Tag | Agile Posts

MPUG Monthly Meeting - The Power of Scrum Microsoft Office Project Users Group website: www.mpug.com Please join us on August 28, 2008, 12:00 - 2:00PM. Jay Steffenhagen from ITR Group will present: The Power of Scrum This Lunch and Learn will introduce Scrum development as an Agile method. An overview of the Scrum process and roles; advantages / disadvantages of Scrum; tailoring opportunities of Scrum SDLC; and Scrum's relationship to Project Server will be provided. The session will conclude with ...
For those that weren't able to attend last Tuesday's Northwest Arkansas .Net User Group meeting, 8/5/2008, Zach Young (our Vice President of the group) was able to secure Jeffrey Palermo as a speaker for a special meeting this Thursday (8/14/2008). This is a huge boon, as Jeff is one of THE most sought after speakers in North America. Jeff is most known for the Party with Palermo series of events before each of the major conferences. Jeff hails from Austin, Texas, which was recently named the hardest ...
The following quotes are exerpted from Cargo Cult Methodology. "[M]anagement demanded that we estimate—and commit to—a schedule and budget" "[B]ut 'making a delivery' ... required additional effort. There was no scheduled time for that either" "[A]s the months went by, we learned more about the problem, and we had changes requested; that meant more use cases and more effort" "[T]here was a lot of whining in upper management about how we'd made commitments, so why couldn't we keep them" "[T]ime to ...
If you are installing SQL Server 2008 (or anything for that matter) and it won't let you continue for the following reason: Rule "Performance counter registry hive consistency check" failed. The performance counter registry hive is corrupted. What does this mean? This may mean that the value in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE... NT\CurrentVersion\Perflib under Last Counter and the last number value in Counter under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE... NT\CurrentVersion\Perflib\009 ...
Since I mentioned this in my previous post, I might as well elaborate. I discovered there was an open source community for Microsoft technology back in 2004. Curious as I am, I tried several things that looked interesting. I introduced CruiseControl.net, NAnt and NUnit to my customer. What surprised me is that not everyone shares my curiosity. A lot of people have this predefined fear of using non-Microsoft products for Microsoft technology. Most of the developers I talked about it even moaned 'Now ...
Is it really that important? I've seen too many applications meet their end because people got caught up in the tripe. I've personally lost development time to "Go back and use that font" or "Make it that color blue instead". In my personal experience, managers and customers (and it gets worse as you go higher up the food chain) defer to you on all the really important stuff but try to meddle in the details. Just say no! This happens for two reasons: People like forcing demonstrable change on the ...
Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.000... mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} I’ve been talking with a lot ...
Recently a project leadership team I was assisting had the difficult task of selecting between implementation technologies for a distributed architecture. We had brainstormed a list of candidates, and after some investigation were able to enumerate their strengths and weaknesses well enough. But then the decision-making process started to come unhinged as we thrashed about, weighing the various options. How do you narrow the field to a winner, anyway? When I was able to frame the process in terms ...
Clearly MS hasn’t caught up with the third party tools that are out there? Which do you guys use? ReSharper Refactor! Pro C# Refactory Visual Assist X I've used Refactor!Pro on a previous project and liked it quite a bit. I assume a lot of these include the same basic features. Perhaps the difference is in the number of refactorings and additional features outside of refactoring. ReSharper seems to be the most widely used. But, does it give the most bang for your buck? Does it meet the needs of a ...
improve my => 'code' One of the interesting features of Agile development is the regular feedback created by the methodology. Continuous builds, especially when they show graphically when they are broken or have failing unit tests, give Agile teams a sort of self awareness about the health of their project. Many Agile projects even give visual cues regarding the health of the project for instance showing the health of the build through the use of traffic lights (green for good, red for broken). ...
As a ScrumMaster, these are some of my pet peeves, in no particular order: Come late to meetings. Better yet, don't show up to the meeting, don't let anyone know that you're going to miss the meeting, and then get grumpy when the ScrumMaster asks you to not do it again. After all, the team doesn't really need to know what you're doing. Ignore the priority of stories set by the product owner. He loves not knowing what's going to be completed at the end of the iteration. Have side conversations during ...
In the application I've been working on, we have the requirement to handle unique constraint errors gracefully. It wasn't really hard, I just had to check for OracleException.Code == 1. The trick was the testing. Testing a unique constraint error was not a problem. The issue is verifying that other exceptions are bubbled up properly. The basic exception handling code is like this: 1 protected bool HasUniqueConstraintError( Action databaseAction ) 2 { 3 try 4 { 5 databaseAction(); 6 return false; ...
