Monday, December 28, 2009

New Site for Kanban Beginners

If you're looking for an introduction to Kanban, then you must check out Kanban101. This site provides an excellent introduction to Kanban terminology and concepts. It also compares Kanban and Scrum from a high-level perspective. The site does not provide a lot of detail, but if you are new to Kanban or just want a refresher on the basics, then it's for you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Staff Book Club Update

The team has completed The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork: Embrace Them and Empower Your Team and it was tremendously beneficial. Over the course of several weeks team morale, cooperation, and productivity has dramatically improved. The book was good overall, but I believe the most important part was the team involvement. We met twice a week with each team member facilitating at least 2 chapters over the course of the book. We had great discussions and wouldn't meet without the entire team present. If you lead a team, I strongly encourage you to start a book club and participate in it with your team.

Another one of the benefits, was the creation of a Team Mission Statement. This came up during the discussion of one of the chapters. We decided to create and publish one of our own. We solicited feedback from the team, received buy-in from our executive sponsor and came to consensus. The result's are now proudly displayed on the wall in each team members cubicle.

Finally, the team was so encouraged with the results from our first book, that we've decided to continue. We will be reading Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit starting in December. This is a relatively short read, 8 chapters, that we will finish after the first of the year due to holidays and vacations.

Team Mission Statement
"Leverage team insights, strengths, and competencies to deliver on-time, high-quality, cost effective solutions that provide increased and sustainable value to our business partners while supporting [Company]'s purpose, values, and vision."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BA Training In Mason

Ellen Gottesdiener is an industry leader on Agile Requirements and will be teaching a class at MaxTrain in Mason.

MAX will give IIBA Members and their colleagues a 10% discount off of the cost of the class ($1,295) AND also donate 10% of the registration paid to the IIBA Cincinnati Chapter! When registering, IIBA Members should use Promo Code IIBACVG20

Agile Requirements: Collaborating to Define and Confirm Needs

When: December 2-3, 2009

Where: MAX Technical Training, 4900 Parkway Dr, Suite 160, Mason, OH 45040


Instructor: Ellen Gottesdiener

Overview: In agile projects, requirements are the basis for delivering business value for customers. Requirements analysis is integral to delivering the right product at the right time, and on time. This intensive course builds skills in creating small, well-defined requirements to deliver value one iteration at a time. Through practice exercises, you’ll learn how to define and prune your product backlog items, collaborate to develop requirements, adapt your requirements practices, and clarify your business needs. You’ll gain an appreciation of both the content and the timing of requirements analysis in agile projects, and you’ll learn why it’s crucial to collaborate with the entire project community. You’ll leverage EBG’s Agile Business Analysis Roadmap to learn when, where, and how to draw on other analysis models to build your agile project. Emphasis is placed on calibrating the content, format, and timing of your requirements analysis so that you can prepare for and participate in iteration planning and daily requirements analysis as requirements are transformed into code and tests.

This course is endorsed by the IIBA™

Attendees will receive 14 CDU’s upon completion of the course.

Questions on this course? Please contact MAX Technical Training 513.322.8888

Cincinnati IIBA

Monday, October 12, 2009

Model Oriented Architecture

The International Association of Software Architects has made available the presentations from their Model Oriented Architecture E-Summit. They are available here

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SQL Server Question of the Day

One of the tenants I live by is continuous learning. With my technical expertise based in SQL Server, I read the Question of the Day on SQL Server Central to test my knowledge and hopefully learn a new nugget that I can apply to my daily job. I have decided to post a few questions myself in order to share some of my experiences with the larger SQL Server crowd. Look for my next question that will be posted on Monday, October 12th, 2009. Hopefully you will participate and get the correct answer. Good luck and keep learning!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Scrum Master Role with Product Backlog

I've had a couple of intense discussions the last couple of days regarding the Scrum Master's role in managing the Product Backlog. During a Sprint Planning session, it was discovered that the backlog did not contain enough work for the development team for a 2 week sprint. During the planning session with the development team, a discussion started on what role the Scrum Master should take in ensuring that the Product Backlog was always detailed enough to provide enough work to fill a sprint. My stance was that the backlog is owned by the Product Owner and the Scrum Master should not have to spend time reviewing the backlog prior to the Sprint Planning in order to ensure it was ready or could become ready during the session. The planning session is time for the team to discuss the backlog and ask questions in order to gain enough details to provide an estimate and potentially accept the work for a Sprint. If the backlog is not ready and/or the Product Owner doesn't have the information the team needs during the planning session, then the team should not proceed. Some view this as the responsibility of the Scrum Master to remove the "impediment" of an inadequate backlog prior to holding the planning session. I disagree and would appreciate your thoughts on the subject.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Staff Book Club

