Monthly Archives: March 2006

Scrum for Team System 1.0 Released

No – I haven’t created it, but I have been BETA testing it. The guys over at Conchango have been hard at work for quite some time pulling together a process template for Scrum. I got an e-mail today that they have released it and you can go and download it (registration required, but its free).

Congratuations to the guys at Conchango, I think that this will be one of the most widely used Process Templates outside of MSF Agile 4.0!

Process Template Released: Personal Workspace – v1.0

Last week, before he presented his session in Canberra, I was having a chat to Jeff Beehler about some of the things I would like to see in TFS down the track. One of the topics that came up was the lack of a scratch pad for developers who wanted to version control their stuff but not choose a process template which was in-appropriate for them.

Well – tonight I sat down and took the process template form MSF Agile 4.0 and stripped it down to the bare essentials. Like all good things, its not what you put in, but what you take away.

  • No portal support.
  • No reporting support.
  • No iterations.

Basically its an empty shell with only one type of work item (Task). You get all this in a tiny 7KB package (download here). This is the first version of the Personal Workspace process template so if you see something that you would like added (or better yet, taken away) shoot me an e-mail.

Getting into Password Minder

I hope Rocky doesn’t see this. But I’ve had enough of forgetting passwords and password reset e-mails taking hours and sometimes days to be sent. So I have downloaded and installed Password Minder by Keith Brown over at Pluralsight.

The issue came to a head when I was having a _secure_ IM conversation with one of our infrastructure guys – Derrick Buckley. Derrick was giving me about my 1000th unique username/password combination to remember and he himself wondered whether I would be able to remember.

Being an honest kinda guy, I said no – and he suggested Password Minder. So far I have about twenty passwords safely tucked away behind my super password (30–40 characters) and backups of the password file are taking place every week.

Australia wins double gold in Commonwealth Games basketball.

First some history. Back when Nicola and I were living in Melbourne were were fans of both the South East Melbourne Magic and the Victoria Titans (wikipedia pages need creating) basketball teams that played in the National Basketball League. The South East Melbourne Magic became the Victoria Titans when the club merged with the North Melbourne Giants. The union wasn’t that comfortable and many of the fans stop supporting the new team and eventually the club folded.

Brian Goorjian

As a Magic fan the common thread running through the teams was a core of good team players recruited by coach Brian Goorjian. Brian was originally a US-import player for the Melbourne Tigers before he moved on to coaching.

After the Titans folded he replaced Brett Brown (former coach of the Giants) as coach of the Sydney Kings who led the team to victory three years running (except for this year where they lost the final to the Tigers). Many of the Titans/Magic fans followed Goorjian to the Kings for his ability to build a quality team you could really get behind.

Good Thing Phil Smyth was Sacked

It was Brian’s recruiting ability and general reputation amongst the players that made him the ideal replacement for the national coach position after Phil Smyth (coach of the 36ers) disgraced himself as the national coach when Australia last met New Zealand in the World Cup qualifiers (we lost, and it was widely attributed to Phil’s coaching abilities).

So – last night was extra special for fans of the Magic, Titans and Kings as the Boomers took home gold from the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games (the first and possibly the last time Basketball has been played at the games). Those who know the history must have known how hard it would have been for Phil Smyth, who was on the commentary team watch his replacement do what he couldn’t do.

In all fairness, it was an extremely close game and it came down to the last minute and I have the utmost respect for the Tall Blacks (the New Zealand team). They lead by a narrow margin for most of the game and really out-classed us in the defensive and offensive rebounding stakes for most of the game.

Anstey is no Patriot

One of the challenges that the Australian team faced was the absence of our really big men, not because of injury, but because of greed. Chris Anstey bailed on the games because he had just signed a contract with Caja San Fernando in spain, presumably he didn’t want to injure himself playing for Australia and risk the big dollars he was going to get playing for two months overseas (apparently in that two months he will earn as much as he did for the entire season here in Australia). The thing that really burns is that Anstey was one of Goorjian’s recruits back in the Magic days so I would have thought that the combined loyalty to his former NBL coach and to his country would have gotten him to change his mind.

