Thursday, April 30, 2009

Re: [AgileScotland] Introducing our day time "Agile clinics" - a little free, friendly help if you're struggling.

Hi everyone,

Looks like we're holding the first clinic in Glasgow, Thursday the 7th
of May. It'll be in the Starbucks next to Borders book shop next.

I have 2 appointments left.


[AgileScotland] Introducing our day time "Agile clinics" - a little free, friendly help if you're struggling.

Hi everyone,

Just over two years ago I woke up one Monday morning, made my weetabix, took a bite, swallowed and doubled over in agony.  By the end of the day I was in the high dependency ward at The Royal Infirmary dosed out on morphine.  I had chronic pancreititis, an illness which has a surprisingly high fatality rate.  I was lucky, I survived, but I'm told it was pretty scary.

So what's this got to do with Agile?  Well it turns out that If I hadn't missed my last two diabetic clinics (due to work travel and complacency) then my GP would have immediately noticed my hugely elevated triglyceride levels; he would have changed my medication and scared me into going to the gym; I would've avoided a whole lot of physical pain; and I wouldn't have scared the **** out of my family and friends.   

The treatment, it turns out, is incredibly simple: each day I take 3 capsules of medical strength Omega Three fish oil.  

So here's the Agile connection:

Over the last few months I've been chatting with a bunch of very seasoned AgileScotlanders and we've come to the conclusion that with the addition of just a little bit of (free) expert advice many of the Agile implementations here in Scotland would be HUGELY healthier and happier.  

We're sick of hearing "Agile bad news stories" that could have been easily avoided so ...

  ... each month, from now on, we're going to run a free day-time "Agile Clinic" in a local coffee shop.  We will alternate between Glasgow and Edinburgh and (if there's demand for it) Dundee and Aberdeen.  We'll be there for 2 hours or so. 

If you have an Agile problem you'd like help with then send me an email -  - quickly describing the problem and I'll book you in for a 30 - 60 minute "consult" with someone who can 
probably help you out.  They'll "take a blood test" and because they're experts they'll usually prescribe some off-the-shelf "medication".  

A few things: 
  • we promise to keep the conversations absolutely confidential
  • no one will never ask for money at these sessions;
  • all we ask for, in return, is that - provided you find the clinic useful -  then please will you recommend us to your friends, colleagues, bosses and competitors;
  • we won't ever make a sales pitch to you but you are welcome to hire us or recommend that others do;
Over the next couple of days I'll send out "bios" of our current stable of "Agile GPs".  You probably know of most of them: Rob Lally, Alan Francis, Paul Wilson, Brian Swan and myself.  We all specialise in different areas with a bit of overlap.  We all know what we're doing.

The first clinic will be NEXT WEEK in either Glasgow or EDINBRUGH.  

You get to decide.   If you need a little confidential Agile help, or you have a friend who does, then email me now - and I'll get the ball rolling.


[p.s. Thanks to the guys in Agile Austin who run similiar sessions and inspired me to do the same.]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

[AgileScotland Conference] More for Less: Using Agile to Save your Job

Hi again,

Can you help?  I'm in the early stages of organizing another full day Agile meetup ( think part mini-conference, part workshop) here in Scotland. It won't cost much and - all things being equal - it'll happen before the summer.

As well as having plenty of very practical managerial & technical content covering HOW TO do agile better, the conference will also focus on WHY using Agile can save your job and/or business.

The equation is simple -  Agile done well produces better software, faster, delighting your customers; it needs less cash to run an agile project, you do more projects each year, each delivers sooner, but you don't need more people; that puts loads more money in your employers bank accounts and with healthier bank balances they keep paying your salary. It's a simple enough equation but a lot of people don't get it.  Agile is the right thing to do. We need to start selling it better so that more of us get to do it.

So, I need your help:
- What do YOU want to learn from a meetup like this?  What would your boss want you to learn?
- What areas of Agile particularly concern you?
- Do you have a success story you'd like to share?  A failure you'd feel comfortable sharing so we can all learn?
- Are you interested in introductory or advanced sessions?
Here're some thoughts:
... I've already got volunteers for a session on the different ways to handle requirements - stories, use cases, features, etc.
... I've also got three volunteers who are willing to share their success and failure stories.  Would you like to join them?
... I imagine there'd be a lot of interest in the leading edge agile test-first thinking.
... I'd like to run a workshop on identifying the benefits of Agile and using them  to get buy in from your boss's boss.
Send me an email ( if you have any thoughts or would like to volunteer to help. 

Please ...


Monday, April 20, 2009

[AgileScotland] Training - FIT for developers - Brian Swan, 21st and 22nd May 2009

Hi Everyone,
Brian Swann is an excellent Agile trainer and coach who lives and works right here in Scotland.  He has been a member of AgileScotland since the early days and over the years I have often sought his advice on the more technical aspects of Agile.  He knows his stuff.
Next month he is presenting on of his courses (on using FIT) here in Edinburgh.
Brian writes:
Communication, collaboration and automated testing are are the heart of Agile methods. Used effectively FIT/Fitnesse can help you to improve all of these on your project. In this 2 day course you'll learn the tips and techniques to get the most out of FIT/Fitnesse on your project.
The course is for developers who are using, or thinking of using, the FIT or Fitnesse framework for automated acceptance testing.
During the 2 day course attendees with learn:
       • How to use the FIT/Fitnesse framework to create executable documentation.
       • How to document and test business and validation rules, queries and searches, business processes and workflows.
       • Handling test data including variable elements such as dates and times.
       • How to add FIT/Fitnesse to your build process, running tests and publishing the results.
       • Integrating FIT/Fitnesse into your development process.
       • Involving customers, testers and analysts.
       • Avoiding common pitfalls when using FIT/Fitnesse.
Course details and registration
If your dev team is currently under pressure to do more with less, then take my advice and invest this course - FIT is an excellent prodcutivity tool when used properly; Brian is an excellent teacher; and the course will pay for itself within weeks.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

[AgileScotland] LinkedIn group

Hi everyone,
If you use LinkedIn then I please follow the following link to join the AgileScotland group. 
The groups feature works surprisingly well in LinkedIn and seems to be getting better all the time.
I still continue to email out to this list ...