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Tech4Africa notes: day 1

Day 1 was Developer day at t4a, and so was well suited to my interests. Below are brief notes from some of the talks that I attended.

10 warning signs to watch for to prevent project failure by Yann Larrivee of FooLab Inc

  • identify threats early to reduce failures and stress
  • have visible goals
  • use metrics

From the field: Helping teams become lean & agile by Martin Cronje of nReality (pty) ltd

  • "agile" comes with baggage. The names are known (Scrum, XP), but not always with positive associations.
  • higher bandwidth conversations are better
  • documentation should be used as an enhancement of a conversation
  • continuous improvement is the great
  • use metrics in your retro
  • map your existing processes
  • metrics
    • production code
    • cycle times
    • waste (contains many categories)
  • it's a journey
  • communication is always the number 1, biggest, issue
  • resistance from stakeholders
    • prove quality improvement with acceptance tests, metrics
    • fix problems rather than stick to agile dogma
  • one small thing at a time
    • make components, building blocks
  • fear and hope of random busses
    • be wary of heroes.
    • help them share their knowledge, skills.
  • making legacy code agile
    • refactor
    • change your definition of done
    • log 2 tickets for each piece of work: doing and refactoring. makes amount of work visible.
  • values and benefits
    • be adjustable. find and fix inefficiencies.
    • more frequent releases. improves cycle time.
    • minimal solutions
    • increase focus
    • finds you time to innovate
    • dramatic drop in defects
    • fast change occur where IT is close to the profit stream
    • deep issues come out in retros
    • Tuckman's stages of team development: forming, storming, norming, performing
    • user metrics to leverage org change
  • pro tips
    • get your own house in order first. helps shield against politics.
    • have a retro of retros
    • optimise work environment.
      • ditch the cubicle farm in favour of a war room
      • have decent internet, good coffee
      • find alternative solutions to problems
    • use pomodoros. single task focus. note interruptions, bring them up in the retro.
    • focus on the why, not the what. Shows you the value. Difficult.
    • TDD is essential.
    • Continuous delivery is great. Automate all the tests.

The changing face of the retail customer experience through disruptive mobile innovations by Craig Leppan of Ovations

  • Use previous and existing data (e.g. location) to supply suggestions. (There's a crossover here with micro-interactions, and Mobile First)
  • collaborative filtering
  • analytics-driven applications

Designing for context using a Mobile User Experience (UX) strategy by Rob Enslin of ThoughtWorks

  • people, place, things - a framework. spatial, temporal, social, semantic
  • mobile context - anywhere and everywhere - design for interruptability, pervasiveness, ubiquity
  • mobile is personal, social, always near.
  • bring important things to the surface
  • copy should be contextualised too
  • design for short attention span, limit digging, exploit existing device info and data, use the notion of time wisely (e.g. what's happened since last interaction), pick up where left off.