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David Kramer’s high-entropy blog

What does your company maximize?

I heard a CEO say the other day that “Charity is not a business model”.  I’m not so sure that’s the case, but it got me thinking.  And researching.  It turns out that companies (and their executives) are not legally bound  to maximize shareholder profits, as many people (including myself, until now) think.  Businesses can form to, and focus on, maximize any collection criteria they want.

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Teams Need To Work Together

I just read an interesting article from DZone called There’s No Such Thing As A “Devops Team”.  Readers who have been around a while will know that a flippant title like that is neither going to be totally true, or even the real point of the article.  And they would be right.  The real point of the article is that silo groups are bad, and silo groups that don’t talk to each other are infinitely worse, and the bigger the [real or imagined] barrier to them communicating, the worse it is.  The solution to two teams not working together (in this case the developers and the operations/release engineering group) is rarely to insert another group between them.

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Agile New England Going Strong!

Agile New England, one of the groups I’m on the board of, had a sold out meeting this week. We even asked our hosts to expand the capacity of the room and still had a waiting list.  Janet Gregory spoke about the pitfalls of testing, how to tell when you’re in trouble, and how to get out of it.  The audience was fully engaged, and there were lots of great questions.  Next month, Johanna Rothman speaks on Agile project management vs non-Agile project management.  Sign up quick!

Just as exciting, next week is our Agile Games 2011 event, which is almost sold out.  There are four or five tickets next.  What is it you say?

The Agile Games conference is an exploration of how concepts like serious play, collaboration, and experiential learning apply to the field of Agile software development and project management. Our theme for this year is “Learn. Share. Play!” More than a conference, this will be an experience where attendees will be able to learn new concepts, then immediately share and experiment with other professionals. Forget death by PowerPoint. Every single session we offer will be interactive, hands on, and – dare we say – fun! Whether you’re new to Agile, a capable practitioner, or a seasoned veteran, this conference has something for you.

This promises to be a great event for people at all levels.  If it interests you, sign up soon.

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Linux Failures

Those who know me will back me up on this; I evaluate things fairly.  You will never hear me say $FOO is clearly superior than anything else, and there’s no reason for anyone to use anything else. That includes Linux and Linux distros.  I calls them as I sees them, and I do not feel that Linux is always better in every situation for every user, nor is one distribution/brand of Linux clearly the best for all situations.  And I’ve been using Linux since Red Hat 4.2 in 1997 (I still have the disks).

I recently installed Ubuntu Karmic (9.10), waiting a few months after release as I usually do so the major bugs are already fixed, and ran into many more problems than I expected.  I find this unfortunate, because one of the main reasons I switched from Fedora to Ubuntu is no longer valid.  Some of this post is about this release, and some is about the state of Linux in general.

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How Agile Is Your Company?

First, a little fun. I found this survey asking just that question, but in a humorous way.  Here are the results, which were presented at the Agile 2008 conference in Toronto.  I also found (through LinkedIn) a post on Peter DeYoe’s blog with a humorous job posting for a Scrum Master.

Now for a real live case study.  In my job hunting, I discovered this article by Damon Pool on Litle & Co.  The reason I like this story so much is that not only did the push for Agile come from the top, but they started out that way.  They didn’t adopt Agile, they were born with it.  That eliminates a lot of problems that come along with trying to adopt Agile later on:
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Cloud Computing: No Silver Bullet

But first, a rant about silver bullets.  CEOs love them.  Shareholders love them.  Politicians love them.  It’s too bad they are hardly ever real.  The world has a way of keeping itself in balance by using opposing forces and feedback loops (you know, like our government used to).  Sure, we find disruptive advancements in technology, math, and even anthropology, but even these usually have some sort of cost or downside.  While you keep trying to make alchemy work, we’ll just keep on finding significant, but incremental, improvements, and we’ll see who wins.

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