Agile Out Loud

Software, organizations, humans… in no particular order.

TIL: Helping People Understand TDD by Writing a Story — May 11, 2018

TIL: Helping People Understand TDD by Writing a Story

At an agile gathering in St. Louis a few years ago, I learned a pretty nifty game/simulation to help people (especially those unfamiliar with programming) learn basic concepts of TDD. Taught by the ever-so-sensational Amitai Schleier and Mark Balbes, I’ve been meaning to write about this for more than a year. Thanks to a curious member over at the Agile Uprising forums, I finally put it to words. With all credit to Amitai and Mark, this fun little simulation is a good addition to your mentoring toolkit. Continue reading

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Starter Agile, Pt. 3 — June 16, 2016

Starter Agile, Pt. 3

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My exploration of “Starter Agile” practices through the lens of Joshua Kerievsky’s “Modern Agile” concludes with this final group of three practices: standup meetings, task decomposition, and cadence-driven retrospective!

Disclaimer: this is my favorite set of practices to critique! Let’s dive in! Continue reading

Starter Agile, Pt. 2 — June 15, 2016
Starter Agile, Pt. 1 — June 14, 2016

Starter Agile, Pt. 1

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After sharing my thoughts on the insights Josh Kerievsky offers us through the lens of “Modern Agile,” I had a few readers request some insight into why I selected certain practices as “Starter Agile.” The comments walked the line between curiosity and concern, the latter being something I want to help alleviate.

Over the next three days, I’ll discuss nine practices and concepts that could be considered outdated as people continue to learn and experiment with Agile. I argue these topics have transitory value for brave folk learning Agile; a good place to get started… but others have discovered better ways exist.

Today’s first set of practices: timeboxes, story points, and velocity. Continue reading

Is Your Agile an Antique? — March 11, 2016

Is Your Agile an Antique?

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From the point I first discovered Agile in 2005, Joshua Kerievsky has been one of my “self-invited remote mentors”. In other words, Josh provided guidance and mentoring from afar through his writing and speaking – and without the slightest idea of who I am.

A few weeks ago, I finally had the opportunity to meet Josh at Agile Open San Diego. In the confines of open space, Josh convened a session that invited participants to explore his recent “Modern Agile” paper, which formulates a new lens of thought into the evolution of Agile over the years. (If you haven’t read “Modern Agile”, you’re missing out – do that first!)

On the second day of open space, Josh convened an additional session to explore a juxtaposition of “modern” versus “antiquated” Agile. This got me thinking: is it harmful for us to label some practices “antique”? Continue reading

The Wisdom of Drinking Games — February 29, 2016

The Wisdom of Drinking Games

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About two years ago, I met a marketing professional at an Agile conference and we had a lengthy conversation about creativity and ways to encourage innovation. After sharing with him the Cognitive Network Model taught to me by Dr. Robert Briggs, he responded that his firm was using “a drinking game“–sans drinking–before every major client presentation. In his opinion, the mechanisms of the game seemed to align perfectly with Dr. Briggs’ theory: as images are called forth in working memory, particularly in new combinations, people generate thoughts they didn’t have prior – leading to new ideas.

A drinking game for creativity? I had to know more! As he explained the game, I realized this short, twenty-minute activity had all the elements of a good Agile activity: fun, collaboration, and useful lessons. Continue reading

Brilliant People Working Together — January 29, 2016

Brilliant People Working Together

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In sharing the message of mob programming, Woody Zuill coined a phrase: “All the brilliant people working on the same thing, at the same time, in the same space, and on the same computer.

Programming aside, I’ve always enjoyed this quote because it speaks to my personal career experiences thus far. In short, I don’t particularly think I’m “brilliant” or full of inspiring ideas. I’ve been able to do a few successful things here and there on my own, but they pale in comparison to what I’ve achieved with people/teams. Therefore, this post is a simple invitation to collaborate and work together by sharing our ideas… and I offer this blog space in whatever capacity might be useful! Continue reading

Oh, the Horror! — January 18, 2016

Oh, the Horror!

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Practice C# program number two is progressing. If you feel brave and opt to inspect the Github link provided, you’ll probably feel the same awkward sense of confusion at the use of “progressing”, however.

This post is a call–or plea–for help. My console-calculator program is an attempt to discover how I might use object-oriented design and expand my technical knowledge. At this point, I feel as though I’m regressing into the same patterns that limited me ten years ago. In addition, I’ll share my thoughts and feelings as a novice trying to learn programming on my own – and what lessons I’m extracting for Agile coaches. Continue reading

C# Project Two: Better Than an Abacus! — January 8, 2016

C# Project Two: Better Than an Abacus!

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To continue my adventures in self-study and learning object-oriented programming (with C#), I’ve started a new project with Deborah: a simple calculator! I imagine anyone interested in second-grade mathematics will be giddy with anticipation!

As always, I plan to commit my project to GitHub and make it public for all to see. By doing this, I hope to encourage new friends to participate and provide comments, advice, and ideas. I’ll further reiterate that I am a novice, therefore exposing my code intentionally makes me vulnerable to ridicule and places me out of my comfort zone. Continue reading

It Has Ended! — December 30, 2015

It Has Ended!

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If you’re not interested in reading through this post, but would like to be a mentor on my next C# project, please connect with me! Let’s write a program together!

148 lines of code, 12 commits, 6 public comments on Github, and about 12 total hours of programming/collaboration. My first C# project, a console tic-tac-toe game, is at a point where I’m comfortable calling it “done”. (Author’s side note: this is also my first program written since 2005!)

Every award winner loves to give thanks, so I’d like to express gratitude for Deborah Lee — my “team member” and project mentor — and Daniel Albuschat for being a collaborator through Github. It was awesome learning from both you!

This post describes a novice’s thought process for refactoring, what changes I committed to feel “done”, and my concluding thoughts on this project. Continue reading