Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Agile basics course ... and XP boot camp?

Hi everyone,
I hope your summer is off to a nice start!  My parents are visiting from New Zealand and they think Scotland is just stunning.  They've not once complained about the weather ...
A couple of things:
1) I have only 2 spots left on next Thursday's "Agile Basics" course.  If you are interested then please contact me urgently.
2) Would you be interested in a multi-day XP-boot-camp, run by genuine XP coaching experts, right here in Scotland?  
It would cost substantially less than if it were put on by a commerical training company but it won't be dirt cheap - (you'd have to think of it as an investment).  At the moment I'm just trying to find out if there is enough interest to make this viable, so please send me a note if you think its worthwhile exploring further.  If I get enough interest then I'll see what I can do.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Re: AgileScotland workshop - Getting the Agile Basics Right

Hi everyone,
Just to confirm: I've had now had enough "early bird" bookings to cover my minimum numbers, so I can happily confirm that the course will go ahead in Edinburgh on Thursday the 26th of June.  I've had some interest in a seperate Glasgow event ... can you send me a note if that specifically interests you.

On Fri, May 30, 2008 at 9:53 AM, agile scotland <> wrote:

Hi everyone,

I'm am running a 1-day "Get the Agile Basics Right" workshop in late June.  This is Agile for everyday people - no rocket scientists need apply.

The course is designed specifically for people/organisations who:

  • are considering adopting Agile for the first time (or are joining an established agile team),
  • have recently adopted Agile but still have unanswered questions, or,
  • have been doing Agile for a while but are struggling. 

It is a "get the basics right" course and is suitable for anyone working on or with software development projects - you'll find it valuable if you are a customer, analyst, tester, developer, designer, manager or "other".  It doesn't matter what technology you work with, your seniority, or what type of organisation you work for.  My only criteria is that you have to have been successfully working in - or with - software development for at least one year. 

You will learn:
- Why the old ways don't work so well, no matter how hard you try, where we went wrong, and who's to blame.
- Why and how agile works.
- How to use Agile to make loads more money, deliver projects on time, "wow!" your customers, and make your workplace much happier.
- How to plan an Agile project without getting too stressed about it.
- How to execute an agile project.

We will also briefly cover more advanced topics, including,  
- "Agile in the Large" which is how to apply agile thinking to multi-project environments
- Agile techniques for maintenance/support teams.
- How to get your customers involved and committed.

We will also spend some time covering the principles of Test Driven Development (TDD) but in a very effective and non-technical way. 

In case you don't know much about me: My name is Clarke Ching.  I've been running AgileScotland in my spare time for about 4years now.  In my day job I am an Agile/TOC consultant.  The "Pragmatic Programmers" are publishing my business novel "Rolling Rocks Downhill" in 2-3 months time.  RRD tells the story of a senior IT manager who discovers Agile using Theory of Constraints, Lean and Quality thinking.  Strangely, although he figures out how to do Agile on individual projects, how to sell it, and how to apply the same principles to multi-project environments, he never actually uses the word Agile.  If you've read Goldratt's book "The Goal" then this is the same as that - it uses the same principles, even - but it is set in commercial software development, not manufacturing. 

I've done variations of this course (in house) for my clients many times over the last few years and the feedback has always been very, very positive.  I've helped folk who are (sensibly) cynical about agile to understand why it works (not just how) and how to use the agile principles to get better, quickly and easily.  I've even had feedback from a few agile converts who have told me, after the course,  that they've "finally got it". 

The course only costs  £300 per person (+VAT), including lunch, etc and will be based in central Edinburgh.  If you prefer Glasgow, Dundee or Aberdeen then please let me know and if it's feasible then I will run local courses.

If you are interested (even if you're not ready to commit) then please send me an email - I'll give a 20% "early bird" discount to anyone who registers interest within the next week (it makes my planning far, far easier). 

Oh, and please forward this note on to any friends or colleagues who you think may be interested :)

Clarke Ching

Monday, June 02, 2008

AgileScotland: Three Scottish Agile2008 sessions AND JUNE MEETING

Good news!  Adrian Mowat, Graeme Thomas and I (three AgileScotlanders) have each had sessions accepted at Agile2008 - THE premier international conference - to be held in Totonto in August this year.  I've been shepherding sessions for the conference for the last 3 years and I've gotta tell you that the competition is fierce (but friendly) and many, many more sessions get rejected than accepted.  So Yipee! for Scotland.  First the Steam Engine ...

You can find out details of the three sessions here, here, and here.
Adrian and I are both going to preview our sessions at AgileScotland during the next few months. 
1.  I will do an informal run-through of my session Critical Chain AND Agile - best of friends on Monday the 16th of June
I mentioned how I used Critical Chain in agile projects briefly during last months "Extrememly Profitable/Cobol" session im May, but in this session I'll go into much more detail of precisely how to use it along side Agile to deliver more work in each iteration, with less stressYou'll be able to use the technique when you get back to work.  I'll also show how the agile software development parts of larger projects can easily fit into bigger Critical Chain plans (which, on any decent project include far more than just software development tasks).  I'll also cover, briefly, how both agile and critical chain are almost always inadequate because they are single-project solutions which have to work in multi-project environments. 
I normally do this session when I train managers to teach their teams how to plan iterations  ... but it's also very useful for non-managers and for anyone working on a self-organising team. 
2. Adrian's session, on the 28th of July, is a far more detailed and technical version of his Fit4Data session earlier this year:

The tools and techniques needed to do Test Driven Development are extremely well documented for Object Oriented languages, but how do we do TDD data management and business intelligence projects using 4th generation ETL languages like Ab Initio?

In this talk, I will show you how to do TDD when transforming data is the sole aim of the project. The talk will be divided into two parts. First, the theory of TDD in data management applications and, second, the application of the practices using FIT4Data.

FIT4Data is a testing framework for data management applications built on the Java implementation of FIT. It allows developers to write FIT-like tests using the programming language of their choice. This is essential in the ETL domain where the key technical skills are UNIX scripting and the ETL language used on the project and most developers do not know Java (or any other OO language) so they are not equipped to write fixtures in the usual fashion. Furthermore, FIT4Data provides direct support for common ETL tasks like integrating with a UNIX shell environment and maintaining reusable data sets.

FIT4Data is available to download at it's home on Google Code -

In the first part, I explain how to break a typical set of customer requirements an business rules down into chunks suitable for TDD and then how to define testable scenarios around them. In the second part, I will show how to use FIT4Data to build and run the tests and build the application using TDD using practical examples.

(I'll send an announcement re Adrian's session nearer the time.)
Once again Napier University have kindly provided us with a meeting room in Central Edinburgh.
If you are interestd in this months session (Critical Chain) then please email me to book a place: