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Software Engineering Tool Set - A Survey

I'm getting ready to start a new job and help my new team pick a development process and a set of tools that best suits their needs. This seemed like an ideal time to do a little research and check in on currently popular options. I created a survey, and circulated it through my personal contacts and the twittersphere.

Who answered the survey?

The first set of questions were designed to give a little context for interpreting the rest of the results.

The survey was answered by 34 participants, most of whom were CTOs of VPs of small start-ups. Participants included divisions of Amazon, large Agile consulting companies and a whole variety of trendy start-ups.

Now Blogging at tech.thereq.com

Follow my Rails blog over at tech.thereq.com!

estimating the true cost of a new feature

As a software system grows, it's important to start evaluating new features not only on how hard they are to build but how hard they are to maintain and most importantly, test. If you want a reasonable assurance that a feature is going to work correctly after each new release, then somebody (or something) needs to test that new feature before each release.

More features means more testing for each and every release, and therefore a system gradually gets more and more expensive.

fitting the kiva redesign into a two week release cycle

Kiva Engineering is an Agile shop. We're better at some parts of Agile then others, but we hold true and fast to the principle of "Release Fast, Release Often". We aim to release every two weeks, and for the past 9 months our largest deviation from that has been a delay of one day.

kiva engineering: tools of the agile trade

this entry was originally posted on build.kiva

At Kiva, our development process is based on Scrum – with work broken into two week Sprints (we call them “Iterations”). We’re good students of Scrum in some regards (we do release every two weeks, without fail), and bad students of Scrum in others (it seems like we still bite off more than we can chew in each iteration). Like most Scrum teams, the center of our universe is our ticket tracking system. We use Redmine – albeit a rather customized version. We’ve put quite a bit of time and effort into our ticket tracking system – so we thought we’d give you a tour.

kiva engineering: innovation iteration

this entry was originally posted on build.kiva

At Kiva, we tend to attract and hire engineers with a strong creative, entrepreneurial streak. This aligns well with Kiva’s office culture – and with our overall mission – an innovative, technology-driven approach to alleviating poverty. However, as the team grows and we become more specialized in an effort to become more efficient, sometimes our day to day work doesn’t always give us an outlet for our creative sides. After a long project involving concepts like currency exchange loss, it’s easy to feel like you spend your entire working life chasing a few misbehaving pennies around the globe, and that your particular slice of the Kiva pie has become a little divorced from the glorious big picture.

In June 2010, many of us were finishing up some pretty tough projects, and as a team, we were in a bit of a funk. We talked as a team about what we could do to restore our energy and excitement. Our solution was an idea called “Innovation Iteration”.

kiva engineering: a year in review

this entry was originally posted on build.kiva

2010 was a year of growth for Kiva Engineering. We started the year with 8 full time engineers (and 2 managers) and ended the year with 14 engineers – a growth rate of 75%. We also kicked off 2010 with a switch to a new ticket tracking system (Redmine), that allowed us to more accurately track exactly what we’ve been up to. Let’s take a look shall we….

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