Tag | Agile Posts

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 ...

Mike Cohn has posted a link to the presentation he did back in March this year on Planning and Tracking Agile Projects.

There's an hour and a half of video plus the slides.

Well worth the watch if you are doing story points, or if you think story points are stupid.

http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/news/view/14

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), ...
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 ...

What topics am I interested in?

Agile in the Enterprise

How and when to bring DSLs into a program

Listening to what everyone has to say.

Seeing what tools everyone is using.

Basking in the pro-agile, pro-get stuff done environment.

How to best leverage some of the new .Net 3.0 Compiler stuff (are there anon delegates in VB.Net 3.0?)

"Individuals and Interactions over process and tools" I have been rereading some of the foundational assets of Agile community and the first section of the Agile manifesto is really ringing loud and clear to me right now. One of the ways that I am trying to take the architect role to the next level here at the bank is by valuing individuals and interactions. I am taking time to expose my team members to new ways of thinking about development and get their thoughts on the state of software development ...
My blog has gotten really stale, so here's a quick attempt to bring it up to date. Earlier this year I got the opportunity to go to work with a really great guy from the .Net community named Rusty Zarse (http://www.vitaminzproduct... over at Rentals.com. Rusty had a great team of agile developers who were cranking out this great website for ConsumerSource. I jumped at the opportunity, but didn't leave my BizTalk behind. I've started a side company (Enterprise Integration Solutions) where ...
Today I was involved in some discussion of how we can improve our estimating procedures. Being a believer in agile techniques, my approach to estimating is quite a bit different than the traditional approach to estimation. Traditional estimation involves breaking down the work into tasks, then assigning an estimate of effort in hours/days/etc to each task. This is then combined into a gantt chart or something similar to create a schedule of the work to be done. Agile estimation doesn't do estimates ...
In my recent post on code quality, I mentioned some of the high level features of a static analysis tool called NDepend. I've been exploring some of the pre-built CQL (Code Query Language) queries in the tool by running them against the WatiN codebase. Here are the results from selecting "Types with Too Many Methods" query. NDepend shows you a list of the classes and number of methods in each on the left along with a visual Tree Map visual representation on the bottom. Once code is analyzed while ...
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 ...
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 ...
At the encouragement of management several coworkers and I were treated to a Borland seminar this morning on Requirements Based Testing. And before you ask--yes its a sales pitch for the Borland suite of software development tools. The seminar was cool. Affirmed a lot of beliefs I have about the software development process ( regardless of individual methodology--Waterfall, Iterative, Agile, Scrum, Chaos :P ). For example everyone in QA should know that it is approximately 80 times more expensive ...
"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, ...
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 ...
A couple of weeks ago I had a very intriguing conversation with an unlikely contact. I received an e-mail from an individual "in the business" based on some of my User eXperience (UX) blogs. I thought cool, a new contact in an area that I love. I should speak to her in person. So I set up a phone call. She runs a business where she places Information Architects, Business Analysts and Human Factors folks in business units at her clients. Wow the conversation was no where near where I thought it would ...
In the Agile community, a war room refers to a team room where developers work, customer meetings take place, and all projected related information is displayed. It is supposed to maximize communication and transparency into the health of the project. I think one sign of a healthy agile project is evidence of some good fun. These are pictures taken from a war room at the bank where I am currently wrapping up my near six year tenure. These guys have obviously taken the war room to a whole new level. ...
I am nearing the end of my first week at the new job. On day one, I was given Lean Software Development : An Agile Toolkit for Software Development Managers to read, by Mary Poppendieck. We use agile processes. And I have already noticed a big difference; issues that come up are not treated like the Spanish Inquisition, as they have at other places I have worked! What a nice change. I've worked other places that claimed they were "agile", but it was just a term for chaos. As said in my previous post, ...
I am in the new position of Software Architect at a Federal bank. I am lucky that the bank is on its third year of embracing the agile practices that I have come to know and enjoy. It has been a real pleasure working with these agile individuals. One of the benefits of being in an agile culture is that they push me to step up my game and take it to the next level. With that in mind I have been thinking about how I can become a better agile architect. At first blush this seemed to be a contradiction ...

