Author: lgrant@nevacross.com

  • Sustainability

    In my last post, Agile Development in the ’80s, I talked about the team I was on in the early ’80s that was, in many ways, a Kanban team. I was discussing this with a colleague the other day, and he pointed out that my team lacked one very important attribute of an agile team:…

  • Agile development in the ’80s

    As with many innovations in the software business, if you look back in time, you can see glimpses of agile development long before it was “invented”. Even though we did not know of the term “agile development” at the time, the team I worked with on my first project for a software vendor, 25 years…

  • An extensible information radiator

    An extensible information radiator

    Note: This post is being shared with my other blog, The XML Adventure, since it pertains to both agile development and XML. Teams that are practicing continuous integration often have a central information radiator to indicate when the build fails. Several different kinds have been used, such as an Ambient Orb (a translucent globe that…

  • Low-cost, scalable, corporate information radiators

    Many teams and companies have found information radiators useful. These are displays that show information and statistics, such as burndown charts, open issues, top backlog stories, or days till product release. They are located in well-trafficked areas, so rather than having to look up the information, people can almost absorb it by osmosis as they…

  • High-Performance Teams

    Bob Schatz from Agile Infusion is visiting our facility this week, as he does from time to time. (If you hire someone to train your developers about agile development, I highly recommend that you have them come back periodically. Teams forget some things that they had learned, and also, as they understand more about agile…

  • Failing so you can win

    It has long been known in engineering circles that much can be learned from failure. Claude Albert Claremont, in his 1937 book on bridge building, “Spanning Space,” wrote: The history of engineering is really the history of breakages, and of learning from those breakages. I was taught at college “the engineer learns most on the…

  • Meetings: Stop Wasting My Time

    At most companies, there seems to be a never-ending supply of meetings to attend, and complaining about their sheer volume is popular water-cooler conversation. We may not be able to reduce the number of meetings, but can we make them more effective (and thus, shorter)? Certainly! For example, many people still start and end their…

  • Creating chaos for better agility

    Chaos Monkey is tool developed by Netflix to test the resiliency of their servers on the Amazon cloud when faced with failures. It periodically a terminates a random virtual machine that is running their application. Their automated error recovery is supposed to spin up a new virtual machine to replace the one that failed, and…

  • The Andon Light (or Stop the line, I want to get off)

    The Andon Light (or Stop the line, I want to get off)

    One oft-mentioned feature of Lean manufacturing is the andon light or the andon cord. The idea is that any employee on the assembly line who encounters a problem pulls the andon cord, the line is stopped, and the light comes on to indicate where the problem is. By the way, andon is the Japanese word…

  • Poka-yoke and software development

    Poka-yoke (the final “e” is pronounced like “eh?” in English) is the Japanese term for “error proofing”, formalized by industrial engineer Shiego Shingo as part of the Toyota Production System. (He is said to have picked the term “error proofing” rather than “fool proofing” [baka-yoke] to underscore that the problem was not foolish workers, but…