It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, and that means it’s time for the Pivotal Labs/Outside.In monthly Ruby Happy Hour. It’s the first one since GoRuCo, so there’s even more to talk about than usual. (Thanks Josh, Francis, and everyone else who made this a great conference again this year.)
Where: Outside.in, 20 Jay St Suite 1019 (10th Fl), Brooklyn, NY
When: 7-9PM today, Wednesday June 3rd
Who: If you’re a developer who uses Ruby and would like to meet some other Ruby folks, toss around ideas, or just have a few beers, we welcome you with open arms!
There will be pizza, beer, and great discussions for everyone. More details on the Outside.In Blog, and please RSVP if you can, so we know how much pizza to get.
Last night Pivotal participated in the first ever New Tech Meetup Showcase. The Showcase offered 60 NYC technology companies a chance to show off their wares to a large and enthusiastic crowd, and Pivots Mark Michael, Dan Podsedly, and Ian McFarland held down the Pivotal table, demoing Tracker and seeing what other companies had to offer. The New York New Tech Meetup is the biggest meetup in the world with over 10,000 members, and—this being Internet Week in NYC—many of them were out in force. After the Showcase the action moved to 700-person auditorium where 7 companies gave 5-minute live demos to a rapt house.
The meetup presenters were varied and impressive, running the gamut from human-powered search to some cool geoloco apps (one for social networking and another for 3D mobile iPhone wayfinding) to it-just-works in-browser live video-streaming and production apps, to the NY State Senate’s cutting edge use of social technology to make government more responsive and accountable. The Pivots-in-attendance were especially blown away by two in particular. Aviary is a suite of fully-powered in-browser content creation tools which does for Photoshop and Illustrator what Google Docs did for Microsoft Office: it makes them cheap, available to any computer with a net connection, and facilitates collaboration and sharing. The fact that these apps are fast enough and robust enough to compete with desktop software is pretty inspiring. The second super-uber-cool demo we saw is called MakerBot, a company that’s building and marketing and community-organizing a $750 open-source desktop 3D printer. The kit is open-source, so you don’t actually need to pay MakerBot to get all the parts, but sourcing them yourself is kind of a pain. MakerBot is making it easier for everyone to have and use and imagine a robot on your desk that can build anything you can imagine. Very inspiring stuff, and proof that there’s awe-inspiring cutting-edge tech on both coasts.
A Scrum team found they were doing too much context-switching, so they applied a dash of Kanban. It’s an interesting example of Kanban principles in action.
Using Kanban to Fix a Common Scrum Anti-pattern
We used the term Feature Flow to describe the goal of the team: to let features flow through the team without interruptions. Any feature that is in a state of waiting, or is simply taking more than a few days is analysed. It’s moved to done as quickly as possible by scrambling more team members. When we encounter features getting stuck, we don’t pick up more work, we try to find the root-cause of the stickiness and solve that. We increased the quality and capabilities of our build environment a few times for that very reason: to prevent future blockage in our flow of features.
When we introduced the ‘work-in-progress’ limit, we also temporarily stopped doing planning meetings, as our first target was getting the w.i.p. down to 8. The interesting side effect was, that we were working for a few weeks without the need for a planning session. So we stopped the fixed-date planning session and replaced it with an ad-hoc planning session whenever the ‘sprint-backlog’ was drying up. From our coarsely estimated product backlog our product owner introduced a couple of days worth of features each planning session. The great thing was that the priorities could change at the last moment, as long as the team hadn’t started working on a feature. As the Sprint planning meetings were always quite strenuous, the just-in-time one-hour planning sessions kept the teams energy at a constant.
Elisabeth Hendrickson of Quality Tree Software demonstrates live exploratory testing on Pivotal’s own Tracker application.
Pivots Josh Susser and Damon McCormick share their experiences scaling a Rails app with a Postgres backend. Learn optimization techniques and how Postgres differs from MySQL when tuning a Rails application.