Pain is temporary, failure lasts forever

Lean, agile living for the running mother of Peter


Entering the modeling mode

Is it only me or is their something called a modeling mode in software development? The state means that when I have some free thinking time, I start modeling. Like when I'm turning of the light or is out on a walk with the dog. I guess there can't be too much outside input, because if I bring Peter on a walk, I don't enter the mode.

I get into the mode when we're entering or are in a stage when we do a lot of modeling in the project. The coming sprint, I'll spend a lot of the time modeling. This will result in lots of self addressed e-mails produced just when I'm going to sleep.

Then fun thing is when I enter the mode I start to think about some use case and I address it like there is a solution and I haven't just figured it out. Like there was some finished perfect solution I just have to find. Strange, because we're building the product. There are no finished solutions waiting around the corner.

It's a fun mode to be in, when I figure out a solution, alone or with someone else. Sometimes it takes a lot of time: our configurable fields used for tracking business key values have been on the table for a year.

Now you agile developers probably raise the red (or black!) flag. Modeling? Lot of planning and specification? Well, it's not that bad. We have short but intense sessions, me and one or two of the developers. I describe some use case or entity needed for the coming sprint. And then we discuss it and work the white board. After some discussions we take a photo of the white board and move on to other issues. If we feel we're getting near we document the modeling in our information model (an XSD-file) or in a powerpoint storyboard. Next session we start where we finished, first making sure we all have the same picture of what we've accomplished. Sometimes this makes all leap forward, sometimes we have to start all over. Like I said, there are seldom one perfect solution.


Calculating free parking spaces is not easy

Today, I drove my son and my husband to their gym (my husband does the training part but the gym has a room for kids) and when I went back, it was pouring rain. It being the salary weekend I guessed the parking space would be cramped so I was happy to see the sign saying it was 355 places free. I've always wondered how that works, the calculation of free spaces. I now found out: it doesn't. I spent the next 15 minutes circulating the parking area with an increasing number of cars doing the very same thing. Finally, I gave up and just parked very illegally and waited for my husband to come out. (Since my parking would have hindered 5 cars from pulling out, I had to stay put.) So, now I have to do some reading if that remaining parking spaces is just a scam or if it really works, somewhere. It doesn't work in Farsta centrum, that's for sure.

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Released is awsome, but tests are better

Just before lunch, we moved the last item from our Stable list to Released list. In other words, we released! Nice and cozy. We all went for our lunch. Well back, the spiders are not running properly. The scrum master says it's because we're releasing an empty database. And I said, 'Hey, isn't that the problem we had last sprint. And the sprint before. And when I come to think about it: the sprint before.'
'No', says the scrum master. It's another problem but it manifests itself in the same manor. So, how come we don't have an automated test for this? The errors might differ between sprints but the test must always work.



Last day of sprint. Again.

So, today we're releasing again. Or: we're having the internal release and the public release is tomorrow. So, today I've been testing and discussing the bugs I've spotted before. We also had some time fixing some cosmetic problems.

We've focused a lot on search during this sprint and I'm again amazed at problems with a multi cultural supported application. Take for example dates and numeric values. We need to support that users print dates and numeric values using different cultural settings. Match this to the date format in the database and visualize the culture supported result in their GUI.

We've introduced Microsoft SQL Server FullText support. That sounds nice but lot of data need to be indexed twice, for example because the wild card support only support wildcards in the end of the text string. So, you can search for something starting with and s (s*) but not ending with s (*s).

When were discussing numeric and date and search. We also need to support that you find everything starting with a value (1*) and intervals like between 1 and 10 (1..10). So numeric and date data need to be indexed both as numeric/date and text.

Google might look simple but looks is deceiving. Search is easy but finding the right stuff is hard.


How's the running going?

My non-developer friends probably just scan my posts. Can't she stop nagging about that silly project of hers? Has she stopped running and all that stuff? Well, I'm more into shorter runs to work now. It's actually the best start of a working day. Some nice tempo music where I always select the perfect "finish" song after my temperament. I want to come to work energized and happy.

