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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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You can’t Refactor your way out of every Problem

Refactoring is a disciplined way to clarify, retain or restore the design of a system as you make changes, and to help cleanup and correct the mistakes and mess that we all make as ...
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Should you care about Conway’s Law?

Conway’s Law says that“organizations which design systems (in the broad sense used here) are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of ...
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Bad Things Happen to Good Code

We need to understand what happens to code over time and why, and what a healthy, long-lived code base looks like. What architectural decisions have the most lasting impact, and what ...
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