Thursday, September 26, 2013

Iterations

It's been a while, right?  Obviously I'm not in any danger of becoming some overly-active blogger any time soon. :)

Well, a lot has been going on in my family's life, with a wonderful new addition to the family back in February 2011, and then some rather startling events that kicked off 2013 in a way that I wouldn't wish on anyone; I'll spare the details, but my wife best summed it up (if you'll forgive the language) with "2013 can go fuck itself already".

So in between my last post and now, I've done absolutely zero Android development..King of Suck, I know. But I did get to work on redesigning ADT's site from the ground up with a handful of top-notch developers from Improving Enterprises, I've also learnt a ton of new things, and it was there that I met the highly talented front-end developer Mike Munsie.

As the team follows agile practices, management's initial tool of choice was Version One.  I'm an avid supporter of a blank wall with masking tape-defined swim-lanes, and that's indeed what we've used for the most part, but for tracking purposes management wanted something like Version One. And when that trial license expired, management looked around for a cheaper alternative, eventually landing on Rally.

Now both Version One and Rally, while functional, kinda feel like an anchor when it comes to being an agile developer.  No longer can I just walk up to the board and move my Post-it note task from in-progress to complete, or cross out the hours remaining and write the new hours remaining.  It's just a pain in the ass, and to top it off, both options mean the key details of our agile process is hosted on a third party server. If that third party was to ever go under, bye-bye stories, bye-bye tasks.

So Mike and I got talking while walking to lunch one day.  Why not build our own tool...one that is functional, intuitive, developer-friendly, does everything you need without the need to dig down into various menu options, and above all, is hosted on our own damn server with zero licensing fees. Sounds good, right?

And that's when project Iterations started.

Currently the source code is private while we flesh it out, but the intent is to have a fully functioning war file that you can drop into your own container of choice, point it to your own database of choice, run the scripts to generate the tables, and go on from there. And best of all, it'll be open sourced under the Apache license. Our first goal is to reach a point where we can begin eating our own dog food, and host the Iterations project on one of our own servers so that we can begin placing stories and tasks related to this project. And to help us out once we get there, we've been promised a helping hand from the excellent scrum master Andy Seibel, who will provide valuable feedback on the tool itself, and from Kris Giamello, a highly talented designer who has kindly offered to give give us design feedback.

To say we're stoked to be working on this is an understatement. :)

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