What’s Your Culture?

In this post I want to talk about company culture. Every company has a culture. Some are outstanding, perhaps some are close to criminal, but I guess most are just mediocre. How do you know where in this spectrum between star and rubbish your company’s culture is located? I think a good way of telling is whether you were given the opportunity and the freedom to improve the way you work. Are you...

Standard Agile Process

A few days ago a friend described to me how in their company they were introducing a new development process. To go with the flow they decided to introduce agile methodologies at the same time. To make sure that all worked on the same basis they are calling their...

Lean Startups

Agile approaches are very much about adapting and using short increments when dealing with uncertainty. Starting a new company comes with a lot of uncertainty. Agile principles can help reducing risk and improving the odds of success. Eric Ries is the inventor/initiator...

Reducing Schedule Risks: Feature Branches

Software development projects are subject to a number of risks. One of these risks is schedule risk. By this I mean that you may not be able to ship on time because of some nasty discovery while executing the project. Of course you don’t know what you don’t...

Task Switching

Somewhere I read that task switching is one of the biggest time killers for your daily work. For example if you have your team working on many different items in parallel and you expect them to devote at least some time to each item each day task switching can...

Email Junkies

In my last blog I wrote about smartphone junkies. I’ve discovered another species recently: “Email junkies”. Let me explain. Last week I got a phone call and the person at the other end asked me a question and when I said that I don’t know what he was...

Improving Estimates

An important capability of an agile team - in fact of any software development team - is estimating. Certainly you can break down any body of work into tiny bits, then estimate each tiny bit and total up the numbers to get an overall estimate of the entire body...

What to test in a web application?

Sometimes I'm asked what to test, in particular when I explain that testing the happy day scenarios is not sufficient. For example in web applications I'd certainly expect that everything that has a link to a different page actually brings you to that other page. Another...

Key Elements of Automated Tests

This time I'm writing about an item that is admittedly very specific to software development. More than once when I spoke to a members of a development team I was told "yes, we have an automated test suite". And yet, further along the conversation it turned out...

Where to start?

A question that I've been asked several times is where to start with improving your software engineering practices. Based on my experience, my answer typically is "It depends." Let me explain.In one of my previous roles the release cycle was very long. This was...

Mini SWAT Team

Similar to the build master role - I posted about that a few weeks ago - you may find occasionally that there are other topics that you want to overemphasize for a certain period. The build master is specifically taking care of continuously improving the engineering...

The Choice of Not Being an Elephant

Lou Gerstner described in his book Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: Leading a Great Enterprise through Dramatic Change how to make even a very large organization more agile, more adaptive to changing conditions. IBM had no other choice since some of their old business...

How Pair Programming Reduces Distraction

Pair programming is not for everyone. Some people love it, some people hate it. It almost seems there is nothing in the middle.I'm more in the camp of people preferring pair programming. For many different reasons but I keep the discussion for a different post.In...


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