Monday, October 25, 2010

My top 12 agile podcast episodes

When I mentioned at SDEC10 that much of what I know about agile I learned from podcasts, several people expressed interest in my favourites.  Here are my top 12 (now 13) podcast episodes in random order:

1. Hanselminutes 119. What is Done? A conversation with Scrum co-creator Ken Schwaber. An excellent conversation that answered some of my initial questions about Agile like - how do logging, security and other infrastructure tasks fit in the back log, and of course - what is done?

2. AgileToolkit - Allistair Cockburn interview at Agile2006. Allistair talks about his evolution as a Methodologist from a hardware guy, the Crystal family of agile methodologies, his writing and much more.   Crystal recognizes that one agile methodology cannot be used in all companies and tries to identify the core principles and practices that are important for all agile projects.

3. Hanselminutes 145. An overview of the SOLID principles with Robert C. Martin ("Uncle Bob").  Excellent overview with examples.

4. LeanAgileTalk 20070118. Part 1 of a great conversation with Alan Shalloway on how to apply lean principles to agile development.  A good start on how to implement practices - the 'how'.  Some excellent sound bites in here.

5. AgileToolkit - Uncle Bob interview at Agile2005. A brief discussion with Bob Martin on the essential principles of Agile

6. Hanselminutes 23. A short introduction to scrum.

7. Hanselminutes 31.  A good introduction on Test Driven Development and the benefits.  Includes discussion of the pros/cons.

8. AgileToolkit - APLN Panel discussion. Long (2 hours), but good.  Here are some of the highlights:
- Worst agile transition failures? - What is required for transition? Leadership, don't do partial agile, must integrate testers on the team, need to form teams that work effectively together - Self organizing teams - is this possible? The original XP team was full of architects, but our teams may not be - how can we do this? The original backlash against architecture was that architects were responsible to standards, not to the business problem. Also - it is important to move our experts out of the corner office and off the pedestal and on to the teams as active members producing code. - Level of up front architecture required? Depends on problem/project. With a new domain, or a junior team, more architecture guidance is required. With a known domain and an experienced team, less architecture guidance is required. - Is requirements a dirty word? No - signoff is the dirty word. Requirements are good - but waiting months before implementing is not, not accepting change is not. Don't penalize people from finding errors, omissions, changes at any step. - How to do fixed price projects? One suggestion - share the risk (i.e. cost) for the first 6-8 weeks (2 or 3 iterations) to measure your velocity and gain trust. Then if client is happy, you have enough info to fix the price, and you get your "risk" back. - Why is fixed bad? You give them what they asked for, rather than what they need.  Never used + rarely used features = 64% of the code (Standish report)

9. AgileToolkit - Uncle Bob explains the agile manifesto. Robert "Uncle Bob" Martin answers the
question of "What is Agile?" He goes back to the start, to the Snowbird meeting, the formation of the Agile Alliance and the drafting of the Agile Manifesto. He also looks at the core principles and key practices of Agile software development.

10. Agile Toolkit - Poppendiecks at Agile 2006. Tom and Mary discuss several topics including:
- optimize the whole, not the pieces - don't neglect one of the pillars of lean: respect people - queueing theory.  Examples a defect list is a queue that should not exist.  We should be mistake free after each step.  Don't build on top of bad software.  Also, this helps eliminate interim artifacts like 'test strategy document'. - testing phase - this is testing too late - relating lean to cooking by a master chef
- describing how clothing store Zara implemented lean (very interesting)

11. IT Conversations - Ken Schwaber. Ken talks through many of reasons why agile SW development is such a necessary change in the industry.

12. Hanselminutes 169 - TDD with Roy Osherove. Roy Osherove educates Scott on best practices in Unit Testing techniques and the Art of Unit Testing.

13. DotNetRocks show 750 - While at Prairie Dev Con in Calgary, Carl and Richard chatted with Steve Rogalsky about User Story Mapping. Steve explains how User Story Mapping helps to visual your backlog beyond a serial list of features to allow you to improve your project decisions, priorities, plans, and delivery. (Sorry - had to add this one ;)

Hope you enjoy them. Let me know if you have other favourites - I'd love to listen to them.


  1. Steve, thank you for putting this together.

    I've created list of great, reliable agile podcasts
    It's not about specific episodes, but whole series.
    Maybe, you could find some of episodes interesting and discover some new podcasts from this list.

    1. Looks like a good list - some new ones on there that I wasn't aware of. Thanks.