Blog post : If I Ruled the World - CDMG Meetup Agile Developments - Software Cornwall

meetup  Jim Barritt – If I ruled the world – Agile Developments at Cornwall Digital Meet Up Group


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Some quick notes from Jims talk this evening at CDMG : If I ruled the world, where Jim gave a view of how software development would be if he ruled the world

jimJim works for Thoughtworks and is currently on a project in Glasgow, but he has recently moved back to Cornwall where he grew up.  We were delighted to welcome Jim to speak at Novembers CDMG meet up in Vertigo, Truro. Jim is a regular speaker at the annual Agile conference in Cornwall and is delighted to be living back in Cornwall.

Jims first experience of coding was pair programming a snake game with his Dad (Mike Barritt) when he was 8. When he later joined the family software development business his earliest experience of software was software that was not working well, the software constantly errored and he has been set the challenge of fixing it.

His solution for this was that every time an error box appeared in the software he asked the client to print screen and fax it to him. Jim measured success by #faxes received, initially this was up to 50 a day but his approach paid off and the number of faxes quickly reduced over the next couple of months.

His approach was to solve one problem at a time and each evening using a dial up modem he deployed the updated software to the client. Jim took a continuous feedback and deployment approach to developing the software, which is what he still does now but on a far bigger scale. In the 1990s Jim became aware of the Agile Manifesto where he realised he was doing agile but he didn’t know it had been given a name.

Jims top tip in his world would be ..

Software Can be Simple

Small is simple – doing small things is simpler than doing big things
Simple is not always easy and he refers to a presentation
Make it Simple!

2014-11-24 19.43.45Jim then gave examples of how the world would be if he were in charge..

Team size – a maximum team size of 12, ideally with developers pairing and multidisciplinary teams – multiple smaller teams rather than making teams bigger when more development is needed.

Delivery Scope – the classic eating the elephant scenario – At a high level Jim referenced Bjarte Bogsnes keynote at AotB and the use of Beyond Budgeting at a high level with the use of concepts such as Minimum Viable Product with the organisation breaking the delivery scope down into achievable chunks

Change – 4week sprints are very different to 1 week sprints, even at release level we should be thinking small, and breaking scale down into smaller bits.

Tech & Tools

Architecture – Security, Performance and Resillience. Architecture should ensure Confidentiality as needed, Integrity and Availability.

Jim is now in a Linux and Java world and it makes him uneasy to think about windows and its complexity and the friction this causes. He likes the smaller granuality of Java and Linux where things are more open and available. In Jims world there would be NO windows!!  Development would be the unix way with simple pipes and filters

Microservices – even if not deploying in small units – think small packages/components (@simonbrown) or No bigger than James Lewis (@boicy) Head!2014-11-24 20.07.47

In Jims world everything would be virtualised and automated, with continuous build, pipelines and deployment and he would be able to see what the software is doing through dashboards to deliver continuous feedback.

Jim highlights his favourite dashboards and tools in his world and finishes with a great series of Q&A from the audience on key concerns when using continuous development and some of the tools discussed.

A great session

you can follow jim at @jimbarritt on twitter

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If you have any suggestions for topics for future events please let me know!



Belinda Waldock