May 14, 2014

Learn TDD with Codemanship

5 Years Of Codemanship

This month sees the fifth birthday of my training and coaching company Codemanship.

I created the company in 2009 to take advantage of the growing demand I was getting to run workshops and coach teams in what we're currently calling software craftsmanship.

I wanted to put into practice ideas that had been swimming around in my silly old head for several years, especially relating to how good development teams happen.

I firmly believe, based on my own experiences and on the available evidence, that good software development is a product of good software development cultures, and that culture happens bottom-up over a long period of time.

The boss cannot demand good development culture. Management edicts just don't work in this space. Nor can we expect it to happen overnight. You can't send your teams on a 2-3 day course and expect them to come back transformed.

Through Codemanship, I focus on developers and their habits and instincts, helping those who want to improve to gradually shift the patterns that are their default behaviour.

Our BBC TV Platforms case study illustrates how this can be done and what effect it might have, but there are many ways to skin a rabbit, and many routes to becoming better crafters of software. Over the last 5 years, I've worked with many different organisations and thousands of individual developers, and helped them to discover their own path, just as I once discovered mine.

Outside of the day-to-day work, Codemanship has also been busy in the community, and I've been blessed to be involved with some great events and initiatives, like producing a West End comedy show to celebrate the code-breakers of Bletchley Park, organising the original international Software Craftsmanship conference, and curating and contributing to the Music By Programmers album to raise funds for a programming club at The National Museum of Computing.

I'm most proud, though, of one extra-curricular activity; my apprenticeship with Will Price, a CS undergraduate who's working with me to help plug the gaps in his education on the practical side of "just how do we write software?" We're reaching the end of our first academic year - though there'll be much for us to do during the summer break - and I'm very pleased with how it's turned out so far. I'll be traveling the length of breadth of the land talking about it, and hopefully encouraging a few of you to try something similar.

Finally, just to say a huge thank you to all our customers, without whom none of this would be possible. I'm very lucky to have the chance to work with you all.

So, that's 5 years of Codemanship. So far, it's been the most fun, the most challenging and the most rewarding experience of my career, and I've got my fingers crossed that there'll be many more years of this to come.

May 5, 2013

Learn TDD with Codemanship

Music By Programmers - Week #1 Update

The album to raise money for maths and programming workshops at Bletchley Park and The National Museum Of Computing has been out for a week now.

And what a week it's been! Things kicked off on the previous Friday with an article that ended up being the BBC Tech News number two story, getting a link on the news home page, which generated a lot of interest.

Then on Monday we were assisted by a generous tweet from Stephen Fry.

Together with bags of other social media activity, and coverage by PC Pro, The Register and other noteworthy websites, the buzz was enough to propel Music By Programmers into the download bestseller charts on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.

The limited edition CD went on sale around lunchtime on Monday, and sold out on Tuesday.

The week ended with interviews for other web news sites, as well as BBC local radio, about these computer programmers who were "storming the charts".

Naturally, the web having the short attention span that it does, we've tailed off quite spectacularly since Friday - though as of writing we're still in Amazon's Top 40 Dance & Electronica albums. As the saying goes, we've had our 15 megabytes of fame. Now the real work starts!

Of course, being pop stars for a week isn't really the point of it all - gratifying though it is to see something you've helped create up there among the Daft Punk's and the's for a short while. Something to tell the grandchildren. (If I never have granchildren, I'll borrow someone else's and tell them.)

A huge "thank you" if you bought the album and spread the word. With no marketing budget and no label behind us, we're relying completely on word-of-mouth. Without your support, none of this would be possible.

How this all translate into sales, and therefore money raised, we shall have to wait and see. It can take months to get sales figures - and money - from the online retailers. My feeling is that we're well on our way to achieving our target, though.

But I doubt we're there yet, so we still need your support to make our goals happen. If you've not bought your copy yet, please consider downloading it today. Roughly £4-5 from every sale goes directly to these educational projects, so every download counts.

April 29, 2013

Learn TDD with Codemanship

Music By Programmers - Help Start A Programming Club

If you've not heard yet, myself and five other programmer-type dudes have been working on an album of electronic music to raise the money to start a computer programming club at The National Museum Of Computing and parent-child maths workshops at Bletchley Park.

The album, Music By Programmers, goes on sale today. You can download it from iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.

Every penny of the profits goes directly to these projects, and every download is essentially a donation of £4-5, depending on where you buy it. Be assured: every download makes a difference.

You'll also be able to buy a very limited edition CD version, featuring bonus tracks in a spiffy full-colour digipak from the Bletchley Park online shop later today. Only 50 of these exist.

Your support is vital to making these projects possible. If electronica's not your cup of tea, you can donate instead. There's a link on the website.

You can find out more by visiting the Music By Programmers website.

March 20, 2013

Learn TDD with Codemanship

Music By Programmers Release Date, April 29th

Just a quick post for those of you who want to support maths and programming education, or who just like electronica.

The official release date for the Music By Programmers album is Monday April 29th.

It'll be available for download from all the usual outlets (iTunes, Amazon etc), and every penny of the proceeds will go directly towards parent-child maths workshops at Bletchley Park and programming workshops at The National Museum Of Computing.

These are very worthwhile programmes, and your support is vital to helping more children get to grips with maths and computing.

The new web site's up, so you can find out more and hear track previews at