Agile Error #1 – Follow it to the letter

I have been watching Jake 2.0 and I can see why it flopped. A good example of taking a potentially entertaining concept and somehow making it dull. The main characters were weak, the plots plodded in favour of the extremely boring “chemistry” between Jake and some medical bint, who has been clearly placed in show for the love interest. And weak comedy between Jake and his immediate superior. Very very boring, and a shame because the modernization of the Bionic Man character, would still make a good show. The curse the show gave itself to start with, was the “2.0” moniker – fatal – the buzz-phrase to end all buzz-phrases, and the first really fashionable IT term.

So an easy Agile analogy case! Take good fundamental base, i.e. the way your company has been working. Adjust methodology framework to company culture and resources, take modern technologies and there you have it – a half-decent Agile implementation. OK, its oversimplified – but fundamentally that what it is all about. Yes, take inspiration and ideas from other places – but your company is your own, the staff are inherent to the company culture. It’s vital to approach Agile implementation is manner, where you are not expecting an out-of-the-box solution. The most fatal mistake is to try and invent what Agile means – wheel inventing is my single biggest irritation in the IT world – taking fundamentals and applying a different UI/spin on them. How many issue trackers are out there which fundamentally the same? How much time have you wasted evaluating products that are all the same? Don’t make the same mistake that companies did with ISO and IEEE, i.e. overlook the fact these standards are a framework, not a guide to follow using a ruler, with your tongue hanging out the side of your mouth.

I found easiest way to view it is Agile as the methodology framework, SCRUM as a “child” methodology. What everyone missed, including myself was that methodologies like SCRUM were originated by an individual for a purpose he had in mind. As it was early on, it became popular – but there is nothing to stop you creating your own. Use Agile as the framework – take elements from other Agile methodologies, then build processes relevant to your company and projects.

Just calling your project Agile, having daily meetings is not enough – it can create an illusion for a while, but it will not address any problems. Adopting rapid dev-to-test build and release process will highlight development weaknesses quickly. But they have to be acted on immediately – not left to limp along until things grind to a halt – the equivalent of putting a Porsche engine in a Robin Reliant (excuse the car analogy – they usually annoy me!).

So many lotteries …

Robert Popper (the co-creator of Look Around You, and general modern comedy guru), calling guy behind one of those “you have one $688,000 in spanish lottery” scams …

… a little while back I received a letter saying that I had physically won 615,810 Euros in the Spanish Lottery. Congratulations! So I phoned the man, a gentleman by the name(s) of Don Luis Lopez to find out how I could get all my winnings…

“podcast” – another way to say “playlist”, only more expensive

I am a real collector of social networking sites, why, I do not know but I have ended up with a set of ones I use regularly, namely delicious, tumblr, stumbleupon, reddit (such horribly designed site – I love it!), vodpod, etc .. all used for different purposes.

Collecting audio has been more challenging as 95% of audio bookmarking sites are music-related, and I was more interested in other audio – presentations, comedy, lectures ….  and due to another Apple smokescreen of “podcasting”, means most sites that offering these types of audio adopt the “podcasting” terminology, and either have such restrictive functionality makes it boring, or have the cheek to charge for basically being able to bookmark and upload your own “podcasts”.  For podcast, read f*cking audio file!

The same way the iPod/iTunes turned a simple concept of hard drive, sound module and player software into a song and dance of epic callous sales and marketing – but at least they are generally only ripping off idiots.  A fool and his money are indeed, soon parted.

huffdufferHowever, my little rant over (the mere thought of Apple causes smoke to eject from my ears), I found a nice site, huffduffer, that did what I wanted.   Still adopting the “podcast” terminology, but importantly on this site, it could juts as well be called a radio station.  A simple service that allows you to bookmark mp3 files, and create essentially a playlist (or podcast if that pleases you) – whatever apple try and dominate in this area, this is still THE audio format and the most prevalent. Doubt I could describe it better than their short blurb:-

  • Find links to audio files on the Web.
  • Huffduff the links—add them to your podcast.
  • Subscribe to podcasts of other found sounds

A well formatted RSS file, and very active community.  Still very much web 2.0 user-generated content philosophy, which is generally now slated – but is a mutually beneficial free service such a bad thing?  I could have actually created service myself, but I figure there is enough to be doing, and the web is a community after all, so support these web services.  I think we take too much for free for granted.

web me.0

It is a shame when success is sullied by arrogance, as this video shows. But worth a look, just for the comedy value, especially the guy on the Segway. I am unsure whether the girl is seriously interviewing, or simply allowing them room to look foolish. I hope it’s the latter, in which case she did very well. “Web 2.0 is so ooooover, it should be called web me.0!”

The semantic web bore had a point, though obnoxiously delivered … Continue reading