Episode 182: Unlearn-ing with Barry O’Reilly

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Craig and Tony are at YOW! Conference in Brisbane and (despite a bin rolling by) sit down with Barry O’Reilly, co-author of “Lean Enterprise” and author of “Unlearn” and they talk about:

  • Reminiscing about Barry’s resume that includes CitySearch (and its competitor Zip2 owned by Elon Musk), Snake, Wireless Pets on Nokia and Lilo & Stitch using J2ME and eventually onto ThoughtWorks
  • Lean Enterprise was written after “The Lean Startup” was released but to explain how it works if you are not a startup and increase experimentation in organisations
  • When people can design good disciplined experiments, you have system to break down problems and grow your system and people
  • Fortune 15 executives and successful startup leaders don’t sit around and ask “if we are doing the framework correctly”- they have their own system, in the same way as Toyota created their…

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Episode 101: The Lean Mindset with Mary and Tom Poppendieck

The Agile Revolution Podcast

craig-poppendieckCraig catches up with two luminaries in the Agile and Lean space, Mary and Tom Poppendieck at YOW! Conference to talk about agile, lean, rapid feedback, culture and leadership. The discussion points include:

  • Making the link between lean and software development and discovering that waterfall makes no sense
  • The origins of the first book: Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit
  • Agile is not lean in software development, Agile is lean in a delivery organisation
  • How long does it take you to put a single line of code into Production?
  • The manifestation of lean really kicked off in 2010 with both the rise of DevOps and the Lean Startup
  • Delivery organisations versus engineering organisations and the journey of Agile
  • Agile has not well addressed delivering the right stuff, solving the right problem and the architecture of rapid deployment
  • Only two goals at ING: Deliver every two weeks and don’t crash production, resulted…

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Jeff Patton on User Story Mapping and Product Management

JInfoQeff Patton talks about his book “User Story Mapping” and the background and approaches to the story mapping process as well as upcoming trends in relation to product management.

Jeff-PattonSource: Jeff Patton on User Story Mapping and Product Management

Episode 78: Renee-Renee-Renee

The Agile Revolution Podcast

ReneeYes they’re at it again ! The revolutionists bring forth their innermost thoughts on the life the universe and most importantly Agile . Oh yeah and Craig and Tony ask the question repeatedly ….Renee,Renee……Renee

 TheAgileRevolution-78  (61 minutes)

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Episode 73: What Made You An Agile Coach?

The Agile Revolution Podcast

AgileCoachTony asks a philisophical question , whilst Renee harnesses her nineties pop star – Ice Ice Baby and Craig marvels at Tony’s  cool intro – probably the coolest intro he’s done since the eighties.

The Agile Revolution – 73 (54.21)

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Episode 72: Shipping at Facebook with Joel Pobar

The Agile Revolution Podcast

From YOW! 2013, Craig and Renee talk to Joel Pobar, currently working at Facebook as an Engineering Lead and JoelPobartalk about:

  • Joel’s journey to Facebook
  • Common Language Runtime (CLR)
  • Building and shipping fast
  • The value of a developers time and their critical paths
  • A day in the life of a Facebook manager
  • Who is the Product Owner in an infrastructural team?
  • A/B (experimentation) testing in New Zealand
  • Stabalisation and release process
  • Recruiting the right people
  • Pulling out the sharpies when pivoting on PHP
  • Striving for infrastructural efficiency and how to empower the team to this goal
  • Owning the stack from the bottom to the top and its impact on agility
  • Checkout HHVM, the Facebook Engineering Blog & Open Compute

You can contact Joel at facebook or on twitter at @joelpob.

The Agile Revolution- 72 (41 minutes)

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Episode 48: Declan (Not Dexter)

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Declan WhelanAt Agile 2012 in Dallas, Texas, Craig chats with Declan Whelan, a Canadian Agile Coach at LeanIntuit, the CTO and co-founder of a new startup called Printchomp and a newly elected member of the Agile Alliance board. Amongst other things we talk about pair coaching, running a Lean Startup, the direction of the Agile Alliance and the future of Agile.

His talk at Agile 2012 (with Alistair McKinnell) was entitled “Simple Design Applied: Spend More Time Creating Valuable Code“. Look out for a longer video interview with Declan on InfoQ.

TheAgileRevolution-48 (25 minutes)

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AAFTT Workshop 2012 (Dallas)

Agile AllianceThe Agile Alliance Functional Testing Tools Workshop (AAFTT), was one again held this year the day before the Agile 2012 conference in Dallas. Despite there being only a small group there this year, the discussion was still open and free flowing under the facilitation of Matt Barcomb and the organisation of Joseph Wilk and Elisabeth Hendrickson.

