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Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Return of Mr C (Part III)

Why Part III? Well, this is my third attempt to start blogging. First time was back in 2004, under the Wonderful World of Mr C (which you'll notice has stayed). We were urged to start a blog, so I did, but it always felt slightly like a chore. So I slowly drifted into decline until...

...I resurfaced, under TheAgileAnalyst in 2008. This time I wanted to blog. I had stuff to say. I was going to change the world, by God. Nothing could stop me... a 101 other distractions - work (Talis Education was just starting at that time), Playstation, a good book or movie (there are so many!), paint drying, silence, an odd noise, time passing. Pretty much anything really. So, that lasted 4 posts before obsolescence.

And here we are again. I've just re-invigorated Wonderful World, merged in those 2008 posts, spruced the page a bit. And am ready to go.

Why will this time be different? Well, probably because I can't say all I want on Twitter. Don't get me wrong, I'm a great lover of Twitter. Through my Twitter, and summary (if you haven't set one up, I would encourage you - a simple daily digest of your twitter-verse which is consumable in 5mins and always leads to at least one glow-ey moment each evening), I now have the gentle waves of my inter-web world continuously washing over my slightly hairy bare feet. And sometimes there's a bit of a bigger wave, and I have somethign to say about it. Or there's no wave at all, and I have somethign to say about that. In either case, 140 chars don't cut the mustard.

So, let's see what happens. This blog will be both my personal world and my work world - the two seem to overlap rather nicely nowadays, so it seemed sensible to just drop it all here.

To start with, here's a video. No reason - beyond it always gives me a inner smile.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Scrum and elearning

Now, those are two words I never quite joined together.

I'm in a Scrum development team - in fact, I've just renewed my "Scrum Master "certification - looking at elearning, education and scholarly research applications. But I'd never thought of Scrum as a method for delivering learning content, a lecture programme, etc. This article suggests just that.

Certainly worth some more thought whilst wearing my "scrum" hat - may return to this...

Friday, June 20, 2008

If only...

Bear with me. This following extract is from the wonderful Terry Pratchett, where Ridcully has just met Granny Weatherwax for the first time and is reflecting on "if only..."
"Do you ever wonder what life would have been like if you'd have said yes?" said Ridcully. "No." "I suppose we'd have settled down, had children, grandchildren, that kind of thing..." Granny shrugged. It was the sort of thing romantic idiots said. "What about the fire?" she asked. "What fire?" "Swept through the house just after we were married. Killed us both." "What fire?! I don't know anything about any fire?" Granny turned around. "Of course not! It didn't happen. But the point is it might have happened. You can't say 'if this didn't happen then that would have happened' because you don't know everything that might have happened. You might think something'd be good, but for all you know it could turn out horrible..."

Now think - how many projects have you said "if only...", for whatever reason, big or small? Talking to a colleague the other day, I found myself lamenting the approach we'd taken to a significant proportion of the system. Oh, we'd "met the needs", we'd "solved the problem", but my evolving understanding meant I now saw a different road. The destination (let me continue the metaphor) was still the same, but the road would probably have been less bumpy if we'd just paused and filled a bit more of the map in. The village when we arrived was similar - same users, same services - but this village was more exciting, cleaner, the users were happier and more optimistic. This second village may be starting from a similar point but it had far more potential - potential to grow, to expand, to prosper.

What to learn? Well, firstly I need to heed Granny. There is no value in "if only's". We could have taken that other road, and a 1001 things could have happened. In fact, maybe if I hadn't taken the journey I did, I wouldn't be able to look back and see the other road and have the knowledge I need to take this new route with confidence - I'd have taken a wrong turning, or crashed, or worse...

Lesson One: Never regret the choices you make in development. Celebrate them. It's far healthier, for you, for the team and ultimately for the users.

Is it going to be worth "throwing away" all that effort. Hell, yes! That's why we took the journey. The reward for all that effort IS the experience and understanding we've gained. We may have been able to make that first journey at less cost, been more agile than we were, but that knoweldge is just another reward for all the journey's we'll be making in the future.

Lesson Two: It's never to late to change direction.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Back to blogging...

Well, after a year of silence, MrC is back! Re-branded, re-freshed! Yeah, right...

Two reasons why I've rejoined the good old blogosphere:

1. We had internal Talis conference last week (great two days), and I did a 20min slot with my partner in crime Alan on an agile analysis framework we're beginning to shape for the Xiphos team. Realised I'd got something to say to the world again, even if the world don't want to listen

2. I discovered Mike Cohn's blog (absolute goldmine!), and it dawned on me I could follow the same approach - just try to get a post out once a week. You see, my problem with blogging is I just can't do this quick pithy stuff. I'm an arm-waving rambler (verbal, not green valleys) and it takes SO much time for a half-decent post. Well, quarter-decent at least...

For this reason, I've now set up a twitter account to cover the "me" bit. I was unconvinced about twitter, but the guys in the office seem happy (they're innovators, I'm an early adopter) so going to give it a bash.

So, it's nice to be back. See you in a week...