Archive for the 'people & systems' Category

You don’t know what you’ve got until you get it

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

While I was on holiday, Marc started creating a new product from scratch. He’d been walking around with a problem he wanted to solve and couldn’t find anything that he liked. Marc also wanted to try out the Scala programming language, to see if it would be worth using, and thought nothing helps you focus more than building an actual product.

I didn’t get it. But I gave Marc a hand anyway, because we had previously decided that QWAN values:

supporting someone who has a passion over discussing the business case at length

Variazione in scala di grigiVariazione in scala di grigi by Eric Perrone

Why didn’t I get it?


Agile Open Spain, 23 & 24 October 2009

Monday, August 17th, 2009

It’s cool to see more spaces opening, the spanish agile user group is hosting Agile Open Spain, 23 & 24 October 2009 .

Xavier Quesada Allue tells me this will be mostly in Spanish. My Spanish stops around ‘donda esta el bano’ and ‘hola’, unfortunately. If yours goes further, this might be for you. Madrid as a location is attractive, and should be easy to reach. No doubt the organisation will be very good as well, and the event is for free!

electronic waterfall

electronic waterfall by curly_exp( l)osure

In the meantime, if you speak english, why not attend Agile Open Holland – my named cloud is bigger than yours, or is it?, September 10 & 11? Registrations are going fast. At last count we had over 50 participants, with space for about 80. As in previous years it’s looking to attract a good mix of old & new faces, all equally fanatical about uncovering better ways to develop software. It’s not free, but we kept registrations low enough – we hope the value for money makes it a no-brainer; the fee covers part of the costs, but its’ main purpose is to prevent no-shows, so that everybody who wants to attend, can attend. I hope to see you there!

Madrid scenes de rueMadrid scenes de rue by George Eastman House

ten years of XTC

Friday, August 14th, 2009

London’s eXtreme Tuesday Club celebrated it’s ten year anniversary last tuesday. Unfortunately I could not be there, so I’m celebrating here, beer in hand, as one should – I find the weekly meetings in a pub with eXtremely interesting folks and the conferences (XP Days) that are organized around it refreshing.


Refreshing by Louise Docker


The risk of not writing

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

I’m back from holiday and looking to get my swing back with writing.

perfect strangerperfect stranger by daniel sandoval

Before the holiday I wanted to write a post on agile software development and risk management, but it seems the dog ate my fieldstones for that, so I’ll write about the risk of not writing instead.

I liked Johanna Rothman’s advice in The Gift of Time

The best way to prevent writers block is to write

For me it seems writing alone is not enough, it is publishing that gives me focus to go for it. A large collection of notes seems to hinder publishing, because it means I have to chose which of the notes to work into a post, which might mean procrastination. Call it publishers’ block instead of writers’ block if you want, but the end result is the same – less interesting things published than possible. I get around to posting event announcements and reports of those events, because there is some time pressure: announcements after the fact don’t make sense, and reports are more interesting for readers during or right after the event.

Even the draft for this post has been laying around since before my holiday and it contained this advice by Mike Cottmeyer :

It took weeks to write a post because I wanted everything to be perfect… I couldn’t let anything go. The guy I was working for at the time gave me the best advice ever… he told me to get over it. That’s easier said that done… but you know what… that is just what I did. I got over it and started writing.

So I’m taking that piece of advice right now, and may take the next one:

Try to limit your writing to two hours. [...]The idea is that you want to set limits and create a little pressure to perform.

I know from my coaching practice that setting defined timeboxes helps, doing it regularly: even better. How that works and to what I’m applying it right now, I’ll write now publish about it later :)

Come defend ‘your named cloud’ at Agile Open Holland

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Marc already has the scoop, details and a pretty word cloud to explain the theme, so I’ll keep it short and simple. The next Agile Open conference in the Netherlands will be September 10 & 11, in Baarn.

