Saturday, December 05, 2009

HICSS 2010: Schedule of Agile Papers

HICSS-43 Agile Papers Schedule
Track:   Software Technology
Minitrack:  Agile Software Development: Lean, Distributed, and Scalable
Co-Chairs: Jeff Sutherland and Gabrielle Benefield
January 5-8, 2010
The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Kaloa, Kauai, Hawaii

HICSS-43 offers a unique, highly interactive and professionally challenging environment that attendees find "very helpful -- lots of different perspectives and ideas as a result of discussion." HICSS sessions are comprised primarily of refereed paper presentations; the conference does not host vendor presentations. All papers are peer reviewed and accepted papers are published in the IEEE Digital Library.

ST 1 Wednesday / Kauai Ballroom 6 / 8:00 – 9:30

Enterprise Scrum: Scaling Scrum to the Executive Level
Daniel R. Greening
Exploring the Transient Nature of Agile Project Management Practices
Lech Krzanik, Pilar Rodriguez, Jouni Similia,
and Anne Rohunen
Rigorous Support for Flexible Planning of Product Releases — A Stakeholder-Centric Approach and its Initial Evaluation
Ville Heikkilä, Anas Jadallah, Kristian Rautiainen,
and Guenther Ruhe

ST 2 Wednesday / Kauai Ballroom 6 / 10:00 – 11:30

Seven Dimensions of Agile Maturity in the Global Enterprise: A Case Study
Robert Benefield
Software Entropy in Agile Product Evolution
Geir Hanssen, Aiko Yamashita, Reidar Conradi,
and Leon Moonen
Organizational Transformation with Scrum: How a Venture Capital Group Gets Twice as Much Done with Half the Work
Jeff Sutherland and Igor Altman

Friday, November 13, 2009

AgilePalooza, Charlotte, NC, 13-14 Aug 2009 slides and papers

The presentations below make a good introductory workshop on Scrum. All slides and reference papers are provided.
AgilePalooza, Charlotte, NC, 13-14 Aug 2009

Day 1 – Wells Fargo KEYNOTE 8:45 – 9:45 am
Agile Software Development in the Enterprise
Jeff Sutherland, Ph.D.

Scrum started in small companies and achieved dramatic results with hyperperforming teams. This presentation will show how several companies have used hyperproductivity to generate extraordinary financial returns. It will also describe how Scrum scales up for large companies and outsourced, distributed teams and how venture capitalists are using Scrum to improve returns in their investiment portfolios. Scrum is used in large financial organizations like Vanguard, Wachovia, Fidelity, Standard and Poors, and many others. Some strategies for getting started with Scrum are described.

Beginner Track 10:00-11:15 am
Jeff Sutherland, Ph.D.

Scrum Training Institute co-founders deployed 250 Scrum teams at Yahoo during 2005-2008. Teams that were well coached achieved 300-400% gains in productivity. Teams not properly coached were audited at 35% improvement. The overview of the basic training for new Yahoo teams will be covered in this session by the Chairman of the Scrum Training Institute. IEEE paper on Yahoo Scrum implementation can be found in "The Scrum Papers."

Advanced Track 1:15 – 2:30 pm
The ACM Agile chapter in Boston was sold out at the Microsoft Research and Development Lab in Cambridge last week for a presentation on how to systematically take Scrum development teams to a hyperproductive state based on extensive data collected on hundreds of teams at Systematic Software Engineering in Denmark during 2006-2009. As a CMMI Level 5 company, Systematic institutionalizes standard processes across their entire organization and does large fixed-price defense, healthcare, and financial systems under contract. In 2006, they systematically doubled the productivity of every team in the company through Scrum with a lean approach to Acceptance Test Driven Development. In 2009, they began the second doubling of productivity by focusing on the Product Owner and process efficiency of stories. Their lean, systematic, and well documented approach to deploying Scrum will help everyone achieve similar levels of performance. Click here for latest IEEE paper on Systematic Scrum implementation.

Fishbowl Panel 4-5:30 pm

Day 2 – Public Day at Crowne Plaza Hotel

Learning Agility Track 11-12:15
How new teams in California and Sweden systematically achieve hyperproductivity in a few sprints
Jeff Sutherland, Scott Downey, Björn Granvik

New teams need to learn how to do Scrum well starting the first day. This talk will describe how expert coaches at MySpace in California and Jayway in Sweden bootstrap new teams in a few short sprints into a hyperproductive state. This requires new teams to do eight things well in a systematic way. Good ScrumMasters with make sure their teams understand these basics for high performance and great ScrumMasters will make sure the teams execute all of them well. This session will review the critical success factors for new Scrum team formation. Click here for Shock Therapy IEEE paper.

Advancing Agility with Non-Software Scrum – Open Space 12:15-1pm
Discussion of:

Scrum in Church: Saving the World One Team at a Time
Rev. Arline Conan Sutherland, Jeff Sutherland, Christine Hegarty

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Microsoft NE R&D Center 6 Aug: Practical Roadmap to a Great Scrum

I'll give a presentation on "Practical Roadmap to a Great Scrum" for New England Agile Bazaar in August at the new Microsoft site in Cambridge.

