Agile Hyperbole Level at Orange

While the claim that “going Agile” will solve any and all ills for any and all projects have been declining since the code red highs achieved in the summer of 2008, marketeers, trainers and consultants are still busy coming up with new and creative ways of selling Agile. “The rules for Agile marketing are: no claim is too ridiculous” says industry observer Zaun March. March say “We put up some fake, outrageous claims on our Twitter feed, just to test the waters, and we were inundated with requests for Scrum master training, certifications and coaching work opportunities.

Apparently, all you need to do is make the claimed results match expectations to make an Agile sale. The more unrealistic the expectations, the more the hyperbole marketing fit the needs of people desperate for an easy fix.” While many in the industry remember the 2004 and 2005 national analysis fondly, where a high of  yellow, elevated were only briefly reached, the new normal of exaggerated claims seem to be doing well in the market.

Failure Reaches Tipping Point

A recent poll of Senior Software Engineers indicates a preference for failure over success. Inspired by the timeless wisdom of former IBM chairman Thomas Watson who once said, "Success is on the far side of failure", the failure phenomenon has reached a tipping point. Stoked by pithy mantras like, "Fail Early, Fail Often", 63% of all Senior Software Engineers polled now believe failing is a fitting end in itself. 

Senior Software Engineer Ken Musthaller, keynote speaker at the February 2012 TryCatchFinally Conference in Snowbound Utah gushed, "If I wasn’t so adept at failure, I'd probably learn something from incremental successes." Musthaller was one of 17 failure-minded Senior Software Engineers who co-authored The Failure Manifesto during a 20-minute break out session.  Pressed for the guiding principle behind the burgeoning failure movement, Musthaller said, “You just don't learn from success."

Nostradamus Predicts Project Outcome

A new technique based on an old method can lead to interpreting the success of software development projects.  Based on the work of Nostradamus, the "Project Quatrain" can be used to not only predict a current projects outcome, but the outcome of projects not yet started or even identified.

According to Ponce DeManage, PMP, "the beauty in this technique is that most of the interpretation of the initial assertion is completed months or years after the project is over".  Using the Quatrain technique, project prediction is kept to a simple, memorable, 4 line statement.  "Everyone can really identify with and remember a 4-line project prediction, it is really motivating for everyone involved" stated DeManage.  On his most recent project, Mr. DeManage made the following prediction:

"In a Project of great importance, a team will overcome great challenge, while the process will impede, a new system will emerge, and the second release will begin after the first is underway"

When asked about the accuracy of this prediction, Ponce DeManage declared, "It’s too soon to tell, the project just finished a few months ago".

Kanban Board Falls: 3 injured in Daily Standup

A Markham, Illinois software development company is reeling after a Kanban board fell during a daily meeting and injured three team members. Two programmers and a scrum master were injured slightly when the converted white board fell on them. “I guess we overloaded it with too many Kanban cards” said product owner Jeremy Irony.

Kanban is an industrial production control system and Kanban boards hold physical cards that indicate the flow of goods or materials through manufacturing.  When asked why a 21 century software team would utilize a 1950s factory tool that peaked in popularity in the 1970s-80s manufacturing industries, our reporter was met with blank looks and some puzzling utterances of “it’s more Agile” and “Scrum did not work for us!” 

Code Refactored Until Incomprehensibility Achieved

As the team nears its 4th consecutive “refactoring Sprint”, the developers are pleased with the job security they have programmed for themselves. “We used every refactoring pattern, interface style, IoC framework, and automated test tool we could find” said programmer Dan Smith. “We’re pleased to have code that is so obfuscated and convoluted, no one but the original authors will be able to make heads or tails of it. Our need to guarantee employment on this project should be satisfied, for at least 5 years of support and feature enhancements.”

When asked how they managed to get the Product Owner to agree, the team informed us: “It was super-easy. They aren’t technical, so we insisted we had to take care of technical debt and it was necessary for new story development. When they pushed back, we used the power of numbers – there are 8 of us, and 1 of them, so they ended up agreeing. The team was seen giving each other knowing looks at the daily standup, and the odd secret high five was exchanged on the way to the foosball table.  

Team Succeeds by Increasing Bug Quality

Our users have amazing fun searching for workarounds to our bugs, so we had to carefully design, implement and test each bug to increase their experience. As a result, we had multiple reports from our users saying that "I stopped playing Angry Birds and started looking for workarounds in your application instead. I just couldn't get enough of it!".

We introduced the roles of bug owner, bug user experience designer and bug architect in the team. Developers started test driving the bugs because it makes much more sense than test driving bug-free code. Finally, we are measuring the business value of each bug in terms of customer feedback and prioritize the bugs based on the experience we think they create.

We can finally say for sure that Agile is a great way of working if you want to create bugs."

Microsoft Announces Newbie on Nails

Best in breed at being last to deliver poor derivatives, Microsoft releases the much unanticipated Newbie on Nails. An obvious knock off of Rails and Grails, Nails, or NoN as they like to call it, generates a pile of poorly testing code which solves simple problems but falls down hard when confronted with something other than “My First Website”.

Otto Generate, the project lead, tells us that “We are confident that the first release will produce more hype than value, so we are currently busy overdesigning Nails 2.0. We are confident that 2.0 will provide even less value and further obfuscate the core principles of meaningful programming

We are told that the NoN certification program costs $5000 US per day. The courses are available to teach the unaware and under skilled everything a grade school kid can easily gather from the internet in an evening of two.

