Scaling With Agility
December 01, 2016
It’s fifteen years since the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was published. Since then it seems most large companies have made some attempt to make themselves more agile. Either by adding ‘agile’ as another methodology alongside waterfall in their process framework, or embarking on a Transformation Programme, involving plenty of highly-paid consultants who come with a certificate that says they can recite an agile process framework word for word. Of the companies that have had a go at ...
Is Agile Killing the Architect?
July 01, 2016
The formally recognised discipline of software architecture is 20 years old but it’s also a bit of a conundrum: opinions about the questionable value architects add to projects are strongly held and yet job vacancies for architects are as abundant as ever. So which is it? Is architecture in the enterprise misunderstood? or is it living on borrowed time? On 19th May, La Fosse Associates hosted an event at Runway East in London centred on a contentious question: Is the adoption of agile meth ...
The Competence Debt
May 03, 2014
I just finished reading The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. As technology management books go it’s by far the most refreshing, honest and illuminating thing I have read in years. I strongly recommend buying the book. The profits go to a good cause too. I didn’t know much about Ben Horowitz, other than an awareness that he’s half of the VC power duo Andreessen-Horowitz, but he clearly deserves all the plaudits he gets. Plus, he likes rap music and, in addition to my love of jangly in ...
December 03, 2013
Software projects cost a lot of money. Some of them stretch to sums that would have made Howard Hughes cry like a two-year-old being babysat by Marilyn Manson. It’s lucky that so many are funded by big companies and government institutions with deep, continuously-filled, pockets because otherwise nothing would ever get finished. Yet a lot of very good software is also cheap, even free. Part of the reason projects are expensive is because businesses view software in all the wrong ways and part of ...
No More Rock Stars
October 29, 2013
When I was seventeen I bought a stack of Lou Reed records. I didn’t really know that much about Lou Reed but there was this girl. And she really liked him. And I really liked her. So I needed to get into Lou Reed quickly. I started where everyone starts with Lou reed - the 1972 classic Transformer - by any standards an impeccable piece of work with its heady mix of brash sexual metaphors and delicate vocals. Then I explored forwards through his catalogue and backwards into Velvet Underground terr ...
The Lean Architect
March 18, 2013
Anyone who’s soaked their head in agile techniques for a while can’t help but become a little obsessed by the concept of “lean”. Behind all the fine words they’re essentially the same thing - a quest to discover ways of delivering with the minimum amount of waste: stand-ups instead of meetings, cards instead of documentation, conversations instead of process, value instead of activities. Any man mentions he's a Certified ScrumMaster spends a night in the box We’ve come a long way in the years s ...
The Big Data Deception
February 10, 2013
You can’t go to a conference, read a blog (ahem) or open a tech mag without someone talking about Big Data these days. Now I’m as excited the next person whenever new techniques, approaches, tools, frameworks, whatever come along, but equally, given our industry’s penchant for hype, it’s important to keep one eye out for denuded emperors keen to show off their new wardrobe or vendors with sales targets to hit. About three seconds after it was announced that Barack Obama had won the US election ...
The Inevitability of Evil
February 07, 2013
Google’s code of conduct begins with the phrase “Don’t be evil”. If you work for, or with, Google you’re meant to follow the code. Google’s management enforce the code to the extent that you’re even protected from retaliation if you blow the whistle on someone who is being evil. Staff rarely looked forward to the team building offsite I have a pet peeve with codes of conduct, missions statements, HR policies and (my favourite) architectural principles. They nearly always state the bleeding obvi ...
The Grand High Order of the Easter Bunny
September 01, 2012
I ‘ve talked, rather a lot, about my views on the use of open source software in the big fat corporate enterprise. Because these rambles have been at conferences or in occasional blog posts, the pitch has been aimed at enterprise developers: Use open-source where you can, but do not think of it simply as a “free” resource; give something back to community through promoting it, patching it, extending it and paying for support. Everyone wins. The argument is partly idealistic (make softwar ...
The New New Tool
November 05, 2011
Bob and Alice sit in a cubicle at the end of the floor. For much of their working day they are pissed off. They are forced to do their job using a tool implemented by The Project some years ago. The Tool was an over-complex inappropriate hulk when it was selected. The Tool is made by The Big Vendor. We’ve all heard of The Big Vendor. They market The Tool to many industry segments and have a specialist pre-sales team for each segment. The Tool was very expensive. Because of its complexity it’s ...