Posts Tagged ‘Jim Coplien’

9th July
2010
written by Therese

I no longer believe in doing Scrum by the book!

This will be considered a provocative statement for some but let me just explain myself: I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t follow a well-defined, tried and tested process, but I AM suggesting that we adapt the process to our current needs and maybe as far as you couldn’t call it Scrum anymore.

Now some seasoned agile people will say “DUH, of course you have to inspect and adapt. That is what agile is all about”, but I have also heard a lot of people saying, that “of course that project failed – they didn’t do Scrum properly” (whatever that means).

The Organizational Patterns book

In my opinion what matters is that you reflect on you proces and continuously improve (Kaizen) – if you do that you can start out with Scrum and adapt into something that is a better fit for your organization. It is much easier to fit the process to the organization than to fit the organization to the process.

At JAOO last year I attended a tutorial called “Scrum tuning using Organizational Patterns” (by Jim Coplien and Gertrud Bjørnvig) based on the book Organizational Patterns of Agile Software Development by Jim Coplien and Neil Harrison. It transitioned me into what I jokingly call my post-Scrum phase – a phase where I can see agile as a collection of good ideas to choose from; a toolbox. The organizational patterns book adds to that toolbox and provide ways to guide the adapt part of inspect and adapt.

Now I have the feeling that I know more about why Scrum is precisely that collection of good ideas (organizational patterns) and what kind of problems Scrum is aiming to handle and that feeling gives me the confidence to reflect on the Scrum method and adapt to the concrete needs of the projects I’m involved in.

As Jeff Sutherland writes about Jim Coplien and the Organizational Patterns-book:

Jim was surprised when he found that Scrum compresses at least 33 patterns from his book into a concept that can be explained in 2 minutes. It takes over 60 pages of rather dense text to describe these patterns.

The connection between Scrum and Organizational Patterns can be seen in this overview that I stole from the slides by Jim and Gertrud:

Click for larger image

I recently found a link about the Top 10 Organizational patterns – As far as I can tell they are presented as in the book, but the links to other patterns are dead links (and remember; content is more important than form in this case).

Organizational patterns have really helped me move beyond Scrum and to value some of the more social aspects of software development higher. If you are having problems with your process consider looking into this concept. I know that patterns are sooo 90’ties, but they are still a reasonably way to transfer knowledge.

And I should probably revise my first statement – I no longer believe in doing Scrum by the book, but I do believe that a book can inspire me to fine-tune Scrum maybe transforming our process into something completely different – if that is what we need.

26th June
2010
written by Therese

Working behind the scenes at the JAOO conference the last few years has been a great inspiration for me. I have met great conference speakers like Linda Rising, Michael Nygard, Mary Poppendieck, Jim Coplien, Ola Bini, Dan North and many more that I really respect and admire. This year I left JAOO for a glamorous job as a full-time programmer and even though I can’t wait to go back and experience JAOO from the other side of the fence I must say that looking at this years JAOO speaker lineup, I am less than impressed. My favorite speaker Linda Rising is not coming and even though the usual suspects seems to be there except Linda I’m just not as excited as I have been the other years I have attended JAOO.

One of the first things I noticed was that in general there is not many female speakers on the program this year. I would have liked to see names like Rachel Davies, Aino Vonge Corry, Linda Rising, Rebecca Parsons, Amanda Laucher, Gabrielle Benefield and maybe even some new female names up there with all the guys. And usually there is quite a few female speakers at JAOO – even a few obscure cool female geeks and not just the cool authors of geek books – just not this year. Weird. And yes, I know I’m one of the few that notice this gender disparity but as a geek girl you are always looking for new geeky role models.

The second thing I noticed was that JAOO doesn’t seem to be featuring a lot of talks about topics from every day life as a programmer. I am a Java programmer by day and a C# programmer by night and both C# and Java seems to take a backseat to the more obscure languages at this years JAOO (but you could argue that this is a continuing trend from the last few years). There is no pure .NET-track this year but a “mainstream languages” track where Java, Javascript and C# can battle for the presentation slots. And they couldn’t even fill one track with mainstream languages – they put F# in there too. I could only count 9 presentations tagged with .NET but a few of them can’t be called .NET-topics – they are just vaguely related. The Java side of things looks a bit better with Spring-topics,  Android and of course all the languages built to run on the JVM like Clojure and Scala.

Of course this is all concerns I have with the conference schedule as it is now – things can look quite different in October when the conference starts. There is still open presentation slots on the schedule. And even with a less than JAOO average lineup this years conference will probably be much better than the other developer conferences. I love JAOO!

See you there?

P.S. I will even forgive the team behind JAOO for chosing a pink venus sign as the logo for my usergroup Ada Aarhus, but only because we haven’t chosen a logo for the group yet. The sign of venus is just a bit too cliche to use for a usergroup of geek girls.

P.P.S. I call Ada Aarhus my usergroup because I co-founded the group back in December ’09.