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Re: [XP] XP-friendly Task Tracking Software

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  • Ian Collins
    Peter Schuh wrote ... This might be you best option. We found that our in house design change note system works well for tracking stories. We raise a change
    Message 1 of 16 , Jan 23, 2003
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      Peter Schuh wrote

      >
      >Also, I have looked into defect-tracking tools (like Double Chocolate
      >Latte). They actually appear closer to what I would like to see because
      >they store tasks (or defects) in a queue instead of a WBS structure, but
      >they have no real notion of iterations, stories or releases.
      >
      >
      >
      This might be you best option.

      We found that our in house design change note system works well for
      tracking stories. We raise a change request for each and developers
      sign up for the story by asking for the change request to be assigned to
      them.

      Not what the system was designed for, but better than MS Project like tools.

      Not all managers hare happy just to use cards, some like to see pretty
      progress graphs. The DCN gives everyone visibility of our progress.

      It goes without saying that we have an XP project lined up to modify the
      tool to support XP development better. Infinite recursion may be a
      problem here!

      Ian

      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Chris Hanson
      ... Not all developers are happy using cards, either. My hand cramps just writing checks to pay my bills once a month. There s no way in hell I m writing
      Message 2 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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        At 7:44 PM +1300 1/24/03, Ian Collins wrote:
        >Not all managers hare happy just to use cards, some like to see pretty
        >progress graphs. The DCN gives everyone visibility of our progress.

        Not all developers are happy using cards, either.

        My hand cramps just writing checks to pay my bills once a month.
        There's no way in hell I'm writing features on index cards.
        Furthermore, it's not easy to search, archive, categorize, share,
        comment on etc. index cards because they're physical artifacts.

        I'm usually working solo, on solo projects, so I keep everything in
        an outline in OmniOutliner.
        <http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/OmniOutliner/> It works great.

        -- Chris

        --
        Chris Hanson, bDistributed.com, Inc. | Email: cmh@...
        Custom Application Development | Phone: +1-847-372-3955
        http://bdistributed.com/ | Fax: +1-847-589-3738
        http://bdistributed.com/Articles/ | Personal Email: cmh@...
      • Bentley, Jason
        I have noticed that some of the more prominent members on this list strongly discourage the use of anything other than index cards. Apparantly, fix XP when
        Message 3 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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          I have noticed that some of the more prominent members on this list strongly
          discourage the use of anything other than index cards. Apparantly, "fix XP
          when it breaks" only applies if you do it exactly as they are doing it. I
          am with you, though. I have began putting something together using C#, SQL
          Server and Documentum. The workflows in Documentum are great for a
          constantly evolving project. The projects we work on use distributed teams
          and we have customers that are constantly out of the country and there are
          federal regulations that we have to conform to so Documentum is a natural
          choice. When something changes, everyone gets notified and no one proceeds
          until everyone has "signed" off on the details. It also helps that all of
          our projects are web-based. I have had several conversations with list
          members about beginning an open source project on SourceForge but nothing
          substantial has become of it as of yet. If you find anything good, be sure
          to let us know.

          Jason

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Andrew McDonagh [mailto:andrew.mcdonagh@...]
          Sent: Friday, January 24, 2003 6:46 AM
          To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [XP] XP-friendly Task Tracking Software


          scares the Hello? Even I don't know where that came from...

          I was trying to type "scares the hell"....

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Andrew McDonagh [mailto:andrew.mcdonagh@...]
          Sent: 24 January 2003 11:43
          To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [XP] XP-friendly Task Tracking Software



          I know that where I work, the idea of the user stories only being on index
          cards scares the hello out of other people because of:

          1)They think they could get lost/damaged.
          2)What about when you want/need other people in the company to review the
          cards.
          3)Some higher level managers would want to take them away to review (as our
          Customer is ourselves), but don't want to have to lump around a stack of
          cards, when they are used to emailing word docs.
          4)Its not electronic, so surely its just harder to work with, no searching,
          no record of who's working on what, etc...

          Just some of the 'concerns' I've heard, which would drive our company to
          look for in a tool.


          -----Original Message-----
          From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@...]

          I know Peter, and I want to hear what he is looking for in a tool.