Team Effort

Still – its a testament to the depth of the Australian side that we were able to enlist the support of Paul Rogers and Tony Ronaldson (formerly of the Magic and Titans) to play the role of center during the game. Of course, it wasn’t Ronaldson or Rogers that won the match, it was a true team effort with some very tense moments during the closing stages of the match.

I really enjoyed watching many of the former Magic and Titans (like Jason Smith – who turned down an overseas contract to play – how about that Chris) play as well as some of the new and upcoming stars like Newley (although why he kept trying to hit threes when he was missing so many mystified me).

Symmetry

If you stand back and look at the overall basketball results you can see the symmetry between the mens and womens competition. The night before the Opals (Australian womens team) beat the New Zealand team in a bit of a walk over, but the final medal placings across both competitions were:

  • Gold to Australia
  • Silver to New Zealand
  • Bronze to England

I think that England is probably happy with the result, but this really builds on the general level of sports rivalry between Australia and New Zealand. The next international is going to be interesting to watch.

Getting Into Basketball?

After the Titans folded it was hard to stay enthusiastic about basketball, but this win has renewed my interest (Nic’s as well – she was a more hardcore fan than me anyway) and its a shame that there is no longer a local team here in Canberra (the Canons folded years ago).

While we have an emotional tie to the Sydney Kings team, we don’t have any association with where they are playing – we don’t live in Sydney. Maybe this win will spark enough interest in Basketball to get another Canberra team up, I believe that there has been some discussion about it already but it could be all rumours.

Related Links:

Key Points:

  • It was a close game.
  • The Boomers won.
  • The Boomers rock.
  • Brian Goorjian rocks.
  • Phil Smyth blows.
  • Chris Anstey could be a better Patriot.
  • Phil Smyth blows.

Jeff and Chuck do Team Foundation Server

I am sitting here in the Microsoft office in Canberra watching Jeff Beehler and Charles Sterling talk to the local .NET developer crowd on Team Foundation Server. It is really an awareness session for a lot of people.

The exciting thing is that this stuff is no longer pre-release and people can go out and deploy it into their environments now. I just hope that the developers in Canberra feel strongly enough about using good tools to get this stuff up and running.

Taking back your workspace, one cubicle at a time.

I picked up this link to a Fortune magazine article on Cubicles from this post by MrDee. The article looks at the history of the Cubicle, some of the challenges to its dominance and how its inventor thinks that its use has turned what might have been a great idea into a failure.

One of the gripes that I have with the current enterprise working environment is that it isolates people that are supposed to be working as a team from each other and it encourages a culture where people put up arbitrary process walls between them and the outside world. It wouldn’t be so bad if the cubicle was a comfortable space that allowed you to get into the zone.

Joel Spolsky tried to tackle this problem at FogCreek software, and while I think they did a good job (hell, I’d work there) my personal tastes are somewhat more casual. At the moment I am doing some work for Microsoft, and when I am in the office I have the first cubicle in a group of three (the entrance to all three goes past my desk). As far as cubicles go its pretty good, there is lots of desk space of which I only use about a quarter, and there is power within easy reach (what idiot puts the power rails below the desk?).

CurrentDesk

What I would prefer is for the desk not to be there at all and just have a couple of very low set shelves (to hold my laptop/devices when I am not using them, and my cup of coffee). A slide in table when I do need a work surface would be useful, but when I need that kind of stuff I am normally collaborating directly with someone, so I would rather go find a shared space.

Of course – at Readify we don’t have offices so we really only use them when they are required by our customers. I much more comfortable working out of Starbucks than just about anywhere else. Actually my perfect office would be something like the Qantas Club lounge in Sydney where instead of a bar (OK – the Bar can be there after 5pm) they just had a service counter/locker room facility.