Today I went back to the gym, the first time in ages. I took a spin on a spinning bike. Like before, I'm cycling in a modern tempo mode, that is a horizontal back. Being alone in the spinning room, I have full access to the mirrors and can study my technique. It's so hard riding a bike in that manor. But this time, it was awful. I wore some old biking pants I got when I was doing a Swedish classic and rode the Vätternrundan (300 km around the lake Vättern). This was 2001. I was slightly bigger and much has happened in the area of cycling pants. I gave up and stood up most of the time. The pants landed in the trash when I returned to the dressing room. But I guess that was a good thing: my back already hurts from the strain. Wonder what would have happened if I'd continued the whole time.

Tomorrow, I'm back on the road and am doing a morning run. Looks like rain. Could life get better? Well, yes: if the developers would finish the most critical tasks.

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Using google documents

I just started using Google documents. It's really nice and a great alternative to our sharepoint site. It' like moving back in time and working with Word 6.0 (I used Mac during those good old days). So, it feels like going backwards in time: using light tech solutions. But of course, it's all facade, of course Google Documents is more complex than my old Word 6.0. And postits are simple but ingenious things. Standing today in the store I realized that there are so many variants and solutions now a days. There are more to postits than the simple yellow we use to keep in the office.

And perhaps that is the problem for many developers and engineers: getting people to understand that the thing you find the simplest is perhaps the most difficult to accomplish. Keeping the sprint backlog on postits will make it harder to hide behind the technology. If this leads to chaos, disaster, war or utter brilliance, we'll soon to find out.


A new sprint backlog

For some months now, we've been using Sharepoint for the sprint backlog. I've come to like Sharepoint 2007. Besides some irritations like the constant logging on for editing documents, it's really nice and easy. (Not that I would like to educate users. The endless possibilities and configuration possibilities just gives me nightmares. I really feel for educators.) But I wasn't going to write about Sharepoint. The server for our Sharepoint sites gave up. It started working kind of strange and gave up it's last breath last week. Our sprint backlog is not on top of the priority list, so I guess we'll have to wait for it to come up. So, what about the sprint backlog?

Well, we tried postit notes on the first sprint. Total disaster. But then, it was the first sprint, of a newly created agile team. Working on a new project where no one had worked agile before. New technology. New new new. I don't say we're seasoned yet, but we have some experience. So, I'm going to take the lessons learned from Sharepoint and apply them to the postit notes system. It'll be fun moving away from techie stuffy to paper stuffy. I just wonder if this is the most environmentally sound way to go. Hm. Next question, please.

(I'll post some pictures of the new sprint backlog next week, when it's up and running. I am still configurating it.)


Sprint going to an end

We have a very good chance to reach all our goals this sprint. Actually, we've been close for almost two weeks now. But the problem is that we haven't reached one of the goals. The problem is that when people finish their tasks they get relaxed. Look like we're going to make it! And shoot at less important tasks. And the guy stuck on the important not finished task works like h*ll. I don't know if he's asking for help in a desperate way, but I'm getting desperate on his behalf. So, tomorrow Evil Anna will enter the room on his, and the sprint objective's behalf. Slacking is for slack time, not sprint time. And it's only time for slacking if everyone else believe it's time for slacking.

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Getting it right

I and one of our developers visited customers in Norrköping today. If you didn't know it, Norrköping is the home of the roundabouts from hell. I'm not kidding. They are all over and they do everything to make you confused. As I said to the customers, when storming in 45 minutes to late to our appointment: "it is not easy for us country folks finding their way in the big city". (We come from Stockholm , the capital of Sweden and a slightly bigger city than Norrköping.)

The problem was, beside that we didn't use a navigator, is that the programmers of the driving direction functionality on the map web site from which we printed the driving directions, have a problem with roundabouts. He probably think there should only be four exits. But here there were five, six or more. So, when you normally say "go left", what does that mean in the case of a five exit roundabout? Things didn't improve by the fact that someone must have scared of the guys putting up road signs in Norrköping. So we had to drive for minutes before being sure we were right/wrong.

So, if I don't write for some time, I've probably gone to Norrköping.