I've tried Use Cases and seen them not work. The main reason? They are really heavy handed and developers hate updating them. Customers don't even want to see them. A manager telling me to update the use cases or the functional spec is akin in my mind to someone I don't know telling me to take my medicine. I am one of those annoying developers who is going to ask, "Why am I doing this?" And bad news, if you don't have a good answer, I am going to look at you cross-eyed. Developers in general (especially ...
Read this article today. We've had a couple of bad apples on our team so far, and they caused quite a bit of grief before they were removed. On an agile team, the team can't function if the apples are bad, and a single bad apple can cause much grief for the entire team. Technorati Tags: Agile ...
This will be the first in a series to document my organization's adoption of an agile development process (specifically Extreme Programming). I want to document this process for three main reasons: 1. Basic posterity. I may want to look back on this process and reflect on the mistakes we made. 2. So that others can learn from our mistakes. 3. So that others can possibly help keep me from making their mistakes. Seems like a lot of mistakes being made in agile development. That's actually kind of the ...
improve my => 'code' On weekends, I tend to go off tangent, and this weekend is no exception. I started to read some of the works of Levi-Strauss, the structural anthropologist, and it occurred to me that many of the positive changes from Agile Development are not merely the result of greater business focus. Agile also develops culture in a field that is generally devoid of culture. This can be a stabilizing factor for companies by - Reducing turnover by empowering team members. - Creating rituals, ...
A quick shout out to Chad Sturtz for passing this video my way. Video: http://www.viddler.com/expl... Length: 82 minutes Date: 1 July 2008 Location: Austin Texas Presenter: Jeremy D. Miller Blog: http://codebetter.com/blogs... One of the things that I really liked about this video is that it shows the biggest value (IMHO) of a good users group is being able to be in the room when high level conversations are happening. “How do you get junior developers ...
I've experienced this before, and all you can do is cry. This is why agile is so important. Instead of one person making all of the decisions, you have a team that makes the decisions. The "manager" tends to fall into just a product owner role, which is a good thing. In a team situation, the intern would have had a chance to put out his ideas as to a solution. In agile, they would have been in two to four week intervals, so rather than a 5 month development period, the stakeholders (i.e. the boss) ...
Approximate strong classification behaves identical to strong classification restricted to a subset of all classes. Considering the fact that A way to get some of the features of dynamic layout from a layout that was created in absolute coordinates is to scale the UI. In retrospect, sometimes business components need to retrieve information from external sources in order to do their work. The internal mechanisms of what allows user-mode debugging to work have rarely ever been fully explained. Approximate ...
I saw this book in Borders and, when I read the table of contents, I KNEW I wanted to read it. I had just returned from Headspring & Jeffrey Palermo's Agile .NET Boot Camp class in Austin, and this covered a lot of the same things (and a few others), so that made it very poignant. I am adding this book to my must read list. I got through it in about a week. It is VERY easy to read. For developers looking to take their development skills to the next level and are not able to go to Jeffrey's course, ...
Technical Software Project Management is Dead I’ve manage projects, I’ve lead them, I’ve been a developer, I’ve tested, I’ve organized releases, I’ve done all the paperwork. It’s just that lately, that seems to be the role expected from the developer on any given project. Don’t get me wrong, project managers are great. I still have never hired, fired, had to argue for the budget. Yikes! All these things have nothing to do with actually building the software. However, try developing something with ...
Life (professional and personal) has been insanely hectic the past 10 weeks or so, and the has not been any time to update this blog. But that is all about to change. For the next 12 days, I will be at Disney World with the family (including the three grandkids) and am looking forward to the time away from the business. Of course, by the end of that time, the children will have run me ragged and I will probably be lookig forward to getting back to work. There are a couple of things on the horizon ...
I received quite a bit of feedback regarding my Join extension to IEnumerable that generates a comma separated list. The purpose was to emulate string.Join(), but to add more flexibility as to what is "joined". I took some time aside to investigate some of the suggestions and alternatives to my implementation. I should note, that I would not normally do this. I try to avoid premature optimization. However, there are certain practices that can be learned that improve performance in general (like using ...
In the Agile thought-space, Big Up Front Design (BFUD) is a four letter word. There is a reason for this. Many times people who envision projects (usually the guy with the biggest wallet unfortunately) don't realize that they don't know everything. More to the point, they don't know how little they actually know about the end user. So they envision the initial requirements for the system, and they boil them down into finer and finer grained detail, until they have something that is implementable. ...

I recently took the opportunity to join Headspring Systems, the premier Agile software consulting practice here in Austin, TX. I'm very excited about getting to work with an incredibly talented Headspring team and look forward to helping the company continue it's fast-paced growth!

