Reflections on Our First Mob Code Review

Two heads are better than one. Indeed that is commonly the term used to justify various paring and collaboration efforts. Including the deceptively contentious topic of pair and mob programming. Diverse thoughts and opinions can come from individuals from diverse backgrounds, with diverse thoughts and experiences, and at different stages in their career and stage of development.

What about three heads? That is indeed the question I was pondering ahead of a recent mob review. I’m certainly known for my slightly odd ideas. …


Experiences Combining BDD Behavioural Specifications with UI e2e Testing

Sometimes in life, two unexpected elements can combine together to form something better. Quite often we talk about two minds being better than one. But this applies to other things too.

Music can inspire us with how we build software

One key example from music is the concept of a mashup. For those unfamiliar, a mashup is where at least two songs are merged together to produce another track. In 2020 one mashup that caused a storm in the UK was the merging of Dua Lipa’s track Hallucinate with the BBC News theme. …


Identifying Sprint Review Anti-patterns

We’re coming to the end of the year, which means a lot of us are attending various town halls and high profile meetings showcasing achievements of the year. Particularly for me working in a large organisation, I’m attending a few of them. It’s nice to reflect back on recent accomplishments. Less so to focus on any failures.

It’s rather appropriate that recent issues with sprint reviews occurred towards the end of the year

A more regular Scrum ceremony focused on showcasing sprint achievements and contributions is the friendly sprint review. Recently we have faced considerable challenges with this ceremony which…


Gamification of Scrum Learning Using Scrum Delegation Poker

Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches play a key part in the development and supporting of Agile practice within Scrum teams. Both hold key responsibilities to support and educate teams in the ways of the Scrum force. However, sometimes more than talking needs to be done to help squads. Occasionally, bad habits creep into practice that need to be addressed. At times, teams need stronger support to learn Scrum principles and ceremonies.

No matter how many times you try, it is my experience that you cannot force them to read The Scrum Guide. Not everyone can be an uber Agile enthusiast…


Reflections on the Pitfalls of Story Points and Velocity Capture

Many don’t know this, but I studied mathematics for two years at university before specialising in Computer Science. One mandatory class specialized in teaching the fundamentals of mathematical proof. In a nutshell, we learned how to establish that a given hypothesis was correct, or identify the contradiction that disproves the theory. It was immensely satisfying when you reached the end of a proof. Furthermore, verifying that you had the correct answer was pretty straightforward.

If only all hypotheses were so easy to disprove. Lately there has been an unfolding obsession with story points across the squads. Managers, business stakeholders and…


Exploring Reluctance in Automation of Manual Development Practices

When building software for clients, a key driver is providing value and improvement to current manual user procedures. We should always look at ourselves in the same light. Without eliminating the manual processes in our own software engineering practice, how can we advocate the same lean focused benefits when automating client processes?

In the digital age, all teams must embrace automation to eliminate waste

Maintaining manual elements of the software development cycle in fully remote situations such as the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown is rather difficult. Rather than trying to communicate more via informal channels to keep things going, teams resort to communicating less to “just get things done”.

Automated release and deployment…


Diagnosing and Addressing Remote Working Connectivity Issues

It’s week two of UK lockdown, and many of us are trying to adjust to stringent restrictions coupled with working remotely with pets and children. We’re silently celebrating the first week of being home with the kids. Successfully writing emails and code with a baby bouncing on knee is still a work in progress for me. Practice will hopefully make perfect. In the meantime, any tips others can provide are definitely appreciated!

One achievement I am proud of is that I finally have an isolated work setup and generally good remote connectivity. Having persistent connection freezing, pixellated video calls and…


Where is Our WFH Workspace Empathy?

Let’s be honest, we are already getting tired of hearing about COVID-19. It dominates our media headlines. It is leading to the cancellation of many events and conferences. Company policies are invading our mailboxes. The resulting panic is emptying our supermarket shelves. As much as we want to ignore it, this disease is having a significant impact on our lives as it moves throughout the world.

This week it has escalated in Europe to the point where many are beginning to work from home for significant periods of time. Suddenly, vast numbers of people used to the daily commute are…


The Adventures of a Newly Returning Coder Parent

Cue the fanfare. Coder Mummy is back! Following six months of bottles, nappies and home nursery rhyme karaoke, the time has come to return to work. It’s constantly been referred to as my transition. In a way that’s true. Frustratingly, my first week has definitely been more of a mental and emotional metamorphosis rather than the regimented algorithm I would expect as a software engineer.

Going into my first week back, I encountered a strange mixture of excitement and dread. Yet I found very few honest accounts of people’s experiences. Returning role models are happy to engage in discussion, but…


Planning Kanban Adoption for Home Task Management

New year. New decade. Cue the numerous social media posts outlining unachievable resolutions that people have absolutely no chance of keeping. The majority of my friends set typical goals such as new gym routines and healthier eating habits. However, the Richmond family have a more unconventional ambition in mind.

Throughout my eight years as a Software Engineer, I have grown to be strong Agile advocate. My experiences working in both Waterfall and Agile focused teams have fostered a strong preference for the latter model. To the extent that my status as an Agile evangelist is known far and wide. Furthermore…

Carly Richmond

Lead software engineer with a strong interest in UI, UX, Usability and Agility. Lover of cooking, tea, photography and gin! All views expressed are my own.

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