Agile China 2009 2

Posted by Conrad Benham on September 02, 2009

For those who are unaware, Agile China is once again coming up. This two day event being held in Beijing in early September promises a strong cast of Agile leaders including Kent Beck and Dave Thomas. The agenda promises a nice lineup of presentations covering a number of topics: Agile adoption experience reports, future trends of Agile, self-organisation within teams and assessment of business impact of Agile.

The event is being held on Friday September 11th and Saturday 12th 2009. For more information check out the Agile China 2009 website out (English can be found here).

Next meetup & presentation – fresh from QCon Beijing 1

Posted by steve on April 19, 2009

Earlier this month Steven Mak gave this presentation at the QCon conference in Beijing and having used that as a warm-up he is now ready to present Acceptance Test Driven Development to Agile Hong Kong:

Testing has always been the core part in software development but now it is no longer merely a tool for verification. Agile software development emphasizes “Quality Built In” and Acceptance Tests are becoming part of the requirement specification and the medium for customer collaboration. Acceptance Test Driven Development provides the methods for ensuring quality through customer collaboration. This talk will introduce the concept of ATDD and discuss how it works in practice. In particular, it will discuss two leading ATDD frameworks: FIT and Robot

Steven Mak is an Agile Coach of Odd-e team. He is interested in different parts of software development activities and a variety of programming languages, from mainstream to the very exotic. At the moment, He focuses on the practice of test-driven development, refactoring, continuous integration, and also Scrum. He begins interested in programming while he was in primary school. Later obtained a Bachelor degree in Computer Science at the University of Hong Kong. To pursue better understanding of teams, customers, and products, he earned a Master degree in Business Administration from the Imperial College London. You can read more about his thoughts on his blog.

Don’t forget that pizzas and drinks will be provided before the talk and a small gift will be provided to all attendees!

Pizza will be sponsored by Pinpoint Asia.
Speakers reward for the night will be sponsored by JetBrains.
Location kindly provided by ThoughWorks.

When: 7:15pm, Wednesday 29th of April 2009
Where: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong Office
Address: Room 1304, 13/F, Tai Tung Building, 8 Fleming Road, Wanchai
Map: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong
Contact Steve

The Joel test for software: does it apply to Agile? 4

Posted by Conrad Benham on January 13, 2009

How good is your code? Think it’s good? Could it be better? Possibly? How do you know? In the first Agile Hong Kong meeting for 2009, regular attendee Julian Harley will help provide light on this by leading a discussion through The Joel Test: 12 Steps to Better Code. In his own words Joel Spolsky came up with this “…highly irresponsible, sloppy test to rate the quality of a software team.”

Julian will introduce the test and open the floor up for a round table discussion about the test. In particular Julian wants to discuss the following points:

  • does the Joel Test apply as-is?
  • what additions to it make it more appropriate  to Agile teams?

While not necessary it would be useful to have a quick glance over as Julian will cover these in the discussion:

When: 7:30pm, Monday 19th of January 2009
Where: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong Office
Address: Room 1304, 13/F, Tai Tung Building, 8 Fleming Road, Wanchai
Map: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong

Competitors get ready…

Posted by Conrad Benham on December 05, 2008

In the next session we’ll go through the Wine Bar solutions developed by competitors signed up to the Competition Jam. We’ll take a look at what worked well and identify areas that could perhaps be improved. The floor will be open for discussion to allow people to offer suggestions and insights in what they do on their projects.

Without giving too much away, this session will give participants insight into structuring a project so it is easy to maintain, extend and ensure code quality. I will also introduce some technologies and paradigms we haven’t yet explored , in my own solution to the problem with a view to covering them more fully in future sessions. While the focus of this session will be on the code we’ll also have a look at some of the process aspects involved with Agile.

After going through all of this I’ll announce the competition winners.

Prizes for the night will be sponsored by JetBrains.
Pizza will be sponsored by Pinpoint Asia.

When: 7:30pm, Thursday 11h of December 2008
Where: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong Office
Address: Room 1304, 13/F, Tai Tung Building, 8 Fleming Road, Wanchai
Map: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong

Agile Lego Game 3

Posted by Conrad Benham on November 19, 2008

Lego Jenny  Lego Conrad

When was the last time you played with Lego? How about Lego and Agile together? This could be your chance… In our next Agile session Jenny Wong and I will lead a session whose goal is to give a hands on introduction to iterative Agile development with…Lego! This will give participants hands on experience to Estimation, Signup, Development, Showcasing and Retrospectives.