Just came across David Laribee's Agile Cheat Sheet and love it. Check out his post here or just download the cheat sheet here.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to grab one of the coveted spots for the upcoming ALT.NET Conference in Austin, Texas this October. The registration was capped at one hundred participants and appears to have filled up within the first few days of being announced. The organizers include several of my favorite bloggers (Ayende Rahien, Scott Bellware, Jeremy Miller, and Roy Osherove), so I am very excited about the opportunity to meet them and hear their thoughts on several issues that have caught my attention ...
Google recently had a contest for the best agile video. And the winner is... http://www.youtube.com/watc... ...
In the traditional waterfall development process, one of the key pieces of quality assurance is the traditional peer review. In theory, peer reviews allow additional coders to view the code and hopefully discover issues before the make it into the release of the software. Unfortunately, in practice, the reviews do not really add meaningful value to the development process. Typically, the reviews are done near the end of development, and are almost always superficial in nature. The first few files ...
Being a developer for a government contract, I'm pretty much tied to a waterfall process. We can call them 'spirals' or 'iterations' or any name we choose, but at the end of our day, requirements, design, code, test is what the government likes to see. For my debut set of posts, I'd like to start a discussion of how to minimize the negative effects of waterfall development, by borrowing smartly from the agile world. As many have noted before, partly doing agile can cause more difficulties than it ...
There is a lot of talk about "Agile Development" these days, and I'm noticing that one particular brand is starting to get a good strong foot hold. I'm talking about Scrum. It's not a methodology, it's a frame work, and while that may just sound like semantics to you it's kind of important. Methodologies tend to lock a company into a tight inflexible .... well, methodology. What makes Scurm different is that it's as much principle as it is practice. I'm sure most everyone is aware of the concept ...
Thanks Joe Healy and Mike Wells! If you were fortunate enough to attend either the Sarasota Developers Group meeting or the new Sarasota SQL developers group meeting on Tuesday night, I am sure that you will join me in thanking both of the speakers. I have been told that there are plans to ensure that the meetings are scheduled on different evenings in the future. I also was reminded that I have been negligent in maintaining my blog, so I will again resolve to do a better job in the future. My current ...
…just do it over there and try to be quiet about it. I’ve got work to do. Anyone who has ever worked with me knows that I am not fond of meetings. I'd like to think that I have improved over the years, so it is not quite as apparent to people who don't know my body language well that I am getting impatient. I used to give ever-so-subtle hints like moving to the edge of my seat with my hands on the arms of the chair or throwing out the "...so is there anything else?" phrase with just the right intonation ...
My old company Avanade is getting some really bad press, along with Accenture - Rocky Failed to Connect CSTARS... The only question, whose version of the truth do you want to believe? In the article you certainly see a string of other failed Solution Development efforts, one common theme is Accenture, although SAP and another un-named team for another. I'm sure there are others. Just that this article pulls out this set of failures. In reality the project failed because of the people on the project ...
Looks like Thinstall is strating to gain some support down in this neck of the woods? Apps on tap help consolidation Barbara Gengler | August 14, 2007 APPLICATION virtualisation products from Microsoft, Citrix, Scalent Systems and Thinstall are winning acceptance as the next step for enterprises that want to consolidate their infrastructure. As an alternative software concept, application virtualisation uses policy-based automation to intelligently match available server supply with application demand. ...
So…. Question? Would I use TS/Citrix or would I use VDI if I was building or designing the Front-Office of a Greenfield site today? This is a quite a hot topic, because as much as VDI/xDI/DDI is the latest craze that’s sweeping the IT sector, is it really all it’s cracked up to be? What has changed? My thoughts are that until relatively recently Corporate IT was rock solid and unchangeable, absolutely rooted in Change Management, driving Mainframes and COBOL – but now we are living in a much faster ...
My last post on this topic generated some great comments (and a nod on another blog). Justice Gray made an interesting point about the covers. He said: "Your comment on this book thing reminded me of a different topic: why the <insert name of red-covered books here> always feature a bunch of totally homely looking dudes." And this goes back to what my original post was about: my quest to add some pizzazz back to the technology section of your local bookstore! Seriously, consider the following: ...

