meets monthly on the second Tuesday at The Round Foundry in Leeds (http://www.roundfoundry.net/
). Subscribe to our events feed
for regular and special events, or join our group
for discussion of all things Agile
. The Agile Yorkshire community is friendly and open to all. Suggestions for new events welcomed.
This feed provides a follow up space for topics raised in meetings.
When worlds collide bad things don’t always happen. The Easter gathering of Agile Yorkshire was another capacity crowd for the Round Foundry conference room. Fifty people devoured the buffet then sat captivated, sketched creatively and interacted with peers during Ryan Haney’s passionate pitch for the “unequivocal value of style”. How, when engineers and designers really work together, the results can be outstanding.
Ryan asserted that its possible for anyone to develop their own creative and artistic proficiency with practice and iteration just like any other product development activity. To proved it a round of one-shot Pictionary, as described by @DaveCTurner, followed. With much regalement and index card sketching, attendees crossed the room in a test of visual communication.
Ryan finished off with a deconstruction of software UX and Dieter Rams design values, plus a story of the iterative effort poured into a Broadway musical poster. The later an affirmation of the sweat, time and hard work behind all truly creative or artistic output.
Phil Rice filled the half hour speaking slot with a run through of the Lean Startup approach to company building, bravely contrasting it to some of his past business experiences. While he fondly remembered the security of VC investment he also reflected on the pain experienced by discovering, late in the product cycle, that some customer assumptions had been just that - assumptions.
Phil explained how Lean Startup ideas focus on measuring actual customer behaviour and designing product experiments with as little investment as possible. Relying only on actual data and with an ever ready ability to “pivot” away from the unsuccessful, startup survival odds can significantly increase. With regular small releases, a startup can minimise losses and focus investment only on things that are driving growth.
Phil talked of his experiences to date with his own Lean Startup. Stepping through his early assumptions and customer discovery efforts. He went on to outline current plans to execute his first pivot and continue on his journey of growth. Good luck Phil.
The meeting was rounded off with the prize draw for with books and software licenses provided by some of our sponsors O'Reilly and JetBRAINS. Overall the meeting was another resounding success with thanks going to Grant Crofton (@relentlessdev), Alex Fleming (@afnw35342) and Neil McLaughlin (@neilbmclaughlin) for generously donating their time to help with the organisation.
See you next month,
Last Tuesday brought out the cream of Yorkshire's developer community with around 35 attendees turning up to hear Kevin Rutherford talk about some specific software principles and patterns - namely the principle of Tell, Don't Ask and the problems he has encountered with trying to follow this principle. His final conclusion was that we should be "Telling, not waiting to be asked" by using a publisher/subscriber pattern and event bus. The slides are available on SlideShare. For me the presentation was a great example of how to present a technical topic. Although the material could probably have been covered in less time it is the gaps and spaces in such a presentation which allows the implications of the ideas presented to sink in which give it a feeling of quality. I found it both informative and enjoyable - often not qualities found together in a technical presentation.
Royd Brayshay stepped up to the mark, in the absence of any other volunteers, as speaker for the small slot of the evening. He led an entertaining discussion on the subject of sequencing work items (for example by priority) and the pitfalls which may be encountered. A number of different strategies for sequencing were discussed based on business benefits such as cost of delay rather than subjective measures which tend to favour 'pet projects' and technical details.
Both presentations were very well received and prompted some excellent discussion both during the meetup and afterwards in the pub. It was good to have a number of stalwarts of the Agile Yorkshire developer community present especially some of the original founders of the group (Phil Rice and Toby Sucharov) who ran the very first Extreme Programming Club at the Victoria Hotel in Leeds in Feb 2007. I think it's amazing to think that, give or take a few short gaps, we have been meeting up monthly since then. A lot of credit goes out to those who have helped and attended over the years in building the community. Phil Rice has stepped forward to present in the small slot in April on 'Lean Startups' which, as a CEO of such a startup, should make for a fascinating topic. We have also just had conformation of the return of Ryan Haney (cf Oct 2012) who will be talking about UX and Agile in a presentation entitled 'Hitchhiker's Guide to UX'
Although Shrove Tuesday, February's Agile Yorkshire meet-up saw one of it's largest attendances, possibly second only to the event at which Martin Fowler was guest speaker.
Clement Pickering presented a report discussing his experience heading up the transition from traditional to agile methods in the testing function of Callcredit. Discussed were differences in strategy, processes, tools and techniques between an agile and more 'traditional' approach. The presentation was followed by a lively Q&A and debate. Clement's slide deck can be downloaded here.
