Episode 125: 10 Minutes with Dan North

dannorthAfter many failed attempts to get him on the podcast, Craig finally catches up with Dan North at YOW! Conference on his way out the door to the airport and in a quick chat they cover:

  • BDD – developing an application by looking at its behaviour from the perspective of its stakeholders (people who’s live you touch)
  • Given When Then – “given” is setting up the world in a well known way, “when” is me interacting with the application as a stakeholder and “then” is what I expect to happen
  • BDD is not the same as writing automated tests, they are orthogonal – “Test-Driven Development Is Not About Testing
  • Software, Faster – collection of patterns for people who have been around Agile and are asking “now what” – “Software, Faster” book in progress
  • YOW! 2015 talk “Delivery Mapping: Turning the Lights On

TheAgileRevolution-125 (12 minutes)

Episode 124: Talking Testing with Anne-Marie Charrett

16069825102_aa54010a22_zCraig is at YOW! Conference and catches up with Anne-Marie Charrett who is well known in the testing community as a trainer, coach and consultant but also for her support of the community:

  • Don Reinertsen talk “Thriving in a Stochastic World
  • Context-Driven Testing
  • Testing is a verb – it’s a doing thing and not an output, but the challenge is you cannot see doing
  • Anne-Marie’s class in Exploratory Testing
  • Where there is risk and failure, there is a job for testing
  • Exploratory testing – the key is feedback and using the learning to feedback into the next test
  • Agile testing – don’t try and test everything and don’t try and automate everything either, rather adopt a risk based approach
  • Unit testing – the usefulness depends on the programmer and the context and figuring out what you are trying to achieve
  • Sydney Testers Meetup
  • Speak Easy – Speak Easy is a voluntary program designed to increase diversity in tech conferences through dedicated conference spots, mentoring and events
  • YOW! WIT Program
  • WorkVentures – training marginalised youth
  • Testing challenges include microservices (the risk of bounded context and breaking things down and missing the whole) and working together as developers and testers
  • James Lewis podcast “Episode 120: Microservices & The Lean Enterprise with James Lewis

TheAgileRevolution-124 (39 minutes)

Episode 123: Some Principles of Lean and Product Development Flow with Don Reinertsen

8265695783_995186c1ce_hCraig and Tony are at YOW! Conference and are privileged to spend some time with Don Reinertsen, who is considered one of the leading thinkers in the field of lean product development and author of numerous books including “Principles of Product Development Flow”

  • Principles of Product Development Flow” book and why there is a waterfall on the front
  • Japanese Manufacturing Techniques was the name before it was rebranded as Lean Manufacturing
  • Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System, hated math and thus preferred to sit on the factory floor and tweak processes, hence it was not a theory driven approach but rather empirically driven
  • Need to understand why things work so you can transfer it to other domains, a big shortcoming in lean manufacturing is that they don’t have much of a mathematical view on what they are doing
  • You can use magic in manufacturing because it is highly repetitive
  • People understand iterations are good to do but do not understand why
  • “Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better” (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)
  • Agile software people are doing a better job at lean product development because software people have already crossed the chasm of inspect and adapt
  • There are many sources of variability other than just people, such as the Internet and the fact we are constantly doing things people have not done before
  • To get management to listen about cost of delay you need to benchmark what you are doing today
  • Agile eliminated the economic gene, hence it works well bottom-up
  • Easiest way to introduce quantitive based decision making is to find a project manager who wants an economic model (as they will be fighting for resources and the guy with the numbers will end up winning because they can communicate their needs)
  • Lifecycle pretax profit is far more useful than ROI
  • Start with Chapter 1 in the book – describes what is wrong with what we are doing today, then look for the tree that is ready to be pushed over in your organisation as there is no one way of approaching this
  • The low hanging fruit is: visual control boards, economic model, batch size reduction and WIP constraints
  • The first knob to turn is batch size reduction
  • It is 175 principles in small little batches that add value, it is not the ten commandments!
  • YOW! 2015 talk “Thriving in a Stochastic World

TheAgileRevolution-123 (38 minutes)

Episode 121: Diversity & Frugal Innovation in Africa with Betty Enyonam Kumahor

enyoCraig and Tony sit down for a conversation at YOW! Conference with Betty Enyonam Kumahor (stands for good for me, on the way there) who is a technology leader in Africa:

  • Tony and Enyo are mutual members of the Alistair Cockburn fan club
  • YOW! Conference talk “Frugal Innovation and Scaffolding Software
  • Software engineering uptake in Africa is very low, need more technologists because it is is not an industry it is an enabler
  • Lots of diversity challenges in Africa – lees than 1% of the South African IT industry is women, but also diversity in languages, education and belief systems
  • Diversity is a multi-pronged issue, need to be patient but not complacent to move the needle forward, give girls the confidence to be competent and to push the boundaries
  • Frugal innovation in Africa – building technology in a space of constraints such as inadequate power, everything happens by mobile feature phones, needs to be built fast and cheap
  • Agile in Africa – need to make communities more aware of Agile practices, share what developed world has learnt but also what needs to adjust for the context of the continent
  • Growth of techpreneurs, expensive to do business in Africa, focus on local market rather than off-shoring to Europe
  • Andela program – train to be a software engineer, become a fellow and work for offshore clients
  • Successful conversions from tech hubs to startups is below 5%
  • Biggest issue is lack of access to expertise in Agile / Lean practices as well as lack of people to adapt it for the continent
  • South Africa is a great landing point into Africa

