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Showing posts from 2014

Showing Off: How to Do a User Demo

Rather than repeating what has been said elsewhere, here is a nice short post on agile-for-all that covers the basics.

Here are a few things for my own future reference and teams that I'm working with...

Try to keep each demo to 5 minutes or less.   If it's longer than that, it's possible that you should be demoing more than one story.  More likely, you're just being too wordy.

TALK LOUDLY.   No, louder than that.  Louder.  Do you feel like you're yelling?  OK, that's about right.  You need to put your voice in public-address mode for 5 minutes.

Focus on why your audience should care about the story  This is particularly important for back-end work.  For example: Your story generates a feed of XML that will be consumed by another application. Show the output, and point to a couple of salient features in it.  Then be done.

The important part of the above is "show the output."  Showing the end users how to interact with your service is a separate sit-d…

Steps of a Code Review

Pair programming is better than code reviews, but sometimes you don't have a lot of choice and a review is your best option.  In such a circumstance, how should you go about it?

In my current context, we only do code reviews if another team owns the development, and we can't (or aren't ready to) enforce our coding standards.  That means we can't insist it was TDD'd, or even that it has tests.

Does it work?Names & commit messageDoes it have a commit message that describes what was changed?Do the methods tell you what they do?Do the variable names tell you what they're used for.TestsAre there tests where appropriate?Are there enough tests.Is the test code clean with one assertion per test?Is use of mocking appropriate?StyleAre methods shorter than 10 (or so) lines?Are classes short? You'd want to reject code for 1 no matter what.  Initially we'll reject it if 2 doesn't work as well.
We probably want to slowly start enforcing 3 and 4.

Organizing teams for success: Horizontal or Vertical?

How do you organize teams for success?  Who do you put together with whom, and who will do their performance reviews?  I don't have answers, but I wanted to lay out the concepts more clearly as food for though...

A recent Java Posse podcast got me thinking about this.  Is it better to organize teams horizontally (backend, middle tier and front end) or vertically (one team creates a product or feature through all three tiers).

Horizontal A horizontal team is organized where the team is focused on a layer that cuts across more than one application, like this.

Vertical A vertical team is organized around getting their product or project done, and cuts across all layers of an application.
My experience in the past few years led me to believe that vertical is always better, but now I think it isn't quite that simple.  Consider this table:

Pro Con Vertical Products get done faster because teams don't wait on each otherUser experience is consistent through a productCore services cos…