Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Planning Poker and Buckets of Hockey Pucks

The teams I've been working with over the past while have been using planning poker for project estimating. Despite initial and fleeting skepticism by a few when we bring out the cards, as a whole our teams and our sponsors are finding value in this approach. I was reminded today that we should look at poker points as buckets of sand. That is, when deciding between a 5 and an 8, if something is a 6, you can probably still put it into a size 5 bucket if you think of the points as sand that can be heaped at the top of the bucket. Also, a 7 would overflow a size 5 bucket but would fit easily into a size 8.

In light of Canada's 7-3 victory over Russia in Olympic quarter finals, I've decided to change the metaphor to buckets of hockey pucks instead of sand. Go Canada!

P.S. I'll be presenting on Planning Poker in Regina in June at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

FitNesse gets the gold!

I've been using FitNesse for just over 3 weeks and I am pleased with the value it is adding to our project even though I'm only using the basic features at this time. As a former developer I'm finding it fun to use because I have to write a little bit of code in order to create an interface between FitNesse and each service that I'm testing. Most of our testing on the project was going well and we were avoiding major errors - until last Thursday...

A change in the code from a newly completed work item resulted in 81 of our 191 tests failing. Imagine how long it would take to re-run all 191 tests manually to find out that 81 had failed. Imagine how long it would take to re-test all 191 tests manually to make sure they were fixed. As you can see from the image below, it took us 39 minutes to find, fix and re-test all 191 tests. Thanks FitNesse.

** Update 6/28:  This project had the highest quality metric that I've ever been a part of in terms of defects / month / developer.  FitNesse was a big part of that success.