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GFD — Night Sessions

I’m moving to a new flat on Monday, so I’m quite busy packing and preparing for the move.

Instead of the usual blog post, this week I’d like to share some music I’ve written, which went up on streaming sites this morning. It’s an EP of six tracks, titled “Night Sessions” and written under the name “GFD”.

Here’s the Spotify album:

Night Sessions is also available on Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play / YouTube Music, Tidal, Shazam, 7digital, and Deezer.

Have a listen — you might find something you like.

Thanks, and see you on the other side!


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Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

One of the first things I learned in Scrum is the importance of a task being “Done”. In short, until something is done, you don’t get the value.

Getting a task to “Done” might not be as simple as someone picking it up and doing it. Sometimes, it’s good for members of a team to pair up and work on a task together.

Developers might have enough knowledge of the task and the system they’re working with to code it on their own — but they’re going to need someone else to review it.

Unfortunately, what I’ve seen happen all…


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Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

My first tech job was at a large insurance company, in an IT department of 60 people. I started as a trainee developer, and slowly started learning software development.

After a number of years, I noticed an internal vacancy for a test manager*. I remember reading the job spec and thinking, wow, this sounds like something I’d be interested to try. I showed an interest, but my line manager steered me away, saying he thought I should focus on continuing to build on my development skills.

However, a few weeks later, management discussed the role, and it sounded like most…


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Photo by Dimon Blr on Unsplash

A simple Kanban board has 3 columns: To do, In progress, Done. Tasks in To Do haven’t been picked up yet; In progress shows tasks that are being worked on; Done contains the tasks that have been completed.

If you’re not careful, the “in progress” column can get overwhelming. Here are a few things to watch out for, and some tips to help keep things moving.

1. Set a WIP limit

A WIP (work in progress) limit is a way of setting a maximum number of items that you want to be in progress at the same time. How this is handled varies depending on…


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Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Software estimates are hard. Even with deep knowledge of the technologies being used, not to mention the system you’re working on, we’ve all run into issues we didn’t see coming. And when it’s plain sailing, what if you get interrupted — or asked to do something else before you’re ready?

In looking to understand more about why estimation is hard, I came across an article that’s well worth a few minutes of your time — “ Why are software estimates so hard? “ (codebots.com)

A couple of takeaways from that post. Firstly, humans can be overoptimistic. Secondly, while too much…


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Photo by Startaê Team on Unsplash

A team’s Agile board contains all of their work. It should be possible to look at the board to get a sense of what’s happening, such as the status of tasks, who’s working on what, and what’s been completed so far.

If the board is the master source for keeping track of how things are going, then everyone in the team needs to agree to keep it updated. The most basic steps are:

  • When a task is started, the person working on it self-assigns the task and moves it to “In progress”.
  • When a task is finished, the person marks…

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Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Back in 2009, I moved back to the UK after a couple of years in Australia, and I was looking for web developer jobs in London. Not wanting to hang around, I uploaded my CV to a tech jobs site, included my contact details, and told recruiters I was looking for work. That certainly did the trick — I think I must have spoken to 50 agents in the first week, and saw a lot of job ads in a short space of time.

Naturally, any job search is a snapshot in time, and the ebbs and flows of the…


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Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

I often think of things I’d like to do more consistently.

Reading. Writing. Coding. Making music.

All things I do from time to time, but I tend to do a lot of them in bursts — and then not again for a while.

Throw in gaming and watching TV shows — mostly on Netflix — and I have plenty of distractions to keep me from doing the things I want to be doing… or feel I should be doing.

I’ve heard about doing something until it becomes a habit. But you know what? …


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Photo by Cinthia Aguilar on Unsplash

2020 wasn’t great really, was it?

This Instagram post from Rhys Wynne resonated with me. Specifically the opening:

I was listening to a podcast and they said this year has been “Net Neutral” for them.

I read this after I’d started putting together a list of highs and lows — it feels very apt.

Covid was (and still is) an obvious low. Sadly we lost my grandmother as the care homes were getting hit. …


On 15th March 2016, we released a brand new look for cityam.com. In this post I’ll be digging into the what and why of the redesign.

About the project

Redesigning a news site is no small undertaking. However, we were able to pull it off in the space of two months.

We first talked about the project at the beginning of the year, and spent most of January planning, designing and confirming details.

Development started in late January, and testing began in mid to late February, when most of the work was ready for review.

In total, the build took five to six…

Ben Barden

Product Manager

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