I sat in a meeting today where a boat load of process documents were dumped on the team in the middle of an A&D phase which is already behind schedule.  Now this wasn't to introduce us to new processes, but to document the processes we are already doing informally.  Add on top of that a request to redo a full team meeting because a couple of people couldn't attend and I feel like I am being pounded to death by the "waterfall" today.  How about just a little agile?

its here Grigori has just announced that the July drop of GAT/GAX has been released. So here's the highlights other than the usual bug fixes. Support for both Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008 Betas 1 and 2 (Orcas) Improved installer (using The Windows Installer XML (WiX)) Support for Registration as Normal User (RANU) and experimental hive Enhanced support for installing Visual Basic templates upgrading is supposed to be painless and existing software factories should still work if run under ...
Recently I was tagged by Russ on the Justice Gray challenge. Personal Something I have been attempting over the last few years is to be healthier. What does that mean? Well for my wife and I that means making healthier decisions when we eat. We find the good substitutes. Over the past two years we realize that is not enough. A healthy diet is a good step in the right direction, but you need that level of exercise to be the catalyst for a healthy lifestyle. -I think I want to run in something, probably ...

Check out "A talk with James Kovacs on Agile Development", a great little webcast from MSDN Canada's community initiative.

You can watch it here.

D

Grigori is looking for feedback on how the factory community uses GAT/GAX please help by filling in the short survey.... more details here

