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Simon Cooper Peering into the depths of .NET Inside Red Gate
Inside Red Gate - Ricky Leeks
So, one of our profilers has a problem. Red Gate produces two .NET profilers - ANTS Performance Profiler (APP) and ANTS Memory Profiler (AMP). Both products help .NET developers solve problems they are virtually guaranteed to encounter at some point in their careers - slow code, and high memory usage, respectively. Everyone understands slow code - the symptoms are very obvious (an operation takes 2 hours when it should take 10 seconds), you know when you've solved it (the same operation now takes ......

Posted On Friday, May 4, 2012 3:30 PM

Inside Red Gate - Experimental Results
As a brief interlude from my Concurrent Collections series, I thought I would give an roundup of how the lean startup experiments have been progressing. As you can expect, there's been some good aspects and some bad aspects. The experiments so far After lots of discussions, arguments, posing and ruling out hypotheses, we came up with two 'starter' hypotheses we could test fairly easily: Customers don't agree to send data on how they use SmartAssembly; which features they use, the versions of .NET ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 17, 2012 5:42 PM

Inside Red Gate - Experimenting In Public
Over the next few weeks, we'll be performing experiments on SmartAssembly to confirm or refute various hypotheses we have about how people use the product, what is stopping them from using it to its full extent, and what we can change to make it more useful and easier to use. Some of these experiments can be done within the team, some within Red Gate, and some need to be done on external users. External testing Some external testing can be done by standard usability tests and surveys, however, there ......

Posted On Monday, November 21, 2011 2:27 PM

Inside Red Gate - Exercises in Leanness
There's a new movement rumbling around Red Gate Towers - the Lean Startup. At its core is the idea that you don't have to be in a company with single-digit employees to be an entrepreneur; you simply have to (being blunt) not know what you should be doing. Specifically, you accept that you don't know everything you need to know in order to create a useful, successful & profitable product. This is something that Red Gate has had problems with in the past; we've created products that weren't aimed ......

Posted On Tuesday, November 15, 2011 6:00 PM

Inside Red Gate - Testers
Developers might write good code, but no matter how good they are the result will always have bugs in it. It's up to the testers in the team to make sure the final product is as bug-free as it can be. Deciding what to test Within a project there's normally no official documentation produced, no official record of what the project should accomplish. The closest thing we get to documentation is the greenlight presentation slides (I'll be covering the greenlight process in a later post). This means ......

Posted On Thursday, July 7, 2011 2:50 PM

Inside Red Gate - Be Reasonable!
As I discussed in my previous posts, divisions and project teams within Red Gate are allowed a lot of autonomy to manage themselves. It's not just the teams though, there's an awful lot of freedom given to individual employees within the company as well. Reasonableness How Red Gate treats it's employees is embodied in the phrase 'You will be reasonable with us, and we will be reasonable with you'. As an employee, you are trusted to do your job to the best of you ability. There's no one looking over ......

Posted On Friday, June 24, 2011 5:14 PM

Inside Red Gate - The Office
The vast majority of Red Gate is on the first and second floors (the second and third floors in US parlance) of an office building in Cambridge Business Park (here we are!). As you can see, the building is split into three sections; the two wings, and the section between them. As well as being organisationally separate, the four divisions are also split up in the office; each division has it's own floor and wing, so everyone in the division is working together in the same area (.NET and DBA on the ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 15, 2011 5:53 PM

Inside Red Gate - Divisions
When I joined Red Gate back in 2007, there were around 80 people in the company. Now, around 3 years later, it's grown to more than 200. It's a constant battle against Dunbar's number; the maximum number of people you can keep track of in a social group, to try and maintain that 'small company' feel that attracted myself and so many others to apply in the first place. There are several strategies the company's developed over the years to try and mitigate the effects of Dunbar's number. One of the ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 1, 2011 1:36 PM

Inside Red Gate - Project teams
Within each division in Red Gate, development effort is structured around one or more project teams; currently, each division contains 2-3 separate teams. These are self contained units responsible for a particular development project. Project team structure The typical size of a development team varies, but is normally around 4-7 people - one project manager, two developers, one or two testers, a technical author (who is responsible for the text within the application, website content, and help ......

Posted On Thursday, June 2, 2011 5:27 PM

Inside Red Gate - Introduction
I work for Red Gate Software, a software company based in Cambridge, UK. In this series of posts, I'll be discussing how we develop software at Red Gate, and what we get up to, all from a dev's perspective. Before I start the series proper, in this post I'll give you a brief background to what I have done and continue to do as part of my job. The initial few posts will be giving an overview of how the development sections of the company work. There is much more to a software company than writing ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 31, 2011 5:00 PM

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