Archive

Can you use Agile techniques with non-software projects?

Published on October 20, 2017 for Source Allies Blog

As an Agile coach, I am always reflecting on my experiences and looking for ways to help others improve. Recently I hired a contractor to complete a home improvement project. It didn’t go very well. Let me share what went wrong and how I think using Agile techniques would have helped. The Project The project […]

Coming Soon: #TechCamp2016

Published on May 02, 2016 for Source Allies Blog

Source Allies is proud to be involved in many charitable endeavors such as dsmHack, Hyperstream and Tech Journey. Tech Journey is a 501c(3) non-profit founded in 2013 by my friend Tony Kioko and my teammate David Kessler. Tech Journey was created to inspire youth with limited resources in Des Moines to increase their knowledge and […]

Recap: SAU TDD Workshop

Published on July 23, 2015 for Source Allies Blog

About a month ago, I facilitated the first event as part of the Source Allies external mentoring program known as Source Allies University (SAU).                   It was an interactive forum and networking event designed to: Cover basics and explore new tricks of Test Driven Development (TDD) in Java […]

Feedback

Published on February 02, 2015 for Source Allies Blog

One of the tenets of the agile methodology is feedback. To provide value to your customer, you need to know that what you are delivering is correct. But as an agile coach, I often struggle with teams understanding the importance of getting feedback from the customer as soon as possible. One way to get teams […]

How we improved our productivity 500% for $800

Published on December 15, 2014 for Source Allies Blog

I convinced a client to upgrade the computers we were using for software development. Maybe this article will help you convince your manager to do the same! Old Computers When I started at the client, we were using standard issued corporate Dell laptops. Specifically, we had Dell Latitude E6520 laptops. According to a review on […]

ActiveMQ Memory Tuning

Published on October 02, 2014 for Source Allies Blog

ActiveMQ is a great messaging broker.  However, using the default configuration is not recommended. This article will explain how I determined the appropriate ActiveMQ memory settings for one of our clients. I recently helped a client with a production issue involving a large java web application that used ActiveMQ as the messaging broker.  Right after […]

Agile Iowa No Estimates Puzzle Experiment

Published on October 02, 2013 for Source Allies Blog

I facilitated my own rendition of the #NoEstimates Puzzle Experiment for the September 2013 Agile Iowa user group meeting. This experiment was created by Chris Chapman to generate critical thinking and conversation concerning whether estimates are necessary to produce quality software. The meeting had a great turnout, with around 40 people attending during a Midwest […]

What you missed at Agile 2013

Published on August 26, 2013 for Source Allies Blog

I was able to attend the Agile 2013 conference in Nashville, TN earlier this month. I had previously attended Agile 2006 in Minneapolis, MN. There was a significant difference. At this year’s conference, the overall theme seemed to be that teams needed to focus on producing value rather than following a process.  Most of the […]

Agile Manifesto – Responding to Change Over Following a Plan

Published on August 19, 2013 for Source Allies Blog

Is it really possible that intense planning and the ability to respond to change can co-exist within the same development process? If you are wondering this, then you are not alone. Clients regularly ask us if Agile software development teams follow any sort of plan or are they just feel good, free for alls? In […]

My Top 4 Takeaways from NFJS 2013

Published on August 19, 2013 for Source Allies Blog

**Android Development** Google is working on Android Studio, which is built on the community edition of Intellij IDEA.  You can learn more and download the early access preview at http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2013/05/android-studio-ide-built-for-android.html. A great book for Android development is “The Busy Coders Guide to Android Development” by Mark Murphy.  He uses an annual subscription model for the […]

Acceptance Testing presentation at Iowa Code Camp

Published on July 15, 2013 for Source Allies Blog

I had the opportunity to present at the eleventh Iowa Code Camp on June 8, 2013.  The title of my presentation was “Easy Acceptance Testing.” The purpose of the presentation was to discuss an acceptance testing framework that Source Allies, Inc. developed for a client while working on a large scale web application. I started […]

Agile Manifesto – Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation

Published on June 24, 2013 for Source Allies Blog

By: Cecil Williams & David Kessler Do you ever wish that companies would trust their employees and business partners instead of insulating themselves with contracts and policies?  For many companies, each discipline operates out of its own department requiring other areas to document exactly what they want and what they are going to do.  This […]

ThoughtWorks releases ebook on Agile Project Estimation

Published on June 14, 2013 for Source Allies Blog

ThoughWorks Studios has released an ebook titled “How do you estimate on an Agile project?” where they explore common approaches and their adaptions from real-world projects.  The book is comprised of several authors, most notably Martin Fowler. In this ebook they discuss why teams estimate, different methods that teams use to estimate, and provide a […]

No Estimates?