We chose the theme ‘my method is bigger than yours… or is it?’ because it seems that as this agile software development thing goes mainstream more and more people lose sight of what we perceived was one of the underlying goals of the Agile Manifesto: get continuous experimentation and learning going by developing software and helping others do it across communities – hence the signing by people involved in all ‘lightweight’ methodologies at the time. We like the Named clouds meme and hope it spurs some discussions.

Even if this theme does not speak to you, come to Agile Open Holland anyway – anything goes, and new cloud formations are likely to form during the conference. Named ones in the sessions and the hallways, unnamed ones in the sky (we do hope the sun shines most of the time though..).

new new Newsletter

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

A newsletter is much like software – if you create a larger batch of items, the work grows more than linearly (editing, translating, scrolling, selecting). It’s still worth it though – creating the newsletter on a regular basis helps to reflect on what we’ve done, but also creates focus: what are we going to do or research to make the next one interesting…. The positive response we’ve gotten so far also helps. Marc was kind enough to create a wordle to reveal more of the content:

QWAN newsletter topics, according to wordle

QWAN newsletter topics, according to wordle

Maybe because of the delay (we skipped May eventually) we not only have more items, they are also longer. We try to keep the newsletter short, but the things we discussed at conferences and while making the product development training gave us some inspiration to explain some topics in more detail. If the topics pique your interest, you can read it online or subscribe.

New new new! Product development game at XP2009

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

The “New New NEW! Product development game” is a simulation we are developing. Participants experience various agile planning practices, so that they can create a development strategy that fits their needs, rather than following some arbitrary rules out of a book. Last week at XP2009 we did the first public run. Here is a brief report accompanied by photos from that workshop. (more…)

xp2009 beach photos

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

One of the things that made the xp2009 conference exceed my expectations was the beach. Here you can see photos from thursday, May 28th – Patrick Kua hosted an Open Space session on ” is there a lean versus agile versus kanban divide?” that turned into one of the best sessions of the conference. The guys from agical organized an unplanned barbecue, which was great; most participants were there, and the hotel management was very supportive.

I’ll process and post the rest of the photos when time permits – I decided not to do everything in a big batch this time ;) (which sometimes means the batch never gets executed and photos are not published). Tomorrow Marc and I depart to Luzern, Switzerland for the first instance of our Agile Product Development training, so there is not much time left.

Beyond Agile: Cultural Patterns video on InfoQ

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

In our quest to put into words and pictures how important context is to choose practices, to show that there is no one-size-fits all solution for process and change strategy, Marc Evers and me went on tour last year with a presentation on Cultural Patterns. Take a look over at InfoQ – Beyond Agile: Cultural Patterns.

Willem and Marc introduce cultural patterns that can be found in software organizations. By understanding the cultural patterns then you can better adapt your practices. (more…)

XP2009 – workshops and tutorials kick ass by the sea

Friday, May 1st, 2009

I haven’t gone to XP200* for a while. This year is different :)   It has a very strong programme with an excellent balance between practitioner workshops and tutorials and a more focused academic track. Amongst other things, sessions by agile regulars like Jeff Patton on User Story Mapping, David Anderson on Kanban, the Poppendiecks on Lean, Diana Larsen on Retrospectives, Steve Freeman on Mocks, american Mike Hill on CRRAP as well as  workshops by  people you may not yet have heard about: the Scrum Board Game by Wim van de Goor and Stefan van den Oord looked like a lot of fun at the last XP Days Benelux, and the Agile Analysis tutorial by Joke Vandemaele should be very good as well – she is part of a ‘new wave’ of what I call example driven business analysts (a shorter version will also run at mini XP Days in Mechelen, May 11). And there is an Open Space of course, for the latest and greatest insights and the most difficult of problems.

It’s back in Sardinia, in the beautiful town of Pula so the place itself is worth a visit – I was in Sardinia once for XP2001 – it is stunning.

looking to the Sea from Pula fourtress by Alistair Young

Temple of Augustus, Pula by yellow book ltd.

Temple of Augustus, Pula by yellow book ltd

Sunset in Pula by toucego.
Sunset in Pula by Nelson Martin
I’m going to xp2009 learn from the best, and make some photos of my own. I look forward to meeting you there!