From Agile 2012

We created an agenda for the day:

From Agile 2012
From Agile 2012

Here are my notes from the day:

Enabling Non-Programmers

George Dinwiddie led this session which turned into a lively discussion! I had proposed what I thought was a related session on Specification By Example and had combined them, but the conversation never really had a chance of getting onto that topic!

From Agile 2012
  • George expects the business people to be able to read and understand the tests
  • non-programmers should not be writing automation, it is the programmers responsibility
  • wants to be able to extract working tests into a step definition rather than needing to rewrite in Ruby (George Dinwiddie)
  • there is a difference between a specification and testing (Christian Hassa), this is a fundamental shift
  • building a DSL – talk about terminology and how we explore our domain – essential step
  • you don’t create a DSL, you build it
  • not a problem with the toolset but our training in thinking in a procedural way rather than an example way of thinking (Corey Haines
  • testers new to automation create large scripts because it’s their only hope in creating some sort of repetition (@chzy), it does not take a lot of effort and most business people are open to working this way
  • enable non-programmers by getting them to come work with us every day (Woody Zuill)
  • George is helping people make a transition, don’t want people to throw away what they have,
  • ideal is not to have step definitions call step definitions, Cucumber community is becoming a community of programmers and are moving away from this
  • Robot Framework is more keyword driven, more aligned to non-programmers, you can also make a mess, “it is a double edged sword” (Elisabeth Hendrickson)
  • testers like to test the negative cases, should they be expressed at a high level or expressed as a unit test by pairing developers and testers
  • if you are testers and you cannot write simple Ruby scripts, then you have no place on my team (Corey Haines), this opinion is probably shared by the Cucumber community (George disagreed…)
  • need to use the same design patterns in both Robot and Cucumber (@chzy)
  • in an environment that is test centric and BDD, Cucumber is the tool (usually environments with little to no QA),  in a business centric environment where you an get the business involved Robot Framework is your tool
  • Corey works in environments where there is very few Cucumber specifications per scenario, backed by lots of unit tests
  • Cucumber came out of environments where the team is predominantly developers, hence the desire to drill down to Ruby code sooner
  • at a large household name company – theyexpect testers to be more technical, happening more in the industry, eliminated the role of tester due to different pay grades (@chzy)
  • moving traditional organizations to a collaborative way of working is hard (@chzy)
  • wants simple refactorings that are are a bridge from one place to another (George Dinwiddie)
From Agile 2012
From Agile 2012

Not Testing

Joseph Wilk led this discussion on thoughts that are coming from the Lean Startup movement.

From Agile 2012
  • at a startup Joseph was at, tests were taking up to 8 hours to run and costs for distributed architecture was high
  • Forward Internet (London) – let developers do what they want – by not testing they could be faster and more interactive than their competitors – did testing in Production, a risk that sometimes things could fail – testing should not block deployment
  • in some situations it is just worth hacking it out, particularly in a lean startup
  • if it is faster to rewrite rather than maintain it, then don’t write tests (Fred George via Corey Haines)
  • a big question of this is the skill level of your developers – do you have the skill level to make the choice to not do it (Corey Haines), primary impact of success is the skill level of your developers
  • cost of failure?
  • complexity is in the eye of the beholder
  • Etsycheck error rates in Production (and decide whether to roll back or not)
  • Scribd – were having trouble with test speed and found out the developers were scared of breaking the PDF (which is the heart of the business) – they separated the PDF out to speed up development (so developers weren’t worried about breaking it)
  • quick delivery – need the quick feedback cycle to make this work, simulate production
  • need effective tests – small suite of tests that are 5-10 minutes long
  • test what you are most scared of
  • Silicon Valley’s issue is hiring – Facebook is stealing developers from Google because they hire good people and enable them to just hack it out
  • 2 software industries – small companies and large corporations, very different worlds
  • question everything – can only do this if you have experienced it before and understand it
  • need a model to help others adopt this
From Agile 2012

What Are The Better Ways To Specify Tests With Large Test Data

I unfortunately did not get to this session as it was running at the same time as the No Testing session, but here is the output from that session.

From Agile 2012
From Agile 2012
From Agile 2012

Deliberate Test Practice

Brandon Leiran led this session, trying to see if there was a testing equivalent of coding katas.