Headspring Systems
www.headspringsystems.com

Read a great article on how to make agile fail today.  Very entertaining and educational!

Technorati Tags:
The June 30th meeting of St. Louis .NET User Group tried something new -- a meeting following the Open Space Technology. OST is a method of running meetings of groups of any size. Essentially, it's a self-organizing process where the attendees construct the agenda and schedule DURING the meeting itself. How can this be? There's no way this would work. Chaos I say! Well, we did it and I think it worked out quite well. For those new to the idea, here's a quick outline of what we did. Everyone showed ...
It is a well-known principle of software design to have minimal coupling between abstractions. Twenty years ago, this dialogue would have not made sense to me. Although, object-Oriented Reengineering remains an interesting research field with lots of problems to be solved and with plenty of possibilities to interact with other research communities (Agreeable Concatenation looks at this topic in a different way). In spite of this, to be fair, this story is similar to the one told when components first ...
Had a problem with WCF that I thought I should blog about. We're in the scenario where we have a WCF service that needs to call another service to do some calculating and then return the result back to the client. For now, the service is hosted on the same server, but eventually, it could get expensive, so we'll push out that calculation to another server. The WCF configuration also has an endpoint address that is not the same as the base address reported to it by IIS; IIS is of course reporting ...
If you have read Mike Cohn's book on Agile Estimation, one of the techniques he recommends is something called Planning Poker or Estimation Poker. This is an interesting technique that helps team reach consensus on the estimate for each user story, scenario or requirement. I was doing some research on this technique and I came across a web site that can be used facilitate the game of planning poker for your team. Happy Coding ...
Kent Beck (a signer of the Agile Manifesto) has written a white paper on the relationship between agile and tools. It is an interesting read and may make some of you “true believers” think again about only using 3x5 note cards. Thanks to Ajoy Krishnamoorthy from Microsoft for helping to facilitate this! Happy Coding ...
The Test-Driven Development talk I gave last night at the Kansas City Dot Net User Group meeting seemed to go really well. This was my first ever talk and it is something that I am very passionate about. There were definitely some technical glitches. I recorded my demos ahead of time using Cam Studio and that was good, but I didn't bump up my resolution so the people in the back could see the code. I will have to make sure to set the resolution higher next time. The turn out was stupendous. There ...
One of my fellow Coders 4 Charity Groupmates, Lee Brandt, will be speaking about Test Driven Development using C# tonight. If you are in town you must come. If you are not in town and you want to come. Well hop on a flight? Anyway, here is the official information *commenses brainwashing tactics*: Topic: TDD Using C# Test-Driven development is a methodology that can help developers write solid, well-designed code. Very few developers practice it because very few understand how it works and how to ...
OK. I've had a few days to decompress. I am still beating on my deck for the TDD presentation tomorrow (actually tonight) for the .NET Users Group. So I have had some time to decompress and debrief my boss about what I am bringing back from the Agile .NET Boot Camp with Jeffrey Palermo in Austin, TX. Man! we actually covered a lot! Jeffrey did a great job of making it seem like not much, but when I got back and started telling my boss about it, there were just TONS of things to talk about. We talked ...
One of the questions that came out of my TFS talk at the Magenic Technology Summit was: How do you go about customizing one of the existing templates provided for TFS, such as MSF Agile? We may want to add new types for Work Items, for example, or add new states that work items can be in. The easiest way to do this is through the Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server Power Tools. If you do not have the Power Tools installed, you can still do this by editing the XML that makes up the ...
About a year ago, I think I personally wrote off estimation as a dead waterfall practice and a pipe dream (not to mention a waste of time). To me, estimation stunk of something to keep the lawyers at bay. You lost me right there, but now I am back. Estimation is important to keep the customer happy, not the lawyers. My boss kept telling us to estimate stuff, but we kept on shirking his task. We had adequate enought time pressure to allow us to not think about how long the tasks at hand were going ...
Today was the first day of the Agile .NET Boot Camp in Austin, TX. The class is a blast. Jeffrey Palermo knows his schist. Today covered lots of stuff I have already worked with: TortoiseSVN, TDD, CCTray, etc. There were also some things that I had not worked with before, like Story Boards, and Team Estimation. Overall, it is just what they promised. We are working as a team in a way that a team might work in the real world. Today, we set up the Team Project, it’s a basic issue tracking system. It ...
Introduction In all honesty, this review may be a bit premature. However, I wanted to record my thoughts and see if anyone listening shares them or has a difference of opinion. I've been evaluating the SlickEdit Tools and have come up with a few top picks. Also, I have identified some that make little difference to me. First of all, the Tools are segregated into two products: Editing Toolbox and Versioning Toolbox. I'll review them separately. Editing Toolbox Top Picks: Acronyms - This one is quite ...
