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Coal in your bug tracking stocking this Christmas?

What is your plan for being a better developer next year?  What's the technique that will repay your efforts many fold?  Testing - automated test to be specific.  There are all types of automated testing.  The agile mind set thinks of testing first, not in a reactive manner, but as a preventative and design effort.

"For three years, The Container Store has been using application performance management (APM) technology from AppDynamics to locate bugs in the website, target them immediately and fix them.
Sometimes there's a slowdown in a particular region. Other times it's from a certain database and often from a single line of code. Just this year, the Container Store upped its contract with AppDynamics, buying more software so the company can test new features before deploying them and minimize the number of live fixes necessary.
"We said we want to be more proactive instead of reactive," said A.J. Azzarello, a quality assurance engineer at The Container Store in Dallas. "We can catch errors and slow response times in test prior to production so they never impact our customers."
From CNBC's article: Don't let software bugs ruin Christmas by Ari Levy

You might enjoy watching David Evans presentation Turning Tests into (Living) Documentation.  In this 20 min. video he should be able to teach you some very important concepts of BDD.

One Artifact: 3 roles - Specification, Test, Documentation; resulting in more value, and requiring collective ownership.

Charictistic of a good artifact:  Title - just a few words that you would use to search in google; Rules - the business rules written in their vernacular using SME's terms; Examples - testable cases illustrated via rules, explicit real world values (but only relevant data), and don't forget the counter-examples (edge cases).

An Introduction to Specification by Example by David Evans (2 hrs Prezi slide show).

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David's notes on "Drive"

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

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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.


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…

Elements of an Effective Scrum Task Board

What are the individual elements that make a Scrum task board effective for the team and the leadership of the team?  There are a few basic elements that are quite obvious when you have seen a few good Scrum boards... but there are some other elements that appear to elude even the most servant of leaders of Scrum teams.

In general I'm referring to a physical Scrum board.  Although software applications will replicated may of the elements of a good Scrum board there will be affordances that are not easily replicated.  And software applications offer features not easily implemented in the physical domain also.

Scrum Info Radiator Checklist (PDF) Basic Elements
Board Framework - columns and rows laid out in bold colors (blue tape works well)
Attributes:  space for the total number of stickies that will need to belong in each cell of the matrix;  lines that are not easy eroded, but are also easy to replace;  see Orientation.

Columns (or Rows) - labeled
    To Do
    Work In P…

Exercise:: Definition of Ready & Done

Assuming you are on a Scrum/Agile software development team, then one of the first 'working agreements' you have created with your team is a 'Definition of Done' - right?

Oh - you don't have a definition of what aspects a user story that is done will exhibit. Well then, you need to create a list of attributes of a done story. One way to do this would be to Google 'definition of done' ... here let me do that for you: Then you could just use someone else's definition - there DONE!

But that would be cheating -- right? It is not the artifact - the list of done criteria, that is important for your team - it is the act of doing it for themselves, it is that shared understanding of having a debate over some of the gray areas that create a true working agreement. If some of the team believes that a story being done means that there can be no bugs found in the code - but some believe that there can be some minor issues - well, …

A Beloved Community Fixture

Does your Agile community have a local hub, a place where you are 80% sure you will run into almost everyone in the local universe if you attend enough events, meet ups, and bar tabs?

Mine does, ... let's test this out...  I will tell you my locations - and if you know much about it, let's see if you can ... guess, ... no, not guess,  predict, no... forecast - can you forecast the name of our local hub of Agile community?

I'm in Grapevine, TX ... let me broaden that for you...  Dallas / Fort Worth.

Now if you have any experience with the DFW area ... been to user groups in the area or perhaps software development oriented conferences.... you may know the place where... like Cheers - where everybody knows your name.  Who is it?

Spoilers .... hi sweetie ... I will put the answer a bit further down the page.
I just read this article in INC. - Here's the Secret Sauce for Turning Your Business Into a Beloved Community FixtureBy Leigh Buchanan Editor-at-large, Inc. magazine.

Craftsman - is not the gender neutral term we men believe it to be

Pondering... why are gender "neutral" words such as craftsman are not as gender neutral as we men seem to think they are?
I've been personally trying to break myself from a bad habit... one that I've thought was not such a big  deal...  I use the term "guys" in mixed company to describe a group of people ... not yet a team.  In mentoring groups toward becoming a team, I reserve that term for groups that truly behave like a real team.  I was giving a presentation at a local special interest group and afterwards a person gave me some useful feedback... my usage of the term "guys" was distracting and verging on "off-putting" in the room of mostly females.  I needed to read the audience and the room - and choosing the proper term would help them to engage... what I truly desired.

I remember in the 1970s (yes this should date me) teachers in school told us that some words were considered gender neutral - I believe that "guys" was on…