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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • silver
          ... actually, they recommend you start out that way to see what you need to improve upon specific to your company s needs. don t be so quick to set up straw
          Message 4 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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            On Fri, 24 Jan 2003, Bentley, Jason wrote:

            > I have noticed that some of the more prominent members on this list strongly
            > discourage the use of anything other than index cards. Apparantly, "fix XP
            > when it breaks" only applies if you do it exactly as they are doing it.

            actually, they recommend you start out that way to see what you need to
            improve upon specific to your company's needs. don't be so quick to set up
            straw men.

            however, I must say that I like the idea of a story-management tool.




            aside: when I was first learning XP I was priveleged to have Mr Beck at the
            company I worked for at the time personally teaching us what he knows about
            it. I asked him "if we don't document requirements, how do you encode the
            requirement that something run on both Windows and Linux?"

            He replied with one of those replies that makes me wish I hadn't asked the
            question because I felt so stupid when I saw how simple the answer was. But
            sometimes the best ideas seem obvious only in retrospect.

            His reply was, "The acceptance tests install the program on both Windows and
            Linux and run on each. If either fails, the program is not accepted."




            After some thought, I saw that this is an application of the Process Pattern:
            "Replace Documentation With Automatic Enforcement". Which if it isn't written
            down on the wiki already, bloody well should be.

            It's why we write tests, it's why we try to make integrations automatic, it's
            why we do a lot of things.




            another aside: At a company I may or may not have worked for, we had some kind
            of generalized call-tracking software which we used to manage many things like
            IT requests as well as dev tasks and Customer Support questions.

            We had a document about how to adapt the generalized tool to specific
            needs. For example, you were supposed to enter an IT request and assign it to
            an IT queue, not a specific IT person. When our IT guy got promoted/shifted
            and replaced, he was still getting calls assigned directly to him even though
            he was no longer responsible for them.

            Then we took the generalized client off everyones desk and replaced it with a
            web page to place IT requests into (as well as the other kinds of things, of
            course). Suddenly, all the calls were being assigned correctly to the IT
            queue. Because there wasn't an option to do otherwise :)

            What worked better? a document explaining the right way to assign calls, or a
            tool that enforced it?




            Now unless you checked your brain at the door, you see what I'm driving at
            when I say I like the idea of a story management tool.

            What do I think will work better? a document (or a white book from Addison
            Wesley) saying dev owns the estimates, or a tool that only allows dev to add
            and edit the estimates?

            a document/book saying that if the estimate is changed on the card, the card
            needs to be shown to the customer again so they know, or a tool that sends a
            notice to the customer when dev changes the estimate?

            "Replace Documentation With Automatic Enforcement" can be applied to story
            management to improve XP. Now we just need the tools.

            You also get persistence, searchability, multiple-views on the card, etc as
            icing. Really tasty icing.



            I humbly suggest that http://www.scopemanager.com/ is a Darn Good Start. And I
            don't even work for them. If a few teams were to try it and submit stories, I
            bet it would quickly become pretty much The Tool To Recommend.




            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: Andrew McDonagh [mailto:andrew.mcdonagh@...]
            > Sent: Friday, January 24, 2003 6:46 AM
            > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: RE: [XP] XP-friendly Task Tracking Software
            >
            >
            > scares the Hello? Even I don't know where that came from...
            >
            > I was trying to type "scares the hell"....
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: Andrew McDonagh [mailto:andrew.mcdonagh@...]
            > Sent: 24 January 2003 11:43
            > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: RE: [XP] XP-friendly Task Tracking Software
            >
            >
            >
            > I know that where I work, the idea of the user stories only being on index
            > cards scares the hello out of other people because of:
            >
            > 1)They think they could get lost/damaged.
            > 2)What about when you want/need other people in the company to review the
            > cards.
            > 3)Some higher level managers would want to take them away to review (as our
            > Customer is ourselves), but don't want to have to lump around a stack of
            > cards, when they are used to emailing word docs.
            > 4)Its not electronic, so surely its just harder to work with, no searching,
            > no record of who's working on what, etc...
            >
            > Just some of the 'concerns' I've heard, which would drive our company to
            > look for in a tool.
            >
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@...]
            >
            > I know Peter, and I want to hear what he is looking for in a tool.
            >
            >
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            >
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            --
            This unit is designated developer 5 of 8.

