Archive for November, 2009

Open Social at Lonely Planet – GTUG

November 5th, 2009 No comments

Yesterday I attended the GTUG (Google Technology Users Group) in Melbourne for a talk by Julian Doherty on Open Social at Lonely Planet. Basically Lonely Planet have created their own community site using OpenSocial technology. They are using Shindig as the OpenSocial container but have built all the logic behind it in a Ruby on Rails application. Some interesting points in the presentation were

  • OAuth is handy but LP had problems implementing it at times, they decided to drop it for some of their own data access
  • A lot of their data like hotel locations they have opened up as a basic HTTP call just to make it dead simple to use and mash up
  • “Testing is a bitch” with developers needing to run their own Shindig container out of eclipse and a copy of the RoR app to get things up and running but ultimately a lot of things only come about with integration tests.
  • Getting things up is easy and uses a lot of dynamic HTML, JavaScript coding with apps being wrapped in some XML to be understood by the OpenSocial container
  • Quick demo of LonelyPlanet’s wave app trippy
  • Lonely Planet have found the OpenSocial platform very useful for internal development
  • Lonely Planet wants to encourage adoption and development of their OpenSocial platform through their first ever hack day

Lonely Planet is running a hack day for their OpenSocial API in conjunction with the GovHack in Melbourne this coming weekend. There are still spots so go and register at . Hope to see you there.

Steve Hayes – Covey 7 habits applied to developers

November 5th, 2009 1 comment

My notes from Steve Hayes presentation at agile australia 2009.

  • individuals know all problems in project
  • communications need to improve -> People need to speak
  • problems and solutions these days are more complex
  • develop individuals is ket to agle team success
  • people motivation
    • good video of ted talk “Dan Pink

    • basic reward and recognition will not work
    • ie. if you do this you will get this DOES NOT WORK!!!
    • what to do?
    • Autonomy – self direction
    • Mastery – get better at what we do
    • Purpose – part of something large
  • Autonomy example – Atlassian FedEx days, hack days to deliver in 24 hours
    • things covered under Covey’s 7 Habits
    • use proactive language
    • be proactive to enlarge circle of influence
    • have the end in mind (what do you want to be rememberred for)
    • self awareness and re-script messages in your head
    • have personal mission statement
    • make sure company mission statement agrees with your own
    • have a team mission statement
  • put first things first
    • things in “important” and “not urgent” are strategic and should be worked on most
  • mentioned emotional bank account
    • ultimately led to story about Steve Hayes standing on table and yelling at LonelyPlanet workers (after 6 weeks of filling emotional bank account). This was in regard to no one doing anything about a broken build.
    • the team rule was back out broken build immediatley
  • talking stick
    • don’t give up the stick till everhone “understands” (not necessarily agrees) your points
    • ultimate test of this is to have some one else talk back what you mean in their own words.
  • renew – recover
    • sustainable production capability of individual and company
Categories: agile Tags: , , ,

12 Failure Modes – Jean Tabaka keynote at Agile Australia 2009

November 5th, 2009 1 comment

Here are some of my notes around the keynote at this years Agile Australia 2009 conference. The video of this is available here

Note: the items below are failure modes, the comments under each item are
around things that need to be looked at to prevent them

  1. checkbook commitments
    1. need engagement
    2. takes time
    3. will requre organisational changes
    4. different metrics
  2. follow the plan
    1. ask team what are best practices
    2. knowledge creating companie
    3. PMO should not be enforcers but enablers
  3. Ineffective use of retrospection
    1. have them
    2. don’t ignore ideas
    3. take action
  4. Ignore need for infrastructure
  5. lack of full planing participation
    1. may look too expensive to get everyone together
    2. keep everyone involved and engaged
    3. need right people to get commitment
    4. waiting for decisions (because people are not around) is a waste.
    5. Must have everyone around.
    6. full team in room brings about more insight!
    7. have had up to 100 people in a 2 day startup
    8. Unavailable product owner OR too many product owners
      1. have commitment with team
      2. multiple stakeholders are ok
    9. bad scrum masters
      1. master of process
      2. NOT! command and control
      3. they are facilitators
      4. command & control lowers peoples morale and IQ (there is a study to prove this)
    10. not have agile evangalist on location
      1. especially for distributed teams
    11. team lacking authority
      1. team needs to have control of destiny
    12. testing not pulled forward
      1. testing culture
      2. invest in infrastructure (One example where Dev/QA/CI/Perf environments cost over $2M)
      3. don’t try to push code (in the aim to optimise developer utilisation)
    13. performance appraisals
      1. do 360 degree feedbach
      2. ask “how are you as an individuall working in a team”
      3. ask “what did you do to imporve the team?”
    14. reverting to form
      1. change is hard
      2. revert to waterfall

    Call to action:

    • choose one of these failure modes
    • create an action plan for your own team
    • do a self retrospective in 30 days to see how you went


    • do self appraisals and hold people to what they can bring to the team

    When to give up (on agile):

    • do a 6 month retrospective
    • give yourself 2 years to scale

    Tech lead and scrum master

    • enable team
    • take self ego and turn it to how great your team is
    • otherwise what are you not doing for the team?