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Improving Coding Katas - an Agile Cambridge takeaway

A code kata, as defined by wikipedia, is: … an exercise in programming which helps a programmer hone their skills through practice and repetition. At NewVoiceMedia we have been running katas for the last couple of years. Katas have become an integral part of our interview and induction process, but as we’ve grown (from 15

Are we software engineers or software systems engineers?

How many systems make up a typical software application these days? I suspect it’s more than a few. With the advent of the internet, then web-services and now the cloud, few applications are self-contained any more. A recent analysis of our own cloud service made me realise that software engineering has become more like systems

Overcoming the fear of refactoring

One of the key attributes we look for when hiring is a passion for continuous improvement. Refactoring is an important part of continuous improvement. It’s an essential practice in order to reduce technical debt, but is harmful if overdone. Knowing when and where to refactor is also a difficult balance to get right, especially when

Embracing change, embracing each other - our approach, in 5 words, 5 minutes

You have just 30 minutes... How would you summarise what your R&D team does, in just 30 minutes? And make it engaging (when yours is the fifth presentation of a day long, company induction)? And make it memorable? The answer for us is one (five minute) slide plus a 25 minute “Lean” game. Every quarter

Leading self-organising teams

Do self-organising teams require leadership, or is it an oxymoron to be the leader of a self-organising team? Our approach and expectations At NewVoiceMedia, we form cross-functional teams that are encouraged to self-organise. We expect every member to take full ownership of the work flowing through the team; everyone is responsible for making sure we

Tracking a moving target - visualising weekly releases

Here at NewVoiceMedia we deploy to live every week. This is hard, but not impossible. This post provides an overview of our release process and focuses on a particular problem we’ve solved recently: how to visualise what’s in your release when you have multiple teams continuously committing changes to a single code base. Some context