hack.summit() 2018 – A Look Back

Another excellent hack.summit() has come and gone. This time around, the conference had an overarching theme on blockchain technologies, specifically cryptocurrencies. Since I’m not a block chain developer, I found myself googling terms from time to time as the field is very jargony. Still, I feel like I came away with a better understanding of what all the buzz has been about and look forward to learning more.

Here’s a sampling of the sessions I attended:

Opening remarks, introducing hack.summit() – Ed Roman – Like most keynotes, this was an overview of the conference in general and the blockchain theme. Also a reminder that it’s intended to be technical and the intended audience is developers or other creators. Also, some general information of how to navigate the interface and what to expect during these three days.

What is Byzantine Fault Tolerance? – Leemon Baird – This session starts off with a classic logic problem called the Byzantine Generals Problem. Essentially, how do you coordinate consensus in a distributed system with delays in messaging and suspicion of maliciousness or compromised communication. The presenter walked us through several stages of solving this piece by piece and how complexities have been added over time to resolve man in the middle and other attempts to interfere with trusted communications.

De-centralized Exchange Panel – Alan Curtis and John Piotrowski – This session was an open token exchange discussion on centralized exchanges versus decentralized exchanges. Mostly, there were points raised about the trade-offs between outsourcing some security management tasks such as handling keys to a centralized exchange versus maintaining agility and independence without committing to such a system. I’ve always been interested in the trading field and so much of blockchain is currently focused on monetization before application. While trading isn’t the only application of blockchain, you owe it yourself to understand the current primary driver for innovation in this space.

Engineering an Algorithmic Central Bank – Nader Al-Naji – A session specifically talking about the benefits of Bitcoin decentralization via Basis. Basis purports to offer a system that sources external pricing on itself, referenced to a fiat currency like the dollar. However, it can also key to things like commodities to trend values and control the supply of tokens, much like how the Consumer Price Index works. This results in Basis auto-adjusting much like how the Federal Reserve moderates the money supply to ensure currency instability doesn’t result in over-contraction or inflationary disruptions.

Liquidity, Regulation, and Exchanges – Tammy Camp and Sean Bennett – A compsci and datasci heavy session focusing on the blockchain technology itself. For example, how having a complete dataset of all transaction history built in is hugely advantageous for utilizing transactional systems. Also some caution about how this is still such a new technology that the regulatory landscape isn’t quite clear and that allows the legal market to seek rent in the cryptocurrency space. Some discussion about how by using Stronghold as their anchor/bank/brokerage, depositors grant rights to Stronghold to execute trades on Stellar on their behalf. Currently, in order to access a decentralized exchange, you need a point of access or ‘on-ramp’.

Parity Technologies Presentation – Jutta Steiner – Founder and CEO of Parity – Parity is intended to be a framework or platform for developing blockchain tools and technologies. In this session there was discussion around how in looking at the computing side of blockchain, the various chains and tools and their work product end up comprising a larger computing structure with its own emergent properties. Also, in attempting to make the technology more accessable, Parity is incorporating a vision of improving UX/UI for their toolset.

Building software in a fast-changing ecosystem – Antonio Salazar Cardozo – Technical Lead – Keep Network – I was really looking forward to this session but it got a bit of a late start. Some common sense reminders about how to deal with continuous delivery at a breakneck pace. The session motto was ‘Use Your Pockets’ which refers to the presenters experiences as a young builder and literally means to put your hands in your pockets and think for a second before making a change you can’t unmake. Basically, a nice riff on ‘Measure twice, cut once.’ I’ll need to go back and watch the entire session.

Speaking of, in case you missed a particular session or day of activities, the content is available freely for review. As for me, I’m looking forward to delving more into this space as time permits.

I’d love to hear from any other attendees to share information and opinions about this year’s hack.summit(). If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

hack.summit(“blockchain”) 2018

It’s that time again..

It will be my pleasure to once again attend hack.summit() next month. Hack.summit() is a bi-annual not-for-profit virtual conference bringing together IT experts, professionals and enthusiasts from around the globe. My previous experiences there have been very valuable both as a professional developer and as a technology hobbyist.

