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Author Archives: Jim Bird

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.

Estimating Might Be Broken, But It’s Not Evil

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Ron Jeffries’s essay Estimation is Evil talks about how absurd estimating can be on a software project, and the nightmare scenarios that teams can end up in: …Then we demand that the developers “estimate” when they’ll be done with all this stuff. They, too, know less about this product than they ever will again, and they don’t understand most of ...

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7 Agile Best Practices that You Don’t Need to Follow

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There are many good ideas and practices in Agile development, ideas and practices that definitely work: breaking projects into Small Releases to manage risk and accelerate feedback; time-boxing to limit WIP and keep everyone focused; relying only on working software as the measure of progress; simple estimating and using velocity to forecast team performance; working closely and constantly with the ...

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What does Code Ownership do to Code?

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In my last post, I talked about Code Ownership models, and why you might want to choose one code ownership model (strong, weak/custodial or collective) over another. Most of the arguments over code ownership focus on managing people, team dynamics, and the effects on delivery. But what about the longer term effects on the shape, structure and quality of code ...

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Code Ownership – Who Should Own the Code?

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A key decision in building and managing any development team is agreeing on how ownership of the code will be divided up: who is going to work on what code; how much work can be, and should be, shared across the team; and who will be responsible for code quality. The approach that you take has immediate impact on the ...

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Architecture-Breaking Bugs – when a Dreamliner becomes a Nightmare

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The history of computer systems is also the history of bugs, including epic, disastrous bugs that have caused millions of $ in damage and destruction and even death, as well as many other less spectacular but expensive system and project failures. Some of these appear to be small and stupid mistakes, like the infamous Ariane 5 rocket crash, caused by ...

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Penetration Testing Shouldn’t be a Waste of Time

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In a recent post on “Debunking Myths: Penetration Testing is a Waste of Time”, Rohit Sethi looks at some of the disadvantages of the passive and irresponsible way that application pen testing is generally done today: wait until the system is ready to go live, hire an outside firm or consultant, give them a short time to try to hack ...

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War Games, Pair Testing and Other Fun Ways to Find Bugs

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I’ve already examined how important good testing is to the health of a project, a product and an organization. There’s a lot more to good testing than running an automated test suite in Continuous Integration and forcing someone to walk through functional test scripts and check lists. A good tester will spend time exploring the app, making sure that they ...

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How do you measure Devops?

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If you’re trying to convince yourself (or the team or management) that your operations program needs to be changed for the better, and that trying a Devops approach makes sense – or that your operations organization is improving, and that whatever changes you have made actually make a difference – you have to measure something(s). But what? Measuring Culture John ...

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Yes Small Companies Can – and Should – Build Secure Software

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‘For large software companies or major corporations such as banks or health care firms with large custom software bases, investing in software security can prove to be valuable and provide a measurable return on investment, but that’s probably not the case for smaller enterprises, said John Viega, executive vice president of products, strategy and services at SilverSky and an authority ...

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Peer reviews for security are a waste of time?

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At this year’s RSA conference, one of the panel’s questioned whether software security is a waste of time. A panellist, John Viega, said a few things that I agreed with, and a lot that I didn’t. Especially that “peer reviews for security are a waste of time.” This statement is wrong on every level. Everyone should know by now that ...

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