TheAgileRevolution-121 (27 minutes)

Episode 120: Microservices & The Lean Enterprise with James Lewis

jlewisCraig is at YOW! Conference and has a conversation with James Lewis, best known for his work around microservices at ThoughtWorks. They discuss:

  • Microservices: a definition of this new architectural term” article with Martin Fowler
  • Huge cycle of hype around the term “microservices”
  • You have to run so fast to keep up with the great people at ThoughtWorks you end up accidentally doing interesting things
  • Cruise Control became Cruise that became GoCD which was open source then went commercial and then went back open source
  • Extreme Programming (XP) is complementarianism – the sum is greater than the parts
  • YOW! 2015 talk “Microservices – Building Software that is #neverdone
  • Microservices – systems that are composed of parts that you can independently throw away – the analogy of “My Family’s Axe” (Terry Pratchett)
  • Business and architecture isomorphism – if you look at your architecture you should be able to see your business represented in it and vice-versa
  • Disruption is causing organisations to think about organisational design as well as architectural design
  • Microservices is a style that is applicable for certain circumstances, it is not one size fits all – follow the 16th rule of Unix programming “distrust all claims for one true way”
  • For microservices, Amazon and AWS was the game-changer
  • If you are not building software using the Agile practices these days, you have probably gone down “the wrong trouser leg of history
  • Lean Enterprise is an evolution and description of current thinking
  • Geek crushes on Don Reinertsen and Dan North
  • Agile methods need to focus on flow rather than scaling and structure
  • ThoughtWorks Technology Radar – point in time snapshot on what is going on in current projects, throw systematic darts at the wall, vote on over 300 items to whittle down to 100 items,
  • Stationery driven decision making – sticky notes!
  • Sam Newman book “Building Microservices

TheAgileRevolution-120 (31 minutes)

Episode 119: Agile (Raccoon) is Dead with “Pragmatic” Dave Thomas

davethomasCraig and Tony are at YOW! Conference and get the opportunity to sit down with Dave Thomas, signatory to the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and have a great discussion about:

  • Dave’s talk “Agile is Dead (Long Live Agility)
  • Agile as a word has become meaningless, don’t follow the off-the-shelf processes, apply small corrections to move forward
  • Story of Stone Soup is like Agile consultancies, the hard work is done by the companies
  • Scrum is a good starting point due to its simplicity
  • Raccoon is a noun, so not a good replacement name for Agile, because you can buy a pound of it
  • 1,000 working on one thing can never be Agile, you have to make enterprises agile before you can run an agile project
  • The values in the Agile Manifesto hold up well, would have been nice to have had more diversity, had no expectation they were going to create something so significant
  • The Agile Manifesto was a reaction to the problems in development at the time, maybe something new is required, it would be a tragic mistake to create Agile Manifesto 2.0, we need to ask what is more relevant today to express our frustrations
  • Agile is a fundamental way of thinking about doing stuff, that’s why it’s important to understand why we are doing it
  • The Pragmatic Programmer” started as a set of field notes and somehow became a book that still sells well today despite some of the dated examples  and it invented terms like DRY (don’t repeat yourself)
  • The Pragmatic Bookshelf was accidental by saying the dreaded words “how hard could this be”, the strength is knowing nothing about publishing, everything was automated unlike traditional publishers and still runs with 2 main employees, now storyboard books like a movie as the reader is on a learning journey
  • Ruby has a future, but it needs to distinguish itself as a fantastic general purpose programming language, the community is still very friendly and innovative
  • The emphasis and dogma around testing is off-putting, the amount of effort around many tests are not moving people forward

TheAgileRevolution-119 (40 minutes)

 

 

 

Episode 117: The Changing Role of a Tester with Mark Pedersen

mpCraig is at the YOW! Connected conference and talks to Mark Pedersen, the CTO at KJR, and they talk all things quality and testing:

  • the changing role of a tester in an Agile environment, it clarifies the role rather than making it blurrier
  • in an Agile environment it does not make sense to have a Test Manager role anymore
  • the number of dedicated testing roles are decreasing, but becoming more important and valuable
  • most organisations say that they use both waterfall and agile frequently
  • build your skills in either a quasi analysis / product owner / acceptance criteria role or get up to speed with sensible technical automation tools for your tech stack
  • TDD – good idea but not many organsations practicing it in a dedicated way, unit testing in most industries is a luxury
  • BDD – does not make TDD obsolete, defining acceptance criteria upfront helps understand what we need to code
  • pair programming – does not deliver much benefit from a test perspective, unless the tester has technical expertise, adoption is still very low
  • YOW! Connected talk “Building Mobile App Test Automation
  • mobile testing is challenging and IoT will take it to another level – customer expectations are higher for these devices, they are thought of more like traditional mechanical devices
  • mobile and IoT is driving the demand for testers to become more technical – more API and distributed technology tests

TheAgileRevolution-117 (37 minutes)