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A Pair of Kings Beats A Single Ace: Pair Programming, Agile Rails, and You

A lot of pair programming chatter this week. Starting with a New York times article describing pair programming at Hashrocket. It’s an interesting article, with a tone that could be described as “anthropologist describing the strange, yet quaint customs of the native tribe” Obie Fernandez followed up with a list of 10 reasons why pairing doesn’t work in most cases. It’s actually a list o
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Getting a team over the fear of daily scrums

If my previous post about the value of agile meetings over traditional status meetings got you interested, I want to share a common pattern of behavior I often see from teams trying scrums for the first time. Hopefully you can avoid these and save yourself some time. For new teams to Agile the statuses given in scrums are generally … well … lies. “Yep, on time. No obstacles.” I was once told by a colleague that, “You
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Agile Development and Play: Understanding the Value

My Addiction I’m addicted to TED talks. There have been many nights where I’ve stayed up way too late watching them. For those who are unaware, TED is a yearly conference where world leaders and thinkers gather to share their ideas and spread their passions and work. I’m someone who gets fired up listening to outher people’s passions. I love hearing about what gets other people excited, what m
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Does your project have Code Ownership Culture?

Code Ownership is a well known term in software development. Depending on how you define it, it may be a good thing or bad. When a developer sees code-ownership as him/her owning a piece of codebase that only he/she understands enough to make changes, it is generally a bad thing. It is only when everybody is free to modify the code with a sense of responsibility that he/she should leave the code cleaner than how they
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Agile 2009: A reminder of why each team needs leadership

Last week I presented at Agile 2009 a workshop for those new to Agile entitled: The Agile Game: An Experiential Workshop. I love this workshop because it allows those new to Agile to experience the rhythm of an agile project in action and learn first hand many of the practices in a non-threatening, non-technical, and fun way. I have used this workshop for clients a number of times and it works. The feedback from this
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Kanban for Bench Projects

photo credit: alq666 As a software development company, we mostly work on client projects. Occasionally one project doesn’t start right when another ends. In that short interval, we would like to work on something useful — in house products, R&D projects, etc.. Unfortunately, we can’t run these “bench” projects the way we run a normal project. We can’t do two or even one week i
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Chiphone Meeting: Chicago iPhone user group gets its TDD on

Eric Smith from 8th light gave a hands-on TDD presentation at last night’s Chiphone meeting, hosted at Obtiva’s downtown office, (conveniently located near the the train). There was a good crowd of people, most attendees have ‘played around’ with iphone development, 4 have actively developed apps (3 people have live apps in the store).  From my quick survey of those that have submitted apps, i
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Building a High Performance Agile Team: Assume You Will Be a One Hit Wonder

One thing about agile teams is that they constantly strive to get better. In my experience an Agile team takes 2-4 iterations to work through the forming stage. By iteration 10 or so the team is past forming and storming and is well into norming. At this stage the team is often moving fast enough or better than expected for the business’ needs. Now the team faces a dilemma: How to become a high performance team and w
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Software Development and Wasted Motion

All the good stories in agile software development start “three manufacturing efficiency experts walk into a bar…” But seriously, I think it’s clear that software development has a greater affinity to manufacturing than to construction. So, its good to see the Lean and manufacturing folks get a little blog buzz over at AgileSoftwareDevelopment.com with Jack Milunky’s post The 7 Software
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Agile Fundamentals: The Feedback Loop

When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. — John Wooden photo credit: mister b 1138 A few weeks ago I had a discussion with some colleagues on the adoption of Agile within large corporations. The consensus was that Agile was almost always adapted rather than adopted — that is, companies exclude those practices that conflict with corporate culture, modify those that seem too impracti
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