Episode 126 – Agile Snotfest

Renee has been busy being sick (and Tony and Craig are sick of being busy) and thus it has been a long time between cough syrup for our Revolutionists…

TheAgileRevolution=126 (64 minutes)

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 122: Learning to Learn with Aino Vonge Corry

ainoCraig is at YOW! Conference and catches up with Aino Vonge Corry who is one of our very few repeat guests on the Agile Revolution. She describes herself as someone who puts speakers on stage, makes developers communicate and messes with the heads of students!

  • Part of the YOW! conference organising committee
  • Important to find examples that relate to all of the students in the class (not just a subset)
  • Microservice lectures – no more than 15 minutes lecture and then a learning activity
  • If there is interactivity then there is a reason to turn up to a live lecture
  • YOW! 2015 talk “A Comment on How We Learn
  • Need to respect and acknowledge that other people take in knowledge at different paces, this is important in activities that we give people time to think
  • People need to relate ideas to the things they are doing now to take new ideas in
  • Working memory takes in new information and as well as decoding for long term memory
  • Research says that we can think about 7 +/- 2 things at a time, but newest research says we can only think about 4 things at a time!
  • Chunk new content or information and then allow people time to process and think
  • Multitasking is a huge misunderstanding, if you are doing two things at once you are only doing them at 40% rather than one thing at 100%, this is a huge problem for people working in computer science
  • Try to figure out your learning preferences, realise you can’t chunk a whole lot of new information at once and ensure you sleep because without sleep you cannot learn effectively
  • Interesting things happening in the culture space right now, Dan North’s YOW! 2015 presentation “Delivery Mapping: Turning the Lights On
  • Polyglot agile highlighted in Craig’s YOW! 2015 talk “40 Agile Methods in 40 Minutes
  • Agile is Dead (Long Live Agility) (Dave Thomas)

TheAgileRevolution-122 (31 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)