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Now I’m not sure what you’re thinking coming into this text, dear reader, but I’d like to let you know straight away that shifting left isn’t about the welfare state. At least not in this article.

With that out of the way, what does shift left mean in software development?

Kirstie Magowan defines it rather elegantly in her blog:

Shift left is a practice intended to find and prevent defects early in the software delivery process.

Although this pretty much nails it, I’d like to extend the definition a tiny bit and say that shift left is the practice of…

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So you have a great idea for a software project and have decide to make it into a website. You have a small team and you decide to keep it simple and just put the whole thing in one place. You build a small server-side rendered application talking directly to the database.

In a month or two, you develop rapidly, the code is all in one place, it can be debugged and read easily and your product is adored by your users. You hit the spot — congratulations! Now it’s time to grow…

Front and back end

Perhaps you hire a few more developers…

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Today, just like most days now, I went for a walk after lunch. Being a full time member of the cult of productivity, I started listening to audiobooks, so that I can learn at the same time.

I like listening to audiobooks, because it frees me up to think and reflect at the same time. That way, I get more “Aha!” moments. Today, however, it was more of a “Oh, no!” moment.

I was listening to The Phoenix Project, and the painful realization came to me when the narrator was reading the chapter that was touching on the principles of…

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Some years ago, guided by the feedback of my department manager and mentor Borislav Ervaćanin, I started thinking about how unstructured our system for learning really was. He was a great mentor and was frequently pointing me to work on some skills that were not on my radar, like logging and exception handling. My thought at the time was: what’s there more to learn about this? But there was. A lot.

Having this uncanny ability to teach people, Borislav had always played it by ear, intuitively figuring out what I needed to work on next to become a good developer…

Slobodan Dan

Tech Lead, seeking to better understand and improve how we talk, think and write about code.

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