Skip to main content

Agile Lean Europe: Some thoughts

Just jotting down some thoughts..

A couple of weeks ago, I drove up to Düsseldorf to attend the Scrumtisch Rhein/Ruhr meeting, because the topic was this new Agile/Lean Europe (ALE) Network. Olaf Lewitz facilitated the discussion ( credits to CodeCentric for the free beverages/food).

I first heard about this network in this discussion in the Norwegian agile forum, initiated by Sergey Dmitriev and followed up on by Johannes Brodwall.

Olaf and Deborah Preuss were both involved in the Agile Coach Camp in Norway earlier this year, and I suspect that they already discussed some of these things there. This makes for a firm connection between the German and Norwegian agile scene, and I hope to be able to support this bridge somehow.

Now, why does this European interconnection matter anyway? 
I'll give you three reasons why it matters to me personally:

1) It's no fun doing it aloneAgile is deeply nested with social drive. While it's perfectly fine to drive on the social forces within a closed community (say, the German agile scene), it gets a lot more interesting if we know that this is an international effort. Knowing that other countries are interested adds motivation.

2) A mirror for our culture
We make changes based on feedback and inspection. For the sake of fresh perspectives, we often use externals (consultants, coaches) for gaining insight. Agile depends heavily on, and influences, culture. Ergo, for a fresh perspective, we might benefit from using externals from other cultures/countries.

(One thing is organizations of business, another thing is getting feedback on how our communities are operating.)

3) Synergy, or re-using knowledge and experience in other countries
If I spent hundreds of hours creating some crystallized knowledge on how to deal with some particular problem (like introducing agile in public sector), it would be an awful shame if it only came to the benefit of the few thousand potentially interested in my country. Letting other countries benefit from the same knowledge is win/win.

A few thoughts on Germany/Norway in particular

There are limits to how much we can absorb from American (and even British) experience reports. Germany and Norway are both social-security oriented economies, with conservative innovation habits, well on the way into privatizing a bunch of former national institutions (rail, telecom, post/logistics, health).

So we have a lot of things in common. And if I may say, people are very similar in regards to personality and behavior (the way we eat, drink, talk, politeness, etc.). But Norway is tiny and Germany is huge, which makes Norway a bit like a miniature test-lab for Germany. What works on in Norway could work in Germany on a larger scale.

To name one example: The traditional rejection of agile projects in Norway's public sector projects was overcome some few years ago by (among other things) the creation of an agile contract standard, the PS2000 agile. Since then, several successful projects have made use of this contract, both in public and private sector.

Is this a lesson we could port to Germany somehow?

Also check out Kurt Häusler's thoughts in this post and Olaf Lewitz's summary from the Düsseldorf meeting. Both of them, as well as Johannes Brodwall are attending the ALE Network events at the XP Madrid conference in a couple of weeks.

Popular posts from this blog

Encrypting and Decrypting with Spring

I was recently working with protecting some sensitive data in a typical Java application with a database underneath. We convert the data on its way out of the application using Spring Security Crypto Utilities. It "was decided" that we'd be doing AES with a key-length of 256, and this just happens to be the kind of encryption Spring crypto does out of the box. Sweet!

The big aber is that whatever JRE is running the application has to be patched with Oracle's JCE in order to do 256 bits. It's a fascinating story, the short version being that U.S. companies are restricted from exporting various encryption algorithms to certain countries, and some countries are restricted from importing them.

Once I had patched my JRE with the JCE, I found it fascinating how straight forward it was to encrypt and decrypt using the Spring Encryptors. So just for fun at the weekend, I threw together a little desktop app that will encrypt and decrypt stuff for the given password and sa…

Managing dot-files with vcsh and myrepos

Say I want to get my dot-files out on a new computer. Here's what I do:

# install vcsh & myrepos via apt/brew/etc
vcsh clone https://github.com/tfnico/config-mr.git mr
mr update

Done! All dot-files are ready to use and in place. No deploy command, no linking up symlinks to the files. No checking/out in my entire home directory as a Git repository. Yet, all my dot-files are neatly kept in fine-grained repositories, and any changes I make are immediately ready to be committed:

config-atom.git
    -> ~/.atom/*

config-mr.git
    -> ~/.mrconfig
    -> ~/.config/mr/*

config-tmuxinator.git  
    -> ~/.tmuxinator/*

config-vim.git
    -> ~/.vimrc
    -> ~/.vim/*

config-bin.git   
    -> ~/bin/*

config-git.git          
    -> ~/.gitconfig

config-tmux.git  
    -> ~/.tmux.conf    

config-zsh.git
    -> ~/.zshrc

How can this be? The key here is to use vcsh to keep track of your dot-files, and its partner myrepos/mr for operating on many repositories at the same time.

I discovere…

Always use git-svn with --prefix

TLDR: I've recently been forced back into using git-svn, and while I was at it, I noticed that git-svn generally behaves a lot better when it is initialized using the --prefix option.

Frankly, I can't see any reason why you would ever want to use git-svn without --prefix. It even added some major simplifications to my old git-svn mirror setup.

Update: Some of the advantages of this solution will disappear in newer versions of Git.

For example, make a standard-layout svn clone:

$ git svn clone -s https://svn.company.com/repos/project-foo/

You'll get this .git/config:

[svn-remote "svn"]
        url = https://svn.company.com/repos/
        fetch = project-foo/trunk:refs/remotes/trunk
        branches = project-foo/branches/*:refs/remotes/*
        tags = project-foo/tags/*:refs/remotes/tags/*

And the remote branches looks like this (git branch -a):
    remotes/trunk
    remotes/feat-bar

(Compared to regular remote branches, they look very odd because there is no remote name i…

The Best Log Viewer Ever

This is what it looks like when I want to have a look through the logfile, to see what a user did on one of our machines one day:


Read the whole story about how it works on the Viaboxx Systems blog (and upvote on DZone!).

Microsoft ups their Git efforts another notch

This week Microsoft announced first class Git support embedded in the coming version of Visual Studio.

Now, it's not completely shocking. We could have seen it coming since Microsoft started offering Git repos on CodePlex, and more recently offering a Git client for TFS. In any case, these are some big news. Scott Hanselman weighs on some features and some more background here.

For those who are a bit unaware of what the Git situation on Windows looks like these days, I've dotted down these notes:
Some explanation on these:

msysGit has long been The Way to use Git on Windows. It's basically a port of Git itself, so it's a command-line tool.GitExtensions (includes Visual Studio integration), TortoiseGit, Git Shell, posh-git and most other tools are powered by msysGit.libgit2 is a native library for doing Git stuff. It is developed completely separate from Git itself. The above tools could (and should) probably use libgit2 instead of hooking onto and around msysGit.Github…