Jim Bird

About Jim Bird

Jim is an experienced CTO, software development manager and project manager, who has worked on high-performance, high-reliability mission-critical systems for many years, as well as building software development tools. His current interests include scaling Lean and Agile software development methodologies, software security and software assurance.

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Appsec and Technical Debt

Technical debt is a fact of life for anyone working in software development: work that needs to be done to make the system cleaner and simpler and cheaper to run over the long term, but that the business doesn’t know about o ...
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Design Doesn’t Emerge from Code

I know a lot of people who are transitioning to Agile or already following Agile development methods. Almost all of them are using something based on Scrum at the core, mixed with common XP practices like Continuous Integration an ...
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Frankensystems, Half-Strangled Zombies and other Monsters

There are lots of ugly things that can happen to a system over time. This is what the arguments over technical debt are all about – how to keep code from getting ugly and fragile and hard to understand and more expensive to main ...
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Hardening Sprints. What are they? Do you need them?

For anyone who is developing software using Scrum, XP or another incremental development approach, the idea of a “hardening sprint” or a “release iteration” is bound to come up. But people disagree about what a “hardenin ...
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Classic Mistakes in Software Development and Maintenance

…the only difference between experienced and inexperienced developers is that the experienced ones realize when they’re making mistakes. Jeff Atwood, Escaping from Gilligan’s Island An important part of risk management, and ...
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Don’t take the Technical Debt Metaphor too far

Because “technical debt” has the word “debt” in it, many people have decided that it makes sense to think and work with technical debt in monetary terms, and treat technical debt as a real financial cost. This is supposed ...
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Rule of 30 – When is a method, class or subsystem too big?

A question that constantly comes up from people that care about writing good code, is: what’s the right size for a method or function, or a class, or a package or any other chunk of code?   At some point any piece of code c ...
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Why Scrum Won

In the 1990s and early 2000s a number of different lightweight ‘agile’ development methods sprung up. Today a few shops use Extreme Programming, including most notably ThoughtWorks and Industrial Logic. But if you ask ...
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Predictability – Making Promises you can Keep

Speed – being first to market, rapid innovation and conducting fast cheap experiments – is critically important to startups and many high tech firms. This is where Lean Startup ideas and Continuous Deployment come in. And this ...
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Health Checks, Run-time Asserts and Monkey Armies

After going live, we started building health checks into the system – run-time checks on operational dependencies and status to ensure that the system is setup and running correctly. Over time we have continued to add more run-t ...
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