Dear Atlassian,

Allow me to be one of the few software engineers to write you a thank you letter in a blog post. Jira has become the de facto work tracker in our industry, and I know few engineers derive great joy from the tedium of planning and tracking work. But I appreciate that many of your products have helped me collaborate in order to deliver and operate complex software systems.

From Wikimedia

Jira has helped my team and me organize everything from multi-year releases down to our weekly sprint. We share knowledge and guides in Confluence. Bitbucket integrations with Jira saved…


When your office environment feels toxic or hostile, it’s downright distressing. How can you think deeply about your product roadmap when your manager just shamed your work on Slack in front of all your peers? Continued success for a company certainly takes a solid strategy to create products that fit your market and delight your customers. But it’s just as essential to create a corporate culture that fosters an environment of psychological safety so that employees and teams can focus on execution and seamlessly collaborate with each other.

As I learned firsthand in my career, developing a leadership team that…


Here it is, what I affectionately call git ld

[alias]
ld = log --pretty=format:"%C(yellow)%h\\ %ad%Cred%d\\ %Creset%s%Cblue\\ [%cn]" --decorate --date=relative

At some point, every company for which I’ve worked has adopted git for its version control system, probably thanks to its scalability, flexibility, and vast tooling ecosystem, not to mention that as free and open-source software, it’s cheap to start with git. As a distributed version control system, git can sometimes feel like a tangled mess of commits, branches, tags, and diffs, so I wanted to share one command that got me out of a lot of messes.

On the journey…


An answer for a common question that can unlock growth

So You’re In A Company-Wide Meeting

The company all-hands meeting is winding down. The CEO just finished delivering a somber yet optimistic message: the company is facing some real obstacles and struggling to find product-market fit, but she’s confident that this is the best team to tackle these challenges and that the product has no equal. She has time to take just a couple questions.

A hand invariably raises, and your coworker asks:

how can we help?

Maybe that coworker is you. It’s certainly been me.

Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash

I’ve attended this town hall and heard this question at…


In We Need to Talk About How We Talk About Test Engineering, I raised the issue of treating test engineers like second class engineers, and how that’s wrong and creates turmoil for the entire engineering organization. Here I want to get to the bigger point about why these outdated views are misguided and what happens when we correct them.

Don’t Put An Asterisk on Test Software

Test engineering is real engineering! Software engineers working on customer-facing features are in turn the customers of the test engineering teams: they rely on the test engineering teams to provide a good test infrastructure so that they can do their jobs…


Some years ago, I was helping out with the hiring process at my company, when we encountered a young candidate who did pretty well in the interview. However, we had some collective doubts about this candidate’s potential and ability to be a successful software engineer. Someone posed the question: “well if we’re on the fence about this candidate’s engineering chops, maybe they’d be good for the QA Engineering organization?”

This is going to be an uncomfortable blog post because we’re going to have to get real about more than just some sub-optimal process or tool in software development. We have…


I know it’s rich for me — a software engineer without a budget — to tell leaders how to spend their money. Startups, in particular, are always hyper-aware of how much runway is left, and how quickly that runway starts disappearing as the burn rate goes up, especially in the early days. However, if you’re well-funded and getting beyond your first year, or if you are a software company seeking growth, there are some simple strategic investments you can make to set yourself up for long-term success. Conversely, at one point or another in our careers, I think most of…


I can’t begin to count how many recruiter contact messages mention that the “hot + cutting edge + massively scaled + disruptive” company for which he or she recruits is also AGILE. This is supposed to invoke in us the assuring and exciting sense that this company, unlike the rigid and backwards enterprise for which we surely work, is fun! casual! And most importantly: modern!

The truth is that most companies new and old, don’t get agile development right at all. …


Hello, and welcome to Yet Another (Software) Engineering Blog! I’ve been threatening for months to start my very own engineering blog, and a Hackweek is giving me the perfect opportunity to make good, so hold onto your hats cause here I go.

A Brief History

I’ve been coding or building software in some capacity — outside of school–since 2010. In that career I have had (or chosen) to:

  • Digest gigabyte-scale .silo files from finite element computations and numerical experiments to derive compliance tensors for mesoscale heterogeneous materials research
  • Parse sprawling Microsoft office .doc files bit by bit on a mobile platform
  • Provision fairly…

Greg Fast

I’m an avid reader, a lefty, a Mac user since I was 2 years old, a Tweep, a Bucknell alum, a craft beer nerd, and I like thinking about building software!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store