Returning to scrum mastering

The next four sprints, I'll be scrum master again. It been very nice to have someone else do those chores, but it's also fun to return to that task. I believe that it's important for a first-time scrum master to have a break from the post - seeing it from the outside has really made me think about some things I want to try. Focus, of course. And having fewer things on the sprint backlog to enable a slack between the sprints.
But the most important lesson learned is to relax more and not trying to make up for others not for filling their promises or taking the debate when that happens. That is the job of a boss, not a scrum master.
But today, I'm mostly fatigued. Peter chose to take up about four this morning, after me having a really bad night's sleep. The hours are starting to take their toll, and I'm really happy that little Pete has his friend Clara visiting. They really take care of me... and the dried clothes, which they are currently pulling from the clothesline. Oops, they start fighting about it. Better solve this now.

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Getting the right things done

I actually think we'll finish on time this sprint. Two weeks to go and the tasks completed are more than expected. Why? I think much is about everyone has worked on the right stuff - we've really focused on the sprint objectives and everyone has felt a responsibility for their share. Which has meant that no one has selected a not so important task. And when bits and pieces are starting to fall into place,the spirit goes up. And the morale goes up as well. It's like when I ran Saturday. I spotted a woman some 100 meter away. So, I decided to catch her. The first meters were easy, I was fully focused. Then it seemed like I wasn't getting any closer. I started feeling like I wouldn't make it. I guess it was only my stubborness that made me increase the speed instead of lowering it. Then, suddenly, I could see that she was really getting closer and the last meters were easy. And whenn I'd passed her, I could actually increase my speed even more.
But, of course, there are the guys and gals who during those boring middle sections when nothing seems to go in the right direction call it a quit. If you want to read about this, just buy Seth Godin's The Dip.

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The way to view it...

How do you want to see a map, using a flight simulator, of course! Google has, of course, realized this, and it's included in Google Earth. Hidden, but available. GIS+Game=fun.


Poor John....

When watching Disney's lovely classic, Robin Hood, I remembered that I've never mentioned one of the passions of my life: the legend around the Plantagenet's of English history. It started when I was about 15 and saw The lion in winter. A film about an old medieval king, his intriguing wife and their spoiled children. Sometime during the movie I realized that the eldest son was actually Richard the Lion Heart and the youngest therefor must have been John Lackland (then, of course, I referred to him as Prince John). The depiction of the two wasn't exactly the image you get from Ivanhoe or Robin Hood, so I started collecting books on the subject. The story was amazing and during the coming year I read all I could collect from the city libraries on the subject. The real lesson of the story is that the winner doesn't always get to tell the story to the afterworld.
OK, John did tax the land during Richard's absence BUT it all started when he and the land of the brits were forced to pay tribute to the Austrian king, who kept Richard hostage after Richard being kicked out of the holy land. (Well, Richard gave him the reason to tax the country, but he probably kept most of the doe himself.) But the crusade and the tribute made England a very poor country. And ten years after him becoming king, Richard died in France from taking a arrow to his eye. Actually, after crawling back from the crusades he never set foot again in the country he impoverished with his little adventures.
So, what happened next is that prince John became king John and he ruled the land for many years. And what did happen during his reign was that he signed a treaty that is said to be the first modern law and the basis for modern democracy, Magna Carta. (OK, John was forced to sign it, but still...) A copy of this has it's certain place on one of my walls. So, John brought us democracy and Richard brought us romance and legend. No wonder the afterworld prefer the knight... (Well, for myself, I prefer their wonderful and awful mother. But I'll tell that story some other time. She is truly worthy a chapter of her own.)



Most people dreaming of owning their own home think about the lovely garden, the smells, the colors, the easiness of being outdoor but still at home. They seldom think about the pain of autumn. Apples are nice. Apples are wonderful. Apple trees gives your garden a nice touch. And apple trees gives you pain. I of course, as all house owners minus garden keeper know, refer to tree trimming. There is no better under arm exercise available.
At the same time it gives some satisfaction, like cleaning like home. Trimming the trees to their basic form. Like sculpting, I guess.
Peter also thinks tree trimming is fun, for a couple of minutes. Then, he's off. So, I can now look out the window and see the half trimmed tree in the garden. So, I guess I'll get to exercise a couple of times more this autumn.

