Development

Sometimes, people ask me when they should use Scrum or a more traditional planned approach (like waterfall) for their projects. The reasoning here is usually that a customer does not want to use Scrum, that a project is fixed price, that a project is too small or that people don’t see the benefits of Scrum. Although I certainly understand where these people are coming from, it does tell me that they haven’t truly grasped the core problem with any planned approach to software development: the ever increasing heap of assumptions and the inability to test these…

The header is a wonderful sketchnote, by Laurens Bonnema, drawn during the masterclass.  I recently visited a Scrum masterclass on working with (geographically) distributed development teams. The meeting was professionally organised by Prowareness and was attended by over fifty people, ranging from coaches and scrum masters to entrepeneurs, managers and developers. Overall, the masterclass was interesting and educational and I highly recommend going there if you’re from the Netherlands. I’m interested in distributed software development because I’m curious about the benefits. From what I’ve read and experienced, there are several…

If I could recommend only a single book to (Agile) developers that want to improve their skills, it would be ‘Clean Code’ by Robert C. Martin (lovingly called Uncle Bob by the community). I’ve certainly read my share of books on writing code, but few books have had such a profound influence on how I write and think about code. In fact, I’ve made this book a pretty much mandatory read at NowOnline. If there’s any book out there that tells you how to avoid the buildup of technical debt, this book…

We've recently had to merge a version branch of a codebase back into the trunk. You see, two teams had been working on mostly separate parts of a system for three months. The result was quite painful. We lost several days on cursing, fixing merging- and tree conflicts, testing the code and working through new bugs. This bothered me quite a bit, not in the first place because I was the one cursing as I did most of the merge. But also because I felt that as a team, we were wasting precious time and money. I am quite…

As software developers, we live challenging lives! Especially in an Agile environment, where we have to bring all our skills to bear to finish the sprint on time and deliver business value for the Product Owner. Over the past few months, I've been working with an Agile Team in two-week sprints improving an existing and quite complicated planning environment that my company has been developing over the past few years. Being part of this team and taking part (again) in actual development has been a blast, but it has also re-emphasized for me how important Agile Software Development principles really…