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Showing posts from April, 2010

Fire Alarms and Software

Some years ago, I got into the habit of using fire alarms as a metaphor for continuous integration and automated tests. My take was that organizations were always holding back resources to get servers for continuous integration, especially where project funding was provided by the business side. Simple reason: the management didn't really grasp concepts like automated tests and CI. I know that the metaphor doesn't completely fit in many ways, but it's a nice way to communicate the urgency and importance of having this security around. So I started using terms like "security net" and fire-safety to illustrate our need for a build-server.

It also is a handy metaphor when convincing developers to write tests for their code. Many developers fail to see the immediate benefits of practicing TDD, for example, but everyone has the fear of fire, or letting a bug slip by and into production.
I like comparing the team to the fire squad in a small city. The more fire alarms w…