This year’s theme is blockchain, with headline speakers including technical founders of projects including ZCash, Ripple, Mt.Gox, Kadena, Stellar, DFINITY, Monero, Oasis Labs, Orchid, Bancor, Basis, and more. Previous years have attracted over 80,000 attendees, holding world records for both the largest developer conference and largest virtual conference in history. It’s kind of a big deal and worth the time, even if you choose to attend just a couple of sessions.

One cool addition this year is a global virtual hackathon, giving developers the opportunity to “hack for good”, with both the chance to win tokens donated from blockchain foundations, as well as help raise funds for charitable causes via sponsorship donations.

If any of you are interested, and I hope that you are, you can use the code *JBTECH* to redeem a free pass to hack.summit() for this year. One thing to bear in mind is that donations aren’t required, but are much appreciated. Should you choose to donate, the event will forward all proceeds to causes including Women Who Code, Black Girls Code, Free Code Camp, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Coder Dojo, Bridge Foundry and more.

If any of you are curious about (or may have attended) previous hack.summit() events or have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

“See” you there!

Knowledge 18 – A Look Back

Last year, I was privileged to attend and present at ServiceNow’s Knowledge 17 conference and was definitely looking forward to another opportunity.  Luckily, someone was asleep at wheel when screening presenters as I was invited back!

This was my first time presenting all on my own at Knowledge.  It’s a bit intimidating but also very rewarding.  If you’re interested in presenting, ServiceNow submits an open request for presenters leading up to the conference.  Some of the things to consider when building your presentation are as follows:

  • What will the attendees learn and why will they care?
  • What are the problems you faced?
  • What was the objective?
  • What was the solution?  How long did it take?
  • What did you learn?
As is common to conferences, there will be a keynote presentation to set the tone and share the overall theme.  This year brought a renewed focus on the user experience within the platform and not doing tech for tech’s sake.   Many promises of new features as well as a road map for our next six major releases.
 
Of course, we need to hit the ground running on our first day.  This had to be one of my favorite sessions and one of the most challenging.  The presenters took the hands-on experience of the workshop to the next level by having each of our instances visible from the stage as we walked through simulations of events and alerts.
 
Another very enlightening session walking attendees through creation of a custom CI Class and then building Discovery criteria to identify nodes fitting this new class and merging it into our CMDB.  A great primer for those of us who do any work in Service Mapping
 
This was a fun one focused on reimplementing ad-hoc Powershell and SSH activities in the Workflow Engine.  For anyone who does much scripting in Microsoft environments, having the ability to integrate your existing scripts into Orchestration activities is invaluable.
 
This keynote brought more substance to the promises of the first day’s session.  Much emphasis was placed on new mobile and user specific features as well as interpretation of user needs and virtualization of first responder sessions using AI and bots.  Some of the skits were a bit corny and stilted but the message was clear.  People shouldn’t dislike or be frustrated by their work tools.
 
This was a fun tutorial on one of my favorite tool sets for the platform.  Seriously, if you’re a ServiceNow developer, you should be using Xplore like yesterday.  Great inline tools that give an intelligent code completion feel to the global libraries available on the platform and might help you learn about a few things you weren’t even aware of.
 
This guy was a complete jerk and never should be allowed to present ever again…
 
…But seriously.. thanks to all who attended for asking great questions and making this a great experience for me.  It’s very rewarding to see this experiment through additional points of view.  I hope you got as much out of it as I did.
 
This was my only breakout session since I tend to favor the hands-on workshops.  Still, some great improvements are being promised for Discovery and Service Mapping to make it less opaque and more accessible to the layperson.  If you want to get the full value of an IT implementation of ServiceNow, something as fundamental as node discovery and aggregation should be as basic and straightforward as practical.
 
Using Event Management to Monitor Your ServiceNow Instance Health
This was a fun little session that introduced us to a front-to-back implementation of Event Management as it applies to monitoring the ServiceNow environment itself.  Might seem like a Catch-22 to have the watchman watch itself, but it’s honestly a scenario that gets overlooked when you think about critical applications and monitoring their health and availability.
 
Another fun hands-on experience, this time integrating event monitoring to an AWS environment.  This also covered the idea of anomalies and other ‘odd behavior’ on monitored nodes and the ability to configure monitoring thresholds based on deviations from a baseline instead of express limits.
 
Summary
This was a much shorter conference for me as I chose not to attend pre-conference training.  Still, those three days were filled with the requisite fire hose of information as well as meeting a few old friends and making a few new ones.  Can’t wait for next year!
 
I’d love to hear any feedback on this post, especially if you attended Knowledge 18 and would like to discuss your own experiences.  As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

Quick Update – Knowledge 18

After having a great experience at ServiceNow’s global conference last year, I’ve made it a point to keep it on my radar.  I’m happy to announce that not only will I be attending again this year, but I’ll also be hosting my own presentation!

The session is entitled Integrating Service Portal With Amazon Lex and it’s based on a demonstration of Amazon Lex I attended with a local developer community in Wichita followed by some tinkering on my own time.  The result is an open source application which can be plugged in to an instance of ServiceNow with minimal effort.  Considering the ongoing move towards hosted solutions, this is something I hope implementers of ServiceNow will find useful.

If you happen to be attending Knowledge 18 and have an interest in AWS or integrations in general, I’d love to see you there!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

 

Keeping Current

If you dislike change, you’re going to dislike irrelevance even more. – Gen. Eric Shinseki

One of the more common dilemmas in our trade is knowing what to focus on. It’s easy to get lost in the day to day and forget about the big picture of our careers and staying relevant in a constantly shifting landscape. No matter if you’re just starting out, or if you’ve been in the trade for a while, it’s important to always stop for a moment and ensure your actions line up with your overall career strategy.

It’s almost cliched for those just starting out to ask ‘What language should I learn?’ New developers want to ensure that what they’re learning is relevant and they aren’t wasting their time. This is a perfectly valid concern. However, I’m going put on my Mr. Miyagi hat and claim that the meta-knowledge you’re gaining while practicing is more important than the language you’re learning it in. Knowing how to break a larger problem down into smaller problems that code can solve is language agnostic. So is aggregating those smaller solutions into an overall design. Even better is learning how to troubleshoot and test your solutions before bringing them into production. Anticipate your customer’s needs, expect resistance and learn to persevere. All of this is more important than learning what’s hot and sexy.

For those of us that have been building and solving for a while, keeping relevant and sharpening the saw can become easy to neglect.  It’s hard to take a step back from project work with its pressures and deadlines to invest in some new knowledge.  If you’re fortunate, your employer will check in with you on training and goals within their organization.  If you’re not (or possibly self or unemployed), then it will fall upon you to invest in yourself regularly.  This must be done deliberately and in sufficient frequency to ensure you’re continuing to grow in your trade.  Some ideas to spend this effort might be to earn a certification, learn a new development paradigm or maybe even start a blog.

If after this, you’re still curious about what’s in demand, a resource I check every so often is the TIOBE Index.  The intent of this index is to cast a wide net over what code is being used in the wild and what people are releasing as far as learning courses and other content.   It’s not intended to make recommendations, but only to offer data or a heat map of ‘what’s out there?’  While rankings like these are about as scientific and individually predictive as measuring your BMI, it’s important to take them into account for the same reason.  Meaning, opinion makers, customers and potential employers pay attention to them.  Also, indexes that focus on language alone fail to account for higher level disciplines like testing and design.  As a ServiceNow specialist, most of my actual coding is done in Javascript, but that’s not necessarily where I’m adding most of my value to customers.  So, take the the popularity (and fads) of individual languages with a grain of salt when deciding what’s relevant to YOU.

So, what do I think is most relevant today?  Relevant in the next 5 years? 10?

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

Typos and Booleans and Mentoring – Oh my!

“Booleans are programmer’s original ‘fuck you’ to the English language.” – Me

It’s official, I’ve jumped the shark by quoting myself.  I’ll see myself out now..

Lately, I’ve had some flattering experiences lately with peers and aspiring programmers actually asking for my opinion.  Quite honestly, this is the one thing I find more rewarding than finding my own solutions to things.  Lending a little bit of confidence to someone experiencing some ‘analysis paralysis’ can help them get off the dime and act.

