For the December meetup of Jersey City Java, Bob Allen presented Coaching Teams to Do the Impossible… as they see it, and, without straining their backs.

About the presentation:

As some of you likely have some appreciation for, what I and my fellow technical and product coaches do, when we are lucky, is a hard sell from the get-go. Here are just a few of the reasons:

  • We ask a whole team to do things they have never even contemplated doing,
  • For an extended period of time (4 to 6 weeks),
  • And to do it repeatedly,
  • All together,
  • With a WIP limit of ONE.

Keep in mind, the clients are typically very large companies, whose employees often experience ‘transformation fatigue’ (been there, done that, didn’t even get the dang t-shirt). Let me tell you some stories about how it is done, why and how it works, and why you might even want to do it yourself.

Watch.

Posted December 8, 2021 at 03:50:51 PM EST Tags:

[ About my public-facing work ]

Starting now, I’m moving my monthly posts from Patreon to my own website here. Why?

  1. I prefer to own my data
  2. There are many ways (Patreon merely one among them) in which people can fund my public-facing work

My corporate work focuses on learning together, experientially. My public-facing work is similar: I’m creating learning experiences, Open Source code, and combinations thereof — at present, like so:

  • Packaging third-party software for a cross-platform Unix package manager
  • Developing an email server
  • Fixing bugs and adding features to a (mostly) static site generator
  • Facilitating ensemble/mob programming sessions
  • Streaming solo programming sessions
  • Organizing meetups about programming and Agile

For more, see crowdfunding. I’m grateful for your support.

Experiences

Held our final Legacy Open Source Fridays ensemble session of 2021. Started back up with streaming my solo programming sessions on Twitch, mostly pkgsrc-related so far. Improving my stream a bit each time.

For Jersey City Java, experimented with having a vendor present their product: a brief introduction to the tool, followed by programming together with Pejman Ghorbanzade. Glad we tried it. If we do another vendor session sometime, this’ll be how.

Building momentum with Southern Connecticut Agile, our second meetup was an extremely well liked conversation with Esther Derby and Matthew Carlson. We’ll skip December (too much holiday stuff), though JC-JUG’s session will be of interest. I’m excited for our January SoCTAgile speaker.

Build farm

VirtualBox 6.1.30 fixed the macOS Monterey troubles I encountered last month.

Upgrading Devuan 3.1 to 4.0 was straightforward, as was updating Ubuntu aarch64 to 21.10.

After much reading and trying stuff, bringing up a 2007 MacBook (64-bit system, 32-bit EFI) with Lubuntu 21.10 was ultimately uneventful. It’s no speed demon. I doubt I’ll keep it running. But the tricks I’ve just learned should apply to my original 2006 Mac Pro, boosted many years ago with SSD and lots of RAM and needing only an OS that can be kept current. In the meantime, a cursory build of my usual packages turned up a build failure in libspf2.

pkgsrc fixes

  • Doing cross-platform testing of an Ubuntu 21.10 fix for libspf2 (works nearly everywhere else, but needs more fixing on OpenBSD and Void)
  • Reviewed a fix needed in my cross-platform build environment, now awaiting commit by the author
  • lighttpd: upstream patch for use-after-free
  • libhighlight: bump required API version to fix runtime errors seen on wiki.netbsd.org
  • ikiwiki: provide pkgsrc-compatible default values for configurable paths to fix runtime errors seen on wiki.netbsd.org
  • Linux with non-executable glibc (such as Ubuntu/aarch64 21.10): fall back to detecting GLIBC_VERSION another way
  • qmail and djbdns: catch up to pkgsrc’s switch from RMD160 to BLAKE2s hashes
  • gdk-pixbuf2: fix macOS build
  • ucspi-tools: fix Linux build
  • bootstrap: note that Solaris 11 works

pkgsrc updates

  • mob to 2.1.0
  • texttest to 4.0.8
  • p5-App-Sqitch to 1.2.0
  • py-approvaltests to 3.1.0
  • getmail to 5.16

pkgsrc additions

  • ucspi-udp
  • tcpexec
  • fd-proxy
  • pikchr
  • AusweisApp2 (to pkgsrc-wip for further attention)
  • dstp (also to pkgsrc-wip)

notqmail

Legacy Open Source Fridays has produced a few pull requests which we’re still working through. I made some progress on getting Add tests for qmail-send:job_*() functions past the Solaris autobuilds.

