Development process

17 October 2020

Architecture without documentation is incomplete

Designing good architecture is only half the battle. You also need to be able to communicate your architecture to anybody who is likely to use it.

13 June 2020

Naming things is easy. Abstraction is much harder.

One of the more pervasive myths in software development is that naming things is hard.

19 February 2020

Don’t use test coverage as a target

Code coverage can be a useful technique for discovering untested parts of your code base, but it makes for a useless target.

9 September 2019

Why trunk-based development isn’t for everybody

There’s more to adopting trunk-based development than deciding to shun long-lived branches. You need a confident development team, a loosely coupled code base and efficient build automation to make it stick.

12 August 2019

Agile metrics. You get what you measure. In a bad way.

Agile process tends not to generate the kind of metrics that management teams feed on. Should this be a problem?

22 July 2019

Does code quality matter? Using SonarQube with legacy code bases

Attempts at SonarQube adoption often fail to gain traction with development teams. The concern is that it presents a view of code quality that is not relevant to the problems teams face on a day-to-day basis. Does it measure the wrong thing?

22 June 2019

Monorepos. For when life isn’t already complicated enough.

Many of the apparent benefits of monorepos can be realised through improvements in engineering culture and architecture rather than adopting a specific approach to source code storage.

23 March 2019

Why SAFe can be agile kryptonite

The problem with SAFe is that you can implement it without writing a single unit test or automating a single build…scaled agile may be an oxymoron.

8 March 2019

Sharing microservices across large organisations

Sharing microservices across organisational boundaries is much harder than it looks. There are technical, operational, organisational and financial issues that need to be considered if you want to be successful.

24 February 2019

Should teams choose their own languages and tools?

Standardisation does have a place, but it should be reserved for infrastructure and collaboration rather than languages and tools.

30 August 2018

How I learned to love the “Agile Industrial Complex”

There is a growing sense of unease around how larger organisations have implemented agile. In particular, there is a tendency towards centralised control that can be at odds with the agile preference for individuals over process.

27 January 2018

Can TOGAF and Agile really go together?

On the face of it, TOGAF describes a very different world to the agile preference for working software over documentation. That doesn’t mean that TOGAF is incompatible with agile, so long as you’re prepared to adapt its numerous building blocks.

18 November 2017

Technical debt is an overused and lazy metaphor

Technical debt may be a useful metaphor for describing how bad code design undermines productivity to non-technical audiences, but it does not help in understanding the longer term problems that affect code bases.

12 October 2017

What should a Scaled Agile “architectural runway” actually look like?

The Scaled Agile Framework talks about an “architectural runway” as the main deliverable for agile architecture, yet it’s vague on the detail of what this looks like.

19 June 2017

When does refactoring become rewriting?

Refactoring describes a very specific and controlled technique for improving code. The problem is that it is often used to describe wholesale changes to code bases that should be treated as a rewrite.