Getting ready to leave

So, who knew? I got a new job, which means I will be leaving my employer through the last five years. Actually, it’s five years to the date.

For the most part, the last five years have been pretty good. I have had my share of big exciting projects, and I have been part of transforming a financial institution into a lean agile software machine. Well, we tried anyway.

Now that my last day loomes ever closer, I find myself being oddly at ease yet reflective. I suppose that is a good thing though. It suggests that the previous five years meant something on some level.

Leaving the familiar and venturing out into something new can be a bit unnerving, but this time around I feel much better prepared compared to earlier. I guess with age comes experience. Be that as it may, switching jobs will provide me with the space to do some of the things I want to do outside of work, but it also keeps me receptible to change. As a Scrum master I think it is important seek out new input and inspiration. In other words: staying lean and hungry. Over the course of the last 12 months sor so, I have felt more fat and lazy than I’d like, and that is all the reason I need to make a move.

I will continue to be a Scrum master, however, in a more scaled environment. I will also stay in finance, which I still find interesting.

Anyway, enough rambling, I have some packing to do.

Trying out wearables

I got Garmin Forerunner 630 for Christmas and this little bad boy actually supports Android notifications. Whow knew how much fun you could have with a phone OS that is actually being actively developed. So anyway, when my Fitbit started coming apart I started using the Garmin full time just to try out the whole wearable thing for a little while.

So far it works pretty smoothly. The Bluetooth connection seems to be rock solid, and I get most of my notifications on the watch now.

However, I am not sure what to use these notifications for at the moment. Now it’s my watch that vibrates instead of my phone (not really, they both vibrate). I guess the benefit is that I can quickly see if it’s a notification I have to react to or not.

For now I don’t really see the point, but at the same time I am oddly interested in this, so I will keep the experiment going a little while longer.

Of things that could have been

Windows Phone died some time ago, and many of us have moved on to Android and iOS. I moved to Android but I still miss the fluidity of Windows Phone.

Although most people have moved on, there are still a few die hards left. One of these made the video below, which only makes the death of WP so much sadder.

Damn you Android

I have been rocking my Nexus 5X for a couple of months now, and so far I have been pretty satisfied with the experience overall. However, I have run into a new a very annoying problem. The damn thing freezes on my at least once a day. Now I know that we are not talking about a high end phone, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that the damn phone is actually running. In all honesty I a doubly disappointed, since I am running stock Android, which is supposedly the greatest experience Google has to offer. I think not.

Now that he snarky remarks are out of the way, I am somehow reminded of the good old Windows ME days, where things seemed to become quite unstable, unless you reinstalled the operating system every other month. I used to love that crap for some odd reason. I was young and in college, so I wasn’t really thinking straight I guess. However, these days I am not all that interested in resetting my phone all the time just to make it work.

That being said, I will try to turn lemons into lemonade. Before I reset my phone, I will try out some of the skinning options that are possible on Android. Therefore, I will give Arrow Launcher and Next lock screen a go just to see if those apps will make the user experience better.


I really want to quit Twitter

I have been enjoying Twitter for a couple years now. I prefer to it to the brain dead Facebook experience as I have always used it as a news reader. However, Twitter is quickly becoming a forum for “alternative facts” and racial slurs.

Now, I am not advocating censorship here, but we are experiencing serious abuse here, and Twitter has, in my opinion, not been able to create functionality that gives the user an idea about the validity of what they see. The latest incident also suggests that there might be a security problem.

Perhaps it’s time to return to Digg Reader.


Getting my SAFe on

One could argue that I work in a large organization. Granted, it is not large like Apple or Google is large, but by Danish standards it is pretty big. Much like our competitors in the financial sector we are moving towards an agile development setup. And to no one’s surprise, there are some challenges that seem to be somewhat pervasive in my neck of the woods.

Obviously I can’t really say anything about my current situation, but I should be able to give the broad strokes without violating anything or anybody.

Flow is key

When it comes to agile setups I have always been focused on the flow. Requirements and tasks must flow in a steady stream through our teams. The chain is only as strong as the weakest link, which means that not only do we need to fill all the positions (product owner, scrum master and team members), but we also have to ensure that work flows unhindered through our setup. of course, the problem arises when you have a lot of teams that work on the same system but also have responsibilities for the daily maintenance of existing systems. This is where the Product Owner really earns her money, as it is up to her and the other POs to prioritize and protect he teams from the uncertainty that always arises from situations like this.

Creating the funnel

Not surprisingly, in big organisations there has to be a clear funnel that holds all upcoming tasks and requirements in a prioritized manner. Now, I am not advocating anything fancy or a lot of spec work at this point, but product management (top management?) must have a clear idea of what they want and in which order. Furthermore, management must understand that not all requirements are created equal. As agile teams we are dependent on sensible prioritization in order to get our flow to work. We must know what is the most important thing in the word and what is not. If this is not clear we will decide what should be done, and we will always do what we think is the most fun 🙂

SAFe is a model that scales agile teams, and attempts to create a program level flow much akin to the my own idea of flow. This is where my blog post could become really interesting if I could refer to real life incidents, but of course I can’t. I want to say this though. When working on the program level one should adhere to the principles of agile as much as when one work on the team level. Communication, prioritization and trust is just as important at the program level as these things ensures flow and create a sensible and prioritized funnel.