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Agile

Programs and Technical Debt

Once you have a program (a collection of interrelated projects focused on one business goal) and you have technical debt, you have a much bigger problem. Not just because the technical debt is likely bigger. Not just because you have more people. But because you also geographically distributed teams, and those teams are almost always separated by function and time ...

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Why Does Management Care About Velocity?

I’ve been talking to people whose management cares about their velocity. “My management wants us to double our velocity.” Or, “My management wants us to do more in a sprint.” Or, “My management wants to know when we will be a hyper-performing team, so they want to know when we will get 12x velocity like Scrum promised.” “Double Your Velocity” ...

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You don’t need Testers – Or do you?

I talk to a lot of people in both big and small software development organizations about how they manage software development, how they’re organized, what practices they follow and what practices actually work. Most people working on small teams that I talk to can’t justify having someone to just test their apps, because testers don’t actually build software, so they’re ...

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Infrastructure, Technical Debt, and Automated Test Framework

I’ve had several conversations in email and with clients recently that have all been about this question: “What do we do about our infrastructure?” Either the project or the program has to create/update/upgraded their architecture or automated test infrastructure, pay down technical debt, or somehow do something that’s not part of a story. And, that’s the part where I say, ...

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Software Engineering needs leaders, not ScrumMasters!

I recently reflected on SCRUM and the role of the ScrumMaster. We know that a ScrumMaster should act as a servant-leader; she should provide guidance but not decisions, removing impediments yet empowering the team: in a word, the ScrumMaster should act as a facilitator within the team, shielding the team from the outside world, ensuring that the team follows SCRUM ...

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Agile Lifecycles for Geographically Distributed Teams

I’ve been working with geographically distributed and dispersed teams for the past couple of years. Some of them on quite large programs, some of them reasonably small. What they all have in common is that they all want to transition to agile. Most of them start this way: someone takes a Scrum class, gets all excited. This is good. Then ...

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That’s Not Agile!

If you work with a bunch of agile minded developer’s, you often hear the phrase “That’s not Agile!” It’s quite humorous to hear, because it comes up all the time. Recently I have been reading Andy Hunt’s books and I find them very insightful. The latest book I am reading is “Practices of An Agile Developer”, which he co-authored along ...

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Agile’s Customer Problem

Agile methods like Scrum and XP both rely on a close and collaborative relationship and continual interaction with the customer – the people who are paying for the software and who are going to use the system. Rather than writing and reviewing detailed specifications and working through sign-offs and committees, the team works with someone who represents the interests of ...

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Playing around with pomodoros

Over the last 3/4 months I’ve been playing around with the idea of using pomodoros to track all coding/software related stuff that I do outside of work. I originally started using this technique while I was doing the programming assignments for ml-class because I wanted to know how much time I was spending on it each week and make sure ...

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