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Five essential principles for building a culture of innovation

One of the hardest parts of building a culture of innovation is simply knowing where to start. So, let’s get going straightaway with five straightforward — not necessarily easy, but easily understandable — ways to get started building a culture of innovation at your company.

Hackathon is not just for coders: 48 hours to write a book

Three times a year our software development teams at NewVoiceMedia take part in a hack-a-thon. This is an opportunity for developers and testers to try some new ideas.  Maybe they want to fix a process, improve a part of the product set, try new tools, learn new coding languages or explore third party tools or

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

Working with remote team members

The generally accepted wisdom in agile circles is that co-located teams are the best way to go.   Remote workers, distributed teams and even regular working from home are all things that are 'suffered' in many modern office environments - circumstances that need to be overcome rather than welcomed. Until I joined NewVoiceMedia this was

Post-its, process, and poker dots at DevOps Induction

Your induction is an important part of any company and at NewVoiceMedia we introduced this into our process early on in our growth. Bethany Ayres (SVP Strategy) who introduced our induction process comments: “The company had grown to the point that we didn’t all know each other’s names and roles within the business anymore. New starters were

The NewVoiceMedia hack-a-thon: collaborate, innovate, generate (repeat)

That time of year has come round again when we get our creative juices flowing with the NewVoiceMedia hack-a-thon. The hack-a-thon was an idea inspired by Atlassian’s ShipIt or FedEx days and Google's 20 percent time. The hack-a-thon is a vehicle to drive innovation, experimentation and creativity within our development teams. The idea is pretty

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

The edge cases of being a scrum master

Explaining what a scrum master does to anyone who hasn't seen or heard of agile working is really difficult - if you have a couple of hours to put it into context, maybe, but in a three minute elevator pitch?  Really tricky. In these cases I usually default to the somewhat self deprecating: "I basically

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