Mixing the Backlog and Sprint board together… gulp!

I’m trialling a new version of an Agile board for longer running projects. Ones that don’t have masses of tickets and set defined sprints, but are more on-going support work.

Because, normally I keep a separate backlog board with any number of columns, (whatever the Product Owner feels is easier). And then we create a board per. Sprint with these headings.


  • Iteration Contenders
  • Backlog
  • Blocked
  • In Progress
  • QA Failed
  • QA
  • Done

But trialling the new type, it will be,

Support Board:

  • Wishlist
  • Scheduled
  • Blocked
  • Doing
  • Done

This will be easier for the staff to interpret as their exposure to Agile so far has been understandably minimal. Also, we will require fewer boards as there’s less work.

New Job, new year!

Guess who’s gone and got himself his first Full time job?


I’m now proudly an “E-learning Developer” in Warwick Manufacturing Group, a part of Warwick University.

Roughly that’ll mean I’m a one man digital solution team. Scoping digital projects, running Agile Project management and coding the Delivery of projects to support WMG’s blended E-learning courses.

I’m very excited, I’ll be working in a very exciting building with robots, a mini submarine and loads of big machines.

So, all blog posts are my own nonsense and no expression of UoW or anyone else but me.

DPC out

Internet of Things (IoT) in Health

This evening is very exciting, I’m going to my third tech meetup since moving to the Midlands. This session is about the “Internet of Things in Health”

Meet up #7 – IoT in Health

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014, 7:00 PM

International Institute for Product and Service Innovation (IIPSI)
The University of Warwick Coventry, GB

47 Futuregazers Went

NB: please note access to the campus is very restricted due to roadworks and traffic light control at present. Gibbet Hill Road through the campus is closed and access by car is best via Kirby Corner Road. Traffic can be heavy, particularly before 6pm so we advise leaving plenty of additional time to arrive.Speakers:• Andy Wilkins, Independent He…

Check out this Meetup →

They define the Internet of Things (IoT) as,

Definitions as to what IoT actually is vary considerably, but its foundation could be considered to be connecting everyday physical ‘Things’ to the Internet.

This is a very absorbing subject area for me, tech marches on as fast as Napoleon’s armies out of Russia and with every cadenced step it’s connecting up 10’s of devices to the internet. Mundane house items like your thermostat being connected online is a “$3.2 billon” business. Even your bike pedals are at it.

But even more interesting are the advancements being made in Health. Tools and your normal personal items getting called “wearables” and having a wifi chip shoved up their… socket. All to help you paint a picture of your well-being. It’ll give health professionals access to accurate personal data to diagnose problems and patterns easier. Hell, I imagine even the connected apps will have a go at pronouncing your problems and corrections first.

That’s why tonight’s meetup is so interesting, with Apple’s Health ID the iWatch creating data about one’s self, the sheer newness is riveting. What next to get connected, the chair?



Killing off your emails, aiming at project transparency

Just wanted to share, recently I read this article…


It talks a lot about transparency which I totally agree with. A more transparent team is a more efficient and better team. Proper transparency means the team’s (including the client) expectations are managed and less confused. However I totally disagree with emails as the best tool for transparency. That is a Big Bad Decision. From my experience as a project manager at Thought Den and beyond, project emails only lead to a breakdown in communication and less transparency.

emails only lead to a breakdown in communication and less transparency

Emails turn into a constant mailbox search for important project facts hidden away in a long thread. Emails go wrong, people get missed out and conversations become so indented you need a 90″ wide screen to read them. Conversations become overlapped, badly formatted and the whole studio gets into a major issue with, “which email is correct?”.

A messy email chain
A messy email chain

Every efficient studio team needs a single, open, multi-platform and simple point of project contact. For me, that’s in the form of Trello, but JIRA and Redmine are both great too.

The Trello backlog board is where changes, tweaks and additions happen. It’s searchable, accessible by all the project team and it’s one shared place for everyone to work in.

The sprint board
The sprint board

Also, if a client wants to know what’s going on presently with their project or maybe a scrum “pig” (a team member with skin in the game) has a question for them, the whole conversation should be kept in a Trello ticket in the sprint board. Here features are broken down by ticket and they maintain an easy to follow comments thread. No more missed emails by half of the team because they missed 1 important email.


In fact, ANY changes and clarifications go in there. Even if they’re copied and pasted from an IRC chat or written straight after a phone call. They go in there, so make a good habit of it.

That leaves an email replacement for day to day teamwork, transparency and cohesion which is best with daily Scrums on Google Hangouts, an IRC channel and some face to face time. The client may join in and “chicken” (no skin in the game) if they wish. It’ll give them more transparency on progress.

Do do transparency, but keep away from emails.

Shortcuts for office speedy staff

Is it just me or does seeing someone use the mouse to flip between applications gives you a nervous twitch? Does saving a file by clicking on “File > Save” make you die a little inside? If so I won’t even ask what you do when someone does this, “Right click, Copy. Move the mouse. Right click, Paste”…

The amount of time you save by knowing keyboard shortcuts may seem tiny, but when you’re Continue reading Shortcuts for office speedy staff

Hurrah for headless horse… web applications!

This year I’ve been lucky enough to work on 2 headless web application developments where all my work has been focussed on the front-end development with Javascript and SASS.

From, https://www.getpantheon.com/blog/headless-websites-whats-big-deal
From, https://www.getpantheon.com/blog/headless-websites-whats-big-deal

It’s been great for…

* Only coding in great Javascript frameworks (AngularJS and KnockoutJS)
* SASS a-riffic with the LiveReload app
* My pushes to live don’t include rollbacks for database structures in MYSQL which means I can focus on JS only
* GruntJS build and tasks are all written in JS
* Dalek JS for front-end testing is all done in JS
* Karma tests for unit testing are all done in JS
* With some responsive media queries your web app becomes phone app-able. Phonegap packaging will be done with very few changes

There’s just something clean and effecient about only focussing on Javascript and relying on an abstract API to feed you data.

However, it’s not all roses, some problems are…

* Using a framework with little documentation, Backbone Marionette
* SEO, Google has some issues indexing your site without special applications* You need to create local versions of the API for each team to test on
* A lot of caching work and clever minification time is needed
* Old Browsers, not using a very up to date browser (Hello IE) causes issues
* Presently I’m relying on someone else to change the API…
* Not flexing my server skills (time to carry on my NodeJS projects?)

Read more about Headless Web Development. Thanks Richard Grafton for the link to explain Headless wep development

Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 and Mac OSX Expose

A niche shortie, but a goodie! I’m posting this in the hope another keyboard shortcut monster trying to get expose work on their Microsoft ergonomic Keyboard 4000 and Mac will find this useful!

This has driven me nuts for ages, I want expose to work on my mac with the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, however F10 does sweet FA.

Until… you press the F Lock key, the key to the right of F12. This function lock key turns on the F Lock light at the bottom of the keyboard and Boom! my Expose keys work again :)

I can now switch between app windows, show my dashboard or bring up my ever less useful widget screen…

Here is a cat gif for those who read this and didn’t need too,