Our team wanted to add code coverage and look at code quality metrics for what we’re producing. Sonar Cloud works with our pipelines to provide that — although in setting it up I referred to a lot of sources in different places to get it working as I wanted — all of which I’ve consolidated into the guide below. I hope this helps people wanting to set this up for themselves.

Setting up Sonar Cloud from scratch

  1. Log in to Sonar Cloud, pick Azure Devops from the list of providers, and use the same credentials for Azure Devops if you’re not already logged in to that…

One of the defining characteristics of a real team — as opposed to a collection of individuals — are the goals of the team, and the agreed way the team will work towards those goals.

Teams form and then adapt over time — new skills might be needed, or people might not fit in with the way the team work. Some will seek different challenges on other projects and move on.

All teams go through change and battle scars may accrue over time as a result of change or disagreement. A set of agreed values and principles can be a…

If you can’t agree on a change, you can’t make the change

Teams can get very good at identifying problems, but when there are a selection of solutions — it’s easy to get caught in a cycle of never picking a solution to try and evaluate. It looks a bit like the diagram below:

A bad change cycle a team may fall into

The frustration caused can show in a few behaviours:

  • team members being a lone wolf, implementing their idea without discussion
  • disengagement from the process of improving the team
  • break down in the sense of team — becoming a group of individuals

Having a self organised agile team without a ‘project manager’ or defacto-leader makes it more difficult for…

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Teams that reflect regularly and work to improve themselves have a variety of methods they can use to discuss and agree changes to how they work.

Sometimes a team gets so focused on the problems that have happened, and how to fix them — that they can lose sight of successes, and also fail to learn from good things they’ve achieved.

Where a team forgets to continue good behaviours, improvements can be cyclical, where the team falls back into a bad habit after making progress, and then has to reset again to get to where they have been.

Teams can…

Working in a multi-disciplined team of developers, content authors, testers and researchers has many benefits — but retrospectives can become boring for some if the topics in discussion aren’t of interest to the whole group — for example a content author might not be interested in developers talking about how to fix bugs more quickly.

The best retrospectives I’ve been involved with:

  • Allow everyone in the team a chance to participate
  • Keep the attendees interested
  • Have actionable outcomes that can be tried, and tested to see if they fix problems

With this in mind I’ve come up with an idea…

Committing to a set of features and finishing the sprint with them all done

One of the features that differentiates the Scrum framework from other agile frameworks is it’s recommendation of breaking time down into sprints. The team must plan how much work they can complete in the next sprint in their planning meeting.

The team should commit to completing every feature planned in, if the team don’t think it can be achieved in the sprint then it will not be included. If possible, a feature could be broken down in order to achieve part of it within the time-box, so long as that part is valuable on it’s own

This is difficult…

The problems that can be caused by mandating usage of particular tools

Photo by Philip Swinburn on Unsplash

A common question I get asked when running agile courses is, “What tools should we use”? The answer is always a recommendation of some tools, with benefits and drawbacks I’ve seen from using them — but with the caveat that it should be within the team’s gift to choose the tools that fit them best.

There are very few tools that are expensive enough that it’s worth eliminating them as a cost saving measure — but the team should be mindful of the cost of their tools and if their company has access to a reasonable equivalent then fit in…

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Benefits of estimation

  • The act of estimating allows a team to discuss, plan and understand upcoming features they will work on
  • Estimations can give a customer an idea when a feature will be available
  • Estimations can help break work down, and fit it into the next sprint. A record of this can inform a measure of the team’s velocity (the amount of completed work the team is producing each sprint). Knowing the velocity can allow the team to create a release plan as well as identify productivity peaks and troughs.

Estimating in points or in hours

If you estimate how long a feature will take to complete in hours…

The next big trend in office design ?

When you’re working in an open way, the whole company can see your task board and the product you’re building. The mistakes and successes you create are there for all to learn from…anyone can look in at your progress.

The Panopticon is a social theory, which suggests that a design for a prison so that all inmates can be watched by a single guard. The inmates will not know when they are being watched — and because of this they will self govern and behave as if they are being watched all the time.

“ Quality means doing it right…

Having read Steve Foreshew’s blog post announcing that he was leaving GDS, one sentiment jumped out at me more than the rest…

“Leadership is not a role or a job. Leadership is a privilege that is earned not given. And leaders can only succeed with the permission, trust and support of the team.”

Being a leader is like being an artist. It is not for one to call themselves a leader — it is only other people who can describe you as such.

I’ve never struggled to find mentors and colleagues that will lead me, but I often find people…

Thomas Axworthy

Developer, Scrum master and Agile Coach

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