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fit   25 Sep 04
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Ward Cunningham has released an acceptance testing tool called fit fit is about tests that people can read.

The Cook’s Tour offers an excellent howto to get yourself and your customers into the test-writing mode.

An intro article by Bill Wake.

XPlorations: The Humble Yo   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Bill Wake) "The Humble Yo" The humble "Yo!" is a simple convention for getting help. link Nice explanation of why not asking for help can actually hurt the team.

What's the Second Directive?   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Ron Jeffries, aka Mr. XP) I’m been struggling for years with notions like having empathy with our mistakes, Kerth’s Prime Directive, and the like. Springing from a couple of notes on the extremeprogramming group, and a blog entry from Dale Emery, here’s my latest rant. xprogramming.com/xpmag/jatPrimeThis.htm

Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit by Mary and Tom Poppendieck   25 Sep 04
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Very interesting book. Highly recommended. This books brings the lean production principle to software development. Seven lean principles:
  • Eliminate waste: Spend time only on what adds real customer value
  • Amplify learning: When you have tough problems, increase feedback
  • Decide as late as possible: Keep your options open as long as practical, but no longer
  • Deliver as fast as possible: Deliver value to customers as soon as they ask for it
  • Empower the team: Let the people who add value use their full potential.
  • Build integrity in: Don’t try to tack on integrity after the fact - build it in
  • See the whole: Beware of the temptation to optimize parts at the expense of the whole

Link

When Should We Test?   25 Sep 04
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Kent Beck, one of the people that invented extreme programming (XP) offers an economic model. The financial risk management community and the software development community can learn a lot from each other. Think of this article as: When should you put Risk Management into place?

Amongst other things this article tells you when best to have children :-). groups.yahoo.com/group/extremeprogramming/files/when%20should%20we%20test.pdf

Case stories   25 Sep 04
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Been skimming the XP-ML this morning.

About the $200M Oracle-Ford Desaster: the management did not give them enough power to go fully agile

Chet Hendrickson:

 It was a very frustrating situation.  The team asked Don and me
 to help with preventing the Oracle consutants from making changes
 directly to the production system.  This was about $150 million into the project.

 We tried to sell them on a more agile approach (as you might imagine), but by
 this time they were pretty far gone.

 It was unfortunante that we were not operating at a level in the organization
 that would have allowed us to get the plug pulled sooner.

 chet

Georg Tuparev has a nice case story, too: speak out if you are put on a death march.

 Few years ago I was called to lead a huge team stuck in one and half
 year design phase. The team was supposed to build a control software
 for a network of telecom satellites. Cannot disclosed names and
 resources, but one could imagine ...

 Three days in the project I had a phone conference with the CxO's of
 both companies involved. Told them that the way it is going no
 satellite will ever fly and that I know a better way. After getting
 green line, the design document was burned with a small celebration at
 a BBQ, and 85% of the initial team members were sent to an indefinitely
 long vacation. With the rest (15%) of the team we had the first
 functioning version 2 months ahead of the schedule and 50% lower then
 expected expenses.

 So the lessons:
 - it is never late to change direction of a project in order to save it.
 - I do not agree with Kent that this is a sad story. If you are a good
 programmer put on a death march project you should speak out! If no one
 listens - walk away. There is just one very precious life in front of
 us - do not waste it! And if these folks wasted 2 years of their lives,
 well, it is their business ... but they should not expect my
 sympathies.

 BTW, Philip is right - the project I was telling about had a 9 months x
 40 people "Big Requirements Up Front"!!! Then the design started...

 Just my 0.02

 Georg Tuparev

New Russian bestseller :-)   25 Sep 04
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A big thanks to Leftenant Berezka for the pics :-).

Been coding hard now on SW and CFaR. I would really need some good vodka now before getting up early tomorrow morning to catch the train.

Hope you all had a good weekend, -A.

This vodka bottle reminds me that I am way behind on Futurometer. We will kick ass there soonish!

Is Tableau the Next Google?   25 Sep 04
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link

example graphs

 Will this company be successful and become another Google?
 First, graphical data mining has never been a big hit. And second,
 there are lots of competitors in the business intelligence sector,
 including at least Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion and MicroStrategy.
 So make your bets and wait for the next multibillion-dollar IPO.

Only hire people who pair?   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Chad Woolley posted this to the extremeprogramming-ML) Here’s an interesting experience I had when interviewing for an XP shop, and one I will definitely keep in mind in future interviews, whether I am the hirer or hiree.

As part of my interview, I was required to sit and pair program for about half an hour. We worked on an writing a unit test for an actual defect that currently existed on the project (although it could easily have been a real user story, or a contrived scenario if the project had not yet started).

I thought this was a great idea, and a great source of knowledge for both sides. I was able to show that I did indeed know how to program, write unit tests, knew my way around an IDE, had acceptable interpersonal communication skills, etc. I was also able to get a different perspective on what the team dynamics were like, which I could not have gotten from a formal interview setting.

The interesting thing is that both me and my partner (one of the interviewers) taught each other about some tools and approaches that we were not previously aware of.

Even though I didn’t get the job (the position was withdrawn), I kept in touch and became friends with the interviewer/partner, and the things we taught each other came in useful in our future development work.

This company also asked for code samples and a mini-presentation, which I also thought was a great idea for separating the wheat from the chaff.

Since I have had responsibility for helping interview, select and recommend job candidates in the past, I know for a fact that the best resume and interview performance in the world is inconclusive. You can still get a lemon, even though the lemon may be very good at piling on the BS.

From my perspective as a job candidate, I am confident in my skills and my abilities. I know that I can quickly adapt and excel in any position within my skill set. However, its very frustrating when I cannot convince the potential employer of this through only a traditional resume and interview.

In future interviews that I go for (which will hopefully only be with XP/Agile shops), I am going to suggest this as a way for the hiring company to get a better idea of my skills, knowledge and abilities, both technical and interpersonal. If I am ever part of a hiring team in the future, I will definitely propose that code samples and a pair-programming session be part of the interview process for candidates who make it to the final stages. This is admittedly very time-consuming, but probably much less net investment than being forced to live with (or try to get rid of) an employee who looked much better "on paper".

Thanks, Chad

Kaizen Events   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Keith Ray) Keith Ray has an interesting entry on Kaizen Events in his blog. Kaizen Event definition from Ray’s blog: The Kaizen method is a "rapid improvement process" utilizing a cross-functioning group of managers and employees working as a team to meet targets in a results-oriented focus on a predefined project area. The process may take the following steps: define the problem/opportunity, choose the best people, and correct the problem in one week or less using Kaizen tools and techniques. The ultimate goal is to significantly reduce costs, reduce lead times, reduce required inventory space, enhance workforce empowerment, eliminate waste, and focus on continuous improvement. The Kaizen process may include: new product development, robotics, total quality control, Just-in-Time, statistical quality control, labor and management relations, or other concepts.

 

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