Legacy Open Source Fridays has also produced a few people with motivation to continue programming notqmail. I had not imagined this possibility, and am gratified that it’s happened.

ikiwiki

My motivation for packaging pikchr was to be able to integrate it into ikiwiki. Ikiwiki already has a graphviz plugin which I’ve been using to generate somewhat explanatory diagrams of acceptutils — but I’m not thrilled with my diagrams, pikchr appears designed to run in precisely this kind of context, and maybe I’ll like it better. When I write the pikchr plugin for ikiwiki, it’ll be streamed (subscribe to my Twitch). In the meantime, you can watch me create the pikchr package.

Posted December 4, 2021 at 05:43:48 AM EST Tags:

Welcome back to Southern Connecticut Agile! For our November meetup, Esther Derby and Matthew Carlson presented There Are No More Early Adopters of Agile.

About the presentation:

After 20 years, Agile has in a sense become pervasive. While it’s neither mandated nor regulated, everyone’s heard of it, and lots of organizations understand the legitimacy it confers. Still, some folks continue to approach changing to Agile as though it were a brand new set of ideas. How’s that working out? Join Esther and Matthew in a conversation about what motivated early Agile adopters, what’s different now, and how we can more effectively bring about the changes we seek.

Comments from participants include “One of the best online sessions I have participated in at least this whole year” and “Best talk of any sort I’ve been to (online or otherwise) in a very long time.”

Watch.

Papers, talks, books, videos, and blog posts mentioned along the way:


Work with Amitai in 2022

Unique opportunity to be in the presence of someone who will make you a better, smarter version of you.
Kent Beck, Agile Manifesto coauthor

Would your team, department, or organization benefit from a rare combination of technical coaching and influential conversations?

Amitai has the gift of bringing new techniques and perspectives to a large group of people without pushing or putting people on the spot. He is a great facilitator and coach, and offers his experiences without being overbearing.
Alex Schladebeck, Chief Executive Officer, BREDEX GmbH

Would you personally benefit from individualized sessions with an experienced, inquisitive, and empathetic conversation partner?

He created a safe space, in which I was able to sort through unstructured thoughts and come out with much more clarity on the other side.
Niklas Lochschmidt, Tech Lead, BRYTER GmbH

Maybe you’re facing a learning opportunity in some code, another kind of challenging situation at work — or both.

Whenever I pair with him I immediately feel calm and grounded.
Andrea Goulet, Chief Executive Officer, Corgibytes LLC

Let’s find out whether I might be useful to you.

If you were to invite Amitai to come help you, I am confident you’d receive excellent help for your money.
Ron Jeffries, Agile Manifesto coauthor

Schedule a free 30-minute call.

Posted November 23, 2021 at 05:27:23 AM EST Tags:

For the November meetup of the Jersey City JUG, Pejman Ghorbanzade presented Continuous Regression Testing Using Touca SDK for Java.

About the presentation:

Making code changes to real-world software systems without introducing unintended side-effects is non-trivial. There are methods and tools to help us mitigate the inherent risks. One of these methods is regression testing that helps us verify the behavior of our software using a large number of test cases. But regression testing frameworks are clunky, have high maintenance costs, and produce results that are difficult to manage at scale. These limitations have largely made their use an after-thought for most software teams.

Touca is an early-stage startup trying to rethink regression testing. They offer open-source SDKs that enable describing the behavior and performance of software workflows by capturing values of variables and runtime of functions. They remotely compare this description against a previous trusted version and report differences in near real-time.

Join us for an interactive session to explore this new approach to regression testing and to evaluate Touca’s implementation of that approach. We will try their new Java SDK (https://github.com/trytouca/touca-java) to see if we can safely refactor two well-known code Katas in a friendly ensemble programming session. We will take turns to share our thoughts about this new approach, and share general tips about changing real-world codebases safely and efficiently.

If you missed it, you missed an ensemble programming session writing Touca tests for an existing codebase. Pejman’s explanation and demo is short and sweet. Watch.

Posted November 11, 2021 at 05:14:48 AM EST Tags:

I noticed last week that the Southern Connecticut Agile Meetup had gone maintainerless and decided to take it on. Welcome back! For our October meetup, Steve Doubleday presented Three Frames of Software Development.

About the presentation:

The uneven adoption of agile methods over the past couple of decades can be usefully understood as coming from a difficulty executives have in letting go of three frames — the Building, Project, and More frames, and accompanying metaphors. These are ubiquitous in the culture of many large IT organizations, and they conflict with what agile enthusiasts think are better ways of building software. In these terms, SAFe has been successful because it blends agile concepts with the Building, Project, and More frames, allowing older and newer ways of thinking to co-exist. This uneasy coexistence can be thought of as an importance source of problems in SAFe efforts. In turn, this suggests that useful paths forward may need new frames and metaphors.

Watch.

Posted October 28, 2021 at 06:23:22 PM EDT Tags: