Archive for the ‘Solo Agile’ Category

Steve Jobs Wannabee or Steve Jobs Disciple/Student?

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

My Twitter and RSS feed readers are full of eulogies for Steve Jobs.  As I mentioned in my previous post,
El Camino Real – The Royal Road of the Personal Computer Era, we both started our computer careers in the Silicon Valley, so there were various crossing of paths. Being cheap and not a follower of fashion, I’ve never actually owned an Apple product. With both the current and the previous laptops, the pro version of the Apple laptops have been in the running. As someone said, Web developers create Web apps on Macs that run on Linux. My work is more about running Web apps, so I run Linux. Like Matz, the creator of Ruby, I prefer Thinkpads. And I write technical articles as well as code. The consensus on the Computer Book Publishers e-mail list I was on, is the IBM Thinkpads have the best keyboards in a laptop. Lenovo Thinkpads are not quite as high quality, but still one of the best.

I have noticed lately that too much of my time is going into being informed about too many things.  And so there isn’t much time left to actually move Amethyst forward.  I need to focus.  Which means ignoring the siren call of the many posts, including the obits, eulogies, remembrances, etc. on Steve Jobs.  I can read everything about Steve, sitting at his feed, or I can focus on my life.
Universe Dented, Grass Underfoot points out rightly, that focusing on what matters is the best way to honor Steve Jobs.

More Thoughts on “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Eric Raymond wrote a seminal paper “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” about software development in 1997 with several revisions since then.  Like good teaching stories, there is more than one lesson in it.  I just realized that is also applies to the Customer Development part of the Lean Startup meme.  The vendors in the bazaar are talking to real customers who are giving them direct feedback without marketing or customer service teams filtering it.

And the idea of stakeholders, including customer/end-user  representatives, being part of the development team is also contained in it.

I have rewound the “marketing” aspect of Amethyst and am interviewing potential users to determine how it can evolve to meet the needs of other people.  If you think you might be interested, e-mail me at  Interviews via phone typically last 15 minutes.  But whatever you want to contribute would  be welcomed.

Solo Agile is Hard

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Solo Agile is tougher than it looks.  It is tough to maintain the discipline without other people around to keep you honest.  Obviously, pair programming is out, so how is code reviewed?  There are mechanized tools, but my experience is that they are better at identifying code that needs more attention than how code should be refactored.  I.e., they find methods that are large and have tangled logic.  But cleaning it up is a human activity, possibly aided by tools to make the refactoring less error prone (e.g., renaming tools and comprehensive test suites).

I may think I am working solo, but Matz (Yukihiro Matsumoto, creator of Ruby), DHH (David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of Rails), and the authors of a half-dozen gems are also on my team. Their documented code gives me a standard to meet as well as infrastructure to build on. When I need to know how to do something, either code or documentation, I have their examples to learn from.

Because Matz is nice, we are nice.
Because Rails is documented, my code will be documented.
Because others have shared their infrastructure and common code, I will wrap up useful, non-application specific code in Gems and share them.

An Anonymous Team, or some better name?

  • Collaborative Cooperative?
  • Ruby/Rails Guild?
  • Decentralized Team?
  • Autonomous Team?