Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

TechEd 2008 Coverage of VSTS Architect Edition

Brian Harry’s blog about the keynote: http://blogs.msdn.com/bharry/archive/2008/06/05/teched-2008-keynote.aspx

TechEd Online - “Visual Studio Team System Panel - Meet the Team” [http://mfile.akamai.com/14853/wmv/microsofttec.download.akamai.com/14853/TechEdOnline/Videos/08NA_Dev_TEOPanel10low.asx](http://mfile.akamai.com/14853/wmv/microsofttec.download.akamai.com/14853/TechEdOnline/Videos/08_NA_Dev_TEOPanel10_low.asx)

David Starr http://elegantcode.com/2008/06/06/architecture-modeling-in-rosario-with-peter-provost/

Jeff Bramwell http://devmatter.blogspot.com/2008/06/tech-ed-2008-final-day.html

Doug Holland http://softwareblogs.intel.com/2008/06/03/microsoft-teched-2008-developers-conference-keynote/

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I could find this morning.

Tech Ed, Team Arch and More

I’m back from TechEd 2008 Developer where we showed off not only our VSTS 2008 stuff but spent a lot of time talking about our Rosario features and in particular our UML support.

We got some time in the Billg keynote which was great, had thousands of excited customers come by our booth and I did a session all about Team Arch Rosario on Friday.

Feedback has been continuously positive and we’re all very excited about what we’re doing and about how customers are feeling about it. The UML direction seems to be very positive so far.

Also, via Mark Groves I found another blogger talking about our stuff, this time with a demo video of Reverse Engineering UML Sequence Diagrams from code. I’ve yet to do a demo of this where people don’t get excited.

http://theumlguy.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!B4665B67C2981533!136.entry

Enjoy!

Technorati Tags: TechEd 2008,Rosario,VSTS,UML,Sequence Diagrams

Tracking Actual Work Done vs Estimated Work Remaining

I see this get discussed all the time on some of the agile aliases I’m on.

I care how much time is left, not how much time you spent on it.

I know people like to talk about “using the data to make our estimating better” but there are flaws in that argument that just can’t be ignored:

  1. Nobody ever does it. In fact, I don’t even know of a process to achieve this. Hollering at people who over/under estimate is not an improvement process.
  2. It assumes you can make developer estimates better. More experienced developers estimate better, that I’ll take as a given, but can you accelerate this with novice/junior developers or testers? I don’t think so.
  3. Software is NOT like mechanical engineering. It is a craft. Every activity you do is very likely the first time you’ve done it exactly that way. So our inability to accurately and precisely estimate shouldn’t be all that surprising.

At least that’s how I see it. :)

Another April CTP Review

Jeff Levinson’s has followed up his last column on the April 2008 VSTS CTP with a new one called The Joy of Sequence Diagrams.

In this article Jeff reviews the Logical Class Diagram and the Sequence Diagram.

My favorite bit:

The benefit of the revamped diagrams is that not only can the represented information be semantic, but it can also be non-semantic. That is, it can be used to communicate ideas and thoughts without adding any particular constraints to a solution. This makes the new suite of diagrams in the Architecture Edition particularly powerful and useful.

Hopefully Jeff will cover more in his upcoming articles.

Simulated Agile Team Rooms

Today on an internal agile alias, a discussion came up about simulating agile team rooms for disbursed teams. I’ve played around with this for years and had some suggestions for them:


It can be simulated, but it is hard and requires extra discipline by the team. A few key things:

  1. Think about how to simulate the “in the room” experience where you can overhear and participate in conversations going on around you? Team void chat software like Ventrilo, Team Speak or our own Corporate Conference Calling system can work. Can you have an “open mic” in the team room? You also can give up on audio and use team room chat software like IRC. I’ve used them all. There are plusses and minuses to each.
  2. Think about the changes you may need to make to development practices. Do you use Pair-Programming and TDD? If so, you may want to take a look at Micro-pairing as a technique for coordinating the TDD/Pair handoffs. (Micro-pairing was actually created in response this exact scenario. I was pairing with another developer who was remote.)
  3. In addition to practice changes, think about how to deal with remote desktop sharing. Live Meeting works, but can be a bit heavy. Virtual Server and the standalone Virtual Server client actually let two people connect to the same desktop. I know that VNC, an open source remoting tool, also allows this, but I would recommend you to be cautious with that tool. It has some known security bugs and your network admins may not allow it. Check with them first.
  4. Make sure everyone on the team has all the necessary access they need to be a full team member. Access to version control, portals, file shares, email aliases, etc. all must be available.
  5. Think carefully about how you do your team meetings. When you have only 1 or 2 people who are remote and the rest of the team is in a room, the person on the far side WILL feel out of the loop unless you run the meeting as if everyone were remote. One thing I’ve heard of is to actually have everyone go into their individual offices and dial-in to the meeting so everyone is on an equal footing.
  6. Drastic time zone differences can make this very very hard on some team members. Ultimately this can be make-or-break for successful disbursed teaming. If people are 8 hours apart, when do you schedule standups and IP meetings? My rule of thumb is that more than 3-4 hours apart will kill you and you should split it into two teams that are closer in time to each other.

These are based on 3-4 years of playing around with these concepts at P&P. YMMV.

VSTS CTP Getting Noticed

I know I’ve been kinda quiet since moving to VSTS Team Architect, but getting settled into a new job and moving your family can be a bit time consuming.

However, I was taking a break looking at some blogs and stuff and found a few people talking about some of the new stuff in our most recent CTP!

Very cool indeed and I wanted to share them with you.

It got me excited to see people talking about our new stuff. I promise I’ll be writing more about it soon… just give me some time.

MVP Talks About VSTS Architect Edition

I ran across this post by Jeff Certain on his blog talking about the Rosario release of VSTS Architect Edition. Sounds like we’re moving in a positive direction:

I attended the Rosario Architecture Edition preview yesterday. Frankly, I’m two orders of magnitude more excited about this than I am about anything else I’ve seen here at the summit yet.

Woot!

Technorati Tags: VSTS,Architect,MVP