Microsoft Expands Interoperability

Sounds like great buzzwords to me.  What does it mean?  To me?  (might see a little soap-box action here, you've been warned)


So, it means they, Microsoft have made it a point to strategically encourage development and choice when we (software providers) build our next wiz-bang.  Sounds great until you dissect it.


(Official words here from Microsoft, I obviously am Julie-izing this).


To me, it really means we have lost.  We still being software providers.  Those that innovate. Those that succeed.
Those that everyone wants to be like.  And why?  (go ahead, tilt your head and think about that for a sec).


So, in the world we have created, (the world where every child gets an award on field day, regardless of performance) this makes sense.  But what it really does is lessens the accomplishments of the hardest working innovators.  What motivation will there be to be the best when at the end of the day you have to share with all the others that just waited for you to do all the hard work?


While I appreciate what Microsoft has done here, and what I hope others will do when they follow Microsoft's lead yet again, I just can't wrap my head around this and make it seem right.  I know there has been tremendous pressure from governments and lawsuits and that is just not fair.


(yes, I see where it will contribute to collaborative efforts and blah blah blah.  I see where it was the "right" thing for Microsoft to do.  I "get it".  I don't have to agree with what caused it.  I happen to like free enterprise and the American Dream.)

Master of the Scrum :-)

So, it is now official, I am a Scrum Master.


I am still a great fan of the process, but in my world I really see me picking and choosing scrum ingredients into my work.  I have some great ideas on ways to tweak our process to be more effective.


I should be better at offering advice and suggestions to other groups when asked.  And like it or not, the world we live in likes titles and certifications and initials after a name.  So I have one more of those to add to the mix and to some that might lend our teams more credibility in their eyes (until we earn it based on our performances).


One of the things I do is coach presenters and facilitators and teachers.  The leader of this class was great.  She kept us interested.  She knew her subject first hand (not from a book, she has actually DONE it).  She knew basics about her audience and then paid attention and tweaked the materials as we went along to give us the class we needed.  She was engaging- made it a safe place to offer publicly our input/questions.   (thanks Tamara!)

My only complaint would be I AM TIRED OF PANERA BREAD.  I know from running events, big and small, that if the only complaint is the food, the event goes into the success column.


So, would I do it again?  You bet.

Scrum master training- end of day one

So I am a pretty enthusiastic participant in this class- meaning, I am VERY interested in scrum-ing.  We (my team) have always had a pretty fluid software process.  We have not been much for giving things official sounding names, but have been successful at what we do.  We have been sooo blessed with good clients that seem to be truly engaged in an interactive development process.  They buy into the "find people who are good at what they do and let them do what they are good at".  This scrum-thing seemed like a good fit.  so let's give it a try, right?


The class is great.  Interactive.  Engaging.  Great instructor.  Great classmates (and about half women- woohoo!).  Etc.  Etc. Blah. Blah. Blah.


In class we each had to make our goals of the class known to the class.  A great way to hold ourselves accountable!  Even if I am the only judge of my goals and their success, I said them, OUTLOUD to a room of strangers!


My goals

  • Confidence
  • Conviction
  • Network of resources

Now those are some pretty good buzz words, but they have meaning to me too.  Confidence in myself to lead a scrum team.  Conviction that scrum is the way to lead my teams.  And a network of resources from other smart people in similar boat as I.


I have no problem seeing that I will have the confidence to lead a scrum team.  (we had a discussion of the word "lead" vs "facilitate".  I will use lead with the understanding that lead does not have to equal decision maker.)  The class materials are presented in a way that it is easy to follow and it makes sense.


Network of resources.  Again not a problem.  All of the exercises are allowing us to meet new people, learn about them and their work and I am sure we will be exchanging emails, blogs, etc.


The problem I am having is finding the conviction that it is scrum that we need.  I am having a problem thinking that if we are a successful team (success defined by happy clients AND happy dev staff) why would we change anything?  I am having a hard time imagining a dev team that would really work well in a textbook scrum world.  I know I am spoiled.  Totally and completely.  I work with such great smart people.  Everyone truly enjoys the success of each other, as individuals and as a group.  I know I can depend on them, and I hope they know they can depend on me.  So, why would I change anything?


I don't know.  I totally see the value of the scrum process.  I can totally see nuggets of value that can be incorporated into just about any software team.


My hope for tomorrow's class is to find the value to bring back to my office.  (that sounded so wrong, but I am not implying there is not value because there is, but I am not convinced there is something to fix if we are not broken?)


