Architect in Scrum

Last friday I gave a Masterclass called ‘Lean Agile Architecting’┬áto architects. Very interesting masterclass and a couple of things struck me. The issue for architects in an Agile environment is their position and responsibility.

The thing with the change from waterfall to agile is that architects feel their role is being undercut, the team just goes fast and are only paying attention to the Product Owner. The standard answer they seem to get is: ‘then join the team’, but they feel reluctant to do so, and most of the times they can not fully commit (full time). So they pass, and they feel miserable about it, since now this Agile project is going to make mistakes, and can not learn from past experiences and their expertise.

The answer lies in the closer observation of the definition of Agile and Architecture.
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The power of feedback in Scrum

Searching the web for new Agile games I came across: You sunk my Methodology. This game seemed like a strong metaphor to show the power of early feedback, while using Scrum.

In order to use this game in a presentation Bob, Daniel and I made a Javascript (standalone) version of it which uses variable iterations of shooting at the enemy’s ships. Board layouts are random and you get 40 shots in total to destroy the enemy’s fleet. After each iteration you get feedback about hits and misses. If you use iterations of 1, you are playing the regular battleship-game.

Each shot costs 10.000 and when you sink a ship you get the_ships_size * 50.000 (e.g. the submarine of size 3 will reward you with 150.000). If you keep track of the balance after each iteration, you could also try to get across the idea that stopping after a few iterations might give ‘good enough’ rewards.

It can be downloaded from our GitHub repository as a zip or you can take a look at our code. Just double click on the index.html (in the public folder) to start a game.

**Update: Now also direct playable on GitHub.

Play! 2.0: A First Impression

Play! is a web framework for Java and Scala. Play promises to bring the developer productivity of web frameworks like Ruby on Rails to the Java and Scala languages. Of course, it wouldn’t make much sense just to copy Rails. So Play adds its own spin: Play 2.0 is fully statically type checked, giving the developer quick feedback when something doesn’t make any sense.

Now that Play 2.0 is getting closer to final release I took some time to dive in. Here are my first impressions, using the Scala APIs.
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Use your Daily Scrum as a success driver

Development teams new to Scrum are introduced to a number of mandatory aspects that come with the framework. One of these is the Daily Scrum, or often referred to as the Daily Standup (meeting) or Standup in short. The purpose of this meeting is to synchronize the status of the development team and to do this in a short and focused manner. In this post I’d like to discuss an anti-pattern I see observing and being part of Daily Scrum meetings and how to overcome it.
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Serializing strings, Unicode, and randomized testing using ScalaCheck

While implementing a simple event store for an example application I needed to serialize JSON data to binary arrays and turn those bytes back into the original JSON. Obviously, that’s a piece of cake!

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Getting started with Ruby on Rails

I’ve been coding in Ruby on Rails for the past couple of months. It was a fun and sometimes tough journey (and still is sometimes) learning a new language and platform. My main background is Java, but last year I was fed up with that. It was too hard to do simple stuff. I reckoned that there should be an easier way. Plus, learning a new language broadens your vision and it helped me to improve my programming skills. This blog post is the first of a series (probably, if there’s enough interest) towards implementing a Rails application. I’d like to give you a heads up of what I discovered head first.
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Towards an immutable domain model – monads (part 5)

This is the fifth and final part of this series. In this last part we’ll reduce the boilerplate code related to handling events and as a bonus we’ll also make handling validation a bit nicer. But before we take a deep dive into the code, let’s consider the design of the last three Invoice implementations.
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