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In a previous article, I wrote about the perils of software project planning using man hours and how story points solve the issue. More about it can be read here:

In this article, I’ll be describing the difficulty of moving from hour estimates to story points.

Understanding What Story Points Are and Are Not

Story points are an set of increasing numbers based upon the complexity or difficulty of a problem to solve. It’s a scale that is uniquely created by the scrum team and different scrums teams do not need to share the same scale. Examples are:

  • Fibonacci numbers: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21
  • Linearly…

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Scrumfall [skruhm-fawl] noun
1. a mixture of scrum and waterfall software development
2. the speed of agile software development being chained down with waterfall software development

When I became the leader of a development team, the company I was working for used a mixture of waterfall software development and Scrum software development. This mixture coined “Scrumfall” was probably 30% Agile and 70% waterfall development. All the different roles were on the same development team working together in four-week sprints. The team did work in task-based assignments that had hour estimates. …

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What does “error: W1023" mean? Opaque generic error messages doesn’t help anyone. We’re in the software age where no one reads the documentation so it’s bizarre to expect someone to look up an error code. When was the last time you looked up a phone number in a phone book?

Error Messages

Error messages are used to debug issues within the software. Some of these error messages are meant for users to resolve issues while others are used by developers to locate problems within the code. Either way, error messages should be human readable and help to explain what happened.

Often, it’s…

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Auth is a service layer that does authentication to identify if the user is who they claim to be and does authorization to check if the user has permission to access the specified REST API. The most common form of authentication is using a username and password, but it is cumbersome and a security issue to have embedded in an app or script. More commonly used form of authentication is using tokens that represent the users or clients.


Authentication is the method to verify the person is who they say they are. In the internet world, people will provide a…

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After house hunting for 9 weeks, it’s clear that the San Francisco Bay Area is a difficult market to buy a single family house for a first time homebuyer. House prices are driven upward due to scarcity of the supply and high demand for houses. House sales are completed in an astoundingly fast paced that is head spinning for a novice house buyer. The sheer competitiveness of the market forces the buyer to remove their safety nets in order to compete. …

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The best way to recognize a disastrous sprint before it starts is by looking at the sprint goals. A successful sprint depends on many factors, but there are telltale signs that a sprint has a high risk of failure. Let’s start with an example of a problematic set of sprint goals and dissect why they increase the chance of not completing the sprint goals.

Sprint 1
Length 4 weeks
Sprint Goals:
* Create the product view [Sal]
* Create the shopping cart [Jill]
* Create the checkout [Jack, Bob]
* Create seller product management view [Mina, Alice]
* Create the user accounts [Alice]
* Fix bugs for release…

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Ten years ago, I graduated from college and landed my first job as a software development intern at a late-stage startup. Little did I know, I would stay for close to eight years and become an engineering director. However, it was time for me to leave my little pond and explore what else is out there. Interviewing as a seasoned engineer presented its own set of problems, in which I found myself in an awkward position where I was not qualified for jobs in demand. Here is what happened to me and some advice on how I overcame these difficulties.

The Tech Industry Changes

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Whenever someone asks me about how I got into software development, it would put on a big smile on my face because I would tell them a funny story about a naive twelve-year-old kid who followed his curiosity. In a way, it’s my own unique origin story that I look back upon a time that I plunged deep into my passion and chased my curiosity to achieve a dream. I hope this story inspires you to follow your curiosity.

If I can do it, you can too

My Software Developer Journey

Back in the late 1990s before online graphical games became immensely popular, there…

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What’s the secret sauce? It’s not a secret that happy and motivated employees are more productive at work. How do you keep employees engaged and motivated? There isn’t a one size fits all approach because each person is unique, has a diverse background, and are driven by different reasons to work. A leader must invest the time to learn the person’s work background, their personality, their passions, where they want to go in their career, and much more. Only after gaining this knowledge can an effective method to be tailored to motivate an individual by supporting their needs and career…

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There are so many tech companies hiring, but why is it so hard to hire or find a job in the tech industry? The major problems are a computer science degree does not prepare people enough, the interview process is all over the place, and companies do not want to spend a significant amount of time for training. Being part of a hiring committee for four years, I have found that hiring a software engineer is a difficult task because it’s rare to see an ideal candidate or sometimes even a candidate that fulfills all of the minimum requirements.


Steven Bui

Engineering leader. Software Developer. Problem solver. Failing forward.

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