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The most common action

Copy and paste. Isn't that just great? The guy who thought that idea: think how much time he has saved for us users. And cut and paste. Modern hero. But what is copy and paste? Or more specific: what do you want to copy how is the pasted stuff to be formatted?
Don't know if it's attributed to my age, my line of work or just culture, but I most of the time want to paste the stuff without the formatting. So, most of the time I'm forced to choose Paste Special, a command that forces me to choose between a wide variety of pasting formats. It's so annoying. In the good old days, when the problem started to surface (think it was the version before Office 95...), I solved it with macros and special short cut keys. But then I had to fix that in all programs and on all the computers that I used. And when a new version of my programs was to be installed, I had to do it all over again. AKA, I dropped that. It's not for nothing that I want something like Delicious is for my favorites for those common functions you find in all your application.
But it also get you thinking, how well has Microsoft and all the guys decided on how paste is going to work, does people really want the original formatting?
What this has resulted in is the very common annoyance of public documents: slight differences in formatting due to original text being copied from different documents. It's ugly, it's unprofessional and the only good thing about it is that the reader can see which text comes from which writer, the knowledge derived from the formatting. (Not all sees those differences and that is perhaps why it's not spotted right away by the authors.)
When working with the development of our applications, I find it very important to analyze these things: the most common setting and using that as default. Not lecturing people how they should work by having a default setting they don't want. Like automatically selecting the whole words then selecting text in Microsoft Word. When giving classes in MS Word, that was the most common question, how to turn that off. The only good thing about that setting is that showing how to turn that off made me a modern hero. Not exactly like the cutandpaste guy, but...



Dragan Drop, the illustrious guy

Dragan Drop, do you know him? He´s the guy all the sales persons ask after. 'Can't you just drag and drop the assignment on the resource'. He's a popular guy, that Dragan fellow. We started talking about him in my Apple days, when he made his powerful entry into our lives. I often love him, but sometimes, he's just not the right guy.
My years as a Microsoft Project tutor made me realize that Dragan is like those good looking guys you find attractive on the first date. But then you realize that he's undependable and not very good in the long run. (And with this I mean that Drag-and-drop is a very very good idea in some applications, but it's not a good solution in others.)
In Microsoft Project you can drag and drop tasks, appointments, resources, etc. And that is nice. If you are very stable on your hand. And if you can see the starting point and the finishing point at the same time. And curse the user who can't hold on to the mouse button until he's found the right goal. If I had gotten a dime for every Microsoft Project student who said 'But where did it go, I dropped X somewhere...' I would be a rich mommy. And since the move result in recalculations of the project, a faulty drag-and-drop adventure can be devastating.
So, what all (and I really mean ALL) my users learned was, don't use the Dragan fellow for more than a one-night-stand. Nice and easy. But when things get complicated, aim for the boring fat guy.


The start of the agile project, nine months into the project

We are now in the ninth sprint of our agile project. Or sprint one. That depends on how you put it. Nine months ago we decided on working agile, inspired by Scrum and Agile. Read lots by Mary Poppendieck. Rearranged our room, introduced continuous integration. Scrapped MSF For Agile.
They say it takes about four months to migrate to agile. Well, that is probably true if there is not a new product, new team, new product owner, new team leader and a very unspecified objective. add to this new technology and new architecture.
In agile methodology, they sometimes talk about spikes. That is tasks that are very uncertain. Many say that agile doesn't work very well with spikes. Well, spikes can be team, product owner, architecture, technology and lots more.
Well, now we're getting there: not having all spikes during the sprints. Now, there's one spike á sprint. Instead of one thing not being a spike. And I think we all feel that makes all the pieces fall into place. Hence, the first agile sprint. We're aiming at the same spot. We know which weapon to use, and we feel like a team. And we know when and where the battle will be held.