Published on June 14, 2013 for Source Allies Blog

Over the last year or so software development estimates have become a popular topic.  The popularity stems from the inherent fact that estimating software development is difficult.  Some people are writing about ways to improve your estimates while others are writing about how to manage software development without estimates. Those writing about how to manage […]

Agile Manifesto – Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation

Published on May 17, 2013 for Source Allies Blog

Do you sometimes feel like your team spends more time documenting your system than building it?  One of the biggest hindrances to progress in a software project is documentation.  The Agile Manifesto prescribes that teams should value working software over comprehensive documentation.  It doesn’t mean that you should not create documentation; it means you should […]

Using Git with Subversion

Published on May 01, 2013 for Source Allies Blog

If you haven’t heard of Git or don’t understand why you should use it, checkout the talk given by the author to Google (Torvalds, 2007).  Git is an excellent version control tool for agile software development.  But many of us may not have the luxury of using Git because our company has deemed that we […]

Agile Manifesto – Value individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Published on April 10, 2013 for Source Allies Blog

David Morgan and Cecil Williams, March 25, 2013 One of the biggest hindrances to progress in software projects is bureaucracy.  Rigorous processes that must be followed unswervingly, deliverables changing hands between independent groups and required approvals – hand-offs, sign-offs, and stand-offs – all get in the way of software projects making valuable progress.  So how […]

Java method breakpoints are evil

Published on April 01, 2013 for Source Allies Blog

I want to share an experience that my colleague, Travis Klotz, and I ran into recently. I was trying to manually test a Java web application running in debug mode.  It was running really slow, taking several minutes to launch after the compile was finished.  And when it did eventually start, using the application was […]

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

Published on March 05, 2013 for Source Allies Blog

David Morgan and Cecil Williams, February 25, 2013 How many times have you been presented with a phone book-sized printout of ambiguous yet carefully crafted requirements?  How many times have you, swamped with remaining work and short of time, camped in your cubical to meet a looming deadline?  Or seen your customers paralyzed by an […]


Agile 2013: My Favorite Quotes

Published on August 23, 2013 for My WordPress Blog

Don’t deliver the wrong thing faster. ~ David Hussman Why do we call them requirements? They’re not required. They’re best guesses. ~ Gabrielle Benefield Stop trying to sell agile. ~ Christopher Avery Learn from estimates, not to estimate. ~ David Hussman Doing agile is not being agile. ~ Michael Sahota Crowds are not collaboration. ~ David Hussman When a measure becomes a […]

8th Graders Learn Technology

Published on August 04, 2013 for My WordPress Blog

From July 16th – 18th, 2013, twenty-two 8th graders from the Des Moines Public Schools participated in a Tech Camp sponsored by @tecjourney. The camp provided the students a chance to learn technology, similar to sports camps that are offered during the summer. Tech Journey is a non-profit organization that relied on volunteers and donations […]

No Estimates?

Published on June 15, 2013 for My WordPress Blog

Over the last year or so software development estimates have become a popular topic.  The popularity stems from the inherent fact that estimating software development is difficult.  Some people are writing about ways to improve your estimates while others are writing about how to manage software development without estimates. Those writing about how to manage […]

ThoughtWorks releases ebook on Agile Project Estimation

Published on June 15, 2013 for My WordPress Blog

ThoughWorks Studios has released an ebook titled “How do you estimate on an Agile project?” where they explore common approaches and their adaptions from real-world projects.  The book is comprised of several authors, most notably Martin Fowler. In this ebook they discuss why teams estimate, different methods that teams use to estimate, and provide a […]

Fun Agile Project Memento

Published on June 03, 2013 for My WordPress Blog

Last fall I was at my daughter’s college homecoming celebration where I saw an Action Flipbooks booth.  Seeing them record a short video of you and then create a flipbook for you on the spot led me to an idea. One of the things that I like most about agile software development is the feedback.  […]

Java method breakpoints are evil

Published on April 02, 2013 for My WordPress Blog

I want to share an experience that my colleague, Travis Klotz, and I ran into recently. I was trying to manually test a Java web application running in debug mode. It was running really slow, taking several minutes to launch after the compile was finished. And when it did eventually start, using the application was […]

Are you only using Java?

