Archive for November, 2007

Your place or Mine?

Thursday, November 29th, 2007


It’s the Return of the Naked Agilists. What? In case you haven’t guessed ;) it’s a conference. A different one. You can attend this conference from the comfort of your own home- you only need Skype to be able to attend.  Save the date now:

Date:     Saturday 19-Jan-08
Time:   20:00 GMT – 21:30 GMT
Venue:  Your place, or mine

You’ve got until the end of December to propose a few-minute presentation or a one minute question. After review, the most interesting ones will be put on the agenda.

Thanks to Kevin Rutherford for bringing this to my attention.

I’ve just returned to the comfort of my own home, after staying in the comfort of other people’s homes and hotels around XP days London. I’m planning to procrastinating on writing about XP Days, a guest lecture plus live coding on Test Driven Development at the university of Bath, upcoming coding dojos (public ones in the Netherlands, and another one live at the BBC).

More later, perhaps. I was afraid expecting it would be difficult to keep posting a blog entry every day while on the road. I was right… I get more out of conferences by being fully present at the location (real or virtual) and not splitting my attention over the conference, e-mail and blog posting.

Smidig 2007 – More agile open space

Friday, November 9th, 2007

Reading the title you might go, what on earth is Smidig? Well, let me help you:

“Smidig 2007 er Norges første konferanse rundt smidig systemutviklin”

I guess that means:

“Agile 2007 is the first conference in Norway on agile systems development”

(Smidig might also mean Lean, I cna’t quite make that out from the context. Agile was my best guess)

And it gets better:

“Begge dager vil bestå av Lightning Talks før lunsj og Open Space etter lunsj”

Wich probably means:

“Both days will consist of Lightning Talks before lunch, and Open Space after lunch”

Now for the disclaimer: I don’t speak Norwegian, nor have I ever been to Norway. However, I do understand lunch (and I have been to lunch) ;) – and lunch is written as some people in the Netherlands pronounce it…

This looks like a promising conference format – the Lightning Talks are probably submitted fairly just in time, and feed the Open Space, which is, as always, as just-in-time as it gets. If you actually understand what is written on the Smidig 2007 page, I recommend you go there, November 26 and 27 in Oslo, Norway.

this picture from who seem to be ‘cake builders’ doing ‘fast delivery’ . Fitting :)

November seems agile conference month, there’s a lot going on… One could theoretically continue on from XPDays Germany 2007 before the weekend to Smidig after the weekend and then on to AgileNorth 2007 in Manchester on the 29th.

… Smidigs’ conference format seems to be ‘more than two days, more eXtreme than XP days‘ .

Or not? I’ll be co-hosting an open space during XP days Benelux next week. Deb Hartman recently ran an open space at XP Day Manhattan 2007 . XP Days London seems to be missing an open space, but it has… The Pub ;) .

And there is the virtual world wide open space called the internet…. the latest edition of carnival of the agilists is out, featuring my post on making more money without certification, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock on Challenges When Communicating Designs, Michael Feathers on Elegant Byte Counting, and something about remote work and not washing down shavings in the laundry room.

Check carnival of the agilists out, ladies and gentleman. And then book a place at a Smidig or XP days near you, before heading out for the weekend… :)

The joy of Refactoring – Reveal intentions

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

three programmes staring at code, going - ohhh. Text on photo says: Reveal intentions - write code for who comes after you, not the computer.



This is a slide I made for a workshop on Refactoring Legacy Systems I ran yesterday. I love the puzzled look on their faces.

The photo was made in the open space at agile2007, featuring JB Rainsberger and two others (sorry, remembering names at large events like agile200* is difficult for me – the guy in the middle was a volunteer in a session I co-hosted at agile2006).

The agile2008 call for participation is out, to give you an idea what is going to happen. Major change for next year is the idea of stages, each stage with a specific theme.


Close to my heart is of course:


Agile and Organizational Culture
Producer: Marc Evers; Assistant Producer: Linda Rising
Agile is not only about changing the way you work and changing the way you think – doing agile in a sustainable way requires changing principles and values. An agile initiative doesn’t take place in a vacuum, it has to interface with the existing organizational culture. It will influence the organizational context and the other way around. This stage provides a space for discussions, teaching, learning, and sharing experiences about agile and organizational culture.

Space for new session organisers and pushing the envelope:

Breaking Acts
Producer: Laurent Bossavit
Agile as it stands today is still a work in progress. For Agile software development to remain relevant, it must incorporate new ideas continuously. This stage is for speakers who bring a fresh and surprising look to aspects of Agile we thought familiar, and speakers interested in ideas that are relevant to Agile but not accepted yet as “mainstream”. First-time speakers are particularly welcome.

And of course, another Open Space :)

Open Jam
Producer: Esther Derby
The regular program presents a wide range of presentations and experiential sessions. The Open Jam stage is a place to share questions and quandaries, talk to the experts, demonstrate software and techniques, and experiment with emerging Agile practices and ideas.

There’s also a francophone stage, hosted by Emmanuel Gaillot, since Agile2008 will be in Toronto, Canada. I will be visiting Toronto December 6 through 9 for an agile alliance board meeting – that way, board members involved in the conference organisation can combine two things in a trip. Let me know if you’re in the area and would like to go for a beer :)

Make more money, get not certified…

Monday, November 5th, 2007

Joaquim Bonet i Chambó 14-2-1817I’m not a big fan of certification, for various reasons. And now I’ve added another reason:

Mark Gallagher posted Noncertified IT pros earn more than those with certified skills, report shows

The report Mark Gallagher mentions seems to focus on linux skills. I hope it indicates a wider trend – companies looking for creative, inventive people who know how to do research, over people who wave a certificate.

