Showing posts from August, 2011

No More Ninjas

Movie ninjas are awesome with the kicking, punching, jumping, etc. Code ninjas are unwelcome on my team.

Let's take a brief look at the characteristics of the ninja:
Ninjas have great skillNinjas work aloneNinjas are stealthyNinjas use unorthodox tacticsNinjas are specialists in espionage, sabotage and assassination
Great Skill - That sounds like what I want in members of my team, provided of course that it doesn't come with Great Arrogance.
Working Alone - Uh oh. No thanks. I want people who collaborate and act as a team. Paired programming for a large portion of the day is a must.
Stealthy - I really don't want anyone sneaking around in my code. I want clear names and explicit abstractions. Make your movements obvious. Create work that you are proud to sign (and then sign it on check in, not in comments.)
Unorthodox Tactics - I liken this to creating your own ORM or web framework. Sure, there may be advantages sometimes, but these are most often outweighed by the constant…

Agile 2011 - Day 4-5

Thursday I went to WIP and Kaizen: Key Tools for Enabling Continuous Improvement: Michael DePaoli. It was a really interesting talk about how you need to make change slowly, incrementally and steadily to arrive at the organizational goal without causing a fight or flight reaction in your people. I enjoyed it though I expected it to be more about personal improvement for some reason.

I wasn't really excited about any of the late morning sessions, so I bailed and went to Coach's Corner to hang out with Tim Ottinger and ended up meeting Colin Jones from 8th Light and then talking with Matt Barcomb from LeanDog for nearly an hour.

Around noon, Evana Fredricko, my dance partner for Brian Marick's session on Tango, The Stance of Reaction, and Pair Programming arrived. We went out for a slice of pizza near the hotel, then returned for a very fun intro to tango and a great discussion on paired programming. A correlation was drawn between the way dance is taught and the way we sho…

Agile 2011 - Day 3

I was too tired to post last night. So I am in the Coach's Corner doing the write up now.

The Plan:
Who even cares?

I started the day in Agile isn't Enough: Jeremy Lightsmith. The key discussions were on:
What have you read besides books on agile that has helped your job?A/B TestingPaper PrototypingGetting Things DoneTheory of Constraints Current Reality Tree
The item that was new to me was the Current Reality Tree. I am adding that to my queue of things to study.

The second session of the day was Flow Games: Karl Scotland, Eric Willeke. We played a game where we had to toss 20 balls around the group and the WIP and cycle time were tracked by the presenters. We were able to see the affects of our changes to the system and how we could shorten cycle time.

I had lunch at Squatter's with one of my closest friends and that was a great break in the middle of the day.

The first afternoon session was Tests as a Means of Abstraction: Brian Marick, Michael Feathers. This was…

Agile 2011 - Day 2

This is basically my 3rd day a the conference hotel and I am starting to feel it. I had to unfollow the Twitter hashtag because of information overload. Despite that, this is still exactly where I want to be.

The Plan:
Attend the following: keynote on positivity, "What we have learned so far" by Chet Hendrickson and Ron Jeffries, "Deliberate Discovery" by Liz Keogh and Pat Maddox, "It Depends on Context" by Ainsley Nies and Diana Larsen, "Getting Software Projects Done Right" by Bob Martin, "Industry Experts Panel," and "Dinner with a Stranger."

The keynote on positivity by Barbara Fredrickson was very interesting. It seems very closely correlated with the work of Martin Seligman whose book "Learned Optimism" I have been reading. A quick search on google reveals that this correlation is not just in my head, but I am too tired to dig deeper tonight. I tried to pick up her book and ask her about the similariti…

Agile 2011 - Day 1

Holy shit! The internet isn't just a series of tubes, it's real! This may affect the way I interact in here... ;-) Anyway, I actually got to meet and shake hands with so many amazing people today including: Michael Feathers, Bob Martin, Angela Harms, Michael Hill, Tim Ottinger, Jeff Langr, Martin Fowler. My mind is nearly blown. There is so much talent and experience here I almost can't believe it.

The Plan:
Attend Refactoring in the 4th Dimension: Michael Feathers in the morning and The Transformation Priority Premise: Robert Martin in the afternoon.

The Refactoring session was really interesting. Thinking about how your code base evolves as opposed to just looking at a point in time leads to some interesting metrics. A lot of research needs to be done in this area. Also, my Ruby skills are teh suck. I really need to practice and build a nice breakable toy.

Lunch was better than I expected and worth the wait. The highlight was a brief conversation with Angela Harm…

Agile 2011 - Day 0

While there were no sessions, I think that the Agile 2011 conference technically started today. I was there anyway. Here is the report.

The Plan:
Head up to the Grand America for the 5:15 First Time Attendees session. Hang out until 7:00 then go over to the Zombie Walk.

I went to SLC Airport to pick up Brian Marick and take him to the hotel at noon. He treated me to an excellent lunch at Squatters. I had the Black and Bleu burger which is at least as delicious as it sounds. While the food was great, the conversation was better. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to make the hang and learn directly from a well-known master. We spoke at length about software, languages, pets, programming jobs, XP, psychology and gift economies. It was an amazing lunch.
After dropping Brian off at his hotel, I didn't really have time to drive home and back before the 5:15 session, so I decided to wonder around the Grand America. Soon I was helping the volunteers sort shirts and prep welcom…