2012 retrospective – The books

After some reflections on my professional life, and the conferences I visited, I would like to go for the books that I read next. I will do this part of my personal retrospective in the same way I did it last year.

2012 has seen many new books. It seems no one can hide from the influencing that Lean Startup had on the products out there. That said, I also read a lot of books in beta from LeanPub. I purchased and read some books while they were written in 2012. So, you will not find all books on the platforms that I used like LibraryThing and GoodReads.

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2012 retrospective – The conferences

Following up on yesterday’s blog post, where I do New Year’s resolution in Alistair’s style, today we will take a closer look on the conferences and peer workshops I visited in 2012. And I fear there are many. I remember when I sat with my colleague Meike Mertsch in early October, and we had brainstormed conferences we could submit talks to. In the end, we knew we had to cut that list down to a reasonable size, even before counting them. There were about 50 conferences on our list.

Here are the ones I visited in the past year. I tried to group them by theme, not by date.

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2012 – A personal retrospective

Four more (whole) days are left in 2012. As the world seems to turn a bit slower in these final hours of the year, I decided it’s time for some personal retrospective. Since I read Pat Kua’s Retrospective handbook this year, I decided to do some writing about my year on my blog as a personal retrospective. I will cover the books I read and the conferences I visited in later blog entries. This blog entry will stuff that happened during the year.

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The best programming language

Since it was shortly before Christmas, I put a wish on twitter last week:

Anyone who wants to give me a gift for x-mas, consider writing a programming language where “if (* == true)” results in a compiler error.

This inspired some ideas on the twittersphere, and I decided to bring this topic to the Hamburg Software Craftsmanship user group on last Tuesday. Here’s what we brainstormed together: The best programming language, ever.


I need to elaborate a bit on some of them.

Disclaimer: Don’t hate me, I’m just a messenger.

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The Three Signs of a Miserable Scrum implementation

Probably the ugliest thing about going to conferences is that you pick up a lot of books to read. That even held for XP 2012 in Malmö, Sweden, although I just attended the first day at the tutorial of J.B. Rainsberger & Ruud Wijnands on Agile Coaching. They recommended two books from Patrick Lencioni for my to-read pile at home, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. While getting close to finishing the latter one, I noticed that the three signs of a miserable job map easily to signs that your Scrum implementation is miserable as well. Here’s the rationale.

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What’s next in FitNesse?

The other day I was going through the first few drafts of the German translation of ATDD by Example – A practical guide to Acceptance Test-driven Development. Since some days I had been watching the list of issues that Dan Woodward and Arjan Molenaar were heavily working on some updated to the UI system, and FitNesse in general. Then Mike Scott told me that he just did a presentation at the Agile Testing Days, and used the recent version of FitNesse from the CI-server – and it looked awesome. Putting all together I decided to use new screenshots from FitNesse in the German translation. Until I get to update the English version of the book, here are some screenshots for the next version, which should be officially announced within the next week or so.

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7 Zero-order measurements for agile projects

About two years ago I read Quality Software Management Volume 2 – First-order measurement from Jerry Weinberg. In it, he explains the differences between first-order and second-order measurements. The latter is a replacement measurement. Instead of measuring the thing, we measure something that we substitute for the thing that we are measuring. For example, measuring code coverage usually is a second-order measurement for test quality. It does not really measure the quality of the underlying tests, since you don’t know how many assertions lie behind the covered lines of code. In the same book, Weinberg also provides the concept of zero-order measurements for projects. A few months ago I was surprised that these seem to be focused on traditional projects, rather than agile ones. Since then I decided to come up with zero-order measurements for agile projects. So, here are some of the things I look for when entering a new client or company.

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