I have started a book club for myself and my staff. We are meeting through lunch twice a week and reviewing a chapter each day. We rotate the facilitation of the meeting and chapter review among the members. We chose The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork: Embrace Them and Empower Your Team in order to improve our teamwork as we have started utilizing Scrum for our projects. We just started this week, so I'll keep you posted as to the outcome.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 CIO Series Presented by Cincinnati IIBA

The Cincinnati Chapter of the IIBA has just announced the dates for their CIO series. This promises to be a great method to hear some local CIO's speak about the value of Business Analysis.

CIO Series: Jeff Wolverton, CIO (GAFRI)
Start: Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 6:30 PM EST
Ends: Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 8:00 PM EST
Where: UC College of Business - Carl H. Lindner Hall (Room 109)
2925 Campus Green Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221
Register for this event now at:

CIO Series: George Menyhert, CIO (Lerner, Sampson & Rothfuss)
Start: Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 6:30 PM EST
Ends: Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 8:00 PM EST
Where: UC College of Business - Carl H. Lindner Hall (Room 109)
2925 Campus Green Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221
Register for this event now at:

CIO Series: Diane Orndorff & Chris Boult (FirstGroup America)
Start: Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 6:30 PM EST
Ends: Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 8:00 PM EST
Where: UC College of Business - Carl H. Lindner Hall (Room 109)
2925 Campus Green Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221
Register for this event now at:

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cincinnati SPIN July Meeting

The July presentation will be on Wednesday July 8th from 4pm to 6pm at:
Northmark I
10101 Alliance Road
Blue Ash, Ohio 45242

The presentation topic is Enterprise Agility.

Scrum and XP have found a strong following in the development community. But most non-development groups inside the enterprise are far from agile, nor are they trying to move to be more agile. This session starts with a refresher on Scrum, and then uses real experiences to show how to cope and effectively work with those teams.

For more information visit the Cincinnati SPIN website.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Certified ScrumMaster Training

Agile University will be hosting a Certified ScrumMaster course in Dublin, OH on July 7th and 8th. If you're interested in Scrum or becoming certified, check out the course information and registration page.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cincinnati SPIN Meeting

The presentation topic is 3 Tips to Improve Your Development Process.

It does not matter if you are doing Agile or if you are working in an environment like RUP or CMMI, there are several things you can do to improve your development process. This highly interactive session will show you three specific tips: improve your estimation, use a daily standup to keep a close focus on your progress, and work in retrospectives to empower your team's ability to drastically improve your entire software development process, regardless of what that process is, even if it's no process! You will leave this session with a handle on ways to smooth out your project's environment.

For directions or more information, check the Cincinnati SPIN website.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ORM Firestarter

Saturday, June 13th

Location: Microsoft Office, Mason, OH


What is an ORM (you ask)? Then this event is perfect for you!

What is a Firestarter event (you ask)? The Firestarters are meant to serve as an entry point into a technology (or technologies). So, for this event, we assume you know nothing about ORMs. Should you come if you have been using NHibernate or Entity Framework? ABSOLUTELY!

More information can be found at the Cincinnati .NET User Group site.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cincinnati IIBA May 2009 Event

May 2009 Chapter Event
Facilitated Group Workshop: Role of the BA at your Company
Tuesday, May 19th

Please join as we discuss the BA role at different companies. We will be discussing where the BA reports in the organization - IT or the business? What tools and training are provided to BAs? Do companies support a BA Competency Center?
For the format of this meeting will be a facilitated group discussion.

Date and Time:
Tuesday May 19th, 2009
6:15 – 6:30 pm Networking
6:30 – 7:30 pm Group Discussion

Great American Insurance Group, 580 Building
580 Walnut Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
14th Floor Town Hall Conference Room

Directions & Parking:
Convenient parking can be found at the 580 Building Garage, off Main St or Walnut St. or the Fountain Square Garage, off Walnut St or Vine St.
The 580 building is located across from the Arnoff Center on 6th Street; across from Fountain Square on Walnut St. The conference room is on the 14th Floor in the Town Hall Conference Room, located across from the elevators.

