Where do I start? At the bottom.

This is my first blog and my first blog posting.  What I’m going to do here is outline why I’ve started the blog and what I hope to achieve with it.

Ready?
OK…..I’ll start….and bear with me until I find where I’m going.

Background?
I’m a systems analyst/developer who has been writing code in industry since 1996.  I used to really enjoy my job, the creativity it allowed and the sense of satisfaction a well written product could give.  Depending on the size of the company and the project this could be as part of a team, writing a small part of a larger system.  Alternatively It could mean that you’re a developer who’s in effect a one-man-band.

I can *almost* pinpoint the time when coding lost its sparkle for me.   It was a specific project which went live without adequate testing and a sign-off.   Although this sounds ridiculous, it’s the nature of the beast I work for, believe me.    The whole experience was a nightmare and I somehow ended up providing sole support for several months despite an original team of 3 developers and requests to management to share the responsibility.   The whole experience was quite stressful and I found myself  eventually thinking “stuff it”.   Don’t get me wrong, I would still approach my job professionally but I found myself caring less and less about the quality of the code I was producing.  Did the app work? Yes.  Could I have put in the extra features they wanted?  Yes but if it was going to mean I had to push myself and work more hours than I was contracted to. No.    My motivation at work had dried up.  By the way I’m not saying I wrote the world’s best code originally, I didn’t but I was always keen to learn.

So what?
Well I recognise that I’m not as productive as I could be and I’m the only person who can change this.   Over the past year a couple of colleagues at work have been talking about agile development, test driven development, behaviour driven development amongst other things.   I found myself joining a project which Justin Ramel had started, adopting some of these principles and using the tools and aids recognised as agile development.   I can see the real value in developing software using the methodologies, frameworks and tools that the “agile community” use.    As much as I’ve picked things up I still feel I need an actual “start” and a couple of years in the “not-arsed wilderness” means I’ll be needing a montage to boot!
As I explore and learn about agile development I’m going to document it here in my blog.  Where appropriate I’ll provide step-by-step instructions of what I’m doing. 

Why blog?
This is my blog, it’s content I’ll produce primarily for my own consumption and musings.  I have a really bad memory so I’ll use it to look back to as a reference and a guide.   By exposing it to others I’m hoping for a couple of things :

  • It’ll give me the momentum to keep going, if I know others are reading then I won’t easily abandon it.  
  • It might help others.   There are a lot of blogs which already cover all the topics I’ll look at but if I can provide information on how you start and progress then others may follow.
  • Others can help me.  If I’m missing the point somewhere or there’s something that I should be looking at people can tell me.

When?
OK – this is my first post.  I feel I the blog needs some structure and content before I open it to a wider community.  I’ll aim to provide content as quickly as I can.

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