QuickStart Software Development

What is QuickStart?

Here at the FT we have been trialling a new method (at least for us!) of beginning a software development project. Essentially, the entire team (developers, testers, product owners) assemble in a room with the aim of producing a quick and dirty prototype based off a given value statement. We also invite people from other teams who have an interest in what we’re about to do: either they’re going to use the functionality we are developing or they need to provide us with something for it to work. We call this a QuickStart session.

The idea is that we learn about complexity to a good level of detail early on, allowing us to provide reasonable, evidence-based estimates to the business.

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Issues working with large legacy automation test suites and how (we think) we got it right the next time

“The automation tests are passing at around 80% so I think we’re good to release”

We’ve heard this expression before and it doesn’t bode well. We release code into the production environment and within a few days a new defect is reported.

“How did this get missed?” asks the editor.

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Cut To The Chase – the prototype, trials, taxis, and tapas

Not only did we each get a nice warm hoodie for winning the Glasgow #newsHACK #EditorsLab hackathon event in May 2014, the FT team was offered a paid trip to the Global Editors Network #EditorsLab hackathon final in June, in Barcelona, along with the winners of all the other GEN #EditorsLab regional hackathons. So we went, and this is how we did and how we did it.

If the following is tl;dr, you can skip to the hack itself, or the slides of the presentation.
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The workflow change that helped us deliver more, deliver faster

What is a software peer review?
In the same way someone peer reviewing an article to be published in a newspaper will be looking for more than just spelling and grammatical errors, an engineer peer reviewing a change to software will be checking the work hasn’t made any false assumptions; has fulfilled its requirements; won’t cause problems or extra work for anyone else later on; and, of course, it’s a good idea to check for spelling mistakes too.

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Behaviour-Driven Development at the FT

I’ve spent a lot of my time at the FT talking about and attempting to do Behaviour Driven Development (BDD), but only recently have I become convinced that it makes my life as a developer easier.

Behaviour Driven Development Mantra

I think this is because it’s easy to focus on the wrong things. In this blog post, I’m going to discuss what I’ve learned about doing BDD over the last 3 years.

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