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When I first saw Brian Marick’s complaint about the prevalence of the term “leadership” at Agile 2006, my first reaction was “hmm, that doesn’t sound so good, and here I am being part of the problem.” After thinking about it a bit more, though, the Christopher Avery talk that I blogged about doesn’t sound like […]

planning retrospectives

As previously threatened, I asked my team members if any of them would like to take charge of retrospectives. To which I got the response “but that’s not the way to do things: we try to share knowledge and skills wherever possible.” Oh, right – I’m glad somebody remembers that sort of thing, since obviously […]

agile 2006: last day

I spent this morning hanging out in open space. The first discussion was a followup to last year’s talk by Arlo Belshee on promiscuous pairing. It turns out that a couple of experience reports were presented here on teams’ experiments with the practice. The good news: both teams saw similar productivity/quality/etc. boosts to the team […]

agile 2006: day 4

I spent this morning at a talk by Mary Poppendieck on lean. It was billed as a tutorial, but there were too many people for that, so it ended up as just a talk. As far as I can tell, the main thing that I missed from its not being hands-on was a chance to […]

agile 2006: day 3

The first session I went to this morning was on systems thinking / causal loop diagrams. They had us go through an exercise throwing balls around, talked about states of the system, and showed diagrams that explained the different states (why performance increased, then leveled off, then went down). Pretty good; I’d seen the ideas […]

agile 2006: day 2

And now day 2 is over. Better than day 1: I enjoyed all four talks that I went to, and hopefully got something out of them. One of the problems that I have is figuring out which talks to go to. I have enough agile experience that I’ve been avoiding the beginners’ tutorials. The main […]

agile 2006: day 1

The first day of Agile 2006 is now more or less over. It was just a half-day, really: only afternoon talks, and I don’t think quite everybody is here. I went to a couple of presentations. The first wasn’t too good: it was billed as talking about how agile had changed since the manifesto, but […]

agile 2006

I’m off to Agile 2006 tomorrow. Should be interesting; many thanks to the powers that be at work for sending me there.

how buildings learn

I wasn’t expecting to like How Buildings Learn nearly as much as I did. I learned about it from the XP book‘s bibliography, and certainly you wouldn’t have to look very far in the book to find inspiration for your programming. But I was surprised at how interested I was in the actual topic of […]

i’m hiring!

I’m trying to fill an opening in my group. If you know any good programmers who live in the S.F. Bay Area, who are looking for jobs, and who think that it’s a good thing for code to come with tests, please point them at that link or send them my way.

lean software development

Driven by my recent mania for all thing lean, I just finished Lean Software Development, by Mary and Tom Poppendieck; I wish I’d read it a few years ago. I’d been aware of it for some time, but I passed it over when doing my initial tour of the agile literature. I had assumed that […]

lean manufacturing

I’ve been really curious about lean manufacturing (which basically means the way Toyota does things) for a couple of months now. I was aware that people had made some analogies between it and agile software development, but my interest got more concrete when I started reading Silk and Spinach: that’s a blog that spends a […]

random links

Cleaning out my list of saved links: A visit to the Ghibli museum. Lean manufacturing books are next up on my reading list. I’m glad some Congresspeople are seeing the DRM light… Because the bad guys aren’t about to let up. I repeat: the bad guys aren’t about to let up. Google’s hardly a saint, […]

i want a customer

A few months ago, I finally started appreciating the Customer role in XP: it made a real difference to us when we stopped doing our iteration planning ourselves (with advice from others, to be sure), and started having somebody else pick the stories for each release. (We still plan the work in our weekly iterations […]

breaking the rules and xp

As a manager who is drawn to XP, one question that reading First, Break All the Rules raises is: how compatible are agile methods with the book’s recommendations? Let’s start by going through the questions. 1. Do I know what is expected of me at work? This is a strength of XP (and other agile […]

first, break all the rules

I just finished taking a new manager training class at Sun. (I’ve been managing for a year and a half now; I only recently learned that I was supposed to take this class. Oops.) They gave us a copy of a book called First, Break All the Rules which, despite having a title guaranteed to […]


I had a very pleasant lunch yesterday talking with some other people at Sun about XP. At some point, the conversation turned to “superstar programmers” who do their best not to help other people, giving perfunctory answers to questions, sending various signals that they don’t want to be bothered, and even being actively insulting to […]

lean manufacturing reading

I e-mailed the author of the blog I mentioned recently, and he was kind enough to put together a lean manufacturing reading list.

shifting cards between people

At our weekly meeting today, my team members had some interesting comments on what had gone wrong over the last week. Among other things, we had planned to work on two 2-point cards; we break up cards that are larger than that, and in the past even cards that size have been problematic. In this […]

i want to build jet engines

This is great. Ricardo Semler would approve. (Found via the XP mailing list.) (My volume of posts that link to something else with minimal comment of my own has increased; I guess I’m turning into a more normal blogger. Which is okay; I try to have at least one more substantial post on any day […]