            "If you are flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit"
            - Mitch Hedberg
          • Ron Jeffries
            ... Well, a funny thing happened to me this week. I was at Professional Automotive Technicians, saying that my car was throwing codes and that they should
            Message 5 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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              Around Friday, January 24, 2003, 7:30:14 AM, Bentley, Jason wrote:

              > I have noticed that some of the more prominent members on this list strongly
              > discourage the use of anything other than index cards. Apparantly, "fix XP
              > when it breaks" only applies if you do it exactly as they are doing it.

              Well, a funny thing happened to me this week. I was at Professional
              Automotive Technicians, saying that my car was throwing codes and that
              they should order a wiring harness and other parts so as to do a full
              ignition tuneup.

              The technician (my son, the only person I trust to work on my cars) told me
              he would turn off the code light while I was there, and took his computer
              out to do it. When he came back, he told me that the codes thrown were all
              from the secondary air injection system, and that fixing the ignition
              should be done only if it is broken.

              I do have a point. The cards are just one example. If we have tried the XP
              practices, and they do not serve, then we should by all means augment them
              or even replace them. We have knowledge.

              If, on the other hand, we have not tested the practices, we don't know
              whether they are broken or not. We only have fear.

              Ron Jeffries
              www.XProgramming.com
              = = The Receptive is the most devoted of all things in the world.
              = = The expression of its nature is invariably the simple,
              = = in order to master the obstructive.
            • Bentley, Jason
              I am not sure what I am suppose to take away from that story but as you could have seen from the example I provided, I do believe that I have faithfully tried
              Message 6 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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                I am not sure what I am suppose to take away from that story but as you
                could have seen from the example I provided, I do believe that I have
                faithfully tried the cards and that in my situation, it does not work. We
                are building software and seems that some list members are afraid of
                software. How odd.

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@...]
                Sent: Friday, January 24, 2003 8:54 AM
                To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [XP] XP-friendly Task Tracking Software


                Around Friday, January 24, 2003, 7:30:14 AM, Bentley, Jason wrote:

                > I have noticed that some of the more prominent members on this list
                strongly
                > discourage the use of anything other than index cards. Apparantly, "fix
                XP
                > when it breaks" only applies if you do it exactly as they are doing it.

                Well, a funny thing happened to me this week. I was at Professional
                Automotive Technicians, saying that my car was throwing codes and that
                they should order a wiring harness and other parts so as to do a full
                ignition tuneup.

                The technician (my son, the only person I trust to work on my cars) told me
                he would turn off the code light while I was there, and took his computer
                out to do it. When he came back, he told me that the codes thrown were all
                from the secondary air injection system, and that fixing the ignition
                should be done only if it is broken.

                I do have a point. The cards are just one example. If we have tried the XP
                practices, and they do not serve, then we should by all means augment them
                or even replace them. We have knowledge.

                If, on the other hand, we have not tested the practices, we don't know
                whether they are broken or not. We only have fear.

                Ron Jeffries
                www.XProgramming.com
                = = The Receptive is the most devoted of all things in the world.
                = = The expression of its nature is invariably the simple,
                = = in order to master the obstructive.


                To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...

                To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...

                ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com

                Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Ron Jeffries
                ... Then you should do what you re doing. The reasons you listed earlier all do seem to call for something in addition to cards. ... Rudeness objection. Ron
                Message 7 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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                  On Friday, January 24, 2003, at 9:03:03 AM, Bentley, Jason wrote:

                  > I am not sure what I am suppose to take away from that story but as you
                  > could have seen from the example I provided, I do believe that I have
                  > faithfully tried the cards and that in my situation, it does not work.

                  Then you should do what you're doing. The reasons you listed earlier all do
                  seem to call for something in addition to cards.

                  > We are building software and seems that some list members are afraid of
                  > software. How odd.

                  Rudeness objection.

                  Ron Jeffries
                  www.XProgramming.com
                  If not now, when? -- The Talmud
                • Bentley, Jason
                  ... From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@acm.org] Sent: Friday, January 24, 2003 9:10 AM To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [XP] XP-friendly
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@...]
                    Sent: Friday, January 24, 2003 9:10 AM
                    To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [XP] XP-friendly Task Tracking Software


                    On Friday, January 24, 2003, at 9:03:03 AM, Bentley, Jason wrote:

                    > I am not sure what I am suppose to take away from that story but as you
                    > could have seen from the example I provided, I do believe that I have
                    > faithfully tried the cards and that in my situation, it does not work.

                    Then you should do what you're doing. The reasons you listed earlier all do
                    seem to call for something in addition to cards.