Date: Thursday, August 6th
Time: 6 - 9pm
Where: Microsoft New England R&D Center, 1 memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA
RSVP: Register at
Cost: Free!  Food will be provided thanks to our sponsors

Sponsored by:
Version One

Practical Roadmap to a Great Scrum

Purpose: sharing the experience and practical steps from projects that Systematic Software Engineering has used to ensure high performance scrum teams. Systematic is a CMMI Level 5 company in Denmark that has "systematically" institutionalized Scrum.

Focus: Provide specific tips and tricks to other agile projects on best practices and pitfalls, as Systematic has uncovered them.
Perspective: Jeff Sutherland will - based on his extensive experience and insight - put the above experiences into the perspective of what best practices constitutes a “mature Scrum”.

The overall theme will be presentation of specific experiences from Systematic and suggestions on best practices based upon them.

Initially a scrum adoption model will be presented to provide an overview of where the experiences and related practices belong. Selected scenarios or experiences will be presented for short discussion and then we will present the specific experience from Systematic and put them into perspective to other scrums in the world as seen by Jeff to summarize recommendations or suggested best practices.

Learning outcomes

* You will learn the specific practices to bring a ScrumBut into a Great Scrum, what the typical pitfalls are, and what others have done to address them.
*The focus will be on practices for higher performing scrum and less on typical initial problems of adopting Scrum.
*You will also learn which Scrum practices are valued by investors.


J. Sutherland, C. Jacobson, and K. Johnson, "Scrum and CMMI Level 5: A Magic Potion for Code Warriors!," in Agile 2007, Washington, D.C., 2007.

C. Jakobsen and J. Sutherland, "Scrum and CMMI – Going from Good to Great: are you ready-ready to be done-done?," in Agile 2009, Chicago, 2009.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Beyond Java: Ruby on Rails with Scala backend

Twitter on Scala
A Conversation with Steve Jenson, Alex Payne, and Robey Pointer
by Bill Venners
April 3, 2009

Three Twitter developers, Steve Jenson, Alex Payne, and Robey Pointer, talk with Bill Venners about their use of Scala in production at Twitter.

Twitter is a fast growing website that provides a micro-blogging service. It began its life as a Ruby on Rails application, and still uses Ruby on Rails to deliver most user-facing web pages. But about a year ago they started replacing some of the back-end Ruby services with applications running on the JVM and written Scala. In this interview, three developers from Twitter—Steve Jenson, system engineer; Alex Payne, API lead; and Robey Pointer, member of the service team—sit down with Bill Venners to discuss Twitter's real-world use of Scala. They describe the production issues that led them to consider Scala in the first place, what issues they ran into using Scala in production, and how Scala affected their programming style.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

ATT charges over $20000 for three days of Gmail in Iceland!

The Darth Vader of USB Modems. ATT USB 881. It will suck all your money out of your wallet!

Digg this post!

Evidently, deceptive business practices are the norm for ATT and the iPhone. William Gillis in San Diego is already suing Apple for false advertising.

Is it OK for vendors to blatantly lie about their products? It is very difficult to introduce Agile practices based on truth, transparency, and trust when vendors are constantly lying.

Evidently there are laws against this.

Prohibited Practices: Federal Communications Commission
Overcharging or engaging in other unjust or discriminatory practices by telephone or telegraph companies. 47 U.S.C. §202(a)

Unfair or Deceptive Acts and Practices: Department of Commerce
Engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting interstate commerce.
9/15 U.S.C. §45(a) (1)

Consumer Products - Packaging and Labeling
Unfair or deceptive labeling of consumer commodities.
15 U.S.C §1452(a), 1453
Engaging in deceptive packaging, including misrepresentation of retail sale price.
14/15 U.S.C. 1452(a); 16 C.F.R. 502


Apple argues only a fool would believe its iPhone 3G ads

By Sam Oliver
Published: 04:10 PM EST

Apple isn't lying in television ads that tout the iPhone 3G as twice as fast as its predecessor, but customers would have to be fools to take those claims at face value, the company argues.

That's essentially Apple's legal response to a lawsuit filed by San Diego resident William Gillis back in September alleging that Apple and AT&T knowingly oversold the new iPhone alongside misleading ads that promised it would perform twice as fast as the original model.


When I recently purchased an iPhone, I told the sales guy I needed a USB modem for my Mac that worked globally as I spend 2-3 weeks a month in Europe. He said the ATT USBConnect 881 was an ideal choice as it worked in 177 countries, covered all of Europe and supported Global roaming. He didn't tell me if I used it in Iceland, I would have to buy an ATT corporate exec a Mercedes!

While I was in Iceland recently, I got a call from ATT telling me to dispute an outrageous charge. They were billing me over $39000 for three days of Gmail usage in Iceland. After filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, ATT lowered the charge to $20000.