One story I like to tell quite often is about my son.  He was having trouble with some spelling homework that had a certain number of errors for him to find.  He’d found all but one and was getting extremely frustrated and emotional.  I helped him look it over and noticed the error and let him know that there was still one to find and that he wasn’t wasting his time.  It took him a bit longer, but he figured it out.   The fun part was telling him afterwards, “Dude, finding typos is like 95% of my job”

“Yes, you do.  You’ve just used a double negative” – Maurice Moss regarding education

Sanity checking isn’t just for syntax and booleans are my fucking nemesis.  When you get deep down into code that is essentially just counting polarity reversals, it’s easy to get lost.  I’ve got a friend going through some professional retraining and getting a bit flustered on some boolean puzzles for class.  Again, this is one of those situations where a second pair of eyes and some reassurance can provide that little bit of confidence to push forward.

“You actually watch that show?” – James Van Der Beek regarding Dawson’s Creek

When I started this blog, it was largely an experiment to dabble in some new technologies and try and share some of that dabbling with whoever cared to notice.  Actually getting feedback on my articles is flattering enough, but recently I had a peer share an interest in starting a professional blog in part due to being inspired by mine.  I got into development because I like building things that people use, but this had to be one of the most rewarding outcomes of the past couple of years of blogging.

“Every time I say ‘No.'” – Captain Sheridan on winning

As cliched as they are, movie/television quotes are kind of my thing.  Mental models (see: analogies) are great for encapsulating a dry and complicated situation into something relatable.  You can do this through anecdotes in your own experience or by referring to something common between you and your audience.  It works!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

So… I wrote a book…

Astinus

“I trotted down the street to my friend and mentor Paul Rink and told him the triumphant news. ‘Good for you,’ he said without looking up. ‘Start the next one tomorrow.'” – Steven Pressfield

In a recent post, I mentioned that I was working on a ‘major writing project,’ which I’m proud to say is finally complete.  It’s official.  As of this week, I am a published author!

A few months ago, I was approached by the folks over at Packt Publishing to update their ServiceNow Cookbook to a current edition.  Having always wanted to write a book, I jumped at the chance.

For those of you who haven’t used one, a technical cookbook is intended to be used much like a culinary cookbook.  This means you should be able to use it as a general reference and jump around between ‘recipes’ to complete specific tasks in the relevant language or framework.  While this book follows this format in general, there are some chapters that have an overarching progression in building up a specific feature.

You can pre-order the ServiceNow Cookbook or purchase a subscription to access the content at the following links.  Hope you enjoy it!

Packt Publishing

Amazon

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

Changing Jobs

“… we live in a real world, where the line between prosperity and destitution can be as thin as the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers or a factory closure.” – In Praise of Lando

A funny thing happened to me on the way to this summer, I left my job of 11 years to pursue a new opportunity.   To be honest, I was content and challenged in my previous role and on a pretty solid path.  But sometimes when an opportunity presents itself, you have to weigh the options and take a chance.  The key question is, are any of us really prepared to honestly explore a new opportunity in good faith?  How many of us are really thinking beyond the here and now?

In principle, we should always be assessing our proficiencies and interests on a regular basis.  All too frequently, we are just trying to make it to the end of our to-do list so we can unplug.  Even worse, sometimes we’re just trying not to lose ground or hoping that an unforeseen crisis doesn’t force our hand.  Working hard and executing might get you through the short term, but it isn’t enough.  Taking a step back to ensure you’re doing the right work is crucial to long term growth and success. This doesn’t just apply to individuals, but to organizations of any scale.

When Seth Godin warned us to “Dig your well before you’re thirsty,” he’s challenging our inherent complacency and tendency to coast and accept what’s handed to us.  Life is replete with black swan moments.  Do you seek them out?  Do you dread them?  I’m starting to think the main question is, what might be holding you back from making any change at all?  It’s one thing to miss or pass on an opportunity.  It’s something else entirely to be so overextended and brittle that the slightest disruption brings everything down.

When I first started out writing BASIC and soldering electronics, the World Wide Web wasn’t even a thing.  Since then, entire technologies have been born and become obsolete. What do you do to keep current and be ready for the next thing?

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

Thanks for looking in!

Knowledge 17 – A Look Back

What is the purpose of a conference?  

To some it’s an opportunity to get out of the daily grind for a few days and see some cool new tools and make some new connections.  Ultimately, it’s an opportunity to ensure that you’re heading in the right direction and to come back armed with knowledge to guide conversations about existing work streams and inspire new ones.

Knowledge is an annual conference put together by ServiceNow intended for any individuals that use or build on the platform.  My involvement this year started with an invitation from a colleague to help with a presentation he was working on for this year’s conference.  After a live rehearsal at our local SNow User Group, I was very excited to attend and both learn from and share with others in the field.