The buzz of buzz words

Does buzz words work during the sales process? If I say that our solution implements SOA, does that make someone buy the stuff? Well, first, I believe that all buzz words that become common in a field, like SOA, becomes so widely used that it finally doesn´t mean anything or that it mean everything. Also, it treat the person not into buzz words feel like an idiot, not knowing the word.
In the other case, the buzz word is not common and then it really doesn't mean anything to the buyer. And again, he's made to look like a fool. People doesn't like feeling like fools. Treat customers with respect, avoid buzz words. And explain instead how the system/solution would work with their processes. And if they are into buzz words, they might connect the dots and think, hey, that's SOA. But then it's their choice.

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More than words

I thought she was a pain in the ass. The marketing woman of my past. When I presented her with texts, she always badgered me about spelling, just using Swedish in Swedish texts. Avoiding buzz words. And using the same rules for large and small letters in product- and company names. Avoiding different form in texts. When having lists keeping the same form in the whole list.
I thought she was a pain in the ass. But now I'm the pain in the ass. It slowly developed. The love of the language. And a criticism against and user unfriendly web sites and texts. Because there are user unfriendly texts.
When I visit a web site where you immediately can see that the responsible does not have a feeling for language, I get suspicious. I sometimes don´t buy a product if the web site or the brochure is filled with examples of bad language. And with bad language I don't mean swearing. I mean not paying attention to detail. I mean when you can tell that the writer hasn't read the text aloud (in their head or actually aloud) and removed all those errors you find in that process. It's about those people who don't let someone else spell check their work.
Paying attention to language is paying attention to quality.
How could I possibly trust a company selling a high tech product if they can't even produce readable text? And it's all about realizing that it's not about using the spelling features of the text editor of choice.

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What is worth waiting for?

When we get nearer our public release dates, the question what is worth waiting for gets more and more important. And difficult. And at the same time, more easy. Today, we made a very rough estimation of the from the product owner perspective most important features. Things he found crucial for a release to customers. "We must have that, or we must have this." Well, must is a harsh word. When confronted with cost, musts becomes oh, no, can't wait for that. Or for those bucks we can get ten of those requirements. Mike Cohn's book on agile estimation and planning made a huge difference for us. Making the PO understand the cost of features. And having a tool for presenting this to non-team-stake-holders. When discussing with them, he doesn't talk about sprint points. He talks cash. How much a feature costs. And when sales says they want something, he can demand that they can bring in the extra money that will cost.

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A cupper of coffee

Just to keep you updated, I love my Siemens S60. I love my daily coffee. I probably drink to much, but we all need our daily sins. Buying a little more expensive machine was clearly worth it and I've grown to love the cleaning program, which runs every time the machine is turned off and on. And it's turned off when kept idle for a couple of minutes.
An example of how great this is: wakes up and goes for the morning run with the dog. It's cold, it's rainy. Comes home a little bit chilled. Turns on the machine. While the machine warms up and do the cleaning business, I empty the dish washer. It takes about the same time. So, when I'm presented with a hot nice capo, I also have done the morning run and have an empty dish washer. And the dog has been out as well. Could things get better a cold autumn morning?

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What is the definition of a good user interface? The problem for the product company is that good UI for sales users is not the same thing as a good UI for the day-to-day users. With us working with an application for Windows Mobile, this is a big issue. When my company started working with mobile application, the mere showing the business data on the hand held guaranteed that the application was good from a sales person's perspective. But today, with IPhone and HTC Touch, the sales persons and the person's doing all the purchases expect more. It's supposed to look zazzy. Modern. Iphonish. And a nice looking application is important. I look things that look nice and if I work with a program with poor colors, and old fashioned style, I tend not to like the program.
But we also have to think about the users. And then I don't mean sales persons using the application for short sales presentations. I'm talking about the user's who are dependent on a good user interface for their daily and critical work. Of course they want it nice looking. But if that means three more clicks on a more than daily routine, they will soon grow to hate that UI.
It will be interesting to follow how the UI of Microsoft Office after version 2007. I hated the ribbon from start. But I've learned to accept it. But what I can't accept is that the implementation of the ribbon has increased my daily manual work. And I hope I will remember that during the coming months, when the UI for our mobile application will be stabilized.