Following Clement's presentation and a short break, Neil McLaughlin gave a demo of developing a Google Hangouts application, using a suite of cloud applications including Cloud9 IDE, an online development environment. The demo gods had maybe left to eat their pancakes when one of the web services Neil was using was down.
Thanks to our sponsors .... for providing food and drink, ... for the evening's free stuff, the speakers and to everybody who came along.
The slide deck to Clement's excellent experience report from the QA team at Call Credit's on their transition to a more agile way of working can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this page.
Clement Pickering has been with the Callcredit group for over 13 years leading Development teams in creating a wide range of products for the financial services industry. He has long been an advocate of agile development practices and the philosophy that underpins agile as he passionately believes it helps teams deliver more effectively. He has been involved for many years in helping Callcredit adopt agile practices and in his current role has most recently focussed on helping the QA community and project teams within Callcredit get to grips with agile testing.
Neil McLaughlin is a freelance developer/coach/scrum master who enjoys building stuff and helping teams to enjoy building stuff.
Hi Neil,Thank you. I had a great time. The slides are attached. The books that I talked about are Influence by Robert CialdiniThinking Fast and Slow by Daniel KahnemanFlow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (the one I illustrated using chicken soup) Slight of Mouth by Robert B. DiltsRegards,Mark.
Our first Agile Yorkshire of 2012 focused on Extreme Programming
(XP), featuring An Extreme Hour
. Extreme Teams Partridge
, Turtle Doves
, French Hens
and Colly Birds
of developers and customers struggled to develop paper prototypes
of "The Ultimate Coffee App
" for "The Lean Start-Up Mafia"
against the clock.
Process-wise, we dissected XP: stripped the method down to its minimal essence. No iterations: just customers and developers planning, creating then releasing. Think elegant simplicity. A few twists were mixed in to emphasis collaboration, communication and problem-solving. Our agilists
came, saw and more definitely conquered the chaos! A big thumbs up to everyone who was able to make it :-)
See below for materials for the lightning talks and the Extreme Hour.
Thanks to Andy Longshaw for his lightning talk on "6 questions", and for introducing us to the BCS Software Practice Advancement
group and the SPA conference
This Extreme Hour was hosted by Grant Crofton and Robert Burrell Donkin.
Extreme Programming has proven to be the master of its niche, as well as a deep well of inspiration and innovation in tools, techniques and practices. Even if your teams don't do XP every day, experiencing XP helps them to grow and prepares them for those projects that would work best done the Extreme Way.
Here are all the materials you need to run An Extreme Hour based on our minimal, stripped-down human-centered variation. The timeboxing for Agile Yorkshire proved a little aggressive. Take an afternoon and allow:
- 30 minutes for "XP in 10 slides" and discussion
- 20 minutes to introduce User Stories, The Planning Game and Process Flow
- 10 minutes team building
- 20 minutes for customer brainstorming and developer introduction to paper prototyping and simple designs
- 10 minutes for a break
- 60 minutes for the Extreme Hour
- 30 minutes for the presentations
- 15 minutes for a break
- 30 minutes for discussion
- 15 minutes for a retrospective
For The Lightning Talks
Looks with a revisionist eye at XP after ten years. See Some Extreme Programming for a link-rich introduction to XP basics.
Just how agile is an environment? Andy Longshaw presents 6 questions whose answers will help you to understand how well matched to Agile a novel environment is. Information about SPA and BCS is appended.
For This Extreme Hour
Lightning talks introduced Timeboxing
and The Pomodoro Technique
] before the meeting split into technical and conceptual streams. In the technical stream, Aaron Pritzlaff introduced Scala, one of the new generation of functional languages design to run on mainstream virtual machines. Take a look below for more information. The conceptual steam featured a free form discussion starting from the role of time in Agile development but wandered constructively onto many topics most memorably around quality.
Thanks to everyone for making this a success.
Aaron's Recommended LinksScala References
Functional Programming References
- The implicit context example I wanted to show is here
- N-Queens Problem (and other scala features) as taken from "Programming Scala"
- The read-me on this site also contains links to other useful scala references is here.
- Leeds Scala User Group
Ordered according to my own preference/what I would suggest reading first:
- Excellent Paper on Why Functional Programming matters
- Excellent Article on the above short paper - I recommend his blogs
- Google Intro to Haskell Video
- Excellent Blog on Closures and Higher-Order Functions
- Article on Y-Combinators (not referenced in talk - probably worth reading other refs first)
- What Haskell doesn't have
- Some dude's take on immutable vs. mutable