Sunday, May 7th – Monday, May 8th

My conference journey began with a 2-day pre-conference seminar on Business Application Development.  While not highly technical, the course provided valuable information to guide decision making and recommendations for applications on the platform.  Additionally, they provided strategies for identifying and solving pain points or broken windows on the platform in general.

Other guidelines for improving our approaches to development touched on defining measures, such as return on investment or solving common business challenges by hiding or streamlining complexity.  Additionally, we were reminded about how important it is to establish and drive the narrative of solutions built on the platform.  Essentially, to tell our customer base what we’re doing and why and to solicit feedback and adapt our approaches accordingly.

On the development side, we spent some time on effective user story writing as well as best practices around extending the existing core modules and organizing any customizations or new features we implement.   We were introduced to some new features for upcoming releases such as UI/UX functionality and improvements to automated testing and the resurrection of a previously deprecated debugger which will be an extremely useful tool for developers.

For architecture, we went over some basic tasks like table creation and decision making around when to build new and when to extend existing tables.  Also,  we were coached on how important it is to define the scope of a new feature before beginning work.  Applications should have a clear purpose that can be reconciled to the measures of business value and customer feedback covered previously.  You might enjoy building something cool in a new way, but that’s never a guarantee that it’ll see any adoption beyond curiosity or superficial interest.

Tuesday, May 9th

Tuesday marked the official beginning of the conference and the ServiceNow CEO’s Keynote did not disappoint.  A record setting 15,000+ attendees were challenged to improve the customer user experience, protect the value that we’ve created and continually work to reclaim wasted time and resources that can be better utilized elsewhere.  Members of the ServiceNow community were informed of additional efforts to continue to address the gender gap and reminded to challenge preconceptions about career paths for anyone and everyone.

My first class of the day was Angular2 applications for the ServiceNow Platform.  While I’ve been working in Angular for a couple of years now, I had zero experience in Angular2 or deploying a ServiceNow application from a GitHub repo.  This session gave us a walkthrough on staging and testing an Angular app locally using NodeJS, publishing to GitHub and then directly installing the app from a hyperlink on GitHub itself.  This spawned quite a few ideas for myself around better organization of code and sharing that code with others.

Next, I attended a course on Testing Inbound REST APIs.  This is a possible feature for Jakarta that will allow developers to use SNows Automated Testing Framework to simulate HTTP calls against tables and services they build and establish expectations around functionality and behavior on those calls.

My labs were done for the day, so I attended a business oriented breakout called Enabling Enterprise Architecture Decisions Through the ServiceNow Platform.  The session overed ideas and justifications for consolidating existing services and data into the platform to eliminate wasteful and repetitive practices throughout the enterprise.  The idea is that, by removing many of the seams between various layers of stand-alone solutions, ServiceNow simplifies the conversation around enterprise architecture by assembling it into a unified platform.  Additionally, the platform can allow stakeholders to focus on managing and prioritizing services rather than keeping track of nodes and their dependencies separately.

To cap off the day, we had our own presentation on Service Portal. Our topic specifically covered challenges and lessons learned when integrating 3rd party platforms into the Portal itself and providing a seamless and positive user experience.  This was my first time actually presenting at a global conference so it was a bit nerve-wracking.  But, our presentation was well received with excellent Q&A from our audience.  Thanks to all who attended!

Wednesday, May 10th

I started off the day with an interesting session on certifying applications for the ServiceNow Store.  While I haven’t personally built any public applications, the standards SNow establishes for their store can easily inform standards for internal applications as well.  They covered a Top 10 list of common mistakes made when developing, mostly around roles and security.  Additionally, we were reminded of their built in module for certifying applications, which can be useful for spot checking applications or other features in progress or already in the wild.

Next was a breakout entitled Defining your App Development Methodology for ServiceNow.  This was basically an outline of steps to follow when proposing or accepting new work.  Questions around demand and identifying key stakeholders and sponsors and maintaining their interest throughout the process.  Also, there was a reminder that new features always include a subsequent cost of support and maintenance throughout the life of that feature.  One last thing: ‘Have a Testing Zealot!’  Not my term, but I’m using it anyway.