New From Hell: HTML 666

The latest release from hell bests HTML 5 by adding developer punishment as a feature. Each time an unsuspecting user is thwarted while attempting the obvious, all developer associated with the code will receive a small, but unpleasant electric shock. A hot lead says that HTML 666 was designed by product owners stuck in purgatory, forced to listen to Scrum enthusiasts preach the importance of self-organizing principles. Dante’s rumor mill says they are also working on HeXML, a markup language guaranteed to induce insanity into developers selling “human readable” solutions.

PAS Announces New CRP system

The large German enterprise company PAS announced their new CxO Resource Planning (CRP) System. The system allows employees to monitor and manage their company's most valuable resources, their senior executives. PAS sanitation level 3 resources, Frank Barkowicz said “Until now, our ERP systems made all employee information visible across all levels of the organization. We realized that we were letting our most valuable assets go untracked and unmanaged. Someone in marketing must have scheduled a development resource to fill this gap in our offering. Somebody wrote synergy and ROI in the same sentence so we were impressed."  With the new CRP system PAS will put valuable information about senior executives at the fingertips of employees, enabling to them to execute their schedules with the confidence of knowing what their CxOs are doing at all times.

The initial product offering of the CRP system includes:

  • Executracker™. A location service with Google Latitude integration.
  • Execumail™. A mail information service to increase email Transparency™ by publishing executive emails.
  • Execubuy™. Real time notification of expense account activity above a configurable threshold. ($1500 default )
  • Execuexecutive™. A telepresence system to bring senior executives within shouting distance of employees regardless of their physical location.

PAS has already rolled out the new CRP system to it largest customers.  The CFO of the telecom giant BleedCashTel shared his thoughts on the new system from his yacht in Monaco. "Earlier, when I expensed a $3000 bottle of wine, nobody would know, but with the new CRP system everyone asks me whether it was worth it and excuses me from meetings the following day for 'executive reasons'". The CEO of Microshaft shared that he was lost when on business in Bangkok, local employees were immediately able to locate him in the corporate lobby restroom.  "I'm glad they found me ... I nearly lost my wits when I thought I would be trapped in a bathroom that "common people" use" he added. 

The CRP system v1.3 will be available for general public towards the end of the year.

Pragmatic Bookshelf Releases: Programming Using Copy-n-Paste from Stackoverflow

April 1, 2012: Raleigh/Dallas: The Pragmatic Bookshelf is pleased to release its newest title today, Programming using Copy-n-Paste from Stackoverflow.  Author Moe Wronn, admits in the introduction, "let's face it, this is how everyone codes these days.  You get a fragment of code from here in JavaScript, a little bit of CSS over there, slam it together with some server code you found in a couple of places, and bang, ship it."

Early reviewers have been very enthusiastic.  The reviewer for Dr. Bob's Journal exclaimed, "What a relief it is to know that everyone else is doing this too!  I thought it was just me."

Programming using Copy-n-Paste from Stackoverflow covers important topics such as being able to tell the difference between Java and COBOL (which, frankly, is a lot harder these days), how to report bugs in your own application to popular package maintainers, and how to use the perfectly legal "Google Defense" to justify your design and architecture decisions.

Partial Table of Contents:

  • Debugging with a Ouija Board
  •  Adding Search Results to your Résumé
  • FrankenCoding: Getting Parts to Get Along
  • Using Bundler and Gems: A Twisty Maze of Little Passages, all Different
  • JavaScript: "Scope" is just a Mouthwash
  • 8Backup your Project using Twitter
  • Trolls need Feeding, Too

Gradle 1.0 "Almost Perfect!"

Gradle 1.0-milestone-99.99999 (aka "Seven Nines") was released on Wed March 28th, 2012. "We are very close to the final release of Gradle 1.0", said Hans Dockter, Gradle Founder and Project Lead. "After 1.0-milestone-23, we made a conscious decision to freeze the feature development for 1.0 and move to the 'Nines' release numbering mechanism.  This really focused us on sizing items in the backlog on a log 10 scale so as to get to the final release." As to where things are now, Dockter said, "Well, Seven Nines focused on those changes, mostly typos, which involved a single byte.  For the next milestone, we will be looking for those work items that involve only a single bit change. Then I think we can finally release 1.0.  I mean, really, what would be left after that?".

What would a Gradle 1.0 final release mean for the project? Dockter shared, "well, we've realized over the course of the 4 years getting to version 1.0 that we may have to refactor some of the core architectural parts of Gradle.  There is quite a backlog for a 2.0 release".  A roadmap for 2.0 is available and introduces a new release numbering mechanism. "We found that the 'Nines' release numbering mechanism has its downside. We eventually run out of changes we can make based on the single bit limit.  It forces us to eventually release an official 1.0 version."  The solution, says Dockter, is to introduce a new innovative release numbering system based on fractions converging to 1. "We are looking at always getting half of the way towards final release with every milestone."  A proposed schedule has been put together.

June 2012 - 2.0-milestone-1-of-2
September 2012 - 2.0-milestone-3-of-4
Q1 2012 - 2.0-milestone-7-of-8

"After that, we can't really say when the next releases will come out. At this point we are slotting in various features for each release - milestone-1023-of-1024 looks really exciting but will take us some time to plan", said Dockter. "I do hope to release 2.0 before I die, or perhaps not now that we have taken it to the next level."