Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More SCM Books in 2006

Some more SCM books have come on the market in the past 6 months or so. Several of them are worth a look: I realize Practical Perforce isn't new - I just can't stop gushing about how great it is! Laura Wingerd really has a gift for elegantly and simply stating important (and sometimes profound) insights about SCM, particularly when it comes to component/container-based SCM and codeline branching and management.

Global Outsourcing with VSTS looks interesting - not really sure if I like it enough to recommend it just yet. It certainly has an attention grabbing title.

The 2nd edition of Pragmatic Version Control using Subversion is just as outstanding as the first edition. It is my first choice for an introducitory book on Subversion and Version Control.

Kevin Lee's book on using ClearCase, ANT and CruiseControl is nothing short of outstanding. If you're a Java-shop using ClearCase and want lots of practical tips and tactics for doing automated builds and accelerating the build process, this book is a MUST HAVE! Kevin's website is also a great resource. Now that IBM/Rational has acquired BuildForge I imagine their will be updates at his website (and eventually a 2nd ed?) about using Clearcase with BuildForge (and maybe some stuff regarding Maven2?). He apparently has some new (online PDF-only) book out called The BuildMeister's Guide from a new series/publisher called Buildmeister books.

Pulsipher and Buckley did a great job in their earlier book The Art of ClearCase Deployment. Now they have a similar book about ClearQuest entititled Implementing IBM Rational ClearQuest: An End-to-End Deployment Guide. So far it looks very good. It's also the only ClearQuest book I know of - so If youre using ClearQuest for anything but a small or informal project you probably should get your hands on this book in a hurry!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Everyone wants to be LUVEd!

I had a posting on Scott Berkun's project management (pmclinic) list that was rather well received. I thought folks here might be interested in it ...

Someone else had written:
> I've found that powerful people respect people who do not back down from them. Make your point forcefully.

I responded with:
That could backfire really badly! That might work with some, for others it will only make things worse. Either way, what they are looking for is respect for their perspective. They want to be LUVed:
  • Listened to,
  • Understood, and ...
  • Valued.
Making any assumptions about what it means to them to be LUVed and what behaviors they feel demonstrate LUV could easily be jumping to conclusions down a very wrong and unconstructive path.

Chances are the "annoyance" is because, somewhere, somehow, the two people involved have different notions of what it means to feel respected and to be treated respectfully and be LUVed. What you regard as disrespectful and disruptive may seem just the opposite to him. He may feel that by giving what you say substantial thought and vocalization on multiple sides to be an act of mindfulness rather than dissension.

I would suggest getting together one-on-one for an open, honest, and candid yet compassionate discussion about what each of you need and what you should/can expect from one another. Dont attribute feelings/motives/intent to him, instead describe his (or her) actual, factual, observed behavior and how it makes you feel, what that makes you think, and its consequences/impact on you and others.

Something is certainly out of alignment between the two people in question, but it may not be objectives or intent, but rather differences in values and belief as to what constitutes respect, progress (versus disruption) and what things are most/more important for overall success.

So in terms of advice, I would add an 'E' to the end of the LUV acronym to make it LUVE: Listen, Understand, Value/Validate, Empathize:
  • Listen attentively to what the other person has to say
  • Understand it to the best of your ability (you don't have to agree with it, just "seek first to understand")
  • Value/Validate what was said. That doesn't mean agreeing with it; It does mean finding the value in it and validating that value to the speaker.
  • Empathize with the speaker. Try to identify the feelings they are experiencing and demonstrate your understanding of it, and that it is okay for them to have those feelings.
I wish it was as easy to do habitually as it was to write about. If I could develop the above habit, I would be 10X more effective in both my personal and professional life!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Agile Adoption across the Industry

I've been needing to do some research into the apparent state of Agile adoption & usage across the industry. For those who are interested, here are the URLs I have gathered (some of them are pointers to excerpts or abstracts that you have to register and/or pay to read the entire article - but I found other URLs that summarized the information in them).

Agile Survey Results
Other Articles and Reports on Agile Adoption:
[updated 14 Sept with articles from AgileJournal.com and VersionOne.net]

Monday, August 14, 2006

Relishing Ruby and Rails

I've been trying to keep-up with what's going on in the scripting world. Perl6 still isn't out yet. And Ruby and Groovy seem to be the hottest and most popular & promising.