From Marks post:

“A new report from industry research firm Foote Partners LLC finds that the average pay for noncertified IT skills topped that for certified professionals while compensation for IT jobs increased again in the third quarter of 2007. [...]

In May, Foote Partners reported a 9.1% increase in average salary among 149 noncertified IT skills over the last year, according to their IT skills pay survey.

[...]Foote Partners has been reporting that pay for noncertified IT professionals has been steadily increasing, while compensation for certified IT skills has been steadily declining for more than a year.”

Further Reading: Nynke Fokma lists possible advantages in favour of ‘certified agile professionals’ in Certifiblation:

“Command recognition from customers, clients, executives, managers, coaches, consultants, and other developers.”

I recognize people who wave a certificate. Probably not in the way they would like ;) It seems employers are doing the same….

In a follow-up post, Marc Gallagher quotes Bernard Golden:

Golden points out that certification is only good for demonstrating ability in established, commodified skills. The job market has shifted away from “standard issue stuff” in the industry, which demanded basic skills from large numbers of employees and Golden said those days are long gone. Drawn to certified credentials are organizations that still require professionals who can perform basic skills (cost centers, for example).

I value creativity and the ability to overcome obstacles over certification. What do you value?

Credits:Joaquim Bonet i Chambó 14-2-1817 (birth certificate) by art_es_anna

Upgrading WordPress…

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

I’ve upgraded wordpress (the software that runs me.andering). Still not sure why – the nice tag cloud display (ultimate tag warrior) is probably going to disappear for a while… WordPress seems to eat its’ young in a way, by adding tag support as part of the basic package. I’m still fiddling with the theme, so you may see some changes now and then…

Main reason to upgrade: I find it best to keep up to date, to keep the spammers out… As of recently, it has become easier to upgrade wordpress, by checking a stable branch out with subversion.

It is also a good excuse to try a new theme. Let me know what you think!

((Inter)National) Blog Writing Month;)

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Blogging, it’s not just for (US) Americans anymore ;)

dutch flag, with ’sheep clouds’ behind it

“Originally orange-white-blue, the Dutch flag first appeared in the 17th century as a symbol of the resistance to Spanish rule.The Dutch flag – Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

eXperience Agile newsletter

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

The next eXperience Agile training is December 12, 13 and 14 near Eindhoven. We’ve created an e-mail newsletter to keep everyone interested more in the loop on upcoming agile courses and conferences. The first edition is about XP days Benelux and London – enjoy XP Days – register while you still can…


Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Yesterday saw the trial run of People vs Process: Cultural Patterns of Software Organisations. We had a lively session with eleven active and critical (in a good sense) participants. We got useful feedback for the next rounds, and a solution for a puzzle we couldn’t solve before: an example organization with a congruent culture.

congruent? by daden

congruent? by Alexander Aden

As Nynke Fokma puts it:

“Congruent culture: starship enterprise -> when going somewhere, we can go where no one has gone before, we can carry anything and we can beam ourselves anywhere, but this is all science fiction, or is it”

As Jerry Weinberg describes it:

“Everyone is involved in improving everything all the time.”

So far we had come up with Toyota as a possibility. However, I’m a bit wary of using Toyota as an example – the risk of a Toyota cargo cult in IT is slightly too big to use it all the time. Searching around, you can find gems like Two Faced Toyota :

“Meanwhile, Toyota’s playing footsie with federal regulations. Their Texas-built pickup hits dealer showrooms in February– at the same time other manufacturers are beginning to introduce some of their 2008 models. But Toyota is adamant the new Tundra is an ’07. That’s because the U.S. government is changing the way they calculate the fuel mileage ratings for ‘08 model year pickups. [..]

As you can imagine, Toyota’s heavy emphasis on their new gas-guzzling leviathan hasn’t gone unnoticed by auto-oriented environmentalists. In fact, environmental groups are finally facing reality: their automotive eco-darling is (gasp!) nothing more than a business. A business that conforms to all CAFE regulations, of course, but will do whatever it takes to make a profit. “

Porsche came up as a possible alternative, now the most profitable car maker. I read about it in the financial times, and should have kept a clipping. They say so themselves in the Porsche Principle, and this:

“On the labour market, because to secure our long-term success we don’t eliminate jobs, we secure and create them. On the business base issue, because we are committed to Germany and are a constant reminder to others that one can succeed here too. “

Sounds good, but whenever I see one of their gaz-guzzling high speed SUV’s pass by, I don’t know. Not bad for a car maker, and very effective and efficient. But still a car maker.

A participant suggested Semco. Marc and I went… Duh! We knew about that one, but somehow it didn’t come up during the preparation. Semco is a federated business, operating out of Brasil. It’s ceo Ricardo Semler wrote about it in the Seven Day Weekend :

“At the risk of offering a description, Semco is a federation of businesses with a minimum common denominator. What I mean is we are not monolithic, yet there are common themes and threads uniting us. All our business units are highly engineered, premium providers and market leaders in their niches. We haven’t ventured into any of them by chance.”

From their values page:

10 – Have the humility to recognize our errors and understanding that we can always improve.

Sounds close enough.

So, now we’re still looking for examples of a congruent culture example in IT or electronics. Or something to dispell our happy feeling about Semco. Anyone?