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“Don’t know what I want, but I know how to get it”
Jeff Patton revisits the basics of Agile development, and one section leapt out at me.

Saying “shippable” to people in the customer role means implies they’d better get the requirements right because that’s the way Agile development works.

Now, I believe Agile people had something else in mind when they said it. I think they mean keep code quality very high. Keep the code supported with unit and acceptance tests. Take steps to validate each and every user story. It tells testers to get involved earlier and more continuously. It tells developers to develop with a higher attention to quality. (Apparently developers would be developing crap otherwise?)

Which is all well and good, but isn’t there something missing? Hello? Product Documentation?? Regardless of his omission (an oversight, I’m sure) If you are involved in a software team using any form of iterative, Agile development then give it a read.

Collison’s Ignorance Spiral
After every release cycle has been complete, we undertake a Retrospective, looking back at what went badly and what went well, with the aim of carrying forward the lessons learned into the next release. I think we are pretty good at it but some of what Chris says is interesting:

Iโ€™ve been in a number of lessons learned reviews where the intent of the meeting seems to be catharsis for the team or compliance with the process, rather than learning for the organisation.

Is that such a bad thing? Sometimes the discussion is more important than the outcome, and if the team needs catharsis then surely it’s better to provide an outlet for it? Admittedly I’m taking what Chris wrote and skewing it somewhat, but he makes some good points.

Top 10 Distraction Stoppers
Nice list of useful applications, particularly item 5 “Minimise your Word Processor”. One of the commenters suggested an application called q10 as an alternative to Darkroom for Windows.

I’ve been trying out q10 recently, mainly for the posts on this blog and for an article I’m currently writing, but I’ve slowly been extending it to other things and I have to say it is very effective. It takes a bit of getting used to but if you have problems focussing on your writing, and I mean REALLY focussing, then it might be worth a look.

Project Blogs, Email and Dual Collaboration Channels
Written in response to a separate post, this paragraph leapt out at me:

A larger question is how to efficiently manage processes that, for historic or practical reasons, require collaboration among multiple communities that maintain a mix of potentially incompatible formal and informal communication processes.

It’s something that we repeatedly visit at my place of work, we have a very successful wiki, and we’ve started to ponder if there are other tools out there that might benefit us in other ways.

In my head there is a need for something like Twitter but with the ability to post slightly large amounts of information (not much, say double the character count). That way anyone can post a quick thought for the consumption of others. Very informal but possibly a good way to capture the myriad of ideas that are generated each day?

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Long time blogger, Father of Jack, geek of many things, random photographer and writer of nonsense.

Doing my best to find a balance.

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