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Christmas Tree Lights: An Analogy

December 1, 2008 — Posted by Scott Bain

With the holidays coming on, many of us are heading up to the attic to retrieve the boxes of decorations that have been waiting all year to be called into service again. In my family we put up and decorate a Christmas tree each year, but I suspect Hanukah and Kwanza, etc… have their festive ornaments too, and probably electric lights are involved.

One thing I'll do this year, as I do every year, is to lay out the strings of lights on my coffee table and plug them all in, to see if any of them fails to illuminate.

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Waterfall, Lean and Manufacturing. Idle thoughts.

November 28, 2008 — Posted by Al Shalloway

I’ve been reading “Managing the Design Factory” by Donald Reinertsen.  There is an interesting observation he makes.  In manufacturing, you know all of your requirements up front.  Whereas, when you are doing design, you know very little up front with most of the requirements being known about a third of the way through.  Don’t get hung up on exactly when you know – as long as you agree that in designing a product, you don’t know it all up front.

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Reflections on two conferences, the Rise and Fall of Agile and Banned in Boston Redux

November 19, 2008 — Posted by Al Shalloway

This weekend was the fitting climax for my having attended and presented at two conferences in the last couple of weeks.  First, was the regional Much Ado About Agile presented by Agile Vancouver.  Second was my favorite conference of the year, SQE's Agile Development Practices.

Much Ado About Agile was a pleasant surprise.  More attendees than I thought and a great group of presenters – including David Anderson, Ken Schwaber, Sanjiv Augustine, Philipe Krutchen, David Hussman, Jim Shore and others. I'm afraid I couldn't attend as many sessions as I would have liked to but I liked what I saw. 

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Adapter and Facade

November 3, 2008 — Posted by Scott Bain

Comparing Two Patterns: Adapter and Façade

(Note: if you are unfamiliar with these patterns, you can read about them at our pattern repository)

One reason people often struggle to understand how to get real value from patterns is that sometimes two or more of them can look, at first glance, extremely similar. When I'm teaching patterns, people will very often point out how similar the Strategy and Bridge patterns are, or the Decorator and Chain of Responsibility, or the Factory Method and Abstract Factory, etc…

Usually this is because people often confuse the example of the pattern that's being presented to them with the pattern itself. Patterns are neither UML diagrams nor code examples; they are a higher concept that captures best practices, domain and implementation forces, and the consequences (both benefits and costs) of certain decisions. Diagrams and code are simply representations of the patterns, and are always more specific and narrow than the patterns themselves are.

This misunderstanding is an opportunity, however, because when we compare two patterns that appear similar and determine how they are actually different, we can sometimes dramatically enrich our understanding of them.

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Is Scrum Failing Us?

October 12, 2008 — Posted by Al Shalloway

Any skill that is really useful in life takes time to master. Sometimes, when you are first learning, you can make great progress. The danger is thinking that your surface understanding is deeper than it is. Wise people will keep pressing in to learn and improve so that they can handle the inevitable challenges.  You need to be prepared when the crisis comes - that's not the time to begin the preparations.

Scrum is a really useful approach. It seems simple and yet it, too, requires skill and determination. How many people have taken a two-day "Mastering Scrum" course and think they can go forth and do it... only to struggle and even fail? The superficial understanding they receive from many Scrum trainings underprepares them. We know this, and yet there is still this belief in the Scrum community that a simple approach is sufficient. It is not. You have to keep learning. To be prepared, you do have to understand the principles and practices so that you can adapt and address the challenges you will face.

In this blog entry, I want to mention some misunderstandings I have seen many people in the industry have and how we, as practitioners, can get beyond them. I have also included a few things many Scrum trainers believe that I don't agree with.

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Blog Authors

Al Shalloway
Business, Operations, Process, Sales, Agile Design and Patterns, Personal Development, Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Kanban Method, Scrum, Scrumban, XP
Cory Foy
Change Management, Innovation Games, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile
Guy Beaver
Business and Strategy Development, Executive Management, Management, Operations, DevOps, Planning/Estimation, Change Management, Lean Implementation, Transitioning to Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Scrum
Israel Gat
Business and Strategy Development, DevOps, Lean Implementation, Agile, Lean, Kanban, Scrum
Jim Trott
Business and Strategy Development, Analysis and Design Methods, Change Management, Knowledge Management, Lean Implementation, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile, Workflow, Technical Writing, Certifications, Coaching, Mentoring, Online Training, Professional Development, Agile, Lean-Agile, SAFe, Kanban
Ken Pugh
Agile Design and Patterns, Software Design, Design Patterns, C++, C#, Java, Technical Writing, TDD, ATDD, Certifications, Coaching, Mentoring, Professional Development, Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Kanban Method, Scrum, Scrumban, XP
Marc Danziger
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Max Guernsey
Analysis and Design Methods, Planning/Estimation, Database Agility, Design Patterns, TDD, TDD Databases, ATDD, Lean-Agile, Scrum
Scott Bain
Analysis and Design Methods, Agile Design and Patterns, Software Design, Design Patterns, Technical Writing, TDD, Coaching, Mentoring, Online Training, Professional Development, Agile
Steve Thomas
Business and Strategy Development, Change Management, Lean Implementation, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile
Tom Grant
Business and Strategy Development, Executive Management, Management, DevOps, Analyst, Analysis and Design Methods, Planning/Estimation, Innovation Games, Lean Implementation, Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, Kanban