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Cecil G. Williams

Agile Coach | Software Craftsman | Mentor/Teacher | Consultant – passionate about software engineering practices

Agile 2013: My Favorite Quotes

agile2013logoDon’t deliver the wrong thing faster. ~ David Hussman

Why do we call them requirements? They’re not required. They’re best guesses. ~ Gabrielle Benefield

Stop trying to sell agile. ~ Christopher Avery

Learn from estimates, not to estimate. ~ David Hussman

Doing agile is not being agile. ~ Michael Sahota

Crowds are not collaboration. ~ David Hussman

When a measure becomes a target it ceases to be a valid measure. ~ Michael (Doc) Norton

8th Graders Learn Technology

From July 16th – 18th, 2013, twenty-two 8th graders from the Des Moines Public Schools participated in a Tech Camp sponsored by @tecjourney. The camp provided the students a chance to learn technology, similar to sports camps that are offered during the summer.

Tech Journey is a non-profit organization that relied on volunteers and donations to support the Tech Camp. The tech camp used a three-day format with two half-day sessions on different technologies such as computer programming, web page design, video editing, and 3D printing. The sessions were taught by volunteers from the local technical community. For example, I introduced the students to computer programming using Scratch, developed by MIT.


An open house was held at the end of the third day so that the students could show off what they had learned to their family and friends. The open house was also attended by local supporters of the tech camp, including Gary Scholten from Principal Financial Group and Matt Vincent from Source Allies, Inc.

Tech Journey is planning future events throughout the year leading up to Tech Camp 2014. Year two of the camp will allow the returning students to learn more about their favorite technology while a new set of students will begin their journey.

As Tech Camp expands we will need more volunteers and donations.  If you would like to donate or volunteer to help please visit the Tech Journey website.


No Estimates?

Over the last year or so software development estimates have become a popular topic.  The popularity stems from the inherent fact that estimating software development is difficult.  Some people are writing about ways to improve your estimates while others are writing about how to manage software development without estimates.

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ThoughtWorks releases ebook on Agile Project Estimation

ThoughWorks Studios has released an ebook titled “How do you estimate on an Agile project?” where they explore common approaches and their adaptions from real-world projects.  The book is comprised of several authors, most notably Martin Fowler. In this ebook they discuss why teams estimate, different methods that teams use to estimate, and provide a couple of case studies.

The most interesting part of this ebook for me was the case study of the Mingle project.  That case study determined that a burn-up chart created using the actual story estimates was the same as a burn-up chart created by simply using the number of stories!  The Mingle team attributed this to the fact that over time they normalized their stories to all be about the same size. The Mingle team does continue to estimate because they find the conversations useful. However, they found that the estimates didn’t provide any additional value so they have abandoned using the estimates.

Fun Agile Project Memento

Last fall I was at my daughter’s college homecoming celebration where I saw an Action Flipbooks booth.  Seeing them record a short video of you and then create a flipbook for you on the spot led me to an idea.

One of the things that I like most about agile software development is the feedback.  Big visible charts give the team an easy way of knowing exactly what the project status is.  The storyboard shows everyone the progress as the project moves along, which gives the team the satisfaction of seeing the backlog dwindle. 

So take a photograph of your storyboard every day.  At the end of the project, assemble the photographs and build a flipbook for each team member as a memento of the project.  As you flip through the book, you will see your project’s progress right in front of your eyes!

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