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Mike Barinek is a VP at Pivotal Software, a leader in highly disciplined agile software development practices. Mike currently runs Pivotal's Platform Acceleration Lab (PAL) and is a key contributor to Pivotal's overall operational strategy.

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Architecture to show the evolution of a distributed system starting from a single application and evolving into several applications and services. Starting with a single application is just as viable as starting with Microservices, it simply depends on how much information you're given.

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Mike Barinek is an advisor at Brite Content, Inc. a video marketing automation platform that simplifies campaign planning and execution, enabling you to scale to hundreds of campaigns and improve targeting accuracy down to the video level

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Application Continuum


I've recently been part of several discussions that argue for and against building applications with Microservices. In response, I've introduced the below diagram and associated architecture to show the evolution of a distributed system starting from a single application and evolving into several applications and services. Starting with a single application is just as viable as starting with Microservices, it simply depends on how much information you're given.

Projects could start anywhere on the continuum, typically driven by the amount of information a team has about an application or set of applications. The amount of information is often driven by product/market fit. The less you know about a given market, which is typically common for startups, the further left you'd start. The more you know about a given market, the further right. Large, enterprise business-to-business applications, for example, tend to experience low market risk but often face high execution risk. Hence the tendency for enterprises to start on the far right of the continuum.

The continuum is language agnostic and applies to any modern programming language.

Why is all this important?

This architecture helps reduce the cost of changing code as customer needs evolve. It provided developers and product owners the ability to use, reuse, and replace components within a given code base to both pivot existing products and easily create new ones.

here's a link to the full article...

Startup Recipe

If you’re thinking about starting a software project, here’s the recipe that I’ve been giving people for years.

Have complete visibility into your feature backlog

Use a tool like Pivotal Tracker. Have 1 week iterations. Include features, chores, and bugs. Assign points to features by estimating size and deriving duration. Work should be getting done (i.e. stories should be marked as finished). If work isn’t getting done (i.e. estimates are low an iteration), this is a ‘smell’, something might be going wrong. Regularly review and accept the work the developers are doing.

Outsource your infrastructure

Use a Platform as a Service (PaaS); sign up for an account on Google, Azure, or Amazon.
Use Google's G Suite; Gmail, Documents, etc.

Own your source code

Use git. Own your github account and give collaborator access to developers. Developers may move on or off the project, but you’ll always have access to the code base.

Plan for multiple Environments

You should plan for 3 environments, Continuous Integration/Delivery (CI/CD), Review, and Production. You’ll accept stories in the review environment and push tagged releases to production.

Keep a high Bus Count

Rotate developers through your application feature set. Avoid siloing developers at all costs, “code with a buddy”. Give complete infrastructure access to your developers (DNS, Google Apps/Email, and infrastructure), trust them completely.

Write tests and setup a continuous integration and delivery environment

Tests are essential for describing application features and intentions within the code base. Tests are essential for knowledge transfer between developers (it’s unlikely that you’ll have the same developer on the project at all times). Tests give you the confidence to change product direction without breaking or rewriting the entire code base. Without tests, you should quit now. (This is especially true for interpreted languages like ruby). Test drive.

Keep the deployment process nimble

Because you are test driving and have continuous integration, you can deploy at any time. Give your hosting credentials (engine yard, amazon, etc.) to your developers. They should be able to deploy to review or production within minutes (not hours).

Invest in your team

Don’t let bad technology choices effect your startup, there are plenty of risks out there. Find a platform and team that will guarantee minimal technical risk. There’s a huge difference developer skill sets theses days. Find a great team and pay them well. Good software is expensive, build and invest in your development team. Expect this to be your budget and hire generalists.


Scoping with Confidence

We’ve recently scoped several projects in Boulder. While scoping, several clients asked how we’re able to estimate a project’s cost with such confidence. I’ve thought about this a bit and I actually think this is pretty interesting and remarkably similar to something we’ve all been doing for a while: estimating user stories in Tracker.

Scoping a project is very similar to determining the number of points or weight you might assign to a user story or feature in an Agile backlog. Similar to measuring the relative size or complexity of a feature, we’re just measuring the relative size or complexity of the project against similar projects that we’ve completed. The important piece here is that we’re measuring against completed projects.

With stories or features you estimate size and then derive duration in order to achieve a running feature velocity. Feature velocity is essential and the key to predictability. Completing features and measuring their associated duration is the empirical data we use to determine when a future set of stories will be completed or delivered. When scoping a project we’re missing this empirical data, although we still need to actually provide a duration to calculate the project’s cost. So how do we estimate a project’s scope and cost?

Imagine estimating a feature that you just completed for another project. You’d probably be pretty close on the points assignment as well as confidence. Now apply this to a project. It’s becomes easier to scope a project when you’ve completed a few similar projects. The more projects the better the comparison and resultant estimate.