Groovy is still trying to win support and evolve to a JSR implementation, and achieve a big following. Not clear yet if it's going to succeed or if it has stalled out. The attempted revival of the "Practically Groovy" series at IBM developerWorks suggests maybe it's still alive and kicking.

Ruby is positively on Fire! And Rails is a big part of the reason for that (though there is a similar "Grails" project for Groovy). I've been wading my way through books on Ruby. The best ones were from the PragmaticBookshelf, but now O'Reilly has a some good Ruby books too. So now my Ruby reading list is as follows (I'm about half-way through it):

So far, it seems like Ruby and Rails is an amazingly hyperproductive language and fraemwork that takes what many feel are the best of Smalltalk, Python, and Perl, makes it fun and elegant, and makes web development and enterprise integration for simple to glue together production-quality stuff in less than half the usual time.

So right now I would say that Ruby (and Rails) seems to be winning out over Groovy, and some (including Bruce Tate) even think it's beating out Java. I guess we'll see. Right now Ruby (with Rails) appears to lay claim to the title of scripting language with the fastest growing popularity and user-base.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Some Good SQL Books

I've been needing to "brush up" on my SQL and RDBMS skills (let's just say it's been a while :-). I found the following books from O'Reilly and Addison-Wesley to be extremely useful, in order of increasing usefulness:
The first two above are from Addison-Wesley. I found them to be good for a "quick review" for someone who used to do SQL and RDBMS extensively 10+ years ago but whose knowledge is a bit rusty and outdated.

The second two books above are from O'Reilly. I really like the two O'Reilly SQL books! I refer to them the most right now. The SQL Cookbook updated a lot of my existing knowledge and added to it, and the Art of SQL is fantastic! I just love the way it uses Sun Tzu's "Art of War" to apply to winning the "war" on DBMS and DBM complexity!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

SCM as the Architecture of the Evolution of Architecture

One thing I particularly liked about my presentation of "SCM Patterns for Agile Architectures" at the Dr Dobbs Architecture & Design World 2006 conference in downtown Chicago...

I offered up several definitions or perspectives of SCM, including a traditional description, an Agile one, and an architectural one. I liked my architectural definition (I hadn't used that one before - I had used the other two in previous definitions). I said that, from an architectural perspective:

"Configuration Management is the Architecture of the Evolution of your Architecture!"

I rather liked that! I sort of used that to justify the title of the presentation, and presented an IEEE definition of architecture, along with Kruchten's 4+1 views model of software architecture. I then used that to justify my 4+2 model views of SCM/ALM solution architecture. I updated my drawing of the 4+2 model a bit. I think the addition of the Who+When+When+Where+Why+How shows how it may be a possible "bridge" between the Zachman Framework and the 4+1 views model.

Once again, the presentation is here. Feedback is welcome!

Friday, August 04, 2006

SCM Patterns for Agile Architectures

Back in Mid-July I gave a presentation on "SCM Patterns for Agile Architectures" at the Dr Dobbs Architecture & Design World 2006 conference in downtown Chicago.

I gave a 90 minute presentation, and I had 100 powerpoint slides. I had no intention of covering all of the slides. I had the presentation split up into an intro, plus 4 subject areas. In "Agile" fashion, I planned to do "dynamic prioritization for fixed-scope time-boxing" by polling the audience to see which sections were most interesting to them (and which patterns within which sections were of greatest interest). I figured we'd get through the introduction (which has an updated picture of my 4+2 views model of SCM/ALM architecture), and then 2 of the 4 remaining sections (3 at the very most).

I ended up making it through all of the sections and finishing on time - but I couldn't have done it without skimming quickly over the individual patterns/slides that were of least interest for my audience. Overall, I think it went pretty well. I probably wasn't animated or charismatic enough in my presentation style and should vary my tone of voice a bit more. The pictures I used were very cool and very apropos, and very well received (which is good cuz I spent a TON of time finding ones I liked that had copyrights I could use).

For those who are interested, I've made the slides available here. I welcome your feedback in improving them!