How George Costanza, Frogger & a Craving For Sushi Help Explain Features & User Stories

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In classes I teach, there is often confusion between what is a feature and what is a user story. This article is a simple analogy (a quest for sushi) that helps to explain:

  • The difference between a feature and user story.
  • How user stories can be broken into incremental chunks.
  • Why George Costanza is not agile.

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Phoenix “It’s a Numbers Game” Marathon – Mixing with UK’s Lunatic Running Fringe

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[MARATHON #167 / UNIQUE MARATHON #85 / 7 OCTOBER 2017]

In my opinion, the best way to get a good night’s sleep on a long-haul transatlantic flight is to run a marathon: A marathon (combined with a few “nightcap” beers) is the perfect recipe for a blissful flight!

The first challenge was a logistical one – find a marathon close enough to my hotel in central London to get there, run, get back, shower and make my flight (plus have enough time to rehydrate with a beer or two before boarding).

Spoiler Alert: I managed to find time for a beer before my flight home.

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Cape Town Marathon

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[marathon #165 / unique marathon #83 / 17 September 2017]

I was looking for an excuse to take a long weekend in the Mother City – and the Cape Town Marathon more than justified a trip down south.

Plenty to see in the heart of Cape Town including the Mount Nelson Hotel, South African National Gallery, South African Holocaust Museum, St Mary’s Cathedral, Houses of Parliament, City Gardens, City Hall and the Castle of Good Hope.

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6 Reasons: From 12 Months to 2 Weeks for Feature Delivery

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This article is a supplementary appendix to the post: The Power of Feature Hypotheses.

Where We Were: 12 Months to Deliver a Small Feature

The graphic below is an example of a feature that previously took 12 months to deliver when we were working waterfall. This was the typical cycle-time for a small feature. Larger features would usually take over two years to flow through the system. With agile, we would now expect this same feature to be complete in a two week sprint. This article provides the six main reasons for the massive cycle-time reduction.

An example of a small feature that took 12 months to deliver in waterfall. In agile this can easily be done in two weeks.

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Using Hypothesis Statements for Features in Software Development

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This article is an supplementary appendix to the post: The Power of Feature Hypotheses

Experiment-Based Approach

Instead of making up-front decisions based on assumptions and imperfect knowledge we create hypotheses and run a series of experiments to determine whether each hypothesis is true or false. The results determine what we should stop doing, start doing and continue doing. Based on complexity, uncertainty and rapidly changing environments, most software development projects are “research and development” exercises ideally suited to this hypothesis-based approach. Continue reading “Using Hypothesis Statements for Features in Software Development”

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Reykjavik Marathon (and everything I learned about Iceland in 2 days)

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[marathon #164 / unique marathon #82]

One of my paradoxical mantras is that, “Every holiday should include a marathon.” Last year, with some exceptional planning, I managed to fit three marathons into a one-week holiday in KwaZulu Natal. Unfortunately, young kids and the steadily declining rand mean that international holidays (and therefore international marathons) are something of a rarity these days. However, August 2017 saw a mini-family reunion scheduled in the Lake District in England and I hoped that this would provide the opportunity to increase my international marathon count (which was sitting at 26).

Travel dates were fixed around the Johannesburg school holidays and I expected to be spoilt for choice with interesting English marathons to pick from. I was devastated to find nothing in the race calendar. It’s obviously far too hot to run summer marathons in the UK – damn global warming! Undeterred I decided to cast my net wider; and was relieved to find the Reykjavik Marathon in Iceland where it never gets too hot to run marathons.

Iceland – where it’s never too hot to run a marathon.

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