From Agile 2012
  • weekend testing group – choose a target, collaborate on Skype on their findings
  • Wikimedia Foundation – looking at ways crowd source testing to test infrastructure (rather than content) – more on this initiative to be announced in the near future
  • why is it any different to coding katas? Safer and smaller so you get more practice, practice collaboration too
  • organise a community like a book club
  • code roast – put the code up and everybody critiques it, be careful not to attach to a person!
  • get practice at driving different interfaces – Triangle Tester exercise, parking lot calculator
  • hard to practice test automation as it takes a lot of time upfron
  • take time to do charter writing sessions or test different items like cheap toys (how would you test this toy?)
  • demonstrate value of quality using simulations eg. origami games
  • add tests to open source – many of the existing tests are average
From Agile 2012
From Agile 2012

Holes / Editors

Chzy led this discussion to discuss holes in the existing frameworks.

From Agile 2012
  • the HTML report from Cucumber is very average – chzy is releasing a new gem based on discussion from a recent testing conference in Austin
  • editors – people now bundling these in TextMate, Eclipse and Visual Studio
  • JetBrainsRubyMine has gherkin support and refactoring support for Ruby, plus a lot of support for steps in Cucumber
  • big picture view of feature coverage – would be cool to map this to Sonar, suites represent functional areas, tags to represent cross-cutting concerns
  • SpecFlow is trying to map to story maps using SpecLog
  • Relish allows you to create higher level specification of your scenarios
  • there is a plugin for Cucumber that allows github integration
  • Thucydides has a built in feature coverage report
  • Twist has Cucumber support
  • test data management – FactoryGirl gem – build up snapshots but want to be able manipulate values down the stack, Faker, ActiveRecord
From Agile 2012
From Agile 2012

AA-FTT – The Future

Elisabeth Hendrickson led this session as part of her handing the leadership over to Joseph Wilk.

From Agile 2012
  • mission is to advance the state of the art of functional testing tools
  • community building is the best way to spend the money, tool builders and tool users
  • Yahoo group is main repository of knowledge, current wiki probably needs to be moved
  • need people who have time and energy and interest to take this forward
  • biggest issues with wikis is managing all the wiki spam
  • have a leadership issue to curate the content and grow the community
  • the other options are to create static content, like business analysts and leadership
  • important to have a knowledge repository that at least captures outcomes
  • would like have more organised meetings worldwide
  • is our mandate just functional testing? It has really been just about “agile testing”
  • probably need to rewrite the charter
From Agile 2012

Wrap Up

We finished up the open space by writing what action we were taking from the day and giving them to another participant to keep us honest (mine was to write this post!)

From Agile 2012

Another good open space, and good to catch up with many of the leaders in the testing community once again.

Podcast

I recorded a short audio podcast for The Agile Revolution wrapping up AAFTT.

Episode 32: Agile Australia 2012 Kickoff

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Agile Australia 2012Craig and Renee are at the Agile Australia 2012 conference speaker breakfast where they discuss the workshop day, the upcoming conference and their respective talks and a Lean Startup story about monkeys and bananas.

TheAgileRevolution-32 (9 minutes)

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Moneyball

MoneyballSo there have been a lot of posts out there about Moneyball and how it directly relates to Agile and the Lean Startup. However, I finally got around to watching the move tonight (thanks to my colleague Renee Troughton for lending me the Blu Ray) and had to note down my own thoughts. There are so many good quotes and scenes from the movie, but here are just a couple of standouts (warning, some folks may consider these to be spoilers if you have not seen the movie!)

Right at the start of the movie Billy Beane is talking to the team owner about needing more money (sounds like the start of any typical traditional project to me!)

Billy: I can’t compete against a hundred and twenty million payroll with thirty eight million dollars.
Schott: We’re not gonna compete with these teams that have big budgets. We’re gonna work with the constraints that we have and you’re gonna get out and do the best job that you can recruiting new players. We’re not gonna pay seventeen million dollars a year to players.

And a little later in the scene, Billy sets his goal.

Billy: That’s my bar. My bar is here. My bar is to take this team to the championship.

At the scout’s meeting, their discussion is all about appearances rather than understanding and building a team.

Scout: Ugly girl friend means no confidence.

In that same meeting, I really enjoyed the scene where Billy is in the position of a coach/facilitator and keeps asking them if they understand the problem!