This is #3 in a series of interviews where I ask NINE Questions of various interesting people in the technical community. This time, we're talking to Amanda Laucher (aka Pandamonial.) You can find her blog at www.Pandamonial.com 1. Ok, let's kick this off with an easy question. Where are you from? I am from a small town in SW Pennsylvania called Dilliner, originally. Now I live and work in Columbus, Ohio. 2. Who do you work for? Give me the 10 second pitch on them. Why would I want to work there, ...
Here's an interesting article Diego Dagum from Microsoft turned me on to. Some of you will probably identify with with it because it talks about the difficulties in promoting Agile processes inside long-life organizations (ancient financial institutions or other companies with a culture already hardened along decades) The author also proposes mitigating alternatives in order to take the best of Agile processes. He enlist some supporting tools based on Java projects (as the article was also written ...
I recently had a couple ISV's that wanted to leverage Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) and Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server (MOSS) together to implement their own internal CodePlex (www.codeplex.com). My ISV's wanted to be able to share code between disparate development groups, have discussions, and ultimately drive reuse of valuable solutions to software related problems. CodePlex is great for the community, but it's not targeted at users within an organization. Being that CodePlex is implemented ...
Article Source: http://geekswithblogs.net/m... Introduction I did this article ages ago and have just found where I had misplaced it. Anyway the intention is to provide some introductory information about BAM (Business Activity Monitoring) for those who are relatively new to BizTalk and to help people to decide if it is suitable for their project. I will also provide some links to useful resources I have used before when working with BAM. What is BAM? Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) ...
Agility Starts With Sales How many of us have had a sales rep sell us something we didn't need as a solution for a problem we needed solved and solved well. Everybody? That's what I thought. Often times, we as consumers get sold things that unnecessarily do more than just meet our basic need. Other times, we get told a product can do something when it can't. We want marketing to be enthusiastic about our software, but there are limits to everything. Better make sure marketing has actually used the ...
General references to Visual Studio Team System http://msdn.microsoft.com/e... -> Entry point for VSTS2008 (including the different editions and TFS) http://msdn.microsoft.com/e... (TFS specific part of previous link) http://blogs.msdn.com/teams... (this is the 9th posting in the series, all of which are very good) http://geekswithblogs.net/j... ...
A few weeks back John Hopkins forwarded me a video from TED. Specifically he sent me a talk by Clifford Stoll called "18 minutes with an agile mind" that he thought reminded him of me. Not because of the brilliance that he showed but because of the ADD nature of the speaker. I was blown away. Much more on my blog at My Daily TED ...
Updated: 2008-06-10 The first Teched Tweener weekend aka ]InBetween[ was put together by our Developer Evangilist, Joe Healy and the Florida community leaders. The event was two days held on June 7/8, 2008 between the Developer and ITPro weeks of Teched in Orlando. We had nine rooms to utilize and Joe asked a number of people to lead specific tracks which included .NET Code Camp, Day of Silverlight, Agile Camp, RoboCamp, ITPro Camp, SQL University, ToolShed, Office Communications Server University, ...
It's been over two weeks since my last post.. Life's been hectic... 'nuff said. As I've been researching different languages/methodologies/sof... one thing has begun to bubble up over and over again: do we NEED another Whatever Oriented Development/Design/Programm... thing? Let me just list a few of the ones I have encountered in the last month: Object Oriented Development (ok, I've been doing that for awhile, but thought I'd throw it on the list) Aspect Oriented Programming Service ...
Those who follow my post may remember that I discussed it a while ago that resource allocation, especially when time and shared resources are involved is basically a constraint satisfaction problem. In contrast, web services are the “new way” to call distributed objects remotely. Some believe that XAML carves out a new role in the software development process, one that straddles the line between designer and developer; namely an integrator. Remember that the philosophy of Rhapsody has always been ...
If anything, the Agile Austin Open Space conference has reminded me that developing a software product is a leap of faith. With a new project, there are always unknowns, but with a good team that is capable of estimating with a good degree of accuracy and assesing risk well and tackling the riskiest features first, virtually anything is possible. As Agile practiioners, either from the Product Ownership ilk or the Developer ilk, we've got to trust but verify. We know that the people we work with are ...
Seeing this conference coming together has been very interesting, not only because the subject matter is of great personal interest to me, but also from the standpoint of watching people self organize in the absence of a heirarchy so effectively. Four key principles of Open Space Technology are : Whoever comes are the right people. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have. Whenever it starts is the right time. Whenever it is over it is over. To me there exists a great deal of similarity ...