Marc J. Greenberg

Codemarc's Blog

Category Archives: Agile

The new York scrum

Last week I spent three days attending a Learning Tree course entitled “Agile Project Management With Scum” Course 918.
I took this course because I was looking for some validation on what my scrum team had been doing and I figured that this was an easy way to achieve it. And anyway the company had some education vouchers so it was pretty easy to arrange.

Getting up real early and riding the subway downtown had some real surprises. First of all, I had forgotten that if you leave the house real early, then parking at the station is easy as there are many many spots. Also the subway downtown pre-rush hour is pleasant, although the extra 15-20 mins each way kinda sucks. But the biggest thing that I had forgotten is how simply wonderful lower Manhattan is in the morning.

The facility is located at One New York Plaza-31st Floor. This spot is across the street from South Ferry, and has a great view of the waterfront including Governors Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the rest of the harbour. I have not really spent much time downtown since the summer before 9-11, so this was a pleasure. I roamed around quite a bit and kept thinking about the “Gangs of New York“.

The course was lead be a guy named Maurice Hagar who was reasonably well trained as a “professional teacher”. These classes always feel like they are a little heavy in the marketing aspects of “professional education” but I guess everyone needs to make a buck. There were at least 25 attendees and while the information disseminated can be learned from books there is nothing like being forced into participation with a group of strangers. I had initially thought that I was going to hate this, but it turned out to be really ok. And the whole experience was worthwile.

Sometime agile is referred to as fragile. In the end the all we need to do to tighten up our current agile process is to get a little stricter with out adherence to the principles and maybe do a little less scrum but.

PreSprint Pursuit of Excellence

Interesting pre-sprint planning meeting. It seems that as we stumble thru the early phases of project planning with scrum, not everybody is a true believer. Or maybe not everyone believes in the pursuit of excellence. I wonder why.

On another note We are still having a whole bunch of small appliance issues at home. One problem turned out to be a bad installation job. The Home Depot contracted installers of my LG Dryer, improperly tighten the screws that attach the power cord to the dryer. Over time the screws loosened enough (due to normal vibration) to cause, sparking, arcing and the plastic coupler holding the electrical harness together melted down.  Scary… Could’ve caused a fire! Lets see if Home Depot owns up to it. More later.

Of coarse when it rains it pours. Days after the LG Dryer went on the fritz, I started having a problem with my less then 1 month old LG LCD TV. Saturday morning, I flip on the tv and notice a single dot on the screen. I think — on no what. I examine the screen, then shut it off. No damage, so I turn it on. Now the dot looks more like a bullseye and while I am watching I notice a few horizontal and vertical lines forming from the dot. I play a bit with the remote and finally find a customer service number which i call. I have a pretty awful conversation with the service rep and hang up feeling that I am screwed.

Oh noooo. My wife calls up best best buy, foolishly thinking that they will help. They say bring it in and we’ll take a look. The geek squad, nerd herd, whatever guys decide that it impact damage and they cant help me. Of coarse since theyve been screwing around with it the tv is now completely unwatchable.

I go back home and my wife calls LG and agrees to let them come and take a look. A few days pass and the service guy shows up, takes a quick look and says that the entire screen must be replaced. Well with all the frustration my wife manages to wheedle a special number out of the guy and after she call this magic number, all of my problems seem to fade away. It turns out to be the executive customer service number and the people on the other end really want to help. So after a few more procedures if seems my TV will be taken care of as “they really appreciate my business”.

Notice never did I say I agreed with the impact damage assessment but in the end at least someone tried to make it right.