Delivering business value, welcoming requirements change, frequently delivering working software and continual self-assesment are some of the Agile Principles as described in the Agile Manifesto. Jenny and I will demonstrate how these guiding principles can be achieved using Lego as a metaphor for programming languages to build a simple project Agile style. Lego, which has a low associated learning cost, is an ideal tool for us to use to give a hands on demonstration that focuses on learning the above listed concepts.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Developer, BA, IM or PM you will be able to participate. The aim is to give participants exposure to each of the stages listed above, something people don’t ordinarily gain day-to-day in their projects. In Agile projects it is important that team members understand what others do and how they, as an individual interact, with other individuals to achieve the common Agile Manifesto Principles.

The mini-Jenny and mini-Conrad were created using Chris Doyle’s super awesome Lego character creator: Mini-Mizer

When: 7:30pm, Tuesday 25th of November 2008
Where: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong Office
Address: Room 1304, 13/F, Tai Tung Building, 8 Fleming Road, Wanchai
Map: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong

Open Everything Hong Kong

Posted by Conrad Benham on November 18, 2008

Open Everything Hong Kong 2008Let’s get together and share at the first Open Everything Hong Kong 2008!

Open Everything is a gathering of people interested in sharing their ideas on topics they are passionate about. Unlike other events, Open Everything does not focus solely on technology. Indeed technology may comprise part of the event, however the aim of Open Everything is for people to share ideas on things that matter to them – whatever that may be. Openness is the goal, collaboration is the approach. As it’s name suggests, Open Everything is open to all – the more diverse the group of attendees the greater opportunity for people to open up and share their ideas.

Registration for Open Everything Hong Kong is between 9am and 10am on Saturday the 6th of December. The event itself commences at 10am sharp. The first presentation will be given by a guest speaker after which the floor is open for participants to get in and contribute.

Open Everything Hong Kong 2008 is the first of three Open Everything sister events for the day. Upon close, Open Everything Hong Kong will hand over via video link to sister event Open Everything Berlin which, in turn, will hand over to the third and final sister event, Open Everything Madison, Wisconsin in the US.

For more information including timetable, venue and other logistical information please refer to the Open Everything Hong Kong 2008 website. Please ensure you register so the organiser has an idea of numbers and so they can contact you in case something changes.

Agile Software, People, and Teams. 1

Posted by Conrad Benham on October 20, 2008

One of the principles in the Agile Manifesto is “People over Process”, because a culture where teams can take initiatives to succeed is more productive than one which is mainly concerned with protected teams from failure. The promise of self-Organising Teams is that they’re effective because because the people who are closest to the work know best what to do and are most motivated to do a good job. No-one, however, promised that this is easy. Just telling an inexperienced team to Self-Organise is no guarantee of success.

In this talk, Steve will discuss his experiences with Self-Organising teams, and present some of the leading-edge results from Social Complexity science that will help you understand the dynamics of your team and how it can work together.

Steve Freeman is a pioneer of Agile software development in the UK, where he writes software and coaches teams in a variety of industries. Steve has trained and consulted for teams in Europe, America, and Asia, and co-authored the JMock library. Previously, he has worked in software houses, consultancies, and research labs, earned a PhD from the University of Cambridge, and written shrink-wrap software. Steve has also taught at University College London. He is a presenter and organiser at the major international industry conferences, and was  conference chair for the first London XpDay. Steve was also winner of the Agile Alliance Gordon Pask award 2006.

(Thank you to Steve for preparing the above abstract).

When: 7:30pm, Wednesday 29th of October 2008
Where: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong Office
Address: Room 1304, 13/F, Tai Tung Building, 8 Fleming Road, Wanchai
Map: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong

Code Jam: Automated Unit tests with Mocks and Stubs 1

Posted by Conrad Benham on October 02, 2008

According to Wikipedia “…unit testing is a method of testing that verifies the individual units of source code are working properly. A unit is the smallest testable part of an application.” Doing this can be difficult when we are unit testing code on boundaries. A naive attempt to unit test a system boundary such as a database would actually mean communicating with a live database directly. This means the database must exist, all tables created and all data must be in a known state prior to the test commencing. Once the test is complete (with a success or failure) the database must then be returned to it’s original known good state. Not only is building the infrastructure required to do this potentially time consuming, so too is the actual execution of such a test. Further, such testing is really no longer a unit test but an integration test, it certainly defeats the goals as stated in the above mentioned extract.