So instead of buying an ATT executive a Mercedes for Christmas, they will settle for a Toyota Prius, all for using Gmail for three days. Maybe Google should get into this business!

It turns out that ATT cannot notify you of outrageously high fees until after you have already used the modem. Their system doesn't support this!

Needless to say, our corporate lawyers propose litigation if we cannot settle for a reasonable fee from ATT. I had a Vodafone USB modem in my bag that would have cost me less than $400 for the same usage in Iceland. Stupid me thought ATT would cost less. Duh!

American Express has already refunded all money paid to ATT for this fiasco. Evidently they think the charges are a little unreasonable.

Recent comments from others indicate there are many iPhone and ATT USB modem users out their who feel they have been mistreated. Is there anyone interested in joining a class action suit against ATT if they fail to resolve this issue in a reasonable way?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Arduino: Open Source Hardware

Build It. Share It. Profit. Can Open Source Hardware Work?
By Clive Thompson Wired Magazine 10.20.08
A circuit board for the masses: the Arduino microcontroller.
Photo: James Day

Check this out," Massimo Banzi says. The burly, bearded engineer wanders over to inspect a chipmaking robot—a "pick and place" machine the size of a pizza oven. It hums with activity, grabbing teensy electronic parts and stabbing them into position on a circuit board like a hyperactive chicken pecking for seeds. We're standing in a one-room fabrication factory used by Arduino, the Italian firm that makes this circuit board, a hot commodity among DIY gadget-builders. The electronics factory is one of the most picturesque in existence, nestled in the medieval foothills of Milan, with birdsong floating in through the open doors and plenty of coffee breaks for the white-coated staff. But today Banzi is all business. He's showing off his operation to a group of potential customers from Arizona. Banzi scoops up one of the boards and points to the tiny map of Italy emblazoned on it. "See? Italian manufacturing quality!" he says, laughing. "That's why everyone likes us!" Indeed, 50,000 Arduino units have been sold worldwide since mass production began two years ago. Those are small numbers by Intel standards but large for a startup outfit in a highly specialized market. What's really remarkable, though, is Arduino's business model: The team has created a company based on giving everything away. On its Web site, it posts all its trade secrets for anyone to take—all the schematics, design files, and software for the Arduino board. Download them and you can manufacture an Arduino yourself; there are no patents. You can send the plans off to a Chinese factory, mass-produce the circuit boards, and sell them yourself — pocketing the profit without paying Banzi a penny in royalties. He won't sue you. Actually, he's sort of hoping you'll do it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Roots of Scrum: Object Technology

Scrum was originally designed to support emerging object technology environments, which have now become the dominant paradigm in software development. One of the goals was to get the organization of the team to reflect the potential flexibility of the software since software rigidity always reflects the organization that built it. This is Conway's Law. Fred Brooks cited Mel Conway's 1968 Datamation paper in The Mythical Man-Month and the name stuck. "Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization's communication structure."

Object-oriented languages have a small set of interoperating principles. Break any one of them in creating a language and many of the benefits of object technology evaporate. A similar analogy could be made about Scrum. So here is a candidate set of principles.


It is easy to extend the Scrum pattern to fit the local environment without modifying the metaClass represented by the Scrum organizational pattern.

The same message sent to a different Sprint can produce a result dependent on the environment.

Encapsulation (information hiding)
Work is packaged in increments. Scrum teams can scale by making a Scrum of Scrums look like a Scrum tream to another Scrum of Scrums. Using an object-oriented network to scale allows potentially unlimited scaling.

Emergent Design
A small change can have a ripple effect that causes refactoring and a new design emerges.

OO is a messaging environment. Constant high bandwidth communication works best.

There is typically no "control" object. Behavior emerges from the interaction between objects in languages and between people in Scrums.

Objects can be aggregated into components. Components aggregate into an architecture. Scrums can be aggregated into Scrums of Scrums orchestrated by a metaScrum. A metaClass creates the framework for all classes. The Scrum framework could be viewed as a metaClass laying out the minimal attributes of a Scrum and the relationship between components.

Constant review and analysis at a meta-level leads to increased functionality and flexibility. This is an extremely powerful feature missing from some languages, which tends to cripple them. It leads to the Retrospective in Scrum.

All software implementations of objects use the metaClass of a specific language to create coherent structures. There were hundreds of people who created new objects languages and 99% of them failed in the market. These are like homegrown implementations of Agile. "We are doing Agile" has no meaning. It is like saying we are doing object technology. In the last decade we would look into the code of a C++ application and see nothing but old C procedures. There was often not a single object to be found. Today we see hierarchical organizations implementing hierarchical teams and calling it Agile. They can't help themselves. They have to change the organization first to get it right or Conway's Law assures that they will fail.

Certain languages are structured to work together like JRuby with Java. This is analogous to Scrum and XP. Others like Java and C++ inherit features from a common ancestor but do not interbreed well. Those that take pieces of Agile languages and cobble them together get what you would expect - a horse designed by a committee. It can't run but maybe it can store water.