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 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 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...