Enter mocks and stubs. In this Code Jam we’ll look at some techniques we can apply to reduce our reliance on external systems. This will be through the application of mocks and stubs. We’ll identify the differences between the two approaches and when one should be used over the other. We’ll also look at a variety of open source mocking frameworks. If time permits we’ll also look at how mocking helps layer an application to aid in low coupling and high cohesion (Vidor Hokstad has written a nice blog entry on this).

So, come along and learn some of the concepts of mocking. While this code jam is aimed at developers anyone who is interested should come along. While it is not necessary, as we tend to pair in these sessions, it would be helpful if you could bring a laptop along if you have access to one. If you don’t have a laptop don’t let that stop you from coming along.

When: 7:30pm, Thursday 9th of October 2008
Where: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong Office
Address: Room 1304, 13/F, Tai Tung Building, 8 Fleming Road, Wanchai
Map: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong

Toys vs. Software, Fight! 3

Posted by Conrad Benham on September 08, 2008

In our next session, Jonathan Buford, a regular at Agile Hong Kong, will lead a discussion of how the development of products differs from software development.

How does a toy get made?

  • Just as in software, there is a development process that takes a product from Concept to Production.
  • What is the process like, and what are the typical high points and pitfalls?

Points of view, to make a good toy one must think like a child.

  • In software development, there is currently a lot of emphasis on Domain Specific Language and with the Agile practices of partnering up with the customer.
  • When there are three customers to please (retailer, parent, and child) and one of them is any nine year old kid, what can you do?

How does product development compare to software development?

  • Take a look at how the physical limits of making a product make for different challenges for project management.
  • How would methods like Scrum and Agile iterations play out in the development of a consumer product?
  • How do rapid prototyping and other technological developments make product development more Agile?
  • What lessons in product development cross over to software development?
  • Critical-chain management and how it relates to software development.

The development process of Sampi Plan:

  • The experience of creating a new organizational system (Agile development, but also an Agile system).

Trying to combine software development methods with product development needs.

Jonathan Buford is a professional jack of all trades. He attended Carnegie Mellon University where he studied Mechanical Engineering along with working on research in Biomedical, Robotics, and Cross-disciplinary Teams. Afterward, he spent 6 years in the Toy Industry in product development. Since then, he has been an independent inventor and consultant for 3 years working in general consumer products. Currently he is a part of Sampi, a Hong Kong startup that is creating an organizational software system that will reduce the noise of the daily grind.

When: 7:30pm, Tuesday 16th of September 2008
Where: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong Office
Address: Room 1304, 13/F, Tai Tung Building, 8 Fleming Road, Wanchai
Map: ThoughtWorks Hong Kong

Announcing: BarCamp Hong Kong 2008

Posted by Conrad Benham on August 28, 2008

Agile, Ajax, Apple, Artificial Intelligence, Aspect Oriented Programming, Big Visible Charts, Blogging, Business Analysis, C, C#, C++, CSS, Continuous Integration, Databases, Design Patterns, Domain Driven Design, Entrepreneurialism, Expert Systems, HTML, Haskell, Innovation, Iterative Development, Java, Leadership, Linux, Mashups, Mobile Development, Open Source, Pair Programming, Project Management, Retrospectives, Ruby, Scala, Social Software, Stand Ups, Start Ups, Web 2.0, Web Design, Web Services, Windows, XP…

These are just some of the things you might consider presenting at BarCamp Hong Kong 2008 on September 6 2008. With the hordes that are expected this year, the “unconference” promises to be a very lively and fun-filled day in which you will get to share your ideas and hear the ideas of others’ and make new friends. Like last year, the BarCamp will focus on IT related topics. Participation doesn’t mean you have to present as anyone can attend any event, though if you have something you’d like to share, you should certainly consider presenting.

Still not sure? Check out what some people said about last years event:

Want to know more about BarCamp in general?

Don’t forget your laptop and charger, Wifi will be provided and some of the presentation rooms even have projectors for live demonstrations.

For more information check the BarCamp Hong Kong 2008 website.

See you there!

BarCamp Hong Kong 2008 was not organised by Agile Hong Kong.