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What Agile tools are you using? 13 tools to use.

There are all levels of software development tools.  From project management tools to source control tools, and all manner of in-between tools.  Many new teams starting out want a quick list of the tools they should use.  This is a cheat.  They want a quick fix to their existing problems.  Here's a clue - it is hard work that fixes your problems.  No tool is going to solve your underlying problem.

Chances are that your problem is not technical at all.  Changes are that your problem is a human caused problem.  You are not working together, not collaborating.  Adding a tool will just mask the root cause.  But most management will purchase such a tool if it has some good smoke and mirrow hand wavy justification.

My first recommendation is to use your brain.  Then use your hands.  Make your problems visible.  Draw them on a white board, or a flip chart or an A3 sheet of paper (11x17 for you Americans).  Yes use your spreadsheet to track trends and make graphs, but when the canned graphic routine doesn't draw trend lines, print it and use a pencil.

Because you click to see a list of tools here's a small list of tools you may find useful.  Please help me add to the list - use the comment field below.

Innovation Games - the book and the online site has 12+ games to create delighted customers via games that get work done.  Instant Play Games

Many teams use Dot Voting as a means of reaching consensus.  Try the online site DotVoting.org to pre-arrange a vote and run a round of consensus making via a distribute online tool.

The artistic person will wish to summarize a feature and one way to do that is to make a word cloud of the requirements document.  Try Wordle an online word cloud tool.  Or try Tagxedo - allows uploading shape files.

"You never develop code without version control, why do you develop your database without it?" The tag line for LiquidBase a database version control tool.

Need a distributed team to work with story cards and a cork board for visualizing the relative effort of each story - try CardMeeting.com.


A similar tool used to create a story map is CardMapping site, see the usage of mapping stories article.


Basecamp is a project management system desing for online collaboration.  It is integrated with 37Signals other online suite of tools.

Many Agile team's use timeboxes - for this one needs a timer:  e.ggtimer.com/ is one option as well as Timer-Tab.com.

When distributed team's wish to know if the team members in the USA are awake - try What Time is it There?

A classic white board diagramming and collaboration tool:  Cacoo.

Want to see if your documentation is truly readable (understandable) - try this site: Tests Document Readability.

See Also:
List of Collaboration Tools
8 reasons to buy an iPad for your Team room



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David's notes on "Drive"

- "The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us" by Dan Pink.

Amazon book order
What I notice first and really like is the subtle implication in the shadow of the "i" in Drive is a person taking one step in a running motion.  This brings to mind the old saying - "there is no I in TEAM".  There is however a ME in TEAM, and there is an I in DRIVE.  And when one talks about motivating a team or an individual - it all starts with - what's in it for me.

Introduction

Pink starts with an early experiment with monkeys on problem solving.  Seems the monkeys were much better problem solver's than the scientist thought they should be.  This 1949 experiment is explained as the early understanding of motivation.  At the time there were two main drivers of motivation:  biological & external influences.  Harry F. Harlow defines the third drive in a novel theory:  "The performance of the task provided intrinsic reward" (p 3).  This is Dan Pink's M…

Software Development terms applied to Home Construction

Let's Invert the typically wrong headed view of Software Development project management as a construction project.  We can map it the other way just to see if it works... to have some fun, to explore the meaning of phrases we toss around quite frequently.


Normally Project Management terms come from a construction domain.  We are going to apply the lexicon of modern software to the construction of a home.  We will follow the construction project and meet some of the people doing the work.

This is a very small (8 homes from $600,000 skyward) program in my 30-40 year old neighborhood.

About 6 months ago I saw the programs landing page go up.  It gives casual observers and some of the stakeholders a general idea of the intent of the program.  And most importantly who to contact for additional information if you happen to be interested in their products.

The Refuge program has 8 product projects and has them running independently.  Yet much of their DevOps infrastructure has already b…

Where is Shakespeare When We Need Him?

We are desperately searching for a term for people that connotes the best of human kind.  The creative, sensing, combinatorial synergistic, empathic solutioning persons that have yet to been labeled with a role name that works.

Some of the old terms:
Staff, Workforce, Human Resource, My Team, Army, Company

Shakespeare created 1700 words in his time.  He mutated verbs to nouns, and vice-a-versa, transformed verbs into adjectives, and formed words from whole cloth never before heard.  This skill is rare, but there is a poet that can create the term we need in the twenty-first century.

What should this term define?

21st Century Human Resource; the generalizing specialist.

Yes, but what more?  What less?

Suggest your poetry in the comments, let us see if we cannot do 1/1700 as well as The Bard.

By-the-way; who create the phrase "coin a word"?




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See Also:

Innovation in the Automobile Industry

In the 1900s the automobile industry was the most important and innovation industry in the USA.  But one could question if this was good for our society in the long run.  And one could question if they actually innovated.

In the early 1900s there were few automobiles, very little infrastructure created to support the industry.  For example the road system was still designed for horse drawn wagons and the wagon wheel (remember a steal rim and wooden compression spoke wheel).  The future US Highways, or the 1950s Interstate Highway System at the cost of $425 billion were decades and many innovations away. There was no gas service station, there were however horse stables, farriers, and blacksmiths in each town along the roads.  There was no real "road map", there was no road naming system, like was created in 1926 - the United States Numbered Highway System.

The industry employees millions of people, and was a large factor in the economy of the USA.  It created or was created b…