Giving it a REST

Yesterday, it was confirmed: we're moving to the 2008 developer's platform. AKA SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, etc. We're going to participate in a Microsoft project for developers making an early transition and this will also be fun for the guys. For us, it was a welcomed decision: we're excited about the increased support for REST architecture in the 2008 suite. And for myself, I'm going to look into the increased possibilities to save spatial data in SQL Server 2008. I wonder if I'll be as excited on release day...

Test the right stuff

As always, the few precious hour before release were hectic last week. Actually, yesterday it was a week ago. Terrible: the developers were fixing critical bugs the last minutes. And then we made a stupid mistake. Not testing the most crucial stuff: does it work to install the goodies?
Yesterday, our Operations team tried installing. It didn´t work. The last minute fixes worked on our development environment, but when setting up a test installation, it simply didn't work. And if you can't install it, you can't use it. Then you can discuss test driven development and code coverage to it's end. But you still might not have tested the most crucial stuff.
In cycling, the mountains are divided into categories, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, where 1 is the most difficult category. Then there is HC, that's beyond categorization. The mountains cars have trouble conquering. The mountains it would take us days to climb on a bike. If we'd make it at all.
In our team, we've introduced a HC category on our priority list. Beyond priority. If we don't complete those tasks, nothing else matters. And testing an installation is definitely a HC task.

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Giving classes is all about selling

I often get comments on how different my computer classes are. People generally look happy when they say that, so I hope that's a good sign. Yesterday, I started thinking about what I want to achieve but generally don't get during other classes? I think it's all about selling: when I give a course in say, Microsoft Project, I try to sell the program. Instead of showing features, I try to sell the participants the concept to choose that program for a certain need. And I don't think that only applies to computer classes. You all remember them, the teachers who really felt for their subject. The ones that just loved reading or history. They tried to sell you their interest. And it was, and is, captivating. To put it short: I don't care sh*t about how you format a Gantt chart if I'm not sure if I'm going to use the program in question.
So, how do you sell a program during the course: insight and interest for the participants. Discussing examples that apply to themselves. When I gave courses in Project, we always ended up creating a real plan for an actual project. When giving courses in databases, we created real databases. Of course, some got nervous that their ignorance was going to be exposed and someone was about to tell them they were a fool. But as I always say during my computer classes: the only stupid questions are the ones you didn't ask during the course.

The most common function...

Something that annoys me is the easy misses on usability. For example: not making the most common command easiest available. Like the calender in Outlook. If you don't know how to share your calender, you probably want to read about it. But when you read it, you probably know how to share a calender. So, why put the function for reading the howto for Share calender on top of the list. Almost once a day I click the wrong link and is forced to wait for the stupid help to start.



It's raining...

I don't know if it's all the developers having a cold or if it's the new responsibility. But everyone is working like hell today. I've been documenting all day, first going through a document from sales, then writing about our time domain. Working with the time domain is entering a completely new domain and in this area, the sky's the limit. That is, it's very difficult to know which requirements we should address in the product. We've all time reported. We've all used calenders for our bookings. So I guess, everyone has ideas. So, today I tried documented some of my questions. Nine pages of text. And this is before I've talked to anyone on the subject.
But that's not very agile? A long spec. But it's not a specification, it's just a list of definitions and problems we need to address in the domain.
And it's also raining. Raining hard. Some cocoa and a hot bath at home would be really nice.

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Sprint start in the archipelago

Complements of one of the team members, we spent the day in the Stockholm archipelago. Sitting on his parents porch on this island taken from the pasts, discussing solution for mobile work order handling gave us all a nice duality feeling. Past present future.

But, away with all the fluffy words: what are our plans for the upcoming sprint? Well, we have three important objectives, so all the full time developers (being three in number) was given a special responsibility for one of the goals. With this idea we hope that someone will better track the progress of reaching the goal, rather than tracking the resource usage on the tasks. What we have seen in previous sprints is that tasks are performed but sometimes the goal is missed and we stand during the last week and don't have the stuff that ties everything together.

