Author Archives: Aaron

On Agile Tools

“When we create Agile teams, we create teams of real, live people. That means our control and communication systems must be built around the qualities and capabilities of people, not robots. We are doing much more in a team room than simply transferring abstract pieces of metadata around about a project.” Daniel B. Markham’s “Tyranny […]

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Institutional memory and deciphering documentation

Some of the methods and notation are familiar, but others are long obsolete. Even where nothing has officially changed, cultural assumptions about what should be documented explicitly or can be assumed have changed, making interpretation difficult. And it would really be nice to have a big-picture overview book. At the end of the project someone […]

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Burn Out

What I learned is that burning out isn’t just about work load, it’s about work load being greater than the motivation to do work. Keith Yost, from part 3 of (1 2 3 4) on being a consultant in Dubai

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Making Good Days

Inspired by a set of HBR articles, I talk about a great short term motivator, making progress, and how I’ve been trying to turn bad days good with good momentum from quick wins.

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Every Technique I Know to Understand Code

The techniques I know for understanding code: by figuring out how others understand it, by reading it, by writing about it, and by changing it.

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Working Effectively with Legacy Code: The Best & Worst

_Working Effectively with Legacy Code_ is a good book if you want to unit test existing code or start using TDD on the legacy areas of your code.

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A good programmer with great habits

I’m not a great programmer; I’m just a good programmer with great habits Kent Beck, as quoted in Refactoring

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What is Legacy Code?

We know what it feels like to work with legacy code. It’s messy, opaque. It’s frustrating, confusing. It doesn’t let us work the way we want to. Ultimately, I think we can define legacy code as “things developed without the simplifying assumptions that you’re using now.”

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The Pragmatic Programmer: The Best & Worst

“The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master,” 1999, By Andy Hunt & Dave Thomas 4/5 Stars The Pragmatic Programmer is chock full of useful advice, well written and helpfully framed around 70 tips. Those tips touch on most aspects of software engineering: from developing yourself and coding/design practices to advice for the whole team. At […]

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Three Critical Steps

Q: How have you tried to achieve excellence in the work you do? A: Three critical steps: 1. Show up. 2. Do it. 3. Repeat. But next time, do it better. Andy Hunt on’s six simple questions

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