February 2009 Archives

Over the weekend we published a new Radio TFS episode.  This month we chatted with Tommy Norman about his real world experiences using using Team Foundation Server in agile software development projects.

Play Now: Getting Agile With Team Foundation Server

Head over to the Radio TFS site for more information, and don't forget to subscribe to the free podcast in iTunes or Zune.

The Team System Twitterati

The VSTS Twitterarti Twitter seems to be going mainstream here in the UK.  I know this because my wife asked me about it, so it must be pretty mainstream as I consider her my bellwether on normality. Anyway I’m not convinced that this trend will last (might be amusing to read that back to myself in a few years) but I’ve been twittering for a while now.  Personally, working in an office on my own a long way from my peers and work friends, I find it a good replacement for popping my head over the cube wall or mentioning something while making a cup of tea in the kitchen. It is also like listening in to the background chatter of other people in the office and occasionally joining in a conversation. It’s not something I worry about keeping on top of, just like I wouldn’t record all the office banter and listen back to it in case I missed something.  Now-a-days I tend to keep my blog long form – Twitter is where I would just type something that is in my head that I wanted to share.

Anyway, Team System MVP, Steve Andrews has compiled a list of Team System twitterers (the little bird picture here was from DryIcons and then vandalised by me). If you are interested in Team System then you might want to head over to Steve’s blog post and see if you want to follow them.  In case you are interested in over-hearing to my inane chattering then also feel free to follow me on twitter. I’m sure that many of my colleagues have wished that it was as easy to mute me as pressing the un-follow button, so if you do follow me and then rapidly un-follow me I promise not to be offended.  In fact, I’d probably un-follow myself.

Herding Developers to Lunch

catAnyone who works in an office with other programmers will know the joys of trying to get a group together to go to lunch.  The phrase "like herding cats" is often used.  It must be a combination of the "just let me finish this one last thing" factor combined with something about the personality traits that make up a typical developer. What ever it is, in every organization I have worked, getting a group together to go to lunch is usually a delay prone and complex logistical exercise.

Thankfully, recent research just published in The American Naturalist points the way to a couple of tactics that I find very useful myself. In the paper "Leading According to Need" in Self‐Organizing Groups, Larissa Conradt and her colleagues used a computer model to simulate the behaviour of a group of animals. The team found that two kinds of individuals were best able to move the herd in the destination they wanted to go - those that were very hungry or those that had the least to loose if the herd was split into two.  The paper may explain the matriarchal nature of many herd animals such as elephants and sheep - but sounds like it gives scientific backing to the tactics I normally employ to herd developers to lunch when I really need to:

  • Be very hungry (which, lets be honest, is my default state)
  • Pick a destination and say that you are heading there now.  People can come now or join a different herd.

Usually by setting a clear direction and deadline a group of like minded people will follow - the worst that can happen is that you get your lunch at a time and place that suits you.  In fact having a clear idea about the destination is pretty much a good thing in all parts of software development - but lunch is one element that I have to get right.

Microsoft TechDays 09On Tuesday February 10th I’ll be popping over to Paris where I have the privaledge of being invited to speak at TechDays 09 courtesy of Microsoft France.  Luckily it is a session close to my heart as the title is “Interopérabilité avec Visual Studio Team System” which I hopefully know something about :-)

I’ll be around all day, hanging out at the partners booth in the Development Village.  If you are coming along to TechDays09 in Paris then please stop by the booth and say “Hi”.  The limits of my French speaking stop at ordering a ham and cheese baguette so I’ll likely be the guy in the corner smiling politely and quietly not understanding a word of what is going on.  If you come and take pity on me it would be much appreciated.

Many thanks to Eric Le Loc’h and Microsoft France for inviting Teamprise to come present, and for positively encouraging me to do the demos from my Mac.

Interopérabilité avec Visual Studio Team System
animé par Eric Le Loc'h , Martin Woodward
Niveau : Découverte (100)
Le mardi 10 février 2009, 16H00- 17H00.

Cette session aborde les questions d'interopérabilité entre Visual Studio Team System et les environnements Eclipse, J2EE. Visual Studio Team System est la solution d'industrialisation des développements de Microsoft. Beaucoup de clients standardisent les plateformes de développement et les outils associés. Leur souhait est d'avoir une seule usine logicielle pour leurs environnements de développement. Nous allons présenter la société Teamprise qui propose des outils pour accéder aux fonctions de Visual Studio Team System dans Eclipse pour les développeurs J2EE, sur Linux, Unix et Mac pour les designers par exemple. Cette intégration est poussée : Client riche pour se connecter au serveur Team Foundation, gestion des éléments de travail, lignes de commandes, intégration continue de code J2EE, JUnit, intégration avec Maven. En fin de session, nous balaierons les possibilités d'intégration/d'interopérabilité de Team Foudation Server. La session sera illustrée par des démonstrations des outils de Teamprise.

I’ll update this post after my session with my slide deck and and links to resources that I may end up promising to look up during the Q&A.


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