                    > We are building software and seems that some list members are afraid of
                    > software. How odd.

                    Rudeness objection.
                    <<<<<<Yeah, I know. I apologize.>>>>>>

                    Ron Jeffries
                    www.XProgramming.com
                    If not now, when? -- The Talmud


                    To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...

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                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Ron Jeffries
                    ... No real offense taken. I know I have a way about me. Sometimes I even p2s myself off. Rock on. You re doing fine as far as we can tell from here. Ron
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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                      On Friday, January 24, 2003, at 9:11:58 AM, Bentley, Jason wrote:

                      >> We are building software and seems that some list members are afraid of
                      >> software. How odd.

                      > Rudeness objection.
                      > <<<<<<Yeah, I know. I apologize.>>>>>>

                      No real offense taken. I know I have a way about me. Sometimes I even p2s
                      myself off.

                      Rock on. You're doing fine as far as we can tell from here.

                      Ron Jeffries
                      www.XProgramming.com
                      Only the hand that erases can write the true thing. -- Meister Eckhart
                    • Ron Jeffries
                      ... I do, too. I m a programmer. I m in many ways an introvert. I am more inclined to send a memo or an email than to talk to someone, especially when there s
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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                        Around Friday, January 24, 2003, 7:56:46 AM, silver wrote:

                        > On Fri, 24 Jan 2003, Bentley, Jason wrote:

                        >> I have noticed that some of the more prominent members on this list strongly
                        >> discourage the use of anything other than index cards. Apparantly, "fix XP
                        >> when it breaks" only applies if you do it exactly as they are doing it.

                        > actually, they recommend you start out that way to see what you need to
                        > improve upon specific to your company's needs. don't be so quick to set up
                        > straw men.

                        > however, I must say that I like the idea of a story-management tool.

                        I do, too. I'm a programmer. I'm in many ways an introvert. I am more
                        inclined to send a memo or an email than to talk to someone, especially
                        when there's a problem. And in spite of being careful in reading and
                        writing, I find that it often misfires.

                        XP, I think I've learned, is about the people and the interactions among
                        them. The thing about the physical tools: the cards, the whiteboard, the In
                        A Room, the standup meetings is that it creates more fruitful interactions
                        among the people.

                        I value that, and it was rather a surprise to me how effective those little
                        things are. So I don't want people to lose that human thing in pursuit of a
                        really cool tool.

                        Perhaps I go overboard sometimes. But it isn't called Moderate Programming.

                        > aside: when I was first learning XP I was priveleged to have Mr Beck at the
                        > company I worked for at the time personally teaching us what he knows about
                        > it. I asked him "if we don't document requirements, how do you encode the
                        > requirement that something run on both Windows and Linux?"

                        > He replied with one of those replies that makes me wish I hadn't asked the
                        > question because I felt so stupid when I saw how simple the answer was. But
                        > sometimes the best ideas seem obvious only in retrospect.

                        > His reply was, "The acceptance tests install the program on both Windows and
                        > Linux and run on each. If either fails, the program is not accepted."

                        Now the thing that bugs me about this is that he can say the most obviously
                        smart-1ss things and people don't get offended. I ask for the time of day
                        and I'm labelled as an a5e. What is up with that? I love you more than he
                        does. Well, as much, anyway. But I digress ...

                        > After some thought, I saw that this is an application of the Process Pattern:
                        > "Replace Documentation With Automatic Enforcement". Which if it isn't written
                        > down on the wiki already, bloody well should be.

                        > It's why we write tests, it's why we try to make integrations automatic, it's
                        > why we do a lot of things.

                        Yes. Make things be such that we cannot screw up. Taking away my car keys
                        and having only healthy food in the refrigerator would cause me to eat
                        sensibly in a far more effective way than whatever's happening now.

                        > What worked better? a document explaining the right way to assign calls, or a
                        > tool that enforced it?

                        Good example, snipped.

                        > Now unless you checked your brain at the door, you see what I'm driving at
                        > when I say I like the idea of a story management tool.

                        > What do I think will work better? a document (or a white book from Addison
                        > Wesley) saying dev owns the estimates, or a tool that only allows dev to add
                        > and edit the estimates?

                        Well, yes, on the surface. But it depends what we mean by "work better".
                        Such a tool might never release the tension between customer and developer
                        about "why does that take so long". It might protect the estimates and lose
                        the spirit of XP. It /need/ not do that ... I'm only pointing out that it's
                        not all one-sided.