Grady: We’re trying to solve a problem here.
Billy: Not like this you’re not. You’re not even looking at the problem.
Grady: We’re very aware of the problem.
Billy: Okay, good. What’s the problem?
Grady:  Okay, Billy. We all understand what the problem is. We have to replace…
Billy: Good. What’s the problem?
Grady: The problem is we have to replace three key players.
Billy: No. What’s the problem?
Poloni: Same as it’s ever been. We’ve gotta replace these guys with what we have existing.
Billy: No! What’s the problem, Barry?
Barry: We need three eight home runs, a hundred twenty R.B.I’s and forty seven…
Billy: Aaahhh! The problem we’re trying to solve is that there are rich teams and there are poor teams, then there’s fifty feet of crap, and then there’s us. It’s an unfair game. And now we’re being gutted, organ donors for the rich. Boston has taken our kidney’s, Yankees takin’ our heart and you guys are sittin’ around talkin’ the same old good body nonsense, like we’re selling deeds, like we’re looking for Fabio. We got to think differently!

A little later in that scene, Billy is really trying to make the committee think differently, but they are just thinking in the same old ways.

Billy: If we try to play like the Yankees in here, we will lose to the Yankees out there
Grady: Boy, that sounds like fortune cookie wisdom to me, Billy.
Billy: No, that’s just logic.

I really liked the scene where Billy is talking with Art about his contract. The final line of the conversation reminded me of many wasted meetings.

Billy: Good meeting. Everytime we talk, I’m reinvigorated by my love of the game.

And then there are always the nay-sayers and (in the case of Grady) those who will always try to bring your approach down.

Announcer: Do you see this as a decimation of the whole team?
Grady: I think that he bought a ticket on the Titanic.
Announcer: Oh, boy! He’s tried to come up with a new approach, my hat’s off to him. It won’t work.

The discussion between Billy and Peter about cutting players was a good reminder of being honest and transparent.

Billy: They’re professional ball players. Just be straight with them. No fluff, just facts. ‘Pete, I gotta let you go. Jack’s office will handle the details.’
Peter: That’s it?
Billy: Would you rather get a bullet to the head, or fire to the chest or bleed to death?
Peter: Are those my only two options?

There was an interesting little scene regarding soda, that is a good reminder that sometimes you can be penny smart but pound foolish (the little things are sometimes what keeps individuals and teams motivated).

Justice: And how come soda is a dollar in the club house? Cause I’ve never seen it like that.
Peter: Billy likes to keep the money on the field.
Justice: Soda money? Really? Where on the field is the dollar I’m paying for soda?

The scene where Billy shakes up the team by firing some of his all-stars was the turning point that shows that sometimes your superstars are hiding the real talent (and sometimes you need to do something extreme to make a change). Art is the classic Project Manager in this scene.

Art: Yeah, I don’t wanna go through team rounds, Billy. The line up card is mine. And that’s all, okay?
Billy: The line up card is definitely yours, I’m just saying you can’t start Pena first.
Art: Well, I am starting him at first.
Billy: I don’t think so, he plays for Detroit now.

There are some good inspirational pieces in the film (like when Billy asks Justice to step up and be a leader for the younger guys). This quote is my favourite though.

Billy: Everybody, listen up! You may not look like a winning team, but you are one. So, play like one tonight.

The big speech when Billy is at the Red Sox resonates with anybody who has tried to implement Agile in a team before.

For forty one million, you built a playoff team. You lost Damon, Giambi, Isringhausen, Pena and you won more games without them than you did with them. You won the exact same number of games that the Yankee’s won, but the Yankee’s spent 1.4 million per win and you paid 260 thousand. I know you’ve taken it in the teeth out there, but the first guy through the wall. It always gets bloody, always. It’s the threat and not just the way of doing business, but in their minds it’s threatening the game. But really what it’s threatening is their livelihoods, it’s threatening their jobs, it’s threatening the way that they do things. And every time that happens, whether it’s the government or a way of doing business or whatever it is, the people are holding the reins, have their hands on the switch. They will bet you’re crazy. I mean, anybody who’s not building a team right and rebuilding it using your model, they’re dinosaurs. They’ll be sittin’ on their ass on the sofa in October, watching the Boston Red Sox win the world series.

Near the end, when Peter shows Billy the video about the guy hitting the home run, they starting mentioning metaphors (I was so thinking about the metaphor in XP at that point!)

Also, the Lenka song “The Show” made me think about why as Agile coaches we get up in the morning and do this (plus good to see Australian music in the movie!)

I am just a little lost in the moment
I’m so scared but I don’t show it
I can’t figure it out
It’s bringing me down I know
I’ve got to let it go
And just enjoy the show


For those who haven’t seen the movie, it is well worth the time spent. I hadn’t realised Aaron Sorkin had worked on the screenplay, so for that alone it had to be good!