Using Story Points in Agile

There are two possible ways to use story points in Agile. One is toxic, demoralizing, and will probably drive your developers to look for employment elsewhere, while the other is mildly helpful, which is about all you can hope for from story points in Agile.

Can you tell which is which?

Approach 1

“This [story / issue / ticket / whatever] was estimated as only 2 points (about one day’s worth of work) but it took a whole week to complete!

“Why did it take so long?!”

Approach 2

“We estimated this [story / issue / ticket / whatever] as being 2 points (about one day’s worth of work) but it ended up taking an entire week.

“What did we miss in estimating that could have told us that this task was more than 2 points worth of work? How can we improve our process?”

Responding to “Beware of ‘service objects’ in Rails”

I recently stumbled across Jason Swett’s “Beware of ‘service objects’ in Rails” blog post. While I appreciate the perspective, I think it gets a number of things wrong. I replied to this post in a comment, but wanted to post my thoughts here as well in the hopes of encouraging more dialog about this important topic.

If so inclined, please feel free to comment below with your take on this subject.

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Understanding unless in Ruby

I don’t know about you, but Ruby’s unless has always been kind of hard for me to grok, but I’m realizing that’s because I’ve never seen a great use of it, esp. one that made me go, “Oh wow – yeah I’d definitely use unless there vs. an if statement or something else.”

However, the deeper I’ve gotten into Ruby the more I’ve noticed one place where unless really shines – guard statements. Consider the following:

def update_book_title(book, title)
  return unless book.present?
 
  book.update(title: title)
end

Now there’s a place I would definitely use unless over other control flow constructs. It’s succinct, easy to understand, and honestly a pleasure to both write and read.

Nice job Ruby! 🔴💎

SSH Is Wonderful!

Can we just take a moment to talk about how awesome SSH is! I’m out in my garage where the wifi reception is horrible and coding on my dev server via SSH. Even at ~120kbps down and ~50kbps up, I’m still able to use vim and screen productively. This is incredible to me!

Having grown up with 28kbps dial-up internet at home, it’s just amazing to me when I see technology in 2020 that still works flawlessly under dial-up-like connection speeds.

Optimism And Software Development

Business and salespeople are optimists. Well, perhaps that’s painting with too broad a brush. Maybe it’s safer to say that, at the very least, their jobs require some degree of optimism regarding the raw probability of things like a sale closing or a business venture succeeding.

On the other hand, programming is an inherently realist (if not slightly pessimistic) endeavor. Well, maybe that’s painting with too broad a brush again and it’s safer to say that it should be a realist if not slightly pessimistic endeavor. (If you’re skeptical, just spend some time working on a behind-schedule software project and you’ll very quickly get in touch with your realist/pessimistic side.)

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