Cincinnati IIBA

Monday, May 11, 2009

Architecture and Governance

The latest edition of Architecture and Governance Magazine is available. Visit the website to sign up for a free subscription. This magazine generally has excellent articles on IT Architecture and governance related to that architecture.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Edison PC Power Management Software

Verdiem’s Edison is a free energy-monitoring application for eco-conscious consumers. You can use it to more actively control your PC’s energy consumption — and subsequently your household’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Verdiem :: Edison

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

International Association of Software Architects

The International Association of Software Architects (IASA) is the premier association focused on the architecture profession through the advancement of best practices and education while delivering programs and services to IT architects of all levels around the world. Receive a 25% discount by using the discount code: memberfriend1456 during registration. Become a full member for only $90.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Eight Development Principles

This blog by Rob Warner was worth sharing, so I wanted to pass it along. We've practiced most of these for years and it's always nice to refresh your memory. The Elite Eight Development Principles

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Architecture Journal

The latest edition of the Architecture Journal is now available. If you work on the Microsoft platform, this is a must read even though it covers other technologies as well. It's published quarterly, you can read it online, and you can sign up to receive a digital subscription.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cincinnati IIBA April Event

Facilitated Workshops
Tuesday, April 21st

Please join as we discuss Facilitating Requirement Workshops. We will be discussing tips and tricks and the various techniques used for group facilitation. Which facilitation techniques have worked well or not so well in your organization? Are there any tools or templates that you have used that worked well for gathering requirements through workshops? What makes a great facilitator?

For the format of this meeting we will be inviting a panel of experienced Business Analysts to weigh in and guide the group discussion.

Date and Time:
Tuesday April 21st, 2009
6:00 – 6:30 pm Networking, 6:30 – 7:30 pm Group Discussion

Great American Insurance Group, 580 Building
580 Walnut Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
14th Floor Town Hall Conference Room

Directions & Parking:
Convenient parking can be found at the 580 Building Garage, off Main St or Walnut St. or the Fountain Square Garage, off Walnut St or Vine St.

The 580 building is located across from the Arnoff Center on 6th Street; across from Fountain Square on Walnut St. The conference room is on the 14th Floor in the Town Hall Conference Room, located across from the elevators.

Cincinnati IIBA

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

CIO Playbook for Scrum

I ran across this article on the Rally Software site and thought it was worth sharing. It presents a playbook on implementing Scrum within an enterprise. If you're starting your Scrum journey, you should read this.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Stir Trek

Did you miss the Mix 09 Conference? Do you like Star Trek? Here's a chance to get a taste of both. The Stir Trek ( conference is being held on Columbus, OH on May 8th. Here's a quick description:

Stir Trek is an opportunity to learn about the key announcements from the Mix 09 conference, at a location that is a little closer to home, and in the comfort of a movie theater. There will be 10 sessions, in two tracks, so you’ll be able to pick the content that interests you the most. In addition, the day will include lunch, a raffle with some significant prizes, and a private screening of the new Star Trek movie, which opens in theaters the day of this event.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Microsoft ArcReady

Registration for the next ArcReady event is available. See the description and links below to sign up.


Architecting for the Client Tier
The client (or presentation) tier of our applications is taking on an increasingly important role. Users are expecting more compelling user interfaces, but they also want more functionality from their applications. In this ArcReady we examine how to design and deliver well architected client applications that will be easy to maintain and extend.

Session 1: Trends and Patterns on the Client Tier
In our first session we will take a vendor and platform neutral look at some of the trends and emerging technologies that can be used on the client tier. We will look at techniques like Mashups, technologies like Natural User Interfaces (NUI) and the increasing importance of the mobile platform. We will also look at some common patterns that can be used in the architecture of the client tier.

Session 2: Applying Microsoft Technology on the Client Tier
In our second session we will take some look at how we can use Microsoft technologies to create well architected and compelling client applications. We will look at technologies like Silverlight and WPF that can be used to create compelling clients. We will also look at technologies that can be used to make your applications more extensible for future development. We will also examine some architectural guidance developed by the Microsoft Patterns and Practices group.

· A forum for aspiring and practicing architects to discuss industry trends
· An overview of Microsoft’s roadmap as it relates to software architecture
· A mechanism to solicit your feedback
· An opportunity to showcase the work you do!

Architects and Senior Developers who are interested in becoming an architect.