                        > a document/book saying that if the estimate is changed on the card, the card
                        > needs to be shown to the customer again so they know, or a tool that sends a
                        > notice to the customer when dev changes the estimate?

                        Dear Mr or Ms Cardholder,

                        We have adjusted your account to reflect our new policies. If you have
                        any questions please send them to questionInputQueue@... .

                        We appreciate your patronage and welcome your feedback at any time.

                        What would work better than an email? Nearly anything personal. The auto
                        email would work better than only two things: doing nothing, or going over
                        to the customer and saying something like "We've changed the estimate on
                        this story. Like it or lump it. Who the hell dresses you, anyway?"

                        > "Replace Documentation With Automatic Enforcement" can be applied to story
                        > management to improve XP. Now we just need the tools.

                        > You also get persistence, searchability, multiple-views on the card, etc as
                        > icing. Really tasty icing.

                        Icing is good. Food is better. If the tool supports the values, then it can
                        be a good tool. If the tool augments the practices -- such as by providing
                        remote participation -- that could be great. I'm only concerned that we
                        don't lose the food to get the icing.

                        > I humbly suggest that http://www.scopemanager.com/ is a Darn Good Start. And I
                        > don't even work for them. If a few teams were to try it and submit stories, I
                        > bet it would quickly become pretty much The Tool To Recommend.

                        As I mentioned when I pointed to it, it struck me very favorably as well,
                        though I haven't tried it yet. I don't know whether that means I have had a
                        stroke, or whether going over to the Dark Side has affected me in some
                        strange way, or what. I think it's because the tool actually presents
                        itself in XP style, instead of presenting as a "bug database" or something
                        non-agile.

                        Ron Jeffries
                        www.XProgramming.com
                        Inigo Montoya: You are wonderful!
                        Man in Black: Thank you. I have worked hard to become so.
                      • William Pietri
                        ... Well, I d say a team that understands the reasons behind something and acts accordingly would be better still. The problem with tools that embody knowledge
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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                          On Fri, 2003-01-24 at 04:56, silver wrote:
                          >
                          > What worked better? a document explaining the right way to assign calls, or a
                          > tool that enforced it?

                          Well, I'd say a team that understands the reasons behind something and
                          acts accordingly would be better still.

                          The problem with tools that embody knowledge is that people can stop
                          thinking about things. That's their point, but also their bane.
                          Pre-packaged food lets anybody create an adequate meal, but they never
                          develop the skills necessary to vary that meal for unusual circumstances
                          or fix the meal if something goes wrong.

                          For things that are boring or secondary, I think automation is swell.
                          E.g., the automated refactorings save people from a lot of silly
                          cut-and-paste activities.

                          But understanding the necessary balance of power between Customer and
                          Developer roles is one of the core things that XP gets really right, and
                          that any project needs to get right to succeed. Because the cards are so
                          simple, people are forced to actually learn the rules of game.


                          So I'm not saying that XP planning software is intrinsically bad, but I
                          would be very reluctant to use it as part of a transition to XP.


                          William



                          --
                          William Pietri <william@...>
                        • William Pietri
                          ... I don t fear it. But I know its limitations. I ve written code since I was a child, and, as the son of a programmer, I got to see a lot more of it get
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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                            On Fri, 2003-01-24 at 06:03, Bentley, Jason wrote:
                            > We
                            > are building software and seems that some list members are afraid of
                            > software. How odd.

                            I don't fear it. But I know its limitations. I've written code since I
                            was a child, and, as the son of a programmer, I got to see a lot more of
                            it get written. It is no magic bullet.

                            As H.L. Menken says, "For every complex problem there is an answer that
                            is clear, simple, and wrong." In the modern world, "use a computer to do
                            it" is often that answer. And worse, it's a seductive one; the inifinite
                            malleability of software can make one think, "Sure, the last version
                            didn't do quite what I wanted. But the next version, that will!"

                            William

                            --
                            William Pietri <william@...>
                          • Kiel Hodges <kielhodges@mindspring.com>
                            ... For the less fearful, I m writing personal grooming software for Lego Mindstorm robots. The toothbrushing module is available now for $59.95. The shaving
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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                              > > We
                              > > are building software and seems that some list members are afraid of
                              > > software. How odd.

