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Scott Miller Appsguild - Software craftsmanship, project management, and the biz of software September 2007 Entries
Lean/Agile idea of the day - what kind of users do you want on the project?
Last posting I told the story of the scope actually decreasing because of user feedback. The users decided that they could live with Iteration/Release 1 (of working software) and essentially canceled Iteration/Release 2 so that we could work on some other projects that they considered a higher priority than the added functionality of what we would deliver in Iteration/Release 2. This was considered a huge evolutionary step forward in the software development process, because usually a software team ......

Posted On Friday, September 28, 2007 6:38 PM

Agile Estimating and Planning
I am reading Agile Estimating and Planning, by Mike Cohn. I really like this book and it has helped me on the several things, from user story points to burndown charts. My favorite topic in the book is using user story points in estimating. Most people on projects (especially developers) have difficulty estimating the amount of work that needs to go into developing and delivering functionality for user stories. Developers usually estimate development work only (no testing or cross-functional tasks), ......

Posted On Tuesday, September 25, 2007 9:12 PM

Agile/Lean idea of the day - empowering users can give you some unexpected results!
Agile methodologies are all about including your users and user groups as stakeholders who are active throughout the development cycle of the project. Remember the Agile Manifesto: Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. But are you really prepared for the results if you empower your users? Case in point: A project that I was on was divided into two releases. One release had iterations totaling about 7 weeks. Toward the end of week 1, we had two mockups of ......

Posted On Tuesday, September 25, 2007 9:03 PM

Google Interview Questions
A supposedly list of true Google interview questions. Jeez, they make my head hurt. My favorite: 9. Every man in a village of 100 married couples has cheated on his wife. Every wife in the village instantly knows when a man other than her husband has cheated, but does not know when her own husband has. The village has a law that does not allow for adultery. Any wife who can prove that her husband is unfaithful must kill him that very day. The women of the village would never disobey this law. One ......

Posted On Monday, September 17, 2007 9:31 PM

More on global warming, carbon tax, and now meat is bad for the environment?
What is it with people? I don't dispute global warming, but, as I blogged on before, can we have an intelligent conversation about it without people going nutso to the extreme, or making us all feel ashamed of flipping on a light switch? Good example: Climbing Magazine (rock climbing mag), August 2007 issue had a commentary on page one by the editor who lamented about the carbon footprint he was using by driving his mini-SUV 300 miles to the crag. Then he wailed about how much carbon was created ......

Posted On Friday, September 14, 2007 8:46 PM

Making a Kanban board
In my last posting I explained the Kanban system. This posting I will make a Kanban board. Now I didn't come up with this design, but several teams at work use the design, so I am making one as well. This is what the final product looks like: As you can see, there are sections for "To Do", "Active" and "Tested/Complete". The columns are the iterations or major breakdowns in tasks. And there are "flaps" or "pockets" for story cards to hang in. This is is all made with materials that you can get at ......

Posted On Friday, September 14, 2007 8:00 PM

Kanban boards in software development
Kanban (pronounced kahn-bahn) is a Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing technique that minimizes inventory and increases throughput. This is done by signaling. A production station has a bin or loading area that is either empty or in a partial state of fullness. If the bin is empty, that means that the guy at the production station needs more supplies to do his job. The forklift guy knows to go get a new bin out of inventory. Likewise, in inventory there is a bin of backup supplies. If the bin is pulled ......

Posted On Friday, September 14, 2007 7:29 PM

Agile/Lean idea of the day - consider the audience for your documentation
Consider the audience for your documentation. Many of us think that our business reps/super users need long, verbose documentation so that we all understand the problems at hand. It is also a CYA measure. But most business reps/super users prefer brief, to the point documentation, highlights of a meeting, including decisions made, action items, etc. Giving them a lengthy document will just result in a rubber stamp "ok". In Lean Software Development, documentation is inventory. Inventory can go stale ......

Posted On Thursday, September 13, 2007 7:39 PM

Agile quote of the day
"You need top focus on producing quality software, not on producing documentation...Many organizations that adopt the RUP product like it because it's complex, it describes a wide range of development roles, it's robust, and it describes how to create a wide range of artifacts. The problem is, in their exuberance, some development teams forget that their primary goal is to develop software that meets the needs of their project stakeholders and instead get lost in the documentation wilderness." Ambler, ......

Posted On Monday, September 10, 2007 9:09 PM

Lean Software Development, part 2
I continue my quest in pursuit of Lean/Agile Software methods. We are using Lean/Agile with the RUP methodology. I can see how Lean can be appealing since many organizations, especially manufacturing organizations, have experience with Lean methods in manufacturing. Historically, I have mainly seen Agile methods work well only in small teams. And the "Skunkworks" team in a big organization seems to work best. This brings up an interesting point. I have several of Scott Ambler's books. In several ......

Posted On Monday, September 10, 2007 9:08 PM

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