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Running Agile in a small team of 2 to 3

Recently I’ve been working on the site thisison.com which has frequently consisted of a remote team of 2, plus adding in occasional specialist freelancers.

This has proved difficult to work completely Agile as it works best with 4 to 8 people.

Here’s the changes we made and other salient points,

* Trello boards to maintain our progress
* A QA column was preceded with a new column, Product Owner feedback, so responses responsibility between us was clearer and Feedback didn’t get mixed into QA
* Sprints were frequently 80% time locked, and then 20% time available
* Sprint Setups felt like they took longer as the Product owner needed the developer’s time to discuss the backlog grooming
* There is only one person doing lots of the work, keep them pepped up
* Keep up the daily Scrums, even with 2 people they keep the heart beating
* New people were added to Trello and had a mandatory mini-intro so they understood the process extras

It’s mostly, don’t lose faith, it won’t run as smoothly as you hope to start with.

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How to quickly delete a list in Trello

If like me, you occasionally need to copy Trello boards to create a new Agile Sprint the same as the last, it can be annoying clearing out all the duplicated tickets with it.

And you can’t just click on, “delete list” and permanently delete a list, because it doesn’t exist.

So the fastest way I’ve found to do it is this way…

* Select each ticket (using the keyboard arrow keys)
* Press `c` to archive each one (it archives it)
* Use the arrow key to navigate to the next one
* Repeat
* Once they’re done, Press `w`
* > archived tickets
* Select `Delete`, `Delete` from there

It’s all a lot less mouse or keyboard work

I wonder if you could write a Google Chrome plugin to sort it…?

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How to celebrate St George’s Day

Type into Facebook or Twitter, “Happy St George’s Day!”.

We have now completed the minimum acceptable celebration. Now if you’re unsure of what else to do, you could copy me and appreciate…

  • the journey back into England after visiting a foreign country and looking at its luscious green endless fields.
  • some of the most heterogeneous History ever! Even if I don’t like all of it, there’s a lot to learn from it.
  • how if I hurt myself, I go to the doctors and I get helped. Breaking Bad would be a short series here
  • it’s lucky we were born here and not somewhere dangerous, in mass poverty, famine  or at war
  • that we build ourselves up every world cup for the football and it never happens

Who knows, next year, we may write something on Facebook AND splash out on a little on a cool England tee shirt . The day is whatever we want to make of it.

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Time-saving tinned or Best before Toms?

That’s two weeks of trying out Pomodoro in various forms, how did it all go?

Good for…

Nice Tomato Sauce

  • Keeping you going all day: the frequent breaks meant you haven’t expelled your energy in the morning
  • Less wound up: Even my wife noticed at the end day

Meh…

rottenTomato

  • Peaking: In the morning you’re a lot more awake, so each 25 minute session cuts you off in your prime! But, saying that, it helps balance the day for when you’re more tired in the afternoon
  • Naughty: Feels like you’re having too many breaks

Tips

Basil

  • Illusions: When you start Pomodoro, your time is all wibbly wobbly timey wimey squiffy, so you’re not sure if it’s lunch or the end of the day
  • Retrospective: Leave a sentence or two at the end of each session in your code
    • What you need to do next
    • What’s blocking you

Verdict:

hammer

It’s very useful and it has kept me on task and working efficiently all day. The breaks also mean I get to stretch my legs and stop being like a battery-farm coder.

I think I’ll use it for days when it’s like flogging a dead horse, middle of the week slowdowns and after beers on a Friday lunch.

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Tools

My brew for Kool Aid Coding

Since moving on from Thought Den to become a freelance coder, Digital apprenticeship teacher and a new company director, there’s some great tools that have been keep me steaming along at the Coal Face.

Here’s the tech which keeps my coding efficient,

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Get stuff cheaper

So apparently not everyone in the world uses this but would benefit if they did.

http://www.getinvisiblehand.com/

What does it do? So say you need a new apple keyboard, a Blu Ray box set, a monitor or a HDD. Just use Google Chrome with this extension installed and it will scour other major tech sites for better prices and coupons. Always find the cheapest.

This is what I have turned on for buying all Dan Course Ltd equipment. It looks like this on most sites,

Screenshot of Invisible hand on Amazon

pomodoro

What do you call an on-time tomato?

Pomodoro! It’s one of these little 25 mintute kitchen timers

pomodoro kitchen timer

So why is this relevant? Well, Inge my personal business coach told me this story…

There were two teams asked to each cut a tree down. Team One went at it like crazy, with non-stop sawing all morning and finished the job 4 hours later. They were knackered and red raw, but done. Team Two cut for 25 minutes, then stopped for a 5 minute breather to gently sharpen their saw, then went at it again for 25 minutes before having another break. They finished in 2 hours, but not knackered and also ready to cut more trees. But why?

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Drinking the Kool Aid with the Yo…eman

Recently I felt a project may need to get running with a new code base super-fast, so in my investigation for a quick start I stumbled across the Yeoman nodeJS project. Also, Full Stack AngularJS [https://github.com/DaftMonk/generator-angular-fullstack] which is turning out pretty awesome.

These are proper Mountain Dew code projects, however there are a few gotchas in setting it up on Mac OSX Mavericks if your dev work  hasn’t served you up enough Kool Aid recently.

So..

 

Democracy, Politics and Tech – Dan Course