Events are held in 16 cities across Central Region. To register for this event, please visit


Cleveland, OH
9:00am – 11:45am

Columbus, OH
9:00am – 11:45am

Mason, OH
9:00am – 11:45am

Southfield, MI
9:00am – 11:45am

Nashville, TN
9:00am – 11:45am

Knoxville, TN
9:00am – 11:45am

Cincinnati SPIN

The Cincinnati Software Process Improvement Network ( is having there next monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 8th from 4-6pm. The presentation is An Agile Journey by Scott Schnier. If you would like to attend or speak, please visit the website for more information. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lean Software Development

I recently posted a synopsis of Chapter 1 of Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit . I’ve kept up with my reading, but have failed to provide a synopsis of Chapters 2 and 3. In this post, I’m going to cover both in order to get caught up.

Chapter 2

This chapter is titled “Amplify Learning” and focuses on learning and experimentation as a key success factor of Agile Development. It starts with some great insight as to how software development differs from manufacturing. There have been numerous attempts at applying lean production practices to software development, most of them unsuccessful. There is a significant difference between the two. Development is more closely related to the creation of a recipe, where learning and experimentation are encouraged and rewarded. Production is simply following that recipe in the most efficient manner possible. The authors provide an excellent comparison between the two.



Designs the recipe

Produces the dish

  • Quality is fitness for use
  • Quality is conformance to requirements
  • Variable results are good
  • Variable results are bad
  • Iteration generates value
  • Iteration generates waste (called rework)

Chapter 3

This chapter is titled “Decide as Late as Possible” and focuses on delaying design decision as long as possible. The focus in Lean development emphasizes producing a design that is supportive of the changes that are inevitable. This is accomplished through iterations, with each part of the system being designed just enough to support the requirements for that iteration. This forces the design to be modular and adaptive to change as it will be modified in the next iteration. Once the system is released to production, the support lifecycle will be greatly enhanced as well.

One of the key concepts is delaying decisions until the last responsible moment (defined by the Lean Construction Institute), which is the moment at which failing to make a decision eliminates an important alternative. Delaying decisions is difficult for most people, it's hard work. This is a key concept in the Agile world. However, delaying decisions past the last responsible moment will lead to decisions made by default which is more damaging than making the wrong decision early.

I will try to provide a more complete synopsis of the next few chapters, but wanted to get caught up with these. Stay agile!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Planning Poker® Design Contest

Scrum trainer and agile industry leader Mike Cohn has just announced a contest to design the Playing Cards for "Planning Poker®".

Submissions must be received by May 15, 2009. They will select the winning idea and give the winner a $500 gift card from Visa and twenty-four decks of Planning Poker® cards with the new design.

Read more and enter here:

Scrum Training

Are you looking to implement Scrum in your organization or just wanting to learn more about the process. MaxTrain is offering Certified Scrum Master training in April at their Mason location. For information or to register, click here

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Free Silverlight Training

Cincinnati Silverlight Firestarter (Saturday, March 28th)

Have you heard of Silverlight, but just haven't had time to look into it? Are you ready to explore the next generation web technology from Microsoft? If you've answered yes to either of these then the Silverlight Firestarter event is for you! On Saturday, March 28th the Cincinnati .NET User Group, in co-operation with Microsoft, will be hosting a day long event designed to introduce you to Silverlight technologies.

The event will be broken down into introductory sessions that cover the basics for getting started with Silverlight development:

  • Keynote: Introduction to Silverlight by Jeff Blankenburg
  • XAML Basics by Joe Wirtley
  • The Tools by Josh Holmes
  • Controls & Data Binding by Matt Casto
  • Server Communication by Sam Nasr

Come out and join us to learn about Silverlight. The event will take place at the Microsoft office in Mason, OH. Lunch will be provided.

Register online :

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lean Software Development

I have made a personal commitment to read more this year and thought I would share some thoughts on what I am reading. I recently started Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit with some colleagues of mine. This is my synopsis of Chapter 1.

This chapter focuses on the core Lean principle of Eliminate Waste. Anything that doesn’t provide value to the customer is waste. That was a real eye-opener to me as a lot of IT and application development processes don’t add direct value to the customer. The list below is a representation of The Seven Wastes of Application Development (derived from the 7 wastes of manufacturing) as outlined by the authors.

