Gonzo blogging from the Annie Leibovitz of the software development world.

Month: February 2004 (Page 1 of 5)

Tom Jones comes to Calgary

Call me strange but there’s just nothing like legendary entertainer Tom Jones in concert. Tom is taking it to the stage here in Calgary to celebrate the release of his newest album, ‘Reloaded: The Greatest Hits’ (which if they’re just greatest hits how is this new?). Tom Jones became a household name in 1965 when the single, ‘It’s Not Unusual’ topped the charts. And even though he was initially banned from BBC radio, Jones still packed clubs and opened for the Rolling Stones. In 1968, ‘What’s New Pussycat,’ ‘Never Fall In Love Again’ and ‘Help Yourself,’ were only a few of Tom Jones’ singles that went gold. Tom Jones, known for his amazing live performances has also shared the stage with Sting, Pink Floyd, Bryan Adams and George Michael. Ticketmaster tickets are available here for $45-$80 simoleans.

Adapting agile in the Enterprise

I’ve created a new area on the site to house any articles, whitepapers and ideas I may have that I can share. Over the last couple of weeks I challenged myself to create a proposal at work on how to adapt teams to a more agile process of application development. With any organization, the challenge is always around change. Sure, you can throw numbers at the PTB and do a fancy song and dance about how great agile is. You can even have the organization buy into the principles and concepts. The trouble is when the rubber hits the road, it’s usually business as usual because either the teams haven’t worked in this type of collaborative environment or there’s just too much pressure to deliver and anything that may change the way things are done will shift that.

Enter my workshop proposal. It’s a fairly simple premise to seclude the team off from the rest of the organization for a controlled amount of time, provide them with whatever technical expertise you can (even if it’s outside the company), and in a very short time (no more than 2 weeks) turn them into a walking, talking, effective machine that delivers quality production code, even if it is only the first (of many) iterations. It’s like teaching a baby to walk (or in this case, monkeys using tools for the first time). You can’t expect your 8 month old to run the Boston Marathon. So don’t throw a project team together and expect them to pump out a killer-app on their first outing. You have to take baby steps. This proposal (which we’ve proven out in a few pilot scenarios) seems to be a way to do this unobtrusively. It’s had effective results and I’m certain it can work. Sure, it’s not the silver bullet any project is team is looking for but at least it’s a way to show how to get somewhere rather than a VP directive of “just do it” (which can resonate at times, but it can still be unclear as to how).

Anyways, check out my workshop paper here and feel free to adapt it to your organization.

A glorious day

Well, maybe so but it’s not day just yet. 3:43am and I’m sitting here just heading off to work. Yeah, odd hours but there’s a certain appreciation you have to have for the night. Not in a vampire sense of the word but the night is crisp and clean and without all the traffic and noises that the day brings on, it’s peaceful. I find this time of the night is the best time to be out and about. It’s long enough after the bars have let out that nobody is wandering the streets in a drunken stupor yet early enough to not catch anyone heading into a 5 or 6am shift. In other words, serene and simple. Nobody to bother you and no sounds to disturb your train of thought (that’s all I do when I walk to work, think, compile code in my head, and wonder about the cosmos). I highly recommend it for someone to try at least once in their lives.

A few updates on the site as things shift into place. I’ve added some more info on the about me page (dug up courtesy of the Wayback Machine, god I love that thing). I hunted down my old home pages when Shaw was owned by @Home and I thought I had something to say. There are things that you just forget about as the years go on but thank god for the Internet to come back and remind you (or smack you upside the head to remind you how much of an idiot you were). I’ve also made a few updates on the projects page and will continue to do so as I dust off old projects and find a home for them. Burned on a CD sitting on a bookshelf is no place for old ideas.

Another full day of meetings. I may as well forget about doing any work this week as I’m in meetings straight through from 8am – 4pm everyday (todays round starts at 7am, how fun is that?), with sometimes a whole hour to do actual work. Sucks to be me but then who else would be up at 3 in the morning writing a blog?

Please excuse the housecleaning…

Got things working the way I want around here (sort of). The site is now data driven (but not 100%) and all templated. I’m getting my trained monkeys now to scan in all my artwork and get it into human readable form to hopefully start filling the portfolio section. Otherwise, things are good around here for now and I think I can live with the change for a little while without switching things out again (keep telling yourself that Bil). My god, it’s like wanting to rearrange the living room furniture every week (which I sometimes do). There’s still some little updates here and there with styles and look but overall I’m happy with it.

The site is now 100% table free so all positioning is done with CSS. I’ll write an article on this as I think this is the way to go for laying out websites (as opposed to using traditional tables), but it takes some change in the mindset that people are normally used to. I’ve also got links to the W3C validation services but the pages are not validating 100% just yet. A few problems here and there in the HTML that gets generated by the blogging system but I’ll fix it soon enough. Must be compliant. Must be compliant…

Now back to work and some real coding.

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