Friday, January 28, 2011

Presenting At ADC 2011

I’m very excited about this. I’ll be presenting at the Advanced Developers Conference 2011, Munich, Germany. Check out the schedule on the site.ADC_Sprecherteaser_140x100

I’ll be giving two presentations: The first one about unit testing SharePoint applications, and the second one about techniques for multithreaded software.

Also, I’m planning to attend a .NET Coding Dojo Group event at Microsoft Munich on Monday the 14th.

Do you want to meet up? Leave a comment below and I’ll be in touch!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Craftsmen After Work

 

It was a great night of new matrix films, dynamic languages, general geekery and definitely good eats.  Uncle Bob Martin, Brett Shuchert, and a bunch of Israeli craftsmen (I’m still on probation due to my latest posts) sat, ate, drank and had a fine night.

Guys, thanks for a great evening, and I hope to meet you again when you come back!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Language Divide

divide-by-zeroIn my last post, I warned against the dangers of the craftsmanship movement to itself. The main premise behind this warning  is that business and developers don’t speak the same language. And since business has the upper hand, role power, money – business always wins.

Martin Fowler’s post, Craftsmanship and the Crevasse, looks at the origins of this struggle, and how the craftsmanship movement evolved from there. Martin talks about the divide between developers and customers. Agile was intended to help bridge the divide. However, something happened on the way to paradise.

Developer practices lost to the management processes. Uncle Bob Martin goes even further to say: agile was left on one side of crevasse, while the project managers were on the other side.  Why did scrum win? It’s easier to understand and sell to managers. Agile values are described in their language.

Once scrum won, the next step was, of course, certification. Just as scrum makes sense to managers, in terms of practices, certification makes sense as well – that’s how we rated and hired people for years. It worked so well in the past, and it’s doing pretty well now.

The lean and kanban methodologies are rising in the ranks. Certifications already appear in the wild. They don’t look like the SCT program. Yet. But like I said last time – give it  a couple of years. The evolution already started.

While certification doesn’t make sense to developers it doesn’t mean there’s no certification waiting for them in the future. Have you taken a look at  Ken Schwaber’s endeavor – Professional Scrum Developer Certification? With Microsoft’s backing it just might work!

Just?

When budgets are ready, you can bet developers will invest in it, and managers will send their developers to these quick courses. Because until managers learn a different language,  or developers will take on business roles (which means that they will speak another language) that’s how business people continue to talk, hire, manage and make decisions.

Let’s summarize.

We started from the split between developers and customers. Developers then split between into XP and scrum. Now there’s the craftsmen and the anti-craftsmen. On the other side, there are the tribes of certification and anti-certificationists. We really have come along way in ten years.

This post is not about the failure of agile. Agile is a good idea. But we’re apparently doing it wrong. Instead of building the bridge, we’re grouping and regrouping with different flags, missing the point.

Uncle Bob says that each side should congratulate the other side on doing a good job building the bridge. I say: Let’s start by understanding the language and motivation of the other side.

It’s much easier to build the bridge when everyone talking the same language.

Gil Zilberfeld

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Path Already Taken

been thereI’ve gone from Michael Feathers’ post to Dan North’s post and then to Jason Gorman’s. If I need to choose a side, I’m definitely on Dan North’s side. 

As I was reading these posts,they seemed familiar. The holy wars and the calls to stop them, the call to better developers to separate themselves from the commons, forget the factions and concentrate on software..

And then it hit me!  

I recognized the resemblance of the craftsmanship movement to another movement: Alt.Net. It started out with good intentions, talked itself to death, and was finally left to itself, isolated in its ivory tower.

Craftsmanship is different? Let’s talk in five years.

This time the movement is led by great people, established in the community. They’re talking about values, that make sense. They gather followers, and in time, some protest. Looks like a great start, a speedy one.

That’s how alt.net started out. Although it has not “failed”, it’s considered elitist, separated from the developer community, and basically, not considered a group anymore. It disintegrated. You can check out my impressions from my last alt.net meeting to see where it’s going.

Only this time it’s worse.

Alt.net rose against Microsoft, an easy target. The craftsmanship movement puts software practices first. It can and will alienate client - the people actually paying for their software. And although Uncle Bob has given his view of how a craftsman helps the business, he’s in the minority of even talking on the subject. That’s not how craftsmen are perceived. Their “software practices first” message will put them second in the race for hiring.

I like the alt.net crowd, same as a I like to craftsmanship crowd. They are smart, good people. They are my crowd. And since you are my crowd – heed my warning:

Identify the signs. In a few years, you’ll be looking for a different flag.

Gil Zilberfeld

Monday, January 10, 2011

How Discipline Can Save You!

disciplineIn the last few weeks, we were hit by the flu. Many (including myself) have fallen before the mighty bug. Even after coming back from their sick bed, people have gone off for a second or even a third round. And lost.

And the few that remained on their feet, need to carry on with our development, support and sales efforts. You can imagine, how an half-empty office (a new populated one) is the new home for people running around trying to do quadruple work.

You may find it hard to believe, but it is also a source of pressure. Different people react differently to pressure, some better than others. But even those who welcome stress, are bound to lose the one thing keeping them honest – discipline.

Discipline is what helps us stick to processes – those we believe brings us value.

It’s very easy to miss stand-up meetings, when you’re running around from one meeting to another. Yet, those short meetings are the ones where we can find assistance from peers.

It’s very easy to not put on the kanban board support tasks, and just handle them “invisibly”. Yet if we put the tasks on the board, we’ll actually advertise how bad the situation is, and can get help.

It’s very easy to skip writing tests, and skip running them, instead go head long into cowboy coding. Yet, if we wrote the tests, we’d actually catch the bugs we’ll enter. When we’re under pressure, chances are we’ll make more mistakes. Tests will catch them.

It’s really easy to jump into freestyle. We can always justify it – not enough time, not enough people. And don’t get me started about the government. But if we have enough discipline, we can actually get ahead. It’s not as easy – but it’s much more valuable.

(This post is dedicated to its writer – Gil, remember: DISCIPLINE).

Gil Zilberfeld

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Weekend Activity: Mental Overload

brainApparently, I’ve become addicted to my task list.

My latest “things that work” to juggle tasks works great. Except when it doesn’t.

When’s that? Weekends.

I took precautions to have the ability to write down tasks when I’m away from my computer. But, I still manage to think about things to do when I’m not there (that’s me, love me for what I am).

And then things are starting to happen inside my head. Wonderful thoughts. Questions like: what should I do first when I get to the office? How should I divide my time next week? Is this thing that I’ve just thought of really that important, and maybe I should reconsider that on Sunday? And am I making sure not to forget this by then?

The whole point of my task list is to avoid remembering stuff. It allows me to not think about all things all the time. Without this list, I’m more occupied with trying not to forget, analyzing (and re-analyzing) and jumping to conclusions in the not-so-right state of mind.

(By the way, agile/kanban people: Think that sticky notes are just for visibility? They’re there so you don’t forget about those tasks!)

When I’m away from the list? Mental overload. It really feels a burden to carry all these thoughts and not concentrate on enjoying “The Witcher” (for RPG buffs: the original Witcher. For all others: A time sink).

One thing I’ve started doing is mailing myself these ideas, so when I’m getting back to the office. It helps to a certain extent, but I’m looking for something better.

What’s your solution?

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