Category Archives: News

News and me/this site

Are you pair-programming in New Zealand?

I’ve just been engaged in very interesting discussion of pair programming with Arlo Belshee.  Unlike me, Arlo has lots of successful experience with pairing.  If you’ve been following my recent posts on pairing, I definitely recommend that you check out Arlo’s new comments on them, and also his own post and its comments here.

He shows that pairing is a form of expertise, that takes time and effort to develop, just like any other type of expertise.

Furthermore, I would suggest, it’s very hard to imagine successful pairing if you’ve never actually seen it.  Which brings me to the point of this post: is there anyone here in New Zealand who is doing pair programming and who might be interested in letting myself and a couple of colleagues see how you do it?  We work for a registered charity (so we’re definitely not one of your competitors).  I’m hoping that, like many agile teams, you’d like to share your success stories.  If so, I’d love to hear from you.  My email address is on the contact page.


Alistair Cockburn wrote

Agile development calls for a certain amount of ambiguity and flux in the project. Not everyone enjoys ambiguity and flux. I would suggest that most people don’t.

A very good point.  I think this affects some agile implementations – causing them to back away from being really agile, into a no-man’s-land between agile and waterfall. 

Personally, I prefer the honest ambiguity of agile to the Clayton’s certainty of waterfall.  Software development is risky.  Customers and suppliers do learn during the project.  Users do give better feedback from trying software than reading documents. To pretend otherwise may feel safer in the short term, but it disappoints in the long run.

Email Subscriptions

You can now subscribe to email updates from this blog.  This should be handy if you prefer email to RSS.  Just go to the new Subscribe page on the menu bar.

PS If you spot any problems with the email subscription, please let me know.  I’ve never used this particular email plug-in before, so I don’t know how it will work out.

It’s Alive!

My new Agile scope management tool is now live!

It’s called Tactyle, in reference to its emphasis on touching and interacting with the content of your project.  Other key design principles include:

  • simple, effective, and fully-automated Earned Value – in keeping with my blog posts in recent years
  • suitable for fixed price and/or fixed scope – again, in keeping with this blog
  • based in the Story Mapping paradigm (it’s not a database, it’s not a kanban board; it’s just totally a Story Map)
  • designed to have the direct “tangible-ness” of index cards (more so than any other tool I’ve seen – IMHO) while also being authentically digital
  • low-friction (i.e. quick and easy to use)
  • deliberate simplicity (to the point that there are only two screens in the whole product)

You can find videos, documentation, and the product itself at

I’ve been using it myself for about 4 months (to manage it’s own development).  I hope you find it as useful, and addictive, as I have.

Looking for beta testers for agile tool

After years of thinking about it, and months of actually developing it, I’m now looking for beta testers for a brand new agile tool.  If you like the sound of “Story Mapping + Big Visible Charts + Simplicity”, send me an email (address here), and I’ll reply with a link to the product.  If you like this blog, then you’ll like the tool (I hope!) because it reflects the concepts and “philosophy of agile” which I blog about here.

(And yes, development of the tool does explain the relative silence on this blog in recent months! ;-)