CR Linefeed

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

No Happy Endings

I'm still only half way through The White Book v2 but something has struck me. Whenever Kent Beck comes up with an anecdote about a real project that had problems, it seems that it usually ends with "...unfortunately I couldn't convince them to...". Am I just imagining this? If he can see problems, but can't convince people to try his solution, what hope for the rest of us?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

No Velocity

So it seems that Kent Beck has completely replaced the concept of "Velocity" with the idea of a "Budget" in XP version 2. I think this is an attempt to speak in language that business people will understand. To be honest though, it seems that even technical people have difficulty with this word too. I've seen velocity used where it means:
  • Number of story points completed in an iteration (This one is correct!)
  • Number of story points completed so far this iteration.
  • Number of points attached to a given story.
Using the word "budget" for the first one means that the other two come out as something like "value of items purchased" and the third one as just "price".

Hopefully this will stop the misuse of "Velocity" - whenever I see it, it brings out my pedantic side.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Google-style stateless cursors

In the good old days when I spent my time cranking out PL/SQL, I spent lots of time creating cursors, since these are the best way for PL/SQL to interact with SQL. So, you define a cursor, open it and step through the rows that get returned, usually doing stuff with each row. End of story.

Fast forward to the present day and I am implementing search functionality in a stateless architecture. So you can't open a cursor and step through all of the rows. You have to come up with something like Google, where you get displayed results a page at a time. So, you can open a cursor and pull back a page of results, but when you want the next page obviously the cursor you had has gone. So you have to open a new one and move through it until you get to page 2.

This seems like something the world and his dog must have done, but I can't find much discussion of the topic and any techniques for doing it efficiently. Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough?

Managing Expectations

Only a little way into "The White Book" (see previous post) and already there are some nice quotable nuggets. I like this particularly:
It's not my job to "manage" someone else's expectations. It's their job to manage their expectations. It's my job to do my best and to communicate clearly.
As usual, Kent Beck takes the accepted wisdom, turns it on its head and then points out that it should have been that way up all along!

Friday, December 03, 2004

White Book v2

I've just got a copy of v2 of the "White Book". Having just been to XPDay, I'm full of agile zeal, so it shouldn't take too long to read it...