  1. Partially Done Work

  2. Extra Processes

  3. Extra Features

  4. Task Switching

  5. Waiting

  6. Motion

  7. Defects

While all of these are important areas to focus on, I will discuss just a couple. Partially done software has a tendency to become obsolete and there is no assurance it will even work. Until the development can be integrated into the rest of the environment, you can’t be sure it will work as designed. We should strive to reduce partially done development in order to reduce risk and wasted effort. We only check in our code when it has been compiled, tested, and is functionally complete. This is currently our definition of “done”. We will further expand this definition when we incorporate our automated build process.

The desire to add extra features has more than likely plagued every developer. As we implement our Agile/Scrum process, we are conscience of this “wasted” effort. We are developing only the minimum amount of code to meet the requested requirement. Even if we know for sure the feature will be needed in a future story point, we have decided to refactor at that point just in case the business decides not to move the story from the product backlog to one of our sprints.

We have just completed our third sprint. So far, the development team, the business, and our analysts have nothing but positive feedback for the new methodology. I believe the business will receive more value even quicker leading to the corporate wide adoption of Agile/Scrum. I am very excited about the possibilities. If you have experience in this area, please share with me so we can learn from each other. I will continue this series as I read more chapters.  

Thursday, February 19, 2009

ArcReady Event

Cloud computing is all the rage in the IT marketplace. Microsoft is hosting its quarterly ArcReady event with a focus on this topic. I attend these events regularly and recommend them to any architect or aspiring architect working on the Microsoft platform To register for an event in the Central Region check out the website at These events are free and it's a great opportunity to network with other professionals in your area. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Architecture and Patterns

I just read an excellent article discussing Software Architecture and Service Oriented Architecture and wanted to pass it along ( It provides a good comparison, and dependencies, of these two architectures. I really enjoyed the analogy of how the city of Chicago has been successful because of the architecture within its buildings and its infrastructure. That really rings true for IT systems as well. I would dare say no application can sustain long term success without both a solid application and infrastructure architecture. I have dealt with a lot of companies that don't see the value in any architecture and eventually they pay the cost of getting it done quick. As experienced IT professionals, we are obligated to provide our due diligence in selling the value of architecture in every way possible.

Secondly, a lot of you are probably already aware, but Microsoft has published an index for it's Patterns and Practices Application Architecture Guides. If you work in the Microsoft domain, these are must reads for basic design principles. They can be found at

If you run across other articles, magazines, or books on IT architecture please share them. Happy reading and that's all for now.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Probably every developer has written a “Hello World” program when learning a new tool. So, since I am new at blogging, this is my version.

About Me

I have been in the IT business for over 20 years. I got the bug when my parents purchased a Texas Instruments TI 99/4A computer when I was 14 or 15 years old. I wrote several BASIC programs, but got frustrated when I couldn't save them. At the time, the only storage mechanism was an external tape drive and it cost more than the computer. When I was a senior in High School, they offered a BASIC programming class on the old Radio Shack TRS-80. I loved it!! I was totally hooked and knew what my career was going to be from then on.

After graduation I attended Cincinnati Technical College (now Cincinnati State Technical and Community College) and co-oped at Cincinnati Gas and Electric (now Duke Energy). I was hired as a full-time computer operator after completing my degree. I worked in operations for 3 years before getting the opportunity to move into development and network support. During this time I also finished by Bachelor's degree at the University of Cincinnati, go 'Cats! I programmed in dBASE III and Clipper Summer of '87, creating several line of business applications for the marketing department. I also designed, deployed, and supported 50 desktops and 3 Novell Netware networks. I became the first Certified Netware Engineer at CG&E. After spending a total of 10 years there, I got the opportunity to grow professionally as a consultant. I spent several years developing PowerBuilder applications and working with Microsoft SQL Server databases. I then moved to Microsoft Consulting Services and spent 7 years working for a wonderful company. I had several positions starting as a SQL Server Consultant, then a Resource Manager and finally an Engagement Manager. The excessive travel became too much for my family, and I moved to my current position as an Application Development Manager. I currently manage a team of developers focusing on C# and SQL Server 2005 applications while utilizing Scrum to manage them.

What Can You Expect From This Blog

I have an interest in .NET, SQL Server, Agile Development, Scrum, Linux, and technology in general. I will attempt to blog on a weekly basis on at least one of these topics and may expand as my interests grow.

Thanks, and hopefully you will find this blog interesting and useful.