Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Agile Scotland - - Announcing the first ScotlandOnRails conference (and special discount.)

I must confess that, these days, I struggle with recording macros in microsoft word, so I really struggled to understand what the big deal with Ruby on Rails is.  A friend who is good at "explaining things so that even consultants can understand it", as he put it, told me that "you get loads more working software, for loads less typing".  I took that to mean that it made developers more productive ... he said, yes... but, more important than that, developers just really like using it.
So if you're a developer and you want to enjoy your job more or if you are a manager who wants a big productivity boost then pop over to and register for the ScotlandOnRails conference this April.  It is, frankly, dirt cheap and world class.  Paul Wilson, one of the organisers has forwarded on the invite below.  If you scroll down to the bottom where there's a special discount code for agilescotlanders (or anyone, I guess who reads this) - but it only applies up to this monday, so be very quick. 
[BTW: There is also a special beginners course for people new to Ruby on Rails.  I checked on the website and you can go along for a minimum donation of £75 to The Childrens Hospice Association Scotland.  If you can't attend the conference but you'd like to go to the tutorial then email me and I'll put you in touch with Paul who will put you on a "stand by" list in case they have any empty seats left.  I haven't actually asked Paul about this, so I can't promise anything - but it'd be a pity to waste any empty seats.] 
I apologise for the long note - I hope it hasn't put you off - but this is a really important opportunity for all of us, and I'd hate for you to miss it for the sake of less than 200 quid.
Clarke Ching

ScotlandOnRails - Ruby on Rails in Scotland - April 2008

Don't miss the this rare opportunity to learn about Ruby on Rails from the thought-leaders* of the Rails community - right on your door step in Scotland and for less than £200**.  This April, Scotland on Rails hosts the UK's only Rails dedicated conference right here in Edinburgh***, with top speakers from the US and Europe.

Ruby on Rails has taken off.  It is gaining popularity not-only with indie web developers, but is rapidly infiltrating the Fortune 400. Here's your chance to learn from some of the best Ruby on Rails thinkers and doers in the world.  Sessions range from the cutting- edge to Rails adoption experience-reports to Behaviour and Test Driven Development in Rails.

Don't get left behind.  Register now at

Special Tutorial for "newbies": If you're new to Rails or eager to learn more from top US and UK rails developers, there's a special pre-conference charity tutorial especially for you.  All proceeds to the Children's Hospice Association Scotland.  See to register.

(*) Speakers include Michael Koziarski of The Rails Way and Ruby Core, Ruby Central founder David A Black, Jim Weirich responsible for Rake and FlexMock, and many more.

(**) The price will be held at £180 until 12 March

(***)   Edinburgh is not only one of the most beautiful cities in the world but it is a quick trip from anywhere in Europe

P.S. There's a special Agile Scotland discount of £25 up to March 5.  Just use the coupon code below while registering.



Thursday, February 21, 2008

Linda Rising - plus ... The Forth Road Bridge - queues ...

Two quick things:
1) The Linda Rising course will be going ahead.  Thanks to everyone who's responded.  It makes my life so much easier.  I'll send out more details soon.
2) Do you frequently use the Forth Road Bridge at peak time?  If so can you please send me a quick note telling me if the journey across the bridge (including the long queuing time) has change noticeably since the tolls were removed?  And, has the jorney once you get past where the toll bridge spot changed at all?
I've been looking on the google news but I can't find anything.  I ask for "agile" reasons: in my workshops I explain how it only takes a few minutes to cross the bridge, but the total journey time for the COMMUTER is sometimes over an hour - because of the queuing time; the same situation applies, of course, for software projects - the total proejct duration for the CUSTOMER is made up of the queing time from when they initiate the project until it starts plus the time it takes to execute the project.  In both cases, if you remove the bottleneck, or improve it's efficiency, the queuing time should drop drastically.  This has huge financial implications. 
I wonder if this is what has happened with the bridge now that the tolls are gone ... or have more people started using the bridge now that is free to cross.  Please email me - - this is really important for me right now.
Thanks everyone,

Monday, February 18, 2008

AgileScotland - extra special training opportunity - with Linda Rising.

We are very lucky here in Scotland to be frequented by well known, internationally recognised, Agile Thinkers and Doers - e.g. Mary Poppendieck, Martin Fowler, Charlie Poole, David Anderson, Ken Schwaber ... and (hopefully) soon Linda Rising.
Linda is best known as co-author of (the excellent book) "Fearless Change - Patterns for Introducing New Ideas". She's going to be down south in Bath at the annual "retrospectives gathering" in late April and she is toying with the idea of doing some tourism while over here in Europe.  I'm trying to persuade her to come to Scotland in April to do an evening session and a day's training for us.  After all, I personally can't think of a nicer place to be a tourist in the UK than Scotland ... 
So ... I'd like to I'd like to organise a course which will cover (in my words, not Linda's) a mixture of "how to do good agile retrospectives" and "how to influence change when change isn't necessarily welcome".  These are two of Linda's specialitises and, as you will all know, two very important areas for agile practicioners..  I'll handle all of the admin for free so the course will cost no more than £200.  It will be based in Edinburgh city centre, probably on the 21st of April. After attending the course you should be in a far strong position to "sell agile" and get buy in to agile from your colleages/bosses/customers and you will have learned how to make your retrospectives run smoothly and respectfully.
My problem: I'd love to get Linda here to speak to us, but it'd be really handy to have an idea of numbers before I can plan anything.  Can you email me at if you're interested in attending Linda's course?  I don't need a commitment from you, just a "Yes, I'll probably come along".  It is remarkably good value and it'd be a shame to miss a rare opportunity like this. 
Please also forward this note onto anyone else who you think might be interested. 
Cheers all,