CIO Magazine, by way of Slashdot, has an article on the state of IT projects. It compares the latest results of the famous/infamous Chaos Report from the Standish Group International with the results from the first report in 1994. In 1994 the report said that 31% of IT projects were outright, absolute failures and did not make it to completion. Only 16% of IT projects were "completely successful", delivering on-time, on-budget, and with no significant change in features. The latest 2007 reports says ...
So I have been tagged by Russ on the Justice Grey challenge. Well here it goes: Continue my Current Reading Habit - For the last two years I have been reading about one technology book a month and I plan to maintain this habit by reading: Practices of an Agile Developer, The Pragmatic Programmer (reread), Beautiful Code, Object Thinking (reread), and Pragmatic Project Automation. Increase the signal to noise ratio of my feeds - Prune my 125 feeds down to 50. Get rid of the trash and keep the gold. ...
The last month or so, I've been wallowing in Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), trying to determine if it is the correct direction for our next version of our flagship software, ParaPlan. WPF is flashy and fun and bubbly, but there are not many examples of real world enterprise applications that are built around WPF. After much research, and significantly pushing back our deployment timeline, we decided to rebuild ParaPlan 4.0 using WPF for our UI. We were able to use our existing 2.0 UI framework ...
On a recent ARCast Ron interviewed Jeffrey Palermo. The thing that really impressed me was that he really separated the Agile principles from implementation approaches. The fact that the goal is working code over comprehensive documentation and that designing by testing is just one way of getting there is a much more rational statement than I often read. Similarly there is an ARCast.tv clip with Peter Provost where he discusses TDD. The great thing is he discusses where architecture fits with TDD. ...
Spent several hours today trying to extend an existing typeddataset in VS 2005. I like typeddatasets for the most part, but they can be annoying with which to work. The one in question has about 50 tables in it. To be honest, I've not used them a ton. However, 50 tables seems a bit....unwieldy to me. Does this seem like a lot? Some random things I've thought about them: 1) they seem awfully fragile. They break faster than the iPhone. 2) trying to get the error out of one once you fill your DataAdapter ...
This is a follow-up to my original post about cognitive traps that hinder learning and stunt professional growth. Information junk food refers to any information gathering activity that prematurely satisfies your hunger to learn and provides fleeting emotional pleasure in lieu of actual intellectual nourishment. Some information junk foods to avoid: Fattening Abstractions - There is great power in naming things, which is why it is an integral part of nearly all creation stories (i.e. Adam naming ...
On the anniversary of our nation's independence I call upon my U.S. citizens to throw off the shackles of our British oppressors and pronounce the word "agile" like true Americans: The pretentious un-American "goofus" pronunciation: aj-ahyl The right-thinking American "gallant" pronunciation: aj-uhl Listening to the .NET Rocks Team System panel discussion from Tech Ed last week, I was dismayed to hear that only one of the six panelists pronounced "agile" like an American. I'm not sure which one it ...
Grigori Melnik has announced the plans for GAX 1.3 here, thanks to Tom for the heads up on this announcement. At last I can talk about something I've known for a while ;) So really GAX 1.3 is the version to get GAT/GAX running in Orcas, but the team have taken the time to include a couple of extras, mainly they are Experimental hive support, VB template support, and a new GAX installer (using Wix)..... now I may be on my own here but I so don't get Wix, maybe I will in time So that's it really hopefully ...
Saturday saw me off to Microsoft in Reading for DDD5. The first DDD where I didn't inflict myself on the delegates; unless you got caught in the taxi with me to and from the station. Not preparing any presentations made it much easier to mingle and have a chat with other delegates. It's always impressive to see people giving up a day off to come and see a bunch of real developers talking on such a great range of topics. I was well impressed from a developer from Northern Ireland who I chatted to ...
Previously, we'd been using a combination of Gemini and excel to manage our product. It was doing ok--generating burns in Excel was a pain, making things match Gemini was a pain, but at least something was happening. Because of the pain, we did some research into several different "Agile" management products such as VersionOne, XPlanner, and ScrumWorks. By far, the product that I liked the best was the Rally software product, which really needs a name but doesn't have one. Rally is also the most ...
April 17th, 2007 is a day that has been burned into my mind. This is the day I was given a very serious task. This is the day I was branded with a mark. The mark is for a brotherhood. The task I was assigned was to spread the gospel of the brotherhood to others. Later, I was to then brand those ready to accept the tenets of the faith with the mark of the brotherhood. I was to assign to them my task and make it theirs. I was to continue in this work in perpetuity. What is the brotherhood? It’s a vision ...
Yesterday we started accepting FREE registration for the 2nd Demo Day. If you remember from the 1st one, Demo Day is an event we love to hold being our way to expose knowledge and most importantly excitement regarding the latest pre-release technologies to the developer community in Egypt, mainly focusing on technologies bound to Microsoft, as our chosen method of getting things done, plus other technical inspirations that we'd think most developers would benefit from, at least as a new way of thinking. ...
Someone sent me a great quote the other day from Douglas Adams: "I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by." It brought back distant memories of a gigantic waterfall project that I survived. I think the word survived is appropriate in this case because we labored on it for over 3 years before we ever released code to production, which by that time was somewhere between 12-18 months later than our original deadline (I blame my fuzzy memory on the excessive ...
On Friday 29th June I will be co-hosting a session on Agile Development at the Australian Architecture Forum in Melbourne, a unique cross-industry, cross-platform event. 

If you are interested in sharing your architectural knowledge with the broader architecture community in Melbourne or Sydney, please feel free to register to attend the Australian Architecture Forum.
Tampa .NET CodeCamp III opened for registration and speakers sign up. www.TampaCodeCamp.com Register here- http://www.tampacodecamp.co... We are actively seeking more speakers. You can get an early peek at the great things going on this year though sessions already submitted. So far we have nominations for Programming Web 101/201/301, Using SMS (Short Message Service), imagine the possibilities!, Working with an XML Data Structure in SQL 2005 and Strongly , Typed Objects, Real world WPF ...