of Brian the Developer
Brian is a Principal Technologist and has been at IDBS for more years than he cares to remember. Primarily a Java developer, he captains the Spreadsheet Pirates improving the IDBS spreadsheet technology.
First things first – coffee. And depending on the day, maybe a quick chat about last night's Game of Thrones.
But the first real task of the day is what I call housekeeping and it starts with email. Working for a global company means that there are always emails in my inbox when I get to work. Actually, those rare days when I don' t have emails worry me more! I'm actually one of those people that like to work with minimal distractions, so I turn off the "ping" notification of my email and instead check it at pre-defined intervals - this allows me to focus clearly on the task at hand.
And the emails aren't just from colleagues and customers. We have ‘continuous integration’ in our development process and so next on the list is checking build and automation runs. Each night we generate full installation builds of our software, deploy them to test systems and then run automated tests on those systems – this then provides us with a health check of the current state of our software projects as we develop them. If there are any issues with any stage, then the system will email us and we can investigate.
Before hitting the code, I also review the state of our sprint (we use a SCRUM style of agile process) to see what my squad are up to and if there are any potential issues that need to be addressed.
Housekeeping done and onto my current sprint task. Working on new features using ‘user stories’ involves various stages of activity, including: research, design, coding, test and documentation. One of the great things about our departmental culture is that our development squad sits together and consists of developers, testers and tech authors, meaning we get fast, efficient feedback as we go. And not just feedback, but education too – sitting together like this (and involving product management) makes it very easy to share knowledge and tips of the trade. This sharing of knowledge also spans into new technologies and techniques – we're always discussing and trialling new things – it’s a great way to improve your skills.
This carries on until after lunch, when the squad gets together for our stand-up. Unlike other squads, we do this in the afternoon because we have squad members in one of our US offices. This is a chance for us to bring each other up to speed on what we did since our last stand-up, and what we're working on next. It's also a chance to raise any issues that might be blocking us – this is something that I'll then resolve.
Afternoons are focused back on user stories again, although (and this applies to mornings as well) there are often side-activities that occur – customer issue investigations, feature discussions with business analysts and UX designers
And finally, with a smile on my face more often than not, it's off home to get ready for another day.
Check out our video to know more about life in software development at IDBS.