Published on March 23, 2013 for My WordPress Blog

The other night a colleague of mine, Spencer Herzberg, gave a great presentation at the Source Allies, Inc. weekly staff meeting on the Python programming language.  He extolled the benefits of Python, especially as compared to Java.  Which made me think, why am I only using Java? When I began my IT career in the […]

Waterfall to Agile: My Journey

Published on March 03, 2013 for My WordPress Blog

It is amazing just how far I have come in providing value from what I do as an IT consultant.  I started my career as a Nuclear Engineer.  So I was trained to design, plan, and document everything I did.  As I transitioned into software development, I naturally gravitated toward those same disciplines.  I found […]

Using Git With Subversion

Published on February 17, 2013 for My WordPress Blog

If you haven’t heard of Git or don’t understand why you should use it, checkout the talk given by the author to Google (Torvalds, 2007).  Git is an excellent version control tool for agile software development.  But many of us may not have the luxury of using Git because our company has deemed that we […]

Remote Desktop Connection Manager

Published on January 20, 2013 for My WordPress Blog

In my previous job as a system administrator, I was required to maintain a large number of Microsoft Windows servers in both a test and production environment.  Most of these servers were virtual machines, so we had to access them remotely.  A tool that I found extremely useful for this purpose was Microsoft Remote Desktop […]

Cycloramic app captures 360-degree, handsfree video with iPhone

Published on December 28, 2012 for My WordPress Blog

Cycloramic app captures 360-degree, handsfree video by rotating your iPhone with vibrations (Video) | 9to5Mac http://ow.ly/gphN5

Another fine example of technology in Iowa

Published on July 22, 2012 for My WordPress Blog

Another fine example of technology in Iowa: Appcore flying high as cloud computing services take off | DSM Register | http://ow.ly/cptEV

Just started using Trello today

Published on July 13, 2012 for My WordPress Blog

Just started using Trello today -looks like a great tool for managing an Agile project, especially with distributed teams http://ow.ly/ccQIH

Oracle SQL Developer Install Gotcha

Published on July 05, 2012 for My WordPress Blog

Last night I was setting up all my development tools on my new Retina Mac Book Pro running OS X Lion. The current project I’m working on is using an Oracle database, so I needed to install Oracle SQL Developer. After the download and install, I started SQL Developer to verify it was working. I […]

I’d have to agree with Mike Barton

Published on March 16, 2012 for My WordPress Blog

I’d have to agree with Mike Barton: ‘Personal Cloud’ to Replace PC by 2014, Says Gartner | http://ow.ly/9GGqI

Check out The Little White Box That Can

Published on March 06, 2012 for My WordPress Blog

Check out The Little White Box That Can Hack Your Network – Wired.com http://ow.ly/9tiAq

60 Minutes just ran an interesting segment on malware

Published on March 05, 2012 for My WordPress Blog

60 Minutes just ran an interesting segment on malware targeted at IRAN uranium enrichment plant called Stuxnet – CBS News http://ow.ly/9rEk1

This is very cool from BBC News

Published on March 01, 2012 for My WordPress Blog

This is very cool from BBC News – The Raspberry Pi computer goes on general sale http://ow.ly/9npSi

Continuous Delivery versus Continuous Deployment

Published on February 28, 2012 for My WordPress Blog

You probably have heard of continuous integration.  But have you heard of continuous deployment or continuous delivery?  So what’s the difference? While continuous deployment is concerned about getting changes into production as fast as possible, continuous delivery is concerned with getting feedback on changes as fast as possible by deploying into a production-like environment. When […]

Interesting webinar on 2/29 – Connecting

Published on February 24, 2012 for My WordPress Blog

Interesting webinar on 2/29 – Connecting Continuous Delivery to the Lean Startup Movement http://ow.ly/9hm4O

Six reasons why you should consider Google Apps

Published on February 13, 2012 for My WordPress Blog

Everyone knows about Google Mail, aka Gmail.  But are you aware that Google offers a whole suite of online applications?  Known as Google Apps, this suite of applications can be just what your organization needs.  The suite contains email, calendar, documents, groups, video, websites, and Google+.  Why should you consider Google Apps? First, Google Apps […]

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Published on February 06, 2012 for My WordPress Blog

If you want to improve your delivery of applications to your users you might want to consider platform as a service.  Just what is platform as a service?  It is an extension of cloud computing.  It leverages the concept of cloud computing and provides an environment that you can deploy your applications to without having […]

How long before Apple takes over corporate IT?

Published on January 30, 2012 for My WordPress Blog

I had an interesting conversation with someone who worked for a small non-profit company that has offices throughout the state.  They had a problem a few months ago where their Internet connection was down for three days.  This left them without any access to email, which was their main method of communication between the offices. […]