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{ Author Archives }

Head Labrarian at The Labrary, the place where the library and the laboratory converge to help your software team.

The value of the things on the left

With the rise of critical writing like Bertand Meyer’s Agile! The Good, the Hype, and the Ugly, Daniel Mezick’s Agile-Industrial Complex, and my own Fragile Manifesto, it’s easy to conclude the this Agile thing is getting tired. We’re comfortable enough now with the values and principles of the manifesto that, even if software has exited […]

Zen and the Art of Software Maintenance

In one part of the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which is neither about Zen nor motorcycle maintenance, there are two motorcycles and two riders. John Sutherland is a romanticist who appreciates the external qualities of his motorcycle: its aesthetics, and its use as a vehicle. The narrator is a classicist who […]

A question of focus

The problem with The Labrary is that I offer to do so many things – because I could do them, and do them well – that it can be hard to find the one thing I could do for you that would be most helpful: Artificial Intelligence Agile Development Continuous Delivery Software Architecture Technical Writing […]

Great Documentation, Great Software

A paraphrased conversation, the other day, between me and a customer of one of my customers: Me: Are you experienced at working with my customer’s developer APIs? Them: I always feel like a newbie, because there’s so much stuff. But I always end up finding the docs I’m looking for. Me: I’m writing the docs. […]

Solving the underlying problem

As a software engineer, it’s easy to get work engineering software. Well, maybe not easy, but relatively so: that is the kind of work that comes along most. The kind of work that people are confident I can do. That they can’t do, so would like me to do for money. It’s also usually the […]

Maybe you are going to need it

In the beginning, there was the green field. The lead developer, who may have been the only developer, agreed with the product owner (or “the other member of the company” as they were known) what they would build for the first two weeks. Then File->New Project… happened, and they smashed it out of the park. […]

Experts around the table

One of the principles behind the manifesto for Agile software development says: Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. I don’t like this language. It sets up the distinction between “engineering” and “the business”, which is the least helpful language I frequently encounter when working in companies that make software. I […]

On the efficient allocation of scarce resources with alternative uses

Most of what I know about “the economy” is outdated (Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes) or incorrect (the news) so I decided to read a textbook. Basic Economics, 5th Edition by Thomas Sowell is clear, modern, and generally an argument against economic regulation, particularly centralised planning, tariffs, and price control. I still have […]

My first rails app

I know, right? I first learned how to rails back when Rails 3 was new, but didn’t end up using it (the backend of the project I was working on was indeed written in Rails, but by other people). Then when I worked at Big Nerd Ranch I picked up bits and pieces of knowledge […]

My changing relationship with books

My Delicious Library collection just hit 1,000 books. That’s not so big, it’s only a fraction of the books I’ve read in my life. I only started cataloguing my books a few years ago. What is alarming about that is that most of the books are in my house, and most are in physical form. […]