About jwgrenning

Hi I've been developing and managing software for decades now. Starting in embedded, but doing more than embedded. Many of the mainstream software development techniques have crossover value to embedded. My mission is to spread some of those techniques to the embedded community. My company is Wingman Software. Please visit my site.

Deep Agile Panel Questions – Documentation

This is the third in my Deep Agile Embedded Panel Questions series. The question is:

We had a team doing agile. To them that included not doing any documentation. We need documentation once we go into maintenance. Is doing documentation allowed in Agile?

The short answer is yes. Agile does allow documentation. Do you think agile is a totalitarian dictator? 🙂
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Deep Agile Panel Questions – Change

Prior to the Deep Agile conference, I received a number of questions about getting people to change, to try new things. Change is hard. People need to be motivated to change. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” they say. But there is always some things that are broken.

First there needs to be awareness/acceptance that there are problems to solve. Do a retrospective of the last release. Find the problems that people are passionate about. Try not have blame session. Build a logic chain from the problem to some solution you think will help. Get people to sign up to try the new approach for a month or two, not the rest of their lives. Iterations give a great opportunity for this kind of experimentation.

You have to try things, rather than just talk about them. I am not sure where this quote is from, but it is profound:

“It’s easier to act your way into thinking differently than to think your way into acting differently”

Read on for some specific questions, and my answers.
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Deep Agile Embedded Panel Questions – Hardware

Last weekend was the Deep Agile Embedded Conference that I participated in. In this article I’ll answer some of the panel questions related to concurrent hardware development. There seems to be a theme here, because the hardware is involved, an embedded development team really can’t be agile. That’s not my point of view, or my experience. I am not a hardware engineer, but I have worked near them. Let’s see some of the questions and answers.
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Don’t Let Embedded Tool Chain Slow You Down.

During my TDD session at the Embedded Systems Conference yesterday, I did a demo. Before the demo, I make the case for TDD as a way to prevent bugs (see Physics of TDD). For the live demo I usually code on my mac and run the tests there as well. The question always comes up: “You are running tests on your PC, can you run them on the target?” or maybe “Sure you can TDD on a PC, but what about the real hardware?”
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Deep Agile Embedded Brain Storm

Let’s say you were an embedded systems developer, and you were planning on attending a conference like the Deep Agile Embedded.

What questions would you hope you could get answers for at the conference?

What if you already knew it all but were sending your boss, co-worker, or CEO who needed to learn more, what would you want them to hear about?

Would you want to do some hands on Test Driven Development?

Here are some of the questions we have so far:
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No time for proactive tests

Every now and then I get a new automatic update. I usually just press install. Today I browsed the release notes for the Adium IM client update (below). There are six new features, denoted with a “*”. The rest (about 30 of them) are fixes, meaning something was broken. These guys must be too busy to proactively test Adium. Test Driven Development probably would not work for them 🙂
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Planning Poker Party (The Companion Games)

High-Low Story Showdown, Deal and Slide, Developer Guts, and Customer Guts

It’s sprint zero and you have a stack of stories needing their first estimate? You need an initial release plan. What should you do? It’s kind of hard to start on day one with Planning Poker. There is a missing baseline to estimate against.
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TDD Stepping Stones

Imagine you are trying to cross a mountain stream. You could make a running leap and get to the other side. Sometimes that works, other times you get wet. When there are rocks sticking out of the rushing water, you can step from rock to rock and get across the stream without getting wet. Sure there are some streams you can jump across, go ahead and jump. Other streams require a more careful approach.
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Learning Tests are Free!

My son is studying computer science at U of I in Chicago. He is taking an operating systems class and has to do some projects in C. (Some things change, some things stay the same.) He had an internship over the last 8-9 months and was doing TDD in Java. So he might be in the early stages of a test infection.

He has not done much C so he’s got some learning to do. I thought I better show him CppUTest. He could use it for a play ground to learn some of the subtleties of C, as well as use TDD.
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