Sunday, 29 March 2015

From Meetings to Success

It can be all too easy for a projects user stories to be copied and pasted directly from the annotated minutes of a meeting where 'stuff' was discussed and declared. These stories tend towards suggested implementation. When this happens, the odds are that the structure (and requirements) will not be clear.

Pragmatic analysis and Clarity are key to Success.

When pulling stories from meeting minutes you'll end up with the flattening out of data producing spaghetti requirements, leading to spaghetti code. Based on the muddy stories, a hotch potch of testing will be produced, proving a risk to the  successful delivery of items buried (or missed) in the documentation.

Lets make the change.

Consider the following structre when writing user stories:
A User Story should be designed as follows:
As a …
I want …
So that …
This describes the need of the change.
These stories can then have Acceptance Tests in the form of:
Given …
When …
Then …
This describes the behaviour of the change.
Once we understand the behavioural change required, then we can work out what tasks are required to make the behavioural change. Once all of these tasks are completed then the Acceptance Tests should pass, the story will be resolved and importantly, all of that stuff that was declared in the meeting can be put to bed.

A successful meeting leading to a successful implementation.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

It’s not you, it’s me

Motivational quotes; we hate them

poster of a road going into the distance: "determination". 
A picture cat in a tree: "go get them".

We've seen them at training venues and on office walls. But not only can motivational messages fail to make a positive impact, they can actually make a negative one.

Maybe we see the long road “determination” motif and think; "well, that doesn't make sense... The straight road is designed as the shortest distance between two places, what's that got to do with 'determination'? Are they saying that I'm determined if I drive on what looks like a nice open road?...etc"

And regarding that cat in the tree; "I’m a dog person, so I don’t even want to see any meaning here. Stop showing me pictures of cats." *
A fun example of a motivational message backfiring is this post on The Poke.
We hate motivational quotes because they are not aimed at us, they are for someone to whom this phrase or representation resonates. For us however the message and representation may not resonate, it may seem ridiculous, we may hate it.


Motivational quotes; we love them

A lyric from your favourite song.
A line from a memorable film.
A quote from a book.

The motivational quotes that mean something to us aren't an outside voice telling us to be 'tenacious', 'confident' or 'bold', It's our voice. Someone else may have found the words or image for what we need, but this is our message, it means something to us and therefore can motivate us.


It would be remiss of me to create a post regarding quotes and not logging a few that I like. I'm aware that you may not like them, but that's okay, as someone once said "Not everyone is like you".   

The World is Yours Ours”
La Haine 

When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams - this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness - and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”
Man of La Mancha

Not everyone is like you.”
In the mood for love

* Although I'm a dog person I actually have cats. 

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Getting Started on Twitter

I love the casualness of twitter, where profundity and trivia have an equal footing. If you need a quick-start on your follow list, consider the following accounts.

@infosthetics Data visualizations that inform and/or intrigue.
  Edward Tufte has declared chartjunk as an enemy of clear, informative graphics of data. Chartjunk is everywhere, particularly in mainstream
@mtaulty I do some developer stuff for Microsoft in the UK. [[ pretentious job title goes here ]]. UK
@jonskeet Currently a software engineer at Google, London. Usually a Microsoft MVP
@thebeebs Microsoft technical evangelist. Currently working on mobile apps.
@YouAreCarrying A Twitter bot by Andrew Vestal that provides a fictional adventure game inventory. Users need only tweet the bot with “i”. (users have produced some lovely pictures in responce to 'what they are carrying')
Pretty Pictures
@shanselman Scott Hanselman is a programmer, teacher, speaker, technologist, podcaster, writer, diversity advocate and more.
@Jodie_Paterson Freelance illustrator and stationer. Owner & designer at Paper Pipit. Head of 'Charlie work'
@msdevUK Microsoft Developer UK
@RealBobMortimer I've just fell off my Honda .. My legs are in that tree..and yes I was wearing those shoes again.. The ones from Italy.
@codinghorror NET programming from a human factors perspective: thoughts on software usability and effective team development.
@Loki_Coki Design and illustration.
@boagworld Author of Digital Adaptation. Co-Founder of @headscapeltd. Host of the Boagworld Podcast. Over 20 years of helping organisations manage digital change.
@andybudd Andy started designing websites in 1998. He founded Clearleft with Richard Rutter and Jeremy Keith in 2005
@scottgu Scott Guthrie is an Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise group in Microsoft. He is best known for his work on ASP.NET
@IrisClasson .NET developer & Microsoft C# MVP
@kibooki Those are no actual toys, but some gorgeous and creative 3D dedicated to the allmighty glory of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
A community of passionate individuals whose purpose is to revolutionize software design, creation and delivery, while advocating for positive social change.
@DDDNorth Twitter account for THE premium developer event in the North of England.
@codefoster Developer Evangelist at Microsoft. Windows 8, HTML, JavaScript coder. Hiker. Sailor. Husband. Dad. Not in that order.
@ch9 Channel 9 keeps you up to date with videos from people behind the scenes building products at Microsoft.