Commitment Book

A friend recently recommended the book Commitment to me. It’s a quick read, a unique book, and full of very realistic scenarios. I managed to read Commitment during one week’s commutes.

Format

I’ve never read a graphic novel before, let alone one in the tech or project management domain. In addition to the panes you’d expect, there are also letters and blog posts. The format neatly captures the interactions between upper management and development teams. The book would have been much longer if so much wasn’t expressed visually.

Options

The scenarios covered in the book are very familiar for this developer. Deadlines are looming, the project is behind schedule, and customers are talking about not taking delivery. Through a series of conversations with her grounded sister, the hard-working project manager ends up discovering real options, a concept which seems to tie nicely into last responsible moment. Making sure we have real, valid options is key to moving forward.

There are some really nice, subtle touches for folks who may be new to agile methodologies or unsure how exactly to implement them:

  • introducing a card wall
  • focusing on finishing work
  • pairing up to share context
  • dealing with skeptical management
  • minimizing the risk of massive upgrades

Caveats

The only thing I’d caveat this book with is the somewhat odd relationship focus. Folks flirting with and asking out the project manager is a common thread throughout the book, which doesn’t actually seem to add anything to the story.

All in all, it’s a quick read that could really stand to benefit most of the projects I’ve worked on.

"Pair Programming - My Personal Nightmare" Response

Pairing is one of those topics that will always spur debates. I’ve done a lot of pairing, and I think the clients I’ve worked for have received great benefit from it. As the original article states, it is harder to be creative and sometimes leaves me tired, but I still think it’s a worthwhile pursuit.

Read More

Creeping Inconsistencies

Inconsistencies slowly creep into codebases. The cost of inconsistency becomes very clear when a new team member is onboarding. This article covers the subtle ways our JavaScript diverged over time, and how one person being aggressive in aligning styles worked well for us.

Read More

Build-Breaking Metrics

When choosing how to break the build in your CI-friendly team, make sure to consider all the possible workarounds and how much they may hurt your overall efforts towards quality. After working on several teams, I’ve decided I’m firmly on the side of tracking metrics, but not breaking builds because of them.

Read More

Data Disaster & Recovery: Oversight

Some of the worst moments build the best teams. This article covers my experience with missing the same problem in development, qa, and all the way through to a production deployment. In one of my proudest moments to date, our team rallied to solve our huge problem quickly and calmly.

Read More

001: Time to Understanding

The first development blog post! A small lesson worth reinforcing: if if takes more than a few minutes to understand, it’s not good code.

Read More

  • 1