Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Reach Out and Touch A Developer!

I can only imagine what you're expectations are of this post given the title! You may be reading this for entirely the wrong reasons. If so, remember, Google is your friend.

Over the weekend I caught the DDD bug and started buying books, subscribing to blogs etc. As part of my random hops I stumbled upon Stephen Oakman of The Agile Workshop. He says in his Contact Us page that anyone is welcome to just pop in if they're passing. Having found myself in Cambridge yesterday lunchtime I did just that. Bit of a risk || leap of faith but I thought, hey, why not?

Turned out to be a fantastic use of a lunch hour. Once they'd gotten over the shock of someone actually taking them up on their offer we settled into some truly geeky discussions.

So, why on earth am I blogging about this?

Simple: if you work remotely you need to actively build a network of peers.

With the advent of Skype, Mikogo etc. remote working has never been so productive; but a developer in this environment still won't have a pool of knowledge comparable to, say, working in a large, office-based company. The guys at The Agile Workshop not only make half-decent coffee but seem pretty spot-on in many fields of software development that I am passionate about. They also loaned me a raft of books from their 'library', which I will return - honest :).

Here's to a mutually beneficial relationship.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

2 Week Sprints!

Both of our applications that use the Scrum development framework have now halved their iteration cycles from 4 weeks to 2 weeks.

This felt rather daunting at first. I was worried that there just wouldn't be enough time to actually develop something of billable, business value for our customers. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by the universal acceptance of this change. Developers, analysts and managers all report to less confusion about the relevant content of the Product Backlog - this has many cross-overs with some Getting Things Done principles regarding removing clutter.

With this one simple process change we now feel much more 'sprinty': able to really focus on a smaller number of work items. We have also doubled the amount of feedback measured and adaption possible; velocity is also more meaningful.

So, highly recommended. I wonder if we'll move to a one week sprint as Ken Schwaber currently recommends? Xtreme sprinting!