Target Process to Manage Your Agile Team

When we build teams to focus on delivering high quality and efficient products, one of the initial tasks to focus on is selecting the right process for the team. You typically can do this in two ways: be extremely simple and use something like a whiteboard and post-it’s, or pick a tool that can solve the problem for you.

I tend to rely on the latter.

I have spent countless hours searching and scouring the web to try to find the best tool that gives me all of the features I need. Beautiful and intuitive interface. Flexible configuration for your process. Cost effective. Effective reports. 3rd party integration.

When I was spinning up my last team I evaluated many and did end up using Sprint.ly first. Really great interface, developed by who has respect in the community. But it just did not “flow” the way I wanted. That’s okay though, they are a new product and will eventually become a strong player.

Previously I did a trial of  Target Process but it was verison 2.0 which has a really outdated and clunky design.

Then I came across Target Process 3.

This new design is absolutely bad ass. It basically sits on top of their existing code base with a fresh new look and feel. They support flexible process configurations with their boards. Do you use Scrum? No problem. Kanban? No problem. Want Scrumban? It’s that simple.

We started using this in our team and we were able to reduce the time in our Backlog Grooming meetings quite significantly through using a special board just built for this need. You can see below the overall view of your Kanban board which mimics your physical board you may have currently on your teams wall.

Oh yeah, they have an iOS mobile version of Target Process 3 as well. Right now they support up to 5 users for free. That’s perfect for a small dev team to get started on.

As far as their roadmap goes, it looks like they are aggresively working on some additional features such as roadmaps, list based view of your work items, visual encoding such as custom colors and options for your work items.

I’m pretty excited to see where this company goes. They are becoming a serious competitor in the agile project management space and one to watch out for.

Migration from Tumblr Back to WordPress

So I have been over on Tumblr for the last couple years which has personally worked well. I’ve been falling behind anyway on writing any insightful or creative posts, so the lack of all of the control and power that WordPress gives you was fine. But recently I’ve been getting back into wanting more control of my content, who sees it, where it’s stored, the social factor and much more.

With Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and others it feels as if we are giving up so much of our freedom as internet power users for the sake of it being easier or becoming more viral. I want to take some of that control back.

I’m moving my person blog over to Heroku, which is powering this blog along with other applications. I’ve been aggressively deep diving into Ruby, Rails and Sinatra which is pushing more to write some new upcoming web applications (stay tuned).

So here’s to owning our content. Taking back control. Providing a real platform for those interesting in what we say or do.

Expect more to come in the upcoming days and weeks!

Mixpanel

I’m really digging this new startup here in SF called Mixpanel that focuses on segmentation and funnel management. Very clean interface and ability to define your segmentation rules in one simple shop. It’s a much needed improvement over other Adobe products as well as other competitors in this space. I seriously think this is a hot space for the year 2013 so I’m interested to see what some of these other companies evolve to with regards to customer segmentation and funneling.

2013 Accomplishments

On the 1st I posted an article of my 2013 goals. I thought about it for the past week and I’d rather this year post my definitive accomplishments that I will accomplish. Goals are so passive and everyone knows we don’t commit or hit all of our goals. So instead I’m going to break out my accomplishments that I will hit.

  • Pay off all remaining debt by summer
  • Become an expert in Ruby
  • Become an expert in a specific Ruby framework such as Rails or Sinatra
  • Get a new car
  • Stop eating late night snacks
  • Launch at least two public apps into production using Ruby
  • Read at least one book a month
  • Only be in Windows for work needs
  • Visit family at least one every couple months
  • Take a vacation to Hawaii
  • Start blogging actively again here, writing at least one in depth post a week
  • Cut out television; spend nights reading or on the computer
  • Look forward to having a baby
  • Attend at least one meetup a month in San Francisco

I feel this is a better achievable and honest goal of things I want to do. I am sure there are more I will come up with during the year but this is a great start.

Cisco AnyConnect VPN with Windows 8 Fixed

I installed Windows 8 a couple months ago at home on my notebook but since my company uses the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client I could never get it to work at home. This prevented me from getting much done in my Windows partition. So I finally took the time to figure out the problem and offer everyone a fix.

  1. Open the Windows Registry editor with the ‘regedit’ run command
  2. Browse to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Services vpnva]
  3. Modify the value of the field “DisplayName” to “Cisco AnyConnect VPN Virtual Miniport Adapter for Windows x64″
  4. If you are running on the 32-bit version of Windows leave off the x64 part
  5. Close regedit

If you notice when editing this value it contains something like the following:

“@oem48.inf,%vpnva_Desc%;Cisco AnyConnect VPN Virtual Miniport Adapter for Windows x64″

This bad garbage string is what prevents the client from working properly.

Your welcome!

Be the Worst

So I’m reading The Passionate Programmer and there are several topics that Chad Fowler discusses in this book. Some are worth noting and talking about which I intend to do more here throughout this blog. The first one I want to call out is the concept of “Be the Worst”.

What does being the worst really mean? In this context it’s about putting yourself in a situation where you consider yourself the worst in the group so that you effectively surround yourself with others who are better than you.

In many ways this sounds strange, but realistically it makes total sense. Think about it, when you are surrounded by others who may be more influential or qualified than yourself you indirectly become more inclined to learn more and push yourself. This is how human nature works. We are impressionable and absorb that around us like a sponge.

So I think the concept of being the worst is a good example of something for us including myself to try. Work on a side project with some really intelligent people. Try to attend some meet ups on topics you are not as familiar with so that you have the desire to learn more to be on the same level as others. Contribute to some open source projects. These are all great methods.

If you feel too comfortable in your career, need a change in pace or want to just generally feel pushed in regards to something you are not that familiar yourself, give this a try! You might discover yourself learning things in a new way. I know I will be.

Will 2013 Be the Rise of the Sharing Economy?

Will 2013 Be the Rise of the Sharing Economy?