I very much like the way Scrum prioritises it's backlog items; Each item has an assigned value to the customer and an effort estimate. On my pet project I'm both the customer and the developer, so this helps me to consider the two factors separately. I can then prioritise them roughly by their value/effort ratio. I have my items written up on a stack of index cards with the highest priority item on the top of the stack. It simplifies things immensely, as well as giving me a good feel for the progress I'm making. This is what my current stack looks like:
Do you have a your own quirky, novel, or favourite habit when you code?
Feb 26, 2007
Feb 25, 2007
Over the past couple of years I've noticed that becoming more effective at what I do has mostly been accomplished by improving the quality of my interactions with other people. Considering and adapting my own attitude or behaviour has been the single most effective way of achieving this. Completely the polar opposite of trying to force some external change.
The key for me in this is that anything I do differently I need to do unconditionally. That way if my efforts go unnoticed, unappreciated or unreciprocated I'm still going to be content. In doing so I ensure that any changes I make fit consistently with my own sense of my identity.
I find evidence of this way of thinking everywhere. For instance, squirreled away in Johanna Rothman's mini-series of advice for hiring managers:
"Part of making a job attractive is to market it well. But you can't market it if you don't respect it. So the first part in marketing is to come to terms with how you feel about the job."
Feb 17, 2007
Feb 15, 2007
Is Scrum a silver bullet? Is it just so versatile and applicable to all walks of life? Or do us techies like to blur the boundaries between work and life? I know I'm tempted to borrow ideas from work for the home. There are numerous examples of this (surely). Recently there's been Scrumming your wedding. Crystal Clear holidays also comes to mind.
What's funny is that I can't read about this sort of thing without smirking in amusement. I've a wedding celebration to plan (well two actually - don't ask) and have been trying to introduce Scrum to deal with the potential for chaos. Some things just seem to fit: no my mother isn't really the product owner, really much more of a loud chicken. One step at a time though; First to demonstrate the value to the team. Um, a.k.a my fiancee and I.
We just moved to Portland and still have lots to organise in order to feel settled. The old paper todo lists just don't cut it for me as they're too easily concealed, are hard to evolve, and don't lend themselves easily to visual prioritisation. We've used them from time to time without much satisfaction. Crossing items off the list is pretty much their highlight. Surely this is the golden opportunity to introduce a backlog, right?
Hmm. I'm probably preaching to the converted here, but there's just no substitute for self organising clusters of post-it notes. By self organising I mean that there's no stated rule as to what the positioning of the post-it notes mean, it arises through usage.
If this is all very boring to you, then maybe here's the interesting bit; we ran out of yellow post-its, started using dark yellow ones, now we're on light green ones (what a handy little rainbow coloured multi-pack). Why this is interesting is that there's a colour graduation from older tasks to newer ones, so now our clustering now has an extra dimension of information. Howsat?!
Has anyone else stumbled across handy tricks like this one? I'd be interested to hear.
PS There's also lots of food for thought and examples of creative post-it usage in Agile Retrospectives. Well worth a read.
Another frivolous post from me. :) This Waterfall conference site is just fantastic. Some of my favourites are:
"You've always known a good waterfall-based process is the right way to develop software projects. ..."
Working Harder, Not Smarter by Jon Kale
Avoiding the Seven Pitfalls of Lean by Mary Poppendieck
User Interaction: It Was Hard to Build, It Should Be Hard to Use by Jeff Patton
Edit: The inside scoop from Rachel Davies: "I happen to know that Mike Cohn (author of Agile Estimating and Planning) put this together for fun - the real joke was that he actually had some genuine enquiries from people who wanted to attend!"
Feb 14, 2007
Every now and again someone posts a particularly informative and self-contained reply on the scrumdevelopers discussion group. This is one such post. It offers many good practical tips for dealing with moral issues after mass lay-offs.
Feb 11, 2007
Looking for a way to communicate to your client that something is very much a prototype? Take a look at the Napkin Look & Feel (thanks to Don Gray for the tip):
"... a pluggable Java look and feel that looks like it was scrawled on a napkin. You can use it to make provisional work actually look provisional, or just for fun."
This is what IntelliJ looks like using this style.
Feb 7, 2007
Feb 2, 2007
It's official. After the workshop with Esther & Jen us attendees went on to found Portland Scrum. :)
PS The onus is on Jen to upload us so that we show up top of this list. It's already been 8 (edit: 20) hours and we're still not there - what gives?
We're now all on this page. I'm the one to the right of the HI MUM sign on the Portland, OR photo.
This one I can attend (or maybe just miss a little of). They're not accepting bookings to Scrum Gathering (May 7 - 11) yet it seems, but I'll be on that list when they do.
And it gets better (worse?) AYE Conference is happening in November. As I look down the list of AYE'S host blogs I can put faces to a lot of the names... It's been an intense week. Fun to have made so many connections in just four days!
Feb 1, 2007
I'm currently looking. If this is what you're doing too by the time you read this then get in touch. Who knows, I might be established somewhere that's looking for one more team member.
Today was the end of the first day of the Scrum training for me. If you're curious about Scrum or agile practices in general I highly recommend it. The teaching style is very interactive and designed to appeal to both total beginners (me) and people with firsthand experience of Scrum.
Of course before you commit the money and the time you should read through one of Ken Schwaber's books on Scrum.