                              For the less fearful, I'm writing personal grooming software for Lego Mindstorm robots. The toothbrushing module is available now for $59.95. The shaving module is progressing well and I am recruiting beta testers. Any volunteers?

                              Kiel Hodges
                            • Peter Schuh
                              Do you think you could build a MindStorm robot that, when I made a pot of coffee in the office, would watch over it to make sure I got a cup. D@mmit, it
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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                                Do you think you could build a MindStorm robot that, when I made a pot of
                                coffee in the office, would watch over it to make sure I got a cup.

                                D@mmit, it happened again.

                                -Pete

                                At 06:27 PM 1/24/2003 +0000, you wrote:

                                > > > We
                                > > > are building software and seems that some list members are afraid of
                                > > > software. How odd.
                                >
                                >For the less fearful, I'm writing personal grooming software for Lego
                                >Mindstorm robots. The toothbrushing module is available now for $59.95.
                                >The shaving module is progressing well and I am recruiting beta testers.
                                >Any volunteers?
                                >
                                >Kiel Hodges
                                >
                                >
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                              • Ron Jeffries
                                ... We have that running already. We call it Wally . Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you,
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jan 24, 2003
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                                  On Friday, January 24, 2003, at 1:47:59 PM, Peter Schuh wrote:

                                  > Do you think you could build a MindStorm robot that, when I made a pot of
                                  > coffee in the office, would watch over it to make sure I got a cup.

                                  > D@mmit, it happened again.

                                  We have that running already. We call it "Wally".

                                  Ron Jeffries
                                  www.XProgramming.com
                                  First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
                                  - Gandhi
                                • Kamil
                                  Kevin .. I have been working on an XP Task Tracker software which is called .. XPTool for some 6 months now. I am infact doing it for my master thesis for an
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Feb 3, 2003
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                                    Kevin ..

                                    I have been working on an XP Task Tracker software which is called .. XPTool
                                    for some 6 months now. I am infact doing it for my master thesis for an XP
                                    company
                                    with big customers (like Barclays bank).. The software is a Web Application
                                    with the following technology
                                    : 3 tier model , EJB technology, JSP, XML , ... and is now almost completed
                                    with
                                    all the requirements that u listed in your posting and many more
                                    There is still some refinements to add to it .. The software is based on
                                    real life XP situations
                                    and limitations. It has been architectured to be moulded to fit the needs
                                    of real XP developers teams.
                                    A lengthy XP study has preceded the creation of this s/w .

                                    I am currently preparing a complete list of all the features in it .. but
                                    here's a brief overview
                                    of what it's all about

                                    - Support for XP Planning game phases and all required flexibilty of many
                                    different scenarios to different
                                    XP planning approaches.
                                    - Mailer & Scheduler
                                    - Test Runner(JUnit) ...

                                    I've explored XP s/w currently availlable (like XPlanner,Iterate , XP
                                    Tracker, ..)
                                    and realised the importance of a much more flexible
                                    one with additional capabilities and real life XP practionners advices.

                                    I would appreciate any recommendation from anyone ..

                                    i'll also post the complete feature list
                                    in a near future ..

                                    Kamil



                                    -----Original Message-----
                                    From: Kevin Lawrence [mailto:kevin@...]
                                    Sent: Sunday, January 26, 2003 12:47 PM
                                    To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: [XP] Re: What I want in an XP Task Tracker


                                    I spent a long, long time thinking about this. Here's what I came up with.


                                    I like the whole planning game/iterations/tracking thing exactly as it is
                                    described in the XP books. I like the tactile benefits of index cards that
                                    many people refer to but most projects I have experienced have a few
                                    requirements that can't be met by index cards and I have to use software to
                                    fill in the gaps. I am also a little messy when it comes to organic media.
                                    It's hard to read my writing. I lose cards and spill tea on them. By
                                    contrast I keep my virtual desktop spotlessly clean - so from that aspect, I
                                    am predisposed to prefer an electronic solution.

                                    Any tool that I use would have to support XP exactly by the book. It would
                                    follow the planning metaphor of XP as closely as possible. It would capture
                                    as much of the spirit of card-based planning as possible. It would let me be
                                    neat and tidy the way I always am with electronic media but can never
                                    achieve with organic media. It would save me having to copy my stories into
                                    another form to prepare reports for my boss and my customers.


