Friday, July 22, 2011

Building agile teams in a large organization

I went through a successful agile transformation a couple of years ago, and I think I have some idea why it worked so well. 

We focused on hiring people who were already agile, or who had a strong desire to become so.  We then seeded several teams with developer-coach consultants.

To do something similar with an existing organization, you'd have to either fire & then hire a lot of people, or build teams more slowly.  

I think this would work well:
  • For any given team, put 8 hard-core agilistas and 2 people who have an interest in it from the existing staff. 
  • Every month (give or take a week), add 1 person from existing staff.
  • When the team gets to 16, fission into two teams and repeat.
  • Keep working your way down to the people who had the least interest in going agile.
That means it would take 7 months to build the first two teams (or if you're willing to bring in 16 contractors at once, the first four teams).  It's a big investment, but if my experience is any guide, it's a big payoff, too.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Google needs to step things up for Apps users

This is getting really annoying.

As one of the people who actually pays Google for services, it would be nice to be able to access their latest and greatest technologies.

Snowulf has a pretty good description of the problem on his blog.

If Google Apps gets the vast majority of it's users from very large companies, then I suppose it makes sense for them to enable their more bleeding-edge features last.  I didn't find any statistics on the subject, though this page implies that there are 30 people per GA account, on average.

I'm the only person on my domain, but I have 20 or so email addresses set up.  If they're counting me and others like me in that statistic, most "businesses" their referring to are probably individuals.

Choosing the best language: Twitter moves away from Rails

This is an interesting article about Twitter's shrinking use of Ruby and Rails.  (My friend and coworker Abdul Habra sent it my way.)

The upshot is that Ruby and Rails are better tools for rapid development with a small team, but that they don't compare to the JVM for encapsulating things so that multiple teams can change things at the same time.  There is also a performance gain, but that's a secondary concern. 

Twitter seems to have taken a very smart route here - build their product quickly with "Agile" tools, then change as needed to support a larger user base.

I'm particularly geeked (pun intended) about their choice of JVM language.  They went more cutting-edge with Scala as their language of choice for most applications.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Android Market - install directly to your device

It took me a while to discover this, but much to my surprise, I can shop the Android market on my laptop, and the app will install to my phone!

Google is just cool.

On a related note, the Android Blogger app is pretty nice, too. (That's where this post came from.)

Windows 10 Driver Issue with Falcon / Z-77 Keyboard

Windows 10 has an issue with this mechanical keyboard (which works great, BTW).  It's a Chinese-made keyboard (aren't they all?), bu...