Mar 26, 2006

Stored Procedures vs Dynamic SQL

I stumbled across a post by Frans Bouma about stored procs and dynamic SQL while looking around at some of the new SQL2005 features.

I've always thought Microsoft's design patterns team had it wrong with the Data Access Application Block in the enterprise library and I've been fairly sure of myself. Now, with .NET 2.0 being released and MS putting effort into LINQ etc I thought the DAAB might get a rethink, but not such luck and lately there's been a lot of noise about how it's all so wonderful. And then there are things like .NetTiers reaching a point of maturity and I start to get even more uneasy.

So I start thinking to myself maybe I'm getting it all wrong - after all Microsoft must have at least some clue about all this stuff, right? We'll I'm glad to say that the article helped my senses recover right away. I'm now more convinced than ever that tools like the AtomsFramework, NHibernate and the other O/R frameworks are the way to go.

Thanks Frans :-)

Travel Blogs

My sister in law and her husband just flew out of Sydney this morning for a 12 month, round the world, working holiday. In order to keep everyone updated on where they're going they set up a blog site.

Most people would have set up a site on Blogger, WordPress, etc and they would have posted their photo's using Flickr or similar. Instead they used a site I hadn't heard of - This allows them to not only blog about what's been happening, publish photos and all that sort of stuff, but also includes the ability to publish an itinerary and see it on a world map with lines connecting all the stops and allows people to know where you are (and what the weather is there as well). It's a nice feature and makes it easier than trying to maintain it yourself, especially as you may not be near an internet cafe for a few days or weeks.

Mar 19, 2006

You need to switch off

Knowledge workers (ie programmers, designers, etc) need to keep mentally fresh and to ensure that they switch off from work when they leave the office. Failure to do so can lead to burn out, an imbalance between the personal life and the career, mentally exhaustion, poor health and more.

I found an article on ZDNet along these lines. Check out Is Work Overrated?

Mar 3, 2006

Scrum results

Now that Scrum is implemented properly I'm starting to see some positive results from the change.

The sprint review sessions have been very encouraging. The stakeholders like what they are seeing because they can see the product taking measurable steps forward, and are also able to provide feedback into what can happen next. Even though in the past the product was improving, there was no clear presentation of the progress people were unsure of what was happening or what the improvements were.

By using the review meeting we are able to show a discrete before-and-after improvement in the product and people get a good feel for how much has been done.

From the teams viewpoint the Sprint gives a clarity and direction to what they are doing and enables them to plan their time better. Previously you could turn up at work unsure of what the day would hold, or how long you would work on something before being pulled off onto something else. By ensuring the team is left alone and not pushed and pulled we get better throughput and better quality of code.

The team is still learning to approach and work through the sprint cycle. For example, in the last sprint the team didn't leave enough time for system testing and a number of bugs slipped through that meant the backlog for the next sprint included fixes for issues that should have never made it to a potentially releasable product. To help remind the team that time is required for system testing this is included as a specific backlog item now, instead of being an implicit task.

This not only acts as a reminder to system test, but also adds clarity to the tasks that need to be performed and keeps the idea of quality delivery in the forefront of peoples thinking.

Also, previous sprint reviews were being conducted on Monday mornings and then we'd roll straight into the next sprint planning meeting. The team found this difficult and wanted to move the review meeting to Friday afternoon. This is better as it provides a clean wrap up to the working week, it also means that you can finish a week on a high note and that there is a nice segue into the Friday night drinks socialising session :-)

From my point of view things seem to be working really well, the product is progressing forward well, the staff are taking more ownership in what they are doing and the teamwork is improving nicely.