Completed projects are valuable because we know how long they took to complete. For example, client A’s CRM was roughly 1 pair for 2 months. Client B’s CRM required 2 pairs for 4 months. And client C’s CRM, the one we’re currently estimating, is slightly more complex than client A’s although much less complex than client B’s. We’ll likely estimate client C’s CRM at 2 pairs for 2 months.

It’s actually not all gravy. There are several risks that may increase a project’s scope. For example, if we’re up against an aggressive timeline, we may include an additional pair for a few weeks to help increase feature velocity. Similarly, if there are complex integrations, like a 3rd party billing system or external messaging subsystems, we may include an additional pair for a month.

During an initial scoping we help reveal or tease out high level risks and then prioritize theses risks against constraints like timeline and budget. The more similar the risks we’ve resolved on completed projects, the more confidence we have to estimate risks during a new project scoping. Again, pretty similar to how we estimate features in a backlog. We’re just estimating the size or complexity of risks against similar risks with known durations.



System and method for providing accurate local maps for a central service

Lucent Technologies Inc. US Patent 7127352.

A system and method that provides economical and accurate data for a selected area (jurisdiction) from a centralized location by generating a base-line map from commercially available information and distributing portions of this map to local jurisdictions. Inaccuracies and other information only available locally are stored in a local database. Periodically these databases are uploaded to a central location and reconciled with the base line map. Advantageously, such reconciliation may include a rules based reconciliation wherein the geo-coordinates fr...commercial vendors are... used and applied to the local data. A new base line map is then generated and distributed back to the local user. In this manner, the local user has an accurate yet economical map.

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Rocky Mountain Geology

The 1.4-Ga Mount Ethel pluton is a northeast-trending elliptical body of granodiorite to quartz monzonite surrounded by Lower Proterozoic (1.8–1.7 Ga) rocks in the Park Range, northeast of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The contact along the northern and southern margins of the pluton is concordant with the northeast-striking regional foliation, whereas the western margin is discordant to the regional foliation. The southern margin of the pluton is adjacent to the subvertical, northeast-striking, northwest-dipping Soda Creek–Fish Creek shear zone, which is located entirely within metasedimentary and metavolcanic country rocks. Kinematic indicators within the shear zone yield a north-side-down sense of shear with a left-lateral component. In contrast to several other well-studied 1.4-Ga plutons associated with shear zones in the western U.S., penetrative strain related to the shear zone does not appear to extend into the pluton. Late dikes, which appear to be genetically related to the Mount Ethel pluton, cut the main penetrative fabric of the shear zone but are also offset by narrow, discontinuous mylonites of the shear zone. Scarce discontinuous mylonites are also present along the southern margin of the pluton. The pluton contains magmatic fabrics that parallel the strike of the shear zone along the north and south margins of the pluton, but are at a high angle to it along the western margin. These data suggest that early deformation associated with the Soda Creek-Fish Creek shear zone occurred prior to pluton emplacement, that the Mount Ethel pluton was emplaced along a northeast-striking zone of anisotropy, and that some shearing also took place after crystallization and cooling of the pluton.

Country rocks in the vicinity of the Mount Ethel pluton with garnet-biotite-plagioclasemuscovite ± sillimanite have two generations of garnet: one that is syntectonic and another that is post-tectonic relative to the northeast-striking foliation. Core compositions of pre/syntectonic garnet paired with matrix biotite compositions yield temperatures of > 600°C at 5 kbar that are associated with early (pre-Mount Ethel) deformation within the Soda Creek-Fish Creek shear zone. Core compositions of post-tectonic garnet paired with matrix biotite compositions reveal a temperature gradient on the south side of the pluton that increases from 540°C 5 km away to > 630°C within 1 km of the Mount Ethel pluton. This may represent the thermal aureole around the intrusion, or it may represent a gradient that pre-dated the pluton. Garnet-rim compositions from both syntectonic and post-tectonic garnet, paired with compositions of biotite near garnet, yield consistent temperatures of 550 ± 50°C that are spatially unrelated to the Mount Ethel pluton. These rim temperatures may be related to a third thermal event; or alternatively, they may represent partial re-equilibration of garnet rims with nearby biotite during cooling following the last metamorphism.



Mike Barinek

Mike Barinek is a VP at Pivotal Software, a leader in highly disciplined agile software development practices. Mike currently runs Pivotal's Platform Acceleration Lab (PAL) and is a key contributor to Pivotal's overall operational strategy.

Prior to his current role, Mike managed the company's Mountain/Central region and lead a team of 70 consultants (mainly developers, product managers and designers) in Boulder, Denver, and Chicago. Mike built the region from the ground up, achieving 50% year over year growth annually since opening Boulder in early 2010.

Mike brings deep expertise in Java, Ruby, and location based services to Pivotal's clients, as well as a passion for working with entrepreneurs. Under his leadership Pivotal has developed large scale enterprise applications as well as consumer web and mobile apps for a number of clients including Allstate, Best Buy, MapQuest, SendGrid, and Gnip.

Before joining Pivotal, Mike worked as a system architect at Gnip and contributed to the initial software that led to Gnip's acquisition. Mike began his career writing software for geologists.