Monthly Archive: March 2014

The Simple Life (In a luxury caravan at Filey)

I started my day as usual doing research, reading and writing at Caffe Nero and later at the Beach Terrace Cafe which has received a social media makeover.  Everywhere I looked there were posters and banners promoting their new Facebook presence, encouraging me to Like their Facebook page, upload pictures...

Service To Others

This post is the first in a series about my working life I used to be ambitious but soon after I became ill I realised that personal ambition was incompatible with the advice I was receiving from my doctors and more importantly from the International Still’s Disease Foundation which provides...

Don’t Buy Anything

As Christmas approached last year I decided that I didn’t need anything.  More than that I decided that I had too much, and didn’t need to buy anything for a long time.  Even after coming to this conclusion though it would be easy to drift back into old habits, I’ve...

Conceptual Integrity And The Mythical Man Month

A long time ago now I read the Mythical Man Month,  and I remember two things from it: On a large activity conceptual integrity is really difficult to achieve and maintain In the sixties IBM seemed to do a better job at managing large development programmes than we do now...

What Type Of Team Do You Need?

Friday is my ‘rest and relax’ day, a day when I work on my own, review what I’ve learned this week, collect my thoughts, plan for the future. As I walked along the beach to Lytham I started to ponder teams. We can sometimes get carried away by the idea...

Office For iPad and Office 365

I watched Satya Nadella’s excellent presentation and the slick demo by Julia White last night.  I was hooked, I downloaded Word, Excel and PowerPoint onto my iPad (Download here), dropped a handful of complex test documents into Onedrive, entered my Office 365 password and was blown away.  My first tweet...

The Balanced Programme Management Team

I often see programmes fall into the trap of over reliance on certain individuals.  Unfortunately the more effective and useful a person is the more that person seems to be branded “Super Man” and burdened with commitments that make it ever more difficult for them to do the things they were valued for in the first place.

When I started thinking about this short article I had in mind a few examples:

The Programme Director who takes on too much Programme Management because the customer and account teams except him to have programme management detail at his fnger-tips.  Solved by a combination of excellent management information, setting expectations and not being afaid to re-inforce those expectations.  Fall into the programme management trap and you won’t be there for the team when they need you, won’t have time to manage the key relationships and won’t be able to see the wood for the trees, the classic “programme is red – suprise!”.

The Chief Architect who forgets that his job is to preserve the conceptual integrity of the solution and to nurture its evolution through logical and physical development stages.  Solved by having a very good definition of the concept initially, making sure that the architecture …

Shipping Software

StepsThis is a great interview with Tim Marsland who is a distinguished engineer and CTO for the Operating Platforms Organization in Sun Microsystems.  In the interview he talks about the approaches Sun takes to the process of test, integration, compatibility and shipping Solaris.  It gives some great insights.  I particularly liked these sections.

First they use daily builds and eating your own dogfood (but don’t use that term),  I really like the daily build concept as I have described in previous posts:

We also use the previous night’s build to build today’s system, and every two weeks we put the latest build on the shared file- and mail-server for a large proportion of the operating system development group. We deliberately hold our own feet to the fire. Developers quickly got used to running their stuff on their own desktops and their build machines before integration.

Next a section to use when your manager asks you “why do we need to install the beta”

A few months later, we came up with another interesting idea: the Platinum Beta program. This is an idea where we say that we think our beta software is good enough for the beta tester—not just to kick the tires, but to put it into a …