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If Your Build Fails and No One is Around to Hear It, Does It Make a Sound?[article]

Continuous Integration build tools are great: they help us ensure our product works after every commit, keep historical data and metrics, build our product for all target environments, and do many more useful things. But there's one key aspect that often gets overlooked: They're fun.

Daniel Wellman's picture Daniel Wellman
Distributed Agile Day to Day[article]

"Distributed" isn't a word that always has appeared favorably in works about agile methodology. After all, the proximity of agile team members while working is highly regarded. In this article, an excerpt of which originally appeared in the May 2009 Iterations eNewsletter, Chris McMahon takes a look at how "agile" and "distributed" can work together successfully.

Chris McMahon's picture Chris McMahon
Crash Course in Proficient Presenting[magazine]

Ben has to make a presentation at the next all-hands meeting. It'll be his very first presentation, and just thinking about it has sent him into a panic. Fortunately, he has the support of an experienced speaker and coach who offers advice and encouragement to help him become a proficient, panic-free presenter.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten
Issues about Metrics about Bugs[magazine]

Managers often use metrics to help make decisions about the state of the product or the quality of the work done by the test group. Yet, measurements derived from bug counts can be highly misleading because a "bug" isn't a tangible, countable thing; it's a label for some aspect of some relationship between some person and some product, and it's influenced by when and how we count ... and who is doing the counting.

Michael Bolton's picture Michael Bolton
GUT Instinct[magazine]

Whether or not a unit test is considered good is not simply about what it tests: It is also very much about "how" it tests. Is the test readable and maintainable? Does it define the expected behavior or merely assume it? To be sustainable, the style of a unit test is just as important as the style of any other code. Perhaps a little surprisingly, the most commonly favored test partitioning style does not meet these expectations.

Kevlin Henney's picture Kevlin Henney
Three Strategies for Task Allocation[article]

Iteration and release planning are keys to successful agile projects, but overall have a relatively small impact on a developer's day-to-day life, compared to the daily planning that takes place each morning. The strategy a team uses to sign up for work has significant implications for what a developer's day will look like, impacts his work style and habits, and ultimately can significantly impact the overall success of the iteration. Unfortunately, the agile community gives relatively little guidance in this area. In this article, I will share my experiences with three strategies for task allocation, drawn from several typical agile projects with two to three week iterations.

Robert  Williams's picture Robert Williams
Putting the Kart before the Horse?[magazine]

Go-karting is where most of the current Formula One racing drivers first learned the basics of race-craft. Antony Marcano, a former kart racer himself, recounts a father-and-son racing experience that helps him explain what goes wrong for many organizations that adopt Scrum as their first attempt to "go agile."

Antony Marcano's picture Antony Marcano
Time to Let Go of Obsolete Jobs[magazine]

Town crier, elevator operator, gas lamp lighter, carbon paper distributor, telegraph operator—you probably haven't seen many help wanted ads for these occupations lately. Why? Because these occupations are gone—obsolete, unnecessary, outdated. We just don't need them anymore. When new paradigms are created, new jobs are often created with them. And sometimes, existing jobs are no longer relevant.

Lee Copeland's picture Lee Copeland
What to Expect When You're Automating Testing[magazine]

After learning the basics of testing frameworks, writing tests for your existing codebase can be a daunting challenge. Where should you start testing, and what kind of tests will be the most effective? Learn how to kick-start your testing and some solutions to problems teams frequently encounter.

Daniel Wellman's picture Daniel Wellman
Virtual Realities: Best Practices and Common Pitfalls of Adopting Virtual Lab Automation[magazine]

Virtual Lab Automation (VLA) is a ground-breaking technology that promises quantifiable benefits for application development and test organizations, including faster lab deployment, less manual setup work, greater resource flexibility and utilization, and easier reproduction of defects. In this article, Skytap's Ian Knox discusses the best practices and common pitfalls associated with adopting a VLA solution. In addition, he outlines the steps to evaluate a virtualization solution for your test organization and provides further resources to help you get started.

Ian Knox's picture Ian Knox
Scrum[magazine]

For organizations trying to do more with less in the current economy, knowing where to turn for help can be a big question mark. But as Laszlo Szalvay of Danube explains, Scrum is one possible solution. This agile method of project management is quickly transforming the way software is developed by bringing teams together through frequent communication and high-impact collaboration, resulting in increased productivity and an ability to build a better product faster.

Laszlo Szalvay's picture Laszlo Szalvay
Requirements Come Second: A Second Look[article]

My article, Requirements Come Second, in a recent issue of Agile Journal caused something of a fuss. The piece was picked up by several more sites and was widely commented on - both on websites an in my inbox. I'm not entirely surprised by this reaction, I've been discussing this research for a year or so now and often find it surprises people. Given this level of interest it is worth looking at how people responded. It is also worth restating the key message: Requirements are an essential part of maximising business value, but when an organization is struggling with effectiveness it is best to start change by improving delivery.

Allan Kelly's picture Allan Kelly
Continuous Integration and Testing[article]

Lisa Crispin explains in this article how CI has become an absolute necessity for any software development team in this day and age. For those who have yet to fully embrace CI, this article gives you some great reasons you should, along with some helpful resources to get you started.

Lisa Crispin's picture Lisa Crispin
What's So Special About Specialists?[article]

If two projects in your organization require specific expertise that only one employee has, what do you do? Projects need to stay on track, but one person certainly can't be everywhere—or even two places—at once. In this column, Johanna Rothman shares a story of an organization stuck in the specialist mindset and offers some tips on how to escape if you're stuck there, too.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
Do You Know Why You Are Doing That?[magazine]

It's easy to get caught up in the inertia of a project and forget to ask exactly what we are developing, who our customers are, and what their goals with our software might be. Few software projects have the time and budget to figure out what their project is through trial and error. Getting clarity on project focus not only helps productivity, working to create software that people actually need increases our chances for success.

Jonathan Kohl's picture Jonathan Kohl

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