But now I'm wasted. Went up at six and weren't home until after eight in the evening. That is some hours to many for me. Even if those were spent in one of the most beautiful environments in Stockholm. How we're going to match that next sprint is a question for the month.



Programmers, dogs and leashes

After reading an interesting and provocative blog on programmers, I went out on a run with my dog this morning. It was me wanting a dog. My husband, being grown up with dogs, was very skeptic.
One of my dreams was running with the dog. It looked really nice. What I didn't expect was the effort it would take to make me and Maximus running pals. And this morning, I realized many of the problems are similar to problems adapting to agile development methods like scrum.
First, I went for a not so agile method: running with the leash. But the problem was this destroyed all my happiness with running. I had to stop when Maximus stopped. Wait for him taking a leak, and so on. And it destroyed Maximus run as well: we both had to adopt all the time. There was no space for individual strives and ideas: we had to be fully synced all the time. If I'd continued in that path I had to make Maximus a very obedient dog, who just followed me on the run and then I would have had taken him on a separate walk afterwards.
Then, instead I dropped the leash. I can admit there were lots of yelling the first years: Maximus didn't know the rules for running sessions with mommy. But now, at last, we've both gotten it.
We both have the same goal: we're out for a 35 min run. We have two possible routes. We don't actually run together but we both take responsibility keeping up with the other. And when another dog appears, Maximus sits down and waits for me. Sometimes we use the leash and do something like "pair-programming", and that too has it nice moments. But Maximus and I are both free spirits. We like to do it together, but not tied together.

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Search results in Google

A near relative sometimes (aka often) talks about how high he's scored on Google, when searching for certain keywords. So, I thought I'd better compete. How about Umberto Eco and Scrum. Hm, number FOUR on the list. Someone else actually have written on these two odd areas. Actually, I got nearly 500 hits on that search.

I'm fairly alone on Midnattsloppet and Scrum, or Umberto Eco and Midnattsloppet, though. That's not fair: Midnattsloppet is a Swedish small event. Sh*t, must become more original. Or...

But Lance Armstrong and Umberto Eco, then. Noooo. They actually won the same price, the same year. Namely Prince of Asturias Foundation in the year 2000.

I give up, I will never be number one on Gooogle.

The short but intense dancing career for young Pete

As you might have guessed, you Pete loves all the "guy's stuff". Machines, cars, etc. He never dances with us, or even sings. If we would start singing, he'd just yell at us. "Stop that!", he says. So, I was amazed this week when I left Pete at daycare and he fetched a pink ballet skirt and started dancing. I don't think I've ever seen him so happy. And the staff said yes, he loves dancing and singing.

Wonderful! I checked local newspapers and found a course in kids dancing, adapted to three-year-olds. So today I went for a try-out. I asked him if he wanted to dance. Yes. In the car he talked about dancing. He went into the school. In to the class room. Stopped. And started crying. He simply wouldn't do it. I had to leave. I guess I could have forced him but if he didn't want to go, what would be the point? In the car back, he just kept repeating ' I don't wanna dance', over and over.

So, we went home. I first felt saddened. Then we did what we always do: things together. It is time to pick the apples from the trees and salvage the last of the berries from the bushes. I never took Peter on those mommy/child activities, so why start now? For free, he was having a blast and he bragged to his father about his efforts.

I still won't be able to share his fascination with dancing and singing, but perhaps that is a good thing too: growing up is about having your own hobbies as well.


Saturday morning...

Peter's become quite the talker. From being a runner and prankster, he's more and more moving into talking. I often point that out to people: you know, he talks all the time. And that is very true: he's the kind of guy that says what he's doing, what everyone else is doing and what everyone should be doing.

A fun thing is to follow which areas means much to him. For example traffic. He always tells me to walk on the sidewalk. And car owners driving too near the same. So traffic interests him greatly. Colors are a completely different matter. Don't know if he's color blind or something, but the boy can tell construction machines apart but he can't say which color something has. We're getting nearer. But it's still a mystery. Or perhaps not. For him, it doesn't matter if the shirt is white or blue. What matters is if he's watching a dumper or something for him completely different.