And, I had an epiphany today.  My first wedding was "traditional" or "waterfall" like.  My second was very agile.  So my next business may just have to be "The Agile Wedding Planner".

Scrum master class- the night before

So, first I now realize I am a hotel snob.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with the hotel I am staying at, but I find myself wishing for the better pillows, bigger TV and the name brand hair products.  Anyone know of a "swanky" hotel in Boulder or am I nuts for wishing for such a thing?


Ok, now that it has been established that I am a hotel snob, the reason for being in Boulder.  Scrum master class.  I have been project-managing for a gazillion years.  We don't have to actually count those years, but many many of them.  I have been project managing in the software world for several years.  From what I have read, the scrum process is very similar to how I manage now anyway- just more defined and some different names.


For me, the next 2 days will be about putting names to the things I already do- and rounding out the edges of the scrum process.


I will be back tomorrow to see if I still have the same opinions.  : -)

Seeking an XNA expert!

Yesterday I discovered that our tech teachers at my son's high school had been told that XNA was too tough for high school students, so don't even try.


Well, I happen to have a 14 year old that is 90% self taught in using XNA.  But I need some support from more people.  Get in touch with me, give me some help.  Now with the tools available for free (thankyoubillgates) let's get these kids involved and doing cool stuff. 


Imagine what they can do without all the pre-conceived opinions that us old folks have developed??

COS Community Launch 2008 VS 2008, SQL 2008 and Windows Server 2008 is set!

We finalized some more detail and have opened registration here.  Event is FREE, but please register so we get a good head count to make sure we can take care of all of you.


We are still working on some final items, but we have already lined up some great speakers (so far confirmed Steve Milroy, Leon Harris, Ben Hoelting, Dave Milner and Eric Johnson and a few more "maybes" out there).


We, SouthColorado.NET are partnering with SpringsSQL and the newly formed Colorado Springs Windows group for this event.


More details to come, but as always we expect a great event with loads of content from some pretty smart people.

Colorado caucus- how fun

Yes, I said it was FUN.  It was my first caucus and I love the down to earth community aspect of it all.  For my precinct I was told last caucus has 4 (yes, FOUR) people showed up.  Last night, we had 50-plus.  How totally awesome is that?


We had "business" to tend to, needed volunteers for this and that.  I agreed to be a "teller", which translates to "vote counter".   There were 3 of us and it was great to work with some wonderful politically aware women.


The short of it is- our precinct went for Romney, overwhelmingly so.  McCain and Huckabee made a showing, not quite embarrassing, but certainly did not give Romney a run for his money.  I am an alternate delegate to our county convention.  I would have loved to be a state and then federal delegate, but one of the Dave's was chosen instead (there were 4 different Dave's that threw their names into the ring).  I will continue to be aware and involved and maybe next time I'll go.  :)


How did your Super Tuesday go?

one of the differences between women and men in the workplace- hmmmm

Throughout the year, I wind up at my fair share of conferences.  Most of these are technology based and take place during standard M-F "workday" times.  The majority of the attendees at such events are men.  No big deal, I chose this field, I am comfortable and confident, blah blah blah.


I am getting more and more involved in women's groups.  They plan their conferences on the weekends.  Why?


I am sure part of it is women, as a group, tend to be more "pleasers" and if things are planned outside of work time, even if work related, the apple cart is not very upset.  We, as a group, tend to be less aggressive about what is right for us and our careers.  And when we are, we are called derogatory names.  What a shame.


Not sure I have much of a point here, just a hmmmmmm.

Microsoft + Yahoo = Congressional hearings?

Ok, I admit it, I did NOT see this coming, but should have.


Story here tells how the US congress feels the need to stick their nose into "investigate" this merger/acquisition.  Ummm, why?


Isn't this the land of free enterprise?  If they are going to take this path, then to be truly fair and just we need committees to investigate google every time they introduce a product that competes with an MS product. 


What an obvious witch-hunt we have here.  Don't we have better things to legislate?  In an election year for heaven's sake!  Geeesh.

Microsoft + Yahoo = Microsooooo!

Thank you Scott Hanselman for that.


So what will happen when this pushes through?  Though it is funny to think about name changes, Microsoft isn't really into changing its name to accommodate its accusations.  And they acquire a lot of companies.  But Yahoo is pretty darn big, not a little ole quirky firm.