Thursday, August 20, 2009

SOA, Mashups, Mashed Knees and Surgery

Today is my birthday - I had arthroscopic knee surgery last night and am feeling pretty good so far (happy birthday to me). I know I still have a lot of meds/painkillers in my system and that its going to feel more uncomfortable the next few days. I'm still hobbling around on crutches but I'm feeling much more confident that I can attend (and present at) Agile2009.

I received some very good books on Mashups and SOA a few months back and I'm finally getting a chance to look at them in some more detail. They really are quite good! I think Mashups are the "latest frontier" for realizing the promise of SOA, and a natural evolution from Wiki-webs. Here are the books:

If you follow the links above to the homepage for each of the above books, you'll find some good excerpts and related articles that will give a preview of what to expect so you can judge for yourself.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

BOOK: Running an Agile Project

First, on a personal note, I had the misfortune to tear cartilage in my right knee a couple days ago and will require surgery to repair/remove it. I'm hobbling around on crutches for the time being. I hope I can still attend (and present at) Agile2009.

Anyway, my review of Mike Holcombe's book Running an Agile Software Development Project appears in this month's Agile Journal.

Running an Agile Software Development Project is an interesting book. On the surface it looks like it would be very academic, because the author, Mike Holcombe, was a University Professor at the time, and running an “agile software development factory” of students (albeit for a real commercial development shop). And yet what is described in the contents is very much the practical, real-world results of running agile projects with those same people for real IT software development work.


Overall, I found Running an Agile Software Development Project to be interesting and enjoyable. It still seems just a bit academic for my taste, and probably wouldn’t be the first book I would recommend on the subject unless it was for a classroom audience (in which case this book would be an excellent one to use).

You can read the full review here!

Friday, August 07, 2009

WANTED: Seeking Single Agile Knowledge Development Tool-set

I'll be presenting at Agile2009 in Chicago on the Tools for Agility stage on Tuesday 25 August, 4:45pm-5:30pm.

Here is my session description from

WANTED: Seeking Single Agile Knowledge Development Tool-set

Aren’t code, backlog-items, tests, designs & documents all just different forms of system knowledge at different levels of detail? Why can’t the same tools help refactor, browse, search, and provide build/test automation for non-code forms of knowledge without requiring a separate tool/repository for each format? This talk is intended as a challenge to tool vendors/developers to see how this simple treatment of all non-code items as part of a single, unified project knowledge-base can be at once both immensely powerful, and imminently practical, without requiring too much added complexity.
Approximately ~30 minutes of slides/presentation to “make the case” for why this approach is useful and desirable, followed by discussion of challenges (to and from tool developers/vendors, as well as the rest of the audience) as to its usefulness and benefits, and why their current tools can’t easily do so and why the should or should not be easy to enhancement them to do it.


Software development as knowledge development

  • Source-Code as knowledge
  • Requirements (Stories) and Tests as knowledge
  • Other usable forms of project knowledge (e.g., build scripts & configuration, build/test result reports version control history/comments, online help & other supporting docs)

How would I do this?

  • Refactoring Knowledge (thinking about the rest of the “knowledge” the way we think about the code, and its habitability, navigability, and structure/refactoring)
  • Applying other agile-practices (like TDD, Continuous Integration, etc.) to non-code knowledge development
  • Wiki-based skins, DSLs, and use-cases/design as domain-driven Wiki-word definitions
    • Patterns (giving things names), Retrospectives results and lessons learned
  • Viewing, searching EVERYTHING (even the code) via wiki?
  • The “Wu-Wei” of Traceability (Tracing without Tracing)
  • Versioning and operating on wiki-like entities, just like with code (e.g., making “working copies”, branches and tags)

DISCUSSION & CHALLENGE: Why can’t (or how can) YOUR tools do this!

Begin audience discussion/dialogue: Why can’t a tool like Eclipse or a Wiki-based CMS (such as Confluence) be used as a front-end to browsing/refactoring and navigating ALL the knowledge of the system? (not just code, but stories, tests, build/config data, CI reports, backlog, retrospective lessons).
What makes it easy/hard for these and other tools like any of the following to do this, or to be simple “skins” or plug-ins on top of only a handful of tools instead of a whole kitchen sink full of separate tools and repositories.
  • Eclipse, Confluence, Twiki?
  • FIT, Fitnesse, Contour
  • Doxygen / Javadoc
  • Trac / Agile-Trac?
  • Jira / Remedy
See also a blog-entry of mine entitled Can I have just one repository please?
Learning outcomes
  • Thinking about Agile development as knowledge management & creation
  • Current barriers to using agile techniques and supporting tools for non-code artifacts
  • What do refactoring, TDD, continuous integration, etc. mean for non-code artifacts (and why you should care)
  • Use of wikis for organizing, structuring and refactoring ALL system knowledge
  • Why manual traceability is unnecessary (and even comes for free) when using such an approach

Primary target persona
  • Tomas Tool-smith/Tool-vendor

(download PDF here)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Studies on Effectiveness of TDD?

This question came-up in a discussion earlier this week: Do we know of published studies on this subject? A quick Google-search turned up the following for me ...

Any others? Any comments on the above?