Thursday, 19 March 2009

Why people think it's OK to cheat / steal

Dan Ariely has given a brilliant talk about this and how it impacts the global economic crisis. Watch this on Ted - it'll be 16 minutes well spent. Good insights into human psychology and behaviour.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Tools to support agile methods

The whole point of managing a project using an agile method is to use lots of coloured cards and post-it notes, but sometimes you have to fall back on a boring old software tool. The thorny question keeps arising: which one do I recommend?

Many different project management tools exist, at different price-points and levels of functionality. A long list is shown below. It is important to be clear about a project's requirements for a tool before selecting. Avoid the temptation to extend any tool you select or to spend much effort integrating it with the rest of your project environment – this is a sure way to lock yourself into a single supplier.

The following list of tools is not exhaustive, though I have kept adding to it as I came across new tools:

  • ]project-open[

  • Achievo

  • ActiveCollab

  • Agilebuddy - reported by a comment on this post to be a full-featured agile project management software tool, which is easy to use and great for Scrum teams. Offered on a subscription model for US$9.95 per user per month

  • Agilefant

  • Agilo – based on the Trac issue-management tool and said to support only a single project at a time

  • airTODO – PMBOK rather than agile, but minimalist (an Eclipse plug-in)

  • AxoSoft's OnTime - available as a hosted cloud solution, a Windows native application or as a web application, one comment under this post has reported that it "great for agile / scrum development". Comparable in scope to Trac, but looks a lot more snazzy

  • Banana Scrum - according to one comment below, this is a nice, web based tool that helps without getting in team's way

  • Extreme Planner

  • Greenhopper – a JIRA plugin favoured by some Scrum teams

  • IceScrum

  • Mingle - provides a shared workspace for agile teams, supporting XP, Scrum and custom hybrid approaches. Includes a virtual card wall, wiki, charts, reports and more. Integrated with issue tracking and continuous build. Priced US$995 per user with substantial discounts for multiple licences, academic institutions etc.

  • Pivotal Tracker

  • ProjectCards – mixed approach that uses both physical cards and software

  • ProjectKoach

  • Rally

  • Rational Team Concert - integrates work item, continuous integration builds and software configuration management (SCM) on the collaborative infrastructure of the Jazz Team Server

  • redMine

  • Scrum Edge - someone commented below that it was much simpler to use than most other Scrum tools

  • Scrumworks - quite popular free open source package, heavily forms-based, can integrate with JIRA

  • Silver Catalyst

  • StuffPlanner – Zühlke's inhouse-developed browser-based tool now at version 0.1 and with an Eclipse Mylyn connector available; access can be provided by arrangement

  • TargetProcess - designed to support Scrum, XP and custom Agile processes particularly in the .NET environment. Includes a comprehensive set of tools and features, including defect-tracking, test management and customer helpdesk portal. Community edition free for up to 5 users

  • teamwork

  • tinyPM

  • VersionOne - very full-featured, supports Scrum, DSDM, XP and AUP across multiple projects. Priced from US$348 per user per year, there is a free "team edition" for one team of up to 10

  • XP Story Studio – no development since 2004

  • XPlanner
  • - a popular free open source planning and tracking tool for XP. Quite simple in keeping with the low-ceremony agile approach
  • xProcess - free open source project management and process improvement tool, focused particularly on agile and priority-driven approaches. Preconfigured processes include Scrum, FDD, Prince2, Unified and others; can be tailored. Gantt/Burndowns/target status continuously updated. See also xProcess Europe

  • XPWeb

A number of web sites compare small subsets of the available software tools, including

Latest unwarranted privacy violation

The Daily Telegraph reports that the travel plans and personal details of everyone leaving Britain are to be tracked by the Government. Under the "e-borders" scheme, they intend to make it a criminal offence not to submit, in advance of every trip, personal information such as passport and credit card details, home and email addresses and exact travel plans. This is already starting to happen.

The kind of thing that e-borders enables is illustrated by this story, which shows that you could be stopped from leaving the country if you have unpaid parking fines or indeed any other mark against your name. What are the chances that before the year is out, we'll be reading stories about innocent people trying to travel abroad who get arrested at the airport or sea port thanks to some mix-up?

With developments like these, it's hard to believe that we are not living in a police state.


This looks really intriguing: CodeCity gives a really nice way to visualise properties of Java code bases. An example is shown below (an analysis of Azureus v2.5.00):

It's a free download, so give it a try on your own code!