                                    I would expect the design center for the tool to be based around this
                                    scenario :


                                    There is a team a people working together in a room. They communicate
                                    promiscuously about requirements, designs and testing and rarely need to
                                    revert to email or written documentation.

                                    At the start of the project, they would be able to enter a bunch of stories
                                    during some kind of brainstorming session involving customers and
                                    developers. They are all in the same room so it's easy to shout out a
                                    sentence or two, type it in and move on. The developers would shout things
                                    like "That's a 3" or "That's too big" and the person with their hands on the
                                    keyboard could capture this information in a single click. The whole team
                                    would get instant visual feedback on the size of the project and relative
                                    sizes of each story. At the end of this session, the customers could
                                    prioritize the stories by dragging them around - just as you would if you
                                    were using cards.

                                    I would take an educated guess at my team's velocity and the tool would
                                    chunk the stories into iterations and give everyone a feel for whether the
                                    project will take three weeks or a year and a half. At this point I'd print
                                    out a list of the stories grouped by iteration and call it a release plan.
                                    I'd give a copy to my boss. My customer would probably print a couple to
                                    take back to his people. Product marketing would probably want a copy so
                                    they can work on their release plans. The deluxe version of the tool would
                                    generate a web page for me.

                                    As my team works through an iteration, I could mark stories complete with a
                                    click. If we complete all the stories early, we can easily drag a new story
                                    in. At the iteration meeting, the tool would show me the next few stories
                                    according to priority and suggest how many we might be able to complete
                                    based on past performance. The deluxe version of the tool might let me break
                                    each story down into engineering tasks and put a name and an estimate next
                                    to each one. Then I could track more detailed progress during the iteration.
                                    At the end of the iteration meeting, I'd print out a report that shows what
                                    we were going to work on for the next couple of weeks and give it to the
                                    usual suspects. The team wouldn't need this report - because they were all
                                    at the meeting - but we'd probably print one and stick it on the wall
                                    anyway.


                                    I would want the tool to encourage me to do xp planning by the book - but
                                    not force me to. If I need to bend the rules a little, that should be easy
                                    to do. I should be able to fudge it a little on occasion. If my team thinks
                                    they can take on an extra 8 story points this week, the tool should let them
                                    do it - but remind them ever so gently that they have deviated from the one
                                    true path.

                                    Since the tool is software-based, I would expect it to do many of the things
                                    that software does well. I want to be able to search for a story and get a
                                    rough idea of whether it will be done next month or next year. I want to be
                                    able to see all the stories that relate to data entry or to interest-rate
                                    swaps. I want to get fancy little charts that show how my team's velocity
                                    has increased by 30% since June - not because I need them but because they
                                    keep my boss happy. He doesn't need them either - but it makes him
                                    comfortable to know that he could have them if he did need them.


                                    Once the tool supported the main scenario reasonably well, I'd start
                                    wondering about ways to enhance the planning game. Maybe the tool could help
                                    collect votes from remote customers or assist in the brainstorming. The
                                    basic generate-stories/estimate-stories/prioritize-stories would still be
                                    there but it might have some cool way to visualize or optimize the whole
                                    priority discussion on the customer side. I'd start to wonder if we could
                                    modify the process a little to accommodate distributed development. I might
                                    get really fancy and see if I could hook the tool into my acceptance tests
                                    somehow.


                                    I believed enough in this vision of an xp planning tool that I was willing
                                    to quit my highly-paid job and work on it for a while. Alas, not enough
                                    people shared this vision to make it commercially viable and eventually the
                                    harsh realities of everyday life imposed themselves so I have had to abandon
                                    my labor of love for now and find honest work. I am using the tool at my new
                                    job - it's actually quite useful. The people I now work with laugh at me
                                    when I tell them that most people do this stuff on index cards. Please don't
                                    hold that against them - they just don't know any better.

                                    When I embarked on this odyssey, I had assumed that there would be a number
                                    of people who like the idea of xp-style planning but that planning on index
                                    cards would not be practical for a variety of reasons. Sadly (for me) it
                                    turned out not to be so. No regrets though - I had a lot of fun and I am
                                    really glad I did it.

                                    If someone else is working on a similar tool, I wish them well. If it has
                                    the features that I have described above, I would pay money for it.


                                    Kevin Lawrence

                                    Formerly of
                                    Diamond Sky Software
                                    www.diamond-sky.com


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