Mike’s Dump

October 22, 2005

Five Pound Bag

Filed under: Links — mikesdump @ 2:56 am

It has been a great morning. I have essentially said, “Screw
everything, I want to do some reading” (I doubt I’ll get much done on
the laminate flooring today).

I just read this Martin Fowler post and for this quote
alone I wanted to mention it here.

You can’t put ten pounds of shit into a five pound bag.

At work we have been working on adopting MSF
or at least using it as a starting point to move towards a more agile
methodology. With my XP background from my last job I find I tend to
rely more on those experiences then try and go by “the MSF book”. At my
previous job, beginning each three week iteration we would have our
planning game to estimate, prioritize and choose the stories we would
work on. I found this worked really well (I guess it also helped there
was no external client pressure to deliver).

With my current job I think the situation is a little closer to reality
with customers and sales putting pressure on the development team to
release software. One change we’ve made that I believe made a huge
improvement on a recent project was the use of short iterations and
regular reviews. We were having weekly meetings with our product
manager (filling the role as customer) to review the progress on the
previous iteration (we are aiming for one week iterations). More often
than not changes would come out of these meetings. Having the short
iterations made it a lot more obvious we can only fit in so much work
(it also helped we had a strict deadline).

I think we are making great strides forward on the development team
getting people thinking in terms of scenarios (AKA user stories) and
short iterations. If we can continue to change the way we think about
software development starting with writing unit tests (nunit) first I
think we will see tremendous professional growth in 2006.

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1 Comment »

  1. I find that the more I read about agile, the more I figure out how I want to tune MSF once we eventually start to use it. For example, MSF supports its own flavour of TDD that doesn’t jive with the usual definition of TDD.

    But definitely adopting short iterations right off the bat can sure help to eliminate the overflowing shit. 🙂

    Comment by mike m — October 24, 2005 @ 9:22 am | Reply


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