Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Craftsmanship Manifesto

Reading 'Managing Agile' blog - did you hear about a new Agile Software Craftsmanship Manifesto?

Charl Dreyer ask if we need a clarifying manifesto for the Agile Manifesto. I vote no. You can cast a vote also on his blog. I'm interested in the outcome.

I like what the Craftsmanship group is saying, I think it well said. But just because you were late to the party, don't try to start your own party. Thereby spiting or confusing the group of party goers.

I also believe they have started in the middle of a conversation. They are clearly (if you know the secret handshake) talking in reference to the Agile Manifesto, but have not given reference to it. If one doesn't know the Agile Manifesto then the Craftsmanship Manifesto doesn't have value.

Now had they invited me to the Agile Manifesto meeting maybe they would have come up with the craftsmanship angle.... Why - because I would have been skiing up at Alta and having a blast. There is real craftsmanship in my tele-turns! We will never know. However I don't think that we need another manifesto to clarify the one that has been working so well for 8 years.

What's an Agile Complexification Inverter?











Juliet: What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
Well you could look up Agile, then Complexification, then Inverter and concate the meaning - or - you could just say it's a blog trying to simplify Agile software development theory and practice. Along with other rants & ramblings I may have on the world at large. The name derives from a company I use to work for, where one of the developers noted that our software was a 'complexifier'. The term has sticking power with me; although its not a word in your store bought dictionary, you know what it means instantly.
 

So what's in a name...  many have asked this question... here's a great essay on naming from Grok Earth - Earthly Naming



Saturday, July 11, 2009

How is a Mental Model formed?

Computers should never be compared to a human brain. Computer just don’t measure up. What we know about the brain is amazing, what we don’t is unknown (I can just hear Rumsfeld now… [sorry down that path leads to insanity] ).

http://www.ted.com/talks/tom_wujec_on_3_ways_the_brain_creates_meaning.html


In this video you can watch Autodesk creating a mental model of their future, using old school pen & paper and see some cool technology. If you have created an Agile Road Map you will recognize the process, but this will explain why it can be so powerful to put all the stickies up on a wall and just look at them.

See Also:

A metaphorical model of the mind - Dave Gray

Information Processing theory of MindSimply Psychology org
The Empty Brain - Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer  - by Robert Epstein

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hurry! Fetch the 2×4 stretcher.

The mythical 2×4 stretcher analogy.

When I was in high school I worked with the school maintenance crew. This was in the late 1970s when schools were growing and therefore tearing down old buildings to construct new modern building on the site. Given that construction of the new building would take several years the problem of where to house classrooms durning the destruction/construction years was typically solved by building classrooms in the gym and auditorium. The first summer I worked with the crew we were constructing one of these temporary classrooms in a gym. I was the gopher for Ike, and old codger who was always up to something. One fellow was measuring and calling out dimensions and Ike and I were cutting 2×4s to length, as fast as we could go. I would hold the 2×4 on the saw horses and Ike would measure, mark, and cut, then I would run the piece over to a pair that would nail it in place. We were all working fast, a well functioning team. When Ike, exclaimed, “$#!T, I cut it too short, Koontz run get the 2×4 stretcher in the back tool box of my truck – hurry! You’ll know it when you see it.” So, off I run to find the stretcher. I pull out every tool in the truck’s toolbox, but the stretcher wasn’t there. So back in to tell Ike and he said “maybe I was using it at home and didn’t put it back, go get Jim’s, hurry! So out to Jim’s truck to rummage through his toolbox I went like a flash.

Well if you have every been played for the fool by a master craftsman such as Ike, you know that he can keep it up all day long, as long as you are hooked and on the string he is intense and serious, and has another place to look. After I finally wised up and “spit out the hook”, the whole crew fell on the floor laughing for 20 minutes. I joined in after about 15 minutes, of being mad and extremely embarrassed. That was the first of many exploits that Ike would lead us on that summer. He worked hard and played hard, all at the same time!

I don’t know of any 2×4 stretcher stories in the software industry, but everyone that has been the young apprentice on a construction site has been asked to go fetch the stretcher. So why are there no good fish tales in software? Well for one reason a 2×4 stretcher is possible in software – it is called a refactoring, for example: Extract Interface. Software is soft and malleable, the rest of the world is not. Therefore a 2×4 stretcher is funny on a construction site, but a real possibility in software.

This doesn’t mean we cannot have fun, however! Why I remember just starting out and having an upper-classmate help me with a sorting algorithm, he took my punch cards and dropped them on the floor.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fist of Five – What does that mean?

So you use a Fist of Five consensus building technique to make decisions. That’s great! Does everyone in your group know what a five really means?

While reading about building a shared vision in the organization today, I ran across several words that the authors made a particular point to define and distinguish between them. Those words were: commitment, enrollment, and compliant. When discussing a corporate shared vision the distention between these is very important! For to have your organization truly committed to the vision is very different that enrolled in the vision or just compliant with the vision. The author states that real commitment is rare in today’s organizations. In his experience “90 percent of the time, what passes for commitment is compliance” (Senge, 2006).

The committed person brings passion and energy to the endeavor, they don’t play by the rules of the game, they feel responsible for the game itself, and if required change the game to achieve the goals. When multiple people are truly committed there is an awesome force to be reckoned.

The enrolled individual believes in the cause, and will support the effort, but is not going to great personal effort to ensure success. They may be nurtured into the committed camp, but that is not where they are starting from.

The compliant person will go along with the group. They do what is required and expected of them but they are not enrolled nor committed.

How would these words be mapped upon the Fist of Five?

5 – I am committed to the idea.
4 – I am enrolling in the group’s idea.
3 – I will be compliant with the idea.
2 – I do not support the idea as stated, and wish to discuss changes.
1 – I am against the idea as stated – period.
0 – I am not sure I understand the idea and need more clarification.

What does your Fist of Five mean? Is it just a graduated continuum from disagree (1) to agree (5)? If so you may receive deeper meaning and more passionate dialogs by attaching well defined meaning to the fingers. Try it, let me know what happens.