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Engineering Practices

A Beautiful Day For Unit Tests

Writing unit tests on Legacy Code is an adventure. Today I spent several hours doing that with two developers, Mark and Yelena.

The system has a flow you are used to and when you write code you fit it into this flow. Then you test the entire system.

With unit tests, it works differently. You are required to start the flow from the middle and stop it when your deed was done.

This requires a different level of system understanding. When we started off in the morning we looked at the code and thought “how are we going to harness this?”

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5 steps to get unit tests going

Once you start unit testing, you will find significant benefits to your design, throughput, quality, and peace of mind. However, it is not easy to start in an organization that’s not used to it. Here are a number of practical tips:

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Agile Tools

Three tools that can help you become a better web developer

Use git, use eslint, and write unit tests.
Want to know the reasoning behind each tool? Keep reading!

Whether you are starting out as a developer or already have some experience, improving your coding skills is an ongoing endeavor. But what does it mean to be a better coder?
While there are many ways to solve a problem with code, some of them are better than others. As Robert Martin wrote:
Even bad code can function. But if code isn’t clean, it can bring a development organization to its knees.

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Agile Leadership

3 steps towards better team work

Working with teams I sometimes feel that teamwork is similar to the weather: everybody talks about it but not much is done. When I talk about teamwork I mean doing the work together, as a team. Advising with each other is good, planning together is necessary, going to lunch as a group is fun and like the other activities, is probably a good way to get nearer to team work. However , as said above, I’m talking about doing the work together. And here are 3 steps that will help you get nearer to that worthy cause.

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Engineering Practices

Peer Code Review – Benefits and Statistics

Benefits and statistics of embedding peer code review into your software development process.

As a Lean-Agile coach, I regularly talk with software development groups about the benefits of adding code review to their development process. Some easily embrace it and some require a little bit of persuasion, but usually, I find enough internal allies to initiate the change. Lately, I encountered a whole group that completely rejected this essential practice as a luxury they can not afford. Explaining that they will see immediate ROI within a sprint or two was not enough to convince them. So, I sat to compose the following list and sent it to the group. Luckily I had a sympathetic ear with the general manager of the business unit who embraced it and made it easier for the team to experiment with the practice. All’s well that ends well… here is the list, shared with you too.

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Engineering Practices

Legacy Code: Extract-FirstUT-Cover-Refactor-TDD

Recently, I had the opportunity to work on legacy code with several teams from various organizations. I would like to share my experience.

We usually start by choosing a piece of code that is “painful”: changing frequently and “scary” to touch because of its complexity. We explain that our purpose is to make the code simpler, readable, and easy to change. Establishing the motivation for what we do is important!

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Agile Mindset

The Professional Developer

Last week I called a technician to repair an electrical shutter that was broken. The technician did a good job in general, but there was one particular thing he did that made me think of him as a true professional. Was it the tools he was using? No. Was it the technique? He was working fast, but no, it wasn’t that. It was the moment he asked me for a broom to clean up after him. That was when I realized he was a pro.

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Engineering Practices

Amusement Park Methods

Sometimes you stumble upon amusement park methods.

Remember the feeling when first going through the gates of a big amusement park? When you get a first glimpse of how vast it is? you see some rides close by and in the distance, you see the tall roller coasters. That’s the feeling I’m talking about.

You start scrolling through the method. Just to understand what’s before you, you want to see how long it gets. You scroll and scroll and it goes on and on, and you start to go faster but it never ends. As Louis and Clark tried to find a path through the Rockies to get to the Pacific, you are making your way through this monstrous method, this fantastic creation.

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Engineering Practices

Time To Reorg – An Intro to Refactoring

Organizations reorg all the time. And again. Why do they do that? Setting cynicism aside, organizations reorg to adapt to new realities, to new demands. A team of 5 people that grew to 20 people needs to split to smaller teams. A business group dealing with a fast-growing market needs to come up with a new strategy to cope with the demand. A startup of 20 people will need a different structure than that of a company of 100 people. As business demands change there is a need to adapt the organization’s structure.

Reorg is an expensive venture, yet organizations do it again and again. Because they have to do it – they have no choice.

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