Test First Manufacturing

I’m currently reading The Box by Marc Levinson. It is a fascinating book that chronicles the changes in the shipping industry brought about through the introduction of shipping containers. It sounds dry, but it’s not. The innovators faced huge barriers, including governments, labour unions, and standards committees. I have such deep respect for Malcom McLean for persisting through the insurmountable bureaucracy. At one point, they discuss how a particular design aspect of the container was deemed unsuitable and had to be rectified: [Read More]
agile  tdd 

Keep Everything in Source Control

Me: Why is this report different to the one in production? SysAdmin: Dunno. I guess they must have fixed it production and forgot to check it back into source control. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve had that conversation I’d be a rich man. It is usually the result of some late-night troubleshooting and finally the system is working as expected and everyone goes to bed. But the next day, nobody remembers what exactly they changed that fixed the problem, nor do they spend the time to figure it out and get it back into source control. [Read More]

Successful teams

There’s nothing that beats the feeling of being part of an exceptional team and yet it is strangely difficult to define exactly what makes one team great and another team not-so-great. Google recently set out to learn how to build the perfect team and came up with some interesting, albeit previously discovered, answers. To summarize their findings, Google’s Project Aristotle concluded that on good teams: All team members spoke roughly the same amount, and Team members were empathetic towards each other Harvard Business School’s professor Amy Edmondson described this as “a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up”. [Read More]

On Agile Transformations

I’ve been pushing large enterprises to adopt agile development practices for years so I was very excited when I began seeing many of them embarking upon ambitious Agile Transformation projects where they attempt to not only change the way they build software, but completely revolutionise the entire IT process from inception, finance, HR, delivery and operations. But they rarely discuss culture. “Culture” in this context is used to broadly describe how people behave in the company. [Read More]

Back To XP

Agile has gained a lot of traction in large enterprises in recent years but I’m concerned about the specifics of how teams are implementing it. I’ve seen everything from traditional eXtreme Programming (XP) practices to Scrum, but nothing scares me more than the teams that self-identify as “agile” but do nothing more than hold a daily team meeting. Agile means different things to different people, but it doesn’t matter which methodology is used as long as the principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto are adhered to. [Read More]
agile  xp  testing 

No stand-up

There was no stand-up this morning and it felt like my day never really started. It was my first day at my new job with CIBC and, even though I knew that the team was not agile before signing up for the gig, I had underestimated how much I depended upon our daily rituals practices at Intelliware. These practices provided a rhythm and cadence to the day that I had taken for granted. [Read More]

Keep calm and carry on

“I’ve had a talk with the Product Owner, and he’s decided to let you guys have an extra week to finish the work for this Sprint”, my Project Manager said on Friday afternoon. The horror! The horror! My team and I did not manage to complete all the work that we’d committed to in the Sprint. In the interests of open communication, I informed my project manager that there would be a few carry-over items. [Read More]