More architect madness, shoes and cream and the saddest of geeks

I saw Jamie H in a state of undress grimacing at a mirror the other day. It wasn’t the state of undress or mirror gazing that concerned me as it was in the shower room. However, what did alarm me was the sheer exuberance of the man, the elasticity of his grimacing and the shouting of self improvement slogans. He kept repeating over and over  ‘Let us strive to improve ourselves, for we cannot remain stationary; one either progresses or retrogrades”. I obviously didn’t take any pictures of this strange little dance as HR probably already have a bulging dossier on me and the flood of complaints would be overwhelming, particularly from readers of this column. However, if you take a look at the following 3 images and compile them in your mind you will have a good approximation of the scene that greeted me.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 08.12.34 Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 08.29.14 Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 18.32.57

I despair I really do. Every week I can put something in here concerning the low level lunacy of the man. I normally resist temptation but this week he has surpassed himself. Firstly, I noticed there was a bit of a stomp in his stride and on further inspection I noticed he was wearing cowboy boots. He tried to give me some excuse about going to a party in fancy dress but I didn’t believe him. He has form, see evidence of the boots below and some shocking shoes that I once caught him wearing; they had skulls on them!

IMG_1107 2014-09-03 08.03.51

I also caught him vigorously stirring some white liquid in a little bowl. When I asked him what he was doing he came up with an unbelievable tale. A woman had made some scones and he asked the canteen for some whipping cream which he was attempting to whip! They had refused to whip his cream, I can’t think why. Anyway, if anybody has a Kenwood they can lend him should the urge to have some whipped cream crop up again I am sure facilities won’t mind.

2014-09-04 10.58.23

It may have escaped your attention but the Compare diaspora has increased the variety of foreigners in the team. We now have some French and Welsh people. Anyway, our French compatriot clearly has a very difficult name and it confused the facilities team no end or maybe he likes to wear a dress at the weekend?

2014-09-04 12.32.35

We all know Dr Evil eschews human contact and loves the code. He has a pillow with binary on it that he spends every night hugging. However, even I was shocked by the email I got from him that plumbs new depths of geek obsession. Jesus, he is spending his own money to go to Seattle to commune with fellow obsessive

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 13.51.17


Ivan Zero Defects corner gets a bit lyrical this week. I am looking forward to seeing him dressed as a ‘hip hop’ legend.

3 is the magic number “ De La Soul”, or for those with a cultured background the number 3 was  the noblest of all digits  according to Pythagoras.

So bringing the power of three to a scrum team with up  front analysis between BA, Developer and test seems to be a sensible thing, reducing process escapes and hence risk. Unfortunately one amigio is still missing in action and it seems that to achieve the three all of the unknowns must be all solved before it happens through the magic of power point and meetings. This takes time so maybe an alternative more pragmatic plan would be:

1 – embed into team

2 – learn

3 – repeat step 2

Agile testing mindset


Team introductions

We have had a lot of people join over the past few weeks. So I have bullied them all into giving me a brief intro to themselves.

Craig Russell

I’m Craig Russell, I join here after working for NCR for 6 years. Although life for me started as a server-side developer, I quickly moved onto mobile development and became the “mobile guy” in the office.

I have joined Tesco Bank after following in the footsteps of so many other ex-NCR folks now at TB. I’m an Android developer working on Digital Banking and I’m currently trying to work out just how quickly a snowflake should rotate when a user shakes their device.

Steve McNally

Solutions Architect with 17 years experience in Financial Services IT, working in various roles, starting off as a Java Developer with IBM through to being an architect today. Developed the first banking WAP site in the UK and then went on to develop the first mobile top-up system in Europe with Postbank(ING) and Telfort in Holland.  Most recently was the Lead Infrastructure Architect on the FiRST Programme within RBS, at last count, £1.5 Billion spent overall with infrastructure at about £2-300 million, please don’t ask how its going. It was an interesting experience highlighting practically everything wrong to do in a major programme of work, it was like living in a Dilbert cartoon everyday, I’m sure Scott Adams was one of my colleagues.

Working in Tesco is like  Deja Vu. Every day I see someone else I recognise from HBoS, IF or RBS, enjoying it thoroughly at the minute.

Rachel Finnie

Hi  – I’m Rachel and have joined the Digital team for a 6 month secondment. I have been with Tesco Bank for 5.5 years and started off in Personnel for 2 years, then moved to Change for just over 3. Before Tesco, I worked with a small facilities management company in their HR team and before that I was at Stirling Uni studying Economics.

David O’Callaghan

I’m David O’Callaghan, an iOS contractor from Limerick in South West Ireland but I’ve been living in Edinburgh since 2008. I’ve had the privilege of working for some great companies in the past – Vodafone, Xilinx and Lucent Technologies – but Tesco Bank is by far the best.

Team goodbye

Unfortunately, we also say goodbye to Karan Burke. Karan has been with the team since before I joined Tesco Bank over 15 months ago. She has steered in a couple of hefty projects for us, including Single View and Strategic Tagging. I would like to personally thank her for her efforts and wish her well in her new role. Don’t worry you will still see her as she is only going round the corner to the Shared Services team and as such I am sure our paths will cross.

Some interesting articles that I hope at least some of you will explore.

Network graph analysis for fraud detection. Timely article given we have Neo4J coming in in a couple of weeks.

Link from Cathy Barwick to an Ofcom article about teenagers being tech savvy.

Just in case you have some photos that would make your mother blush you may want to read this.

Markos made me aware of this…..

Not IT related but I thought it was fascinating that Abercrombie and Fitch are giving up logos.

What is wrong with projects? I don’t like them and neither does the author of this article.

Have a great weekend everybody.



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