My first lab of the day was on Advanced Service Portal Widget Techniques.  We covered several implementations of a list view in the portal incorporating conventional server-side GlideRecord calls and client-side API calls.  Combined with configuration level constants like table name, we were given a template for a reusable widget that can be easily cloned and tweaked for multiple uses.

Lastly, I attended a session on Analytics and Machine Learning.  This is an equally arcane and fascinating topic for me and it will be interesting how application of AI will inform the ServiceNow platform going forward.  We were introduced to automated Virtual Agents that can act as first responders to customers and learn from previous customer engagements to guide and improve future sessions.  Additionally, machine learning can be applied to data within our existing systems to derive additional meaning from data points that human analysts might miss.

Thursday, May 11th

The last day of the conference definitely finished on a high note with the CreatorCon Keynote.  Developers and other creators were reminded that expectations are constantly changing and growing.  The sheer volume of data and the speed at which the meaning of that data needs to be communicated will only continue to grow.  We should not only be thinking of automation for customers, but also every edge we can gain in our own processes to increase our velocity without compromising effectiveness and overall quality.  Tools such as native automated testing and integrated debugging can only help.

Our last lab and session of the conference was Managing Team Workload and Collaboration with VTB and Connect.  Most of the information on Virtual Task Boards was already familiar territory for me but it was neat to see some new improvements and features, including Connect integration for live collaboration among team members.

Summary

Needless to say, this past week has been a whirlwind of people and concepts and generally drinking from a fire hose of information with maybe a small respite now and then to let those ideas breathe.  What’s most rewarding for me is to see so many people in one place excited and passionate about what they do.  Our work has a soul.  It’s necessary to recognize the value in what we do and continually strive to improve.  Conferences are good for a spot check (sanity check?) on where we’re at and where we’re headed.  I highly recommend them.

I’d love to hear any feedback on this post, especially if you attended Knowledge 17 and would like to discuss your own experiences.  As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

Thanks for looking in!

Certified ScrumMaster – A Look Back

I funny thing happened since my last post…. I became a Certified ScrumMaster!

Some basic points before I ramble:  For the uninitiated, a ScrumMaster is one of the three roles that make up a Scrum team.   For the further uninitiated, Scrum is a software development process that attempts to fulfill Agile software development principles.

For the even further uninitiated, Agile is a set of principles that seeks to produce faster and better solutions via software by engaging customers early and often.  These principles have been distilled into the Agile Manifesto, which is generally one’s first introduction to Agile.  I’ve also recently been introduced to the Manifesto for Software Craftsmanship, which uses the cadence of the Agile Manifesto to add a focus on quality and professionalism to our work.

The main idea of Agile is that customer needs and value opportunities can and do change frequently, often several times a day.  Therefore, the process by which software solutions intended to meet those needs are built must be just as flexible, if not more.  This means that software developers and the customers they serve should not be held prisoner by yesterday’s expectations, but should be ready and able to respond to changes over the course of their projects.

One of the more popular frameworks used to help a development shop become more Agile is called Scrum.  Scrum consists mainly of static teams that focus on a cadence of time-boxed ‘sprints,’ each with their own concise and explicit goal.  At the end of a sprint, the team presents (and usually deploys) the finished software and gathers feedback on their work.  Additionally, the team self-evaluates and adopts changes necessary to improve their own performance.  They are then ready to proceed with the next sprint.

For our two day class, we were first presented with the history and framework of Agile. Then we were formed into teams and tasked with working through a simulation of Scrum.  This included planning our goals for the overall product, organizing sprints that would result in a production-ready result and presenting that result for evaluation.

I’ve been working on Agile teams for a couple of years now and am a fan of the approach.  One of the most valuable takeaways that I had from the class was knowing to observe the Agile principles before any process.  Scrum (or even Agile) is not a magic bullet that’s appropriate to all projects.  Therefore, you need to remember whether or not your approach is in keeping with the value you’re intending to realize, rather than just blindly following a process.  Some other explicit warnings were, “If you’re not automating you regression testing, you can’t be Agile.”  The same premise goes for controlling your inputs.  Meaning, you need to have that concise and explicit goal, rather than trying to ‘boil the ocean’ and do everything at once.

I’d love to hear any feedback on this post and invite you to share your own experiences with Agile or Scrum.  As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

Thanks for looking in!