Andy Pols Geek, Entrepreneur

Some random thoughts...

The bad sell

I have always been a fan of teams sharing experience and knowledge within a company. It's a great way to learn new techniques, find our how people have solved similar problems and discover who's doing cool things in your organisation.

Today I witnessed a session on agile software testing that made be rethink this.

The key problem was that the person had been told to do it. It was not something he volunteered to do. He had no passion about the subject.

He started berating the audience for producing "crap". Not the best technique for wining people over to your point of view!

It also appeared that he didn't have much experience in using test driven development techniques (as he had some rather strange viewpoints).

Favourite TED Talks

"Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions" by Dan Ariely is one of the best books I've read for a long time. Here he is talking about it at TED.

While on the subject of decision making, Joachim de Posada shares a landmark experiment on delayed gratification and how it can predict future success. With fascinating video of children trying their hardest not to eat the marshmallow.

I'm also interested in what's happening as the worlds of TV and the internet collide. So this one by Peter Hirshberg also caught my attention.

Building your GitHub repositories on Bamboo

After moving all my source code to GitHub, I wanted to build it on my Bamboo build server - especially now that it lets you run the build agents on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Bamboo does not support git repositories out of the box. I found this Git Repository Plugin by Atlassian's Don Brown, but it didn't like the GitHub style repository URL's when I tried it.

So I wrote my own GitHub repository plugin that is fully integrated with GitHub:

  • Adds the option "GitHub" to the list of available repositories when you add or edit a build plan.
  • Shows the changes that triggered the build.
  • Links the code changes back to the GitHub page containing the commit/diff.
  • Trigger the build via a GitHub Service Hook (Fires service hook on each commit)

See the plugin wiki for some screenshots and installation instructions.

Fabulous Explanation of The Credit Crisis

A wonderfully clear and easy to understand explanation of the current Credit Crisis by Jonathan Jarvis. Reminiscent of Monty Python's Terry Gilliam...

Solutions Focus talk by Mark McKergow

Mark has been explaining Solutions Focus to me for a while. It has some really compelling ideas and techniques that Agile people will find useful. So I thought it would be great to get Mark to come along to XTC and explain it himself.

Talk starts at 7:30 on the 13th Jan at The Counting House pub (50 Cornhill, London, EC3V 3PD). It's free, but please signup on the XTC website.

Just to whet your appetite:

The Solutions Focus approach is creating a stir in the fields of psychology and management. Whereas conventional approaches assume stable environments and predicable outcomes, SF is bringing a new, simple and effective flavour to the workplace and the therapy room with a view on ways to make progress while everything changes. Surprisingly, the approach is as effective, if not more so, than conventional methods.

In this session Mark will share his experiences of using SF in many business settings and help us to experience the approach in some quick interactive exercises. We will discuss how SF sits alongside Agile, how the two philosophies reflect each other and how Agile processes like retrospectives might be even more agile with the inclusion of some SF techniques. This will be a session to appeal to both the pragmatist and the philosophical.