-remotely-and-successfully/ . He deals with it specifically from the perspective of an architect, an individual contributor, and I would agree with all the points he brings up. ...

Trusting a yellow sticky? Good luck with that

Trusting a yellow sticky? Good luck with that

At one point as our group dived into our particular miss-implementation of scrum we had, as you would expect, one wall of a meeting room covered in yellow sticky notes. And we’re not talking here about a poky little phone room. This was the room we used for ““all hands”” meetings and for team pizza lunches. You could fit a good twenty pizzas on that meeting table and still have room for drinks and garlic bread. ...

Sometimes you just don't have the right tool for the job

Sometimes you just don't have the right tool for the job

Back when I was a young whipper snapper I’d often work on some project in my father’s shed. By project I mean some kind of adaption to my car like grafting a couple of Webbers to the engine. Dad had better tools than I did, so I’d often save a particularly nasty job for the university holidays. ...

Metrics, the good the bad and the ugly

Metrics, the good the bad and the ugly

For the last few weeks I’ve been involved with helping a start-up get moving. You may have noticed that I’ve been a little fixated on tools for the last few posts and that’s why. I’m currently choosing tools and procedures, which is a nice change from having them foisted on you, and I want to be sure to avoid the mistakes I’ve seen in the past. ...

The Absentee Product Owner

The Absentee Product Owner

I’ve said before that large enterprises are each unique and have situations that your typical scrum cookbook cannot anticipate. Because of their size enterprises tend to centralise specialist functions. Product Management is one such function. ...

Train of Ants

Train of Ants

OK so you’ve seen the Google Ken Schwaber videos on http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7230144396191025011 and you’ve sent your program managers and dev managers off to scrum training. And your whole team is full of enthusiasm for the new processes. ...

Size really does make a difference

Size really does make a difference

This post is about organising large teams, specifically large teams working on a single product. One of the defining characteristics of enterprises is their size and the development teams, and the products they work on, within such an organisation often share that. Our VP used to brag that he had five hundred and fifty people in his engineering organisation, five hundred and fifty one including him. And apart from a few PA’s for the directors, and a small IT team most of that count were developers, QAs or their managers. ...

Setting the Stage for the Agile/Scrum Posts

Setting the Stage for the Agile/Scrum Posts

This is the first post in a series about Agile/Scrum and how it fits into software development at the enterprise scale. Well, when I say series, there isn’t going to be a cogent sequence of articles that build on top of one another. This isn’t a recipe book for success. And that’s important to understand that up front because I don’t believe that you can provide a one size fits all solution at the enterprise level. ...