Dirty Edinburgh, high fives and a lost bear

Dirty Edinburgh?  Well I have never been more shocked than I was on Wednesday night, and it takes a lot to shock me. What shocked me? I was walking up from the Haymarket pub when I glanced out of the corner of my eye a man in the window of his flat nakedly indulging in what can only be described as vigorous sausage wrangling. I thought my mind was playing tricks so I asked Rod and Carol to stroll by again and confirm my horrible suspicion that I had actually just witnessed this. They did. I know Edinburgh is a liberal city, and long may that continue, but are curtains too much to ask? We won’t mention this again as I am trying desperately to get the image out of my head.

One of dimensions in the agile maturity model is ‘shared responsibility’ and a question you can ask to assess base level maturity with this dimension is whether the developers are pair programming. We have started doing this with all new development but I think Martin and Iain have certainly taken it a stage further. They told me that when they complete a tricky piece of code they high five and with a really good piece of refactoring they do ‘chest bumps’. Martin also had a sleepover at Iain’s house. They may have made this up but they told me so I felt duty bound to put it in the blog.

The Single View and Mobile Banking teams got over a significant hump on Thursday this week when they got their combined code base into PPE. A lot of people gave their blood, sweat and tears and I am very grateful and proud of the effort they put in. The team really put their best foot forward. I am confident we will finish the PPE testing next week and we will be working with the test and environment teams next week to look at what the environment delays have done to the plan shape. When we know more we will communicate.

The objective framework for the team has now been rolled out. Please work with your line manage r to write and agree your own individual objectives. You don’t need many – 5 will do. If anybody has any questions about the objectives please let me know.

Uncle Bob videos and Safari books will be coming to a screen of your choice very soon. Jo and I spoke to the L&D guys this week who are very keen to help and are off to negotiate a deal to cover the whole Digital team. They also have some really good resources on their site so I would recommend you check it out.

We lost Manilla this week. I know she reads this blog so I want to wish her well with the baby and I hope we will see her again soon. She has been very supportive of me and the team and I really appreciate that. She has told me she is going to carry on reading the blog when she is on maternity leave so I’ll try and throw in some material that will be of interest to new mothers. I may well fail to do this.

Stefan ran a brown bag session today on Git. I popped my head in and it looked like a really good  discussion. I am interested in peoples reflections on the session as we will certainly be having more. Fen has even promised to run one on Salmon fishing and mink dispatching.

I mentioned the agile maturity model in the team meeting on Thursday. We will be rolling this out to help guide us with the adoption of the right tools, practices and behaviours. It will also be used to measure success against a key IT objective of building a  digital delivery capability. The nine dimensions are below with a bit more detail;

Testing – Good testing practices, particularly the incorporation into development and a lot of automation, are the foundations of a strong development team that can move at pace.

Configuration Management – Unsurprisingly the code is all important so it needs to be carefully managed but in a way that enables dynamic development practices.

Shared responsibility – We don’t want the issue of having to rely on an individual. Also, sharing development leads to a stronger team and better solutions.

Collaboration – Software development is a complex endeavour. The better the communication between those working on a problem the more complexity is reduced and velocity improves.

Responsiveness – Software is everything to a modern business.  We should provide a process which enables us to flex development to meet the changing needs of the business.

Requirements – This is very much linked to communication in that the development team need to be very close to the person devising the requirements to reduce the likelihood of the wrong thing being developed. A close working relationship also improves velocity and we can engineer a process to have requirements delivered on a just in time basis.  Given the pace in our competitive landscape we don’t have enough time to wait for all the requirements to be written down.

Governance – The team and the wider organisation need to change if we are to truly adopt agile working. There needs to be a lot less focus on meetings and documentation and a real focus on a lean management structure that enables adaptive planning and is completed integrated with business planning.

Lean practices – Over bearing process, documentation and bureaucracy kill agile development, they also cost a lot of money. There needs to be a focus on quantifying the cost of these and in measures to reduce the cost.

Edinburgh agile is back with a meet  on 20th August. The topic is ‘No Estimates’ for agile teams, a facilitated discussion by Kevin Rutherford. It will be at the Royal London offices and looks to be a good meet. If you want to go get linkedIn to the Agile Scotland group and book your place.

I mentioned a meeting with Cohaesus in my last blog – here are the slides


Jo V dug this out. The delivery is not brilliant but the content is good. Well worth a watch.


Designing for outcomes. Designing in code? A really interesting read


I had a great time in Edinburgh last weekend but tragedy struck for my daughter on her way home. She lost her ‘Patch’ so if anybody sees a brown pirate bear do let me know.

Have a great weekend everybody.


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