Joel Spolsky on stackoverflow.com

I hang out at stackoverflow.com (link) once in a while and it is amazing how this so non-forum style forum brings people together to answer questions on a variety of development and other IT topics. It is run (or better initiated, because it is run by everyone) by Jeff Atwood, Joel Spolsky and some other folks (link). Drop a (reasonable) question and you get useful answers.

I came across the presentation by Joel at Google (link) about stackoverflow.com

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JUG Singapore 15.01.2009

I joined first time the JUG meetup at the Yahoo Office in Singapore. Paul Chapman introduced some new features and concepts in Spring 3, the upcoming (April?) release of the Java EE framework. 18 people joined the session but networking effect was rather low with only 3 of us ending up in the pub-post-session-discussion. I will join the next meetup.

About Waterfall Methodology

In today’s IT world there is lots of talks, discussions and religious wars about Software Implementation Methodology or Strategy. You can read about XP, Rational, Scrum, Agile,.. to name a few but most dominant ones. I am very strong believer in an agile approach, even I know it is a hard way to get it communicated to the customer and digested by them (but I will do everything to come close to it). We all do the Waterfall Approach knowing it is crap. Dr. Winston W. Royce was writing about in 1970 (!) and already mentioned it would not  work for large IT projects. But we are still doing it after almost 40 years ! Carrying the self-fulfilling prophecy in front of us saying “Yes, it is like that. No customer will agree to or understand agile.”

Links:

  • The original concept by Dr. Winston Royce, Managing the Development of Large Software Systems (link)
  • Wikipedia about Waterfall Modell (link)
  • Mitch Lacey, Presentation “When Working Software Is Not Enough: A Story of Project Failure” on InfoQ (link)
  • Scott Ambler, Presentation “Agile in Practice: What Is Actually Going On Out There?” (link)

Roundup ITARC 2008 Singapore

Last monday and tuesday I attended the ITARC conference by IASA. Or in more descriptive words: The IT Architect Regional Conference organized by the International Association of Software Architects (Singapore chapter). IASA establish a association and community of IT architects worldwide with roughly 7000 plus members in 50 countries. Software architect is a profession performed by many but hardly recognized as such.

Drop by their website to learn more (link)

The conference: A 2 day marathon of sessions, talks and tracks covering a wide field of enterprise IT topics. It was worth joining, not only because 2 “celebrities” enlighten the crowd of about 100 people with their thoughts and experience in the domain. I was a bit disappointed though that the announced Grady Booch (inventor of UML) didnt show up in real, but in SecondLife (which didnt work out due to network problems or whatsoever). Of course he is busy and we cannot expect that he flies around the planet to share his experience, but the organizer should announce this way of presentation in advance, so everyone can adjust his expectations ! To be honest, I have the same value if I watch a video on InfoQ (link).
The second known IT expert was Scott Ambler, which I appreciate for his work and agile methodology. He appeared in real, but he is an experienced presenter and talker and has a strong standpoint, so in a QA session you can just throw questions at him without getting mouthful back.
What I dont like, is presenter show up for their presentation and otherwise you dont see them around to talk to them in between the sessions. Anyway, most of the other presentations were worth listening too and networking should be always on your agenda.

I want to highlight 2 more presentations which I really enjoyed:
Paul Glenn “Motivating Geeks” (link)
Prof Jill Slay “SCADA security architecture” (link)

And a last word to my fellow attendants:

– You should join this kind of conference because you are genuinely interested not because your boss sends you or you are eying on freebies and lucky-draws or early end and go shopping in the nearby shopping centers.
– Stop making phonecalls, reading your emails and talking during the session. Get out and do your business if you cant be offline for 45 minutes !
– You should become or work as an Architect because it is what you like to do, not because you find the title so cool on your namecard or hoping for a ridiculous high paycheck.
– Be interactive ! Ask questions and help the presenter when she or he polls around or tries to get attendants involved into the session (but thats a local culture thing, so unlikely thats going to change).

Looking forward to ITARC 2009…

Course: Requirements Analysis

Will join this 2 days course run by Processworks (Phil Robinson) to round up the use of UML. The possibilities you have with UML is tremendous but you easily can get lost in the attempt to make usa of all diagrams !

Check the course content here: LinkRequirements Analysis (A UML Use Case Approach)
17. and 18. November 2008, Singapore

Reality check on Agile

There are plenty of post-waterfall development and project approaches and methods (Iconix, Agile, XP,..) and some almost religious discussions and controversary are coming along as well. I cant promote a certain methology but I strongly believe todays IT (project, application development) world (both on vendor and customer side) needs to change its attitude towards handling IT projects. I will try to make use of agile concepts in our effort to do development of any kind. A stony way I guess, but let’s try and encompass changes !

Oh, and my advice to all you buzzword loaded managers out there: Agile is not going fix to your rotten, heavily delayed, run-over-budget IT projects ! Read and learn about it before you start boasting with it.

Scott Ambler did an intersting presentation on Agile during the “Agile 2008” conference. See some more info and the video at InfoQ (link).

More:

Manifesto for Agile Software Development
Wikipedia on Agile
Agile Alliance