Thursday, June 19, 2008

Huitale Launched Nextdoor.fi

Huitale launched Nextdoor.fi friends beta on 15th of June.

I want to share some numbers to shed a light on what and how we did it. I need to stress that we did not have full time developers, only myself as 1 day per week and Roberto on his freetime.

Note that we started the company without computers and network.

Result
After ~70 man days spent on development and infrastructure we launched a consumer website for 100 beta users.

As part of the development we
  • Setup environments (wiki, CI, version control, bugtracking, web servers and database, end-user forum, nightly backups on mirrored network drive)
  • Setup scheduled hardware monitoring (memory, cpu, disk) and application monitoring (exception check)
  • Setup machines (2x Debian laptops)

Scrum
  • 15 Sprints (2 week each, effective 2 working days per sprint per person = 2*2*15 = total 60 man days)
  • Stabilized velocity around 90 story points

Quality
Over 270 automated tests (and over 160 use cases tested)

Code
  • ~7600 Non Commenting Source Statements (NCSS) (+ tons of HTML, not calculated as part of this)
  • ~400 classes

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Scandinavian Agile Conference - get ready

As a member of the organizers I want to promote upcoming agile event.

Here's the official announcement:

Hello all,

A group of Agile Finland members have volunteered to start organizing the first Agile Finland Conference that has been baptised Scandinavian Agile Conference.

The Conference aims to fill-in a gap in the Finnish and Nordic areas where there is little opportunity to listen and discuss with world-class Agile leaders. Through this Conference organization we want to increase the knowledge about Agile and contribute to a faster and wider adoption of Agile Software Development in the Nordic countries. Being, as we are, Agile Finland we also want to provide a unique opportunity for our members to network with each other and other industry experts, in order to build a strong and active Agile community.

The Conference will take place on October 29th and the location will be the Marina Congress Center (www.marinacongresscenter.com). It will comprise three tracks: Awareness, Expert and Open Space.

The Awareness track will concentrate on case studies with Q&A sessions from the Agile change leaders from Scandinavia and elsewhere.

The Expert track will concentrate on more hands-on workshop aimed at people that want to increase their practical knowledge of Agile, this includes methods and skills.

The Open Space track is open to all of the participants, and it's contents are going to be defined on the spot by the participants. The Open Space track has become a key feature of Agile conferences/seminars all over the world and reflect the belief that people know what they need to discuss and would like to have an opportunity to discuss the latest hot topic with other like minded people. In this track you are expected to share your experiences but will also have the opportunity to get feedback on your ideas from real practitioners.

The organizers for the Conference are:
Pekka Abrahamsson, VTT, General Chair
Lasse Ziegler, Agile Finland, Awareness track Chair
Markus Hjort and Marko Taipale, Agile Finland, Expert track Chair
Petri Haapio, Agile Finland, Open Space track Chair
Vasco Duarte, Agile Finland, Organization Chair

All organizers can be reached at: firstname.lastname@... or alternatively at organizers (at) scan-agile dot org

Volunteer needed to maintain web-site:
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For the organization of this Conference to be a success we also need the contribution from the community in many practical issues such as the web-site design/implementation and maintenance. As of now we are asking the community for a volunteer in helping us set-up the Conference web-site which is for now only a landing page (www.scan-agile.org).

If you are interested we can offer you free entrance to the Conference (estimated value: 200 Euros) and a special place in everybody's heart! Let us know of your interest by contacting the Organization Chair (see e-mail above).

Use of "kanban" in software development

I have found presentations about using kanban in software development. Take a look at the slides at Agile North.

I would suggest to try that out in operations and/or support functions. If you have some experience about that, please share :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Introduction to Agile and Lean

I did a brief introduction to agile and lean in HSE New Business Center. Here are the slides for those who are interested. I also want to thank Henrik Kniberg for most of the pictures and slide layouts.



As part of the questions and answers there were some points raised that I promised to clarify so here you go:
If you think I missed something just drop a comment. Thanks for participating and hopefully it was a good session for you.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Let them Fail...

I was requested to visit a scrum team that needed some extra help with their planning. That was my personal lesson about letting team to fail in order to learn from their experience.

I joined the teams planning as chicken (= not allowed to speak). Their ScrumMaster asked me to collect some notes and then after the planning to give the feedback about their way of executing the planning session. My first note was that their Product Owner was not present in the meeting. However they had done some preparations and they got prioritized backlog so they started by pulling the stories from it. The stories were not in story format and they were overly complicated as they contained tons of technical details. I noted that these stories must be something their Product Owner has not understood as even I had hard time grasping them (with my 10+ years experience in software development).

After some time the whiteboard was quite full of stories. I thought that these guys must be hyper-productive already though I had some doubt about it. I asked their ScrumMaster what is their current velocity. I could read the confusion from his face as he asked me back "what do you mean by velocity?". Instead of going trough scrum terminology I just calculated their average velocity over last 7 sprints or so. Their average velocity was around 45 story points but their current sprint contained stories that totaled over 150 story points! Obviously the team was about to overcommit.

I raised the fact of overcommitment to the team and challenged them to think it as "lying to Product Owner as he makes business decisions based on the given information". They protested by saying that "we need to show that we are at least trying to make it happen - we are about to have release soon and we must have these features in it". I told them that it is not the teams responsibility to think even about release schedule. Rather the team just gives the effort estimates and Product Owner comes up with release plan. Actually the team had been (micro)commanded & controlled for last few years so they had hard time understanding the self-organization and empowerment that is involved in scrum.

I also asked them if their Product Owner understands the stories. They told me that Product Owner had not even seen the stories! I asked how they have come up with them in first place and they told that Product Owner had given them an epic story (BIG story) and they had asked what does it mean... Product Owner told them to figure it out what it means and thus they had done one sprint with spike "figure it out" and then done second sprint with their own stories that were results of "figuring it out". I realised that their Product Owner was not doing his job and basically the team was responsible also for the ownership. They did not have transparency towards the business side (stakeholders, Product Owner...) and therefore they also felt responsible for release planning.

I told the team that it is their responsibility to not to commit unrealistic schedule but they still did. Finally I had to let them fail - they overcommitted and ... failed ... and hopefully learned the lesson.