I was wrong about tracking actual hours in agile

I once made a statement about closing out project management tickets that went something like “The actual hours a story / task took are the only metrics that matter”. At the time, we had a ton hoops to jump through to close a story out due to our tooling choices. We ignored most of them, but the actual hours field was something I told the team I valued. My thinking at the time was this would definitively show us if we’re coming up with accurate estimates and if we missed our estimates, where did we spend that time. This would give us solid data points to use across sprints and act as a spring board for future planning sessions. In reality it ends up being fruitless and does little to build a better team.

I generally follow Scrum when doing agile with teams, but I’m not prescriptive about it in any way. “Whatever works for the team” is another sound byte you’ll routinely hear me say and along those lines is where I had my epiphany. Just like the agile process itself is about enabling the team, estimation and time is all about the sprint. “How many stories can get done this sprint” is the real question around how long something will take. That’s it. It’s a scheduling exercise to maximize effective use of planned time. It’s just an estimate! Where that time went during the story / task completion is immaterial. Sure, it makes for a good conversation during the retrospective and leads to a fancy spreadsheet some dude in khakis can email around, but tracking actual hours in agile does little improve the estimation process of the team and certainly doesn’t increase the teams productivity. If neither of those things are happening as a result of tracking actuals, then I submit it is a pointless venture.


Which Ruby Iibrary for a Static Website

I’ve been toying with the idea of taking on side projects, specifically helping people bring their web application ideas to market in the form of a minimal viable product. I have become very efficient at taking white board concepts and turning them into working software in a short amount of time. Production quality at that, not just prototypes or throwaway code. I’ve talked to a lot of people with good ideas that have similar problems, “I could get this going if I could only code!” Well, I think I can make that happen. First stop is standing up a static website for marketing.

Read On…

Switching to a week in review format

I jumped the gun a bit with that last post. For a 12 week program that has 3 workouts a week, that would be 36 entries, way too many. Once a week is fine, basically a “week in review” of my progress. These posts are for myself really, a way to force me to reflect on my goals, my progress, and serve as a basic gut check. What’s special about this mesocycle is the calculated total at the end is 1000+ lbs, which I’ve been saying for a while is my target, but I’ve had a few set backs and lost focus more times than I would like to admit.

MadCow 5×5 Week 2, Workout A


I’m still not 100% and coming off a head cold. Regardless, I felt pretty strong. It was my first time working out in a sweatshirt and realized real quick why you have to had your hood up…you can’t squat with it down! I made all of my lifts without a problem, nothing really too eventful other than my return to the basement and trying to figure out the accessory exercises.  Read On…

Where to Find the Best Ruby Libraries

I’ve been looking to update my full Ruby development stack and see what all the cool kids are using. I love when Rails Rumble wraps up and they break down what everyone used, it’s one of those dog food moments for the community. While it’s a great yearly pulse, it’s not a full look into the community offering to figure out what the best ruby libraries are. Ruby Rumble is a 48 hour competition, a MVP race if you will. Chances are there are many facets of development that go untouched in an MVP so their associated libraries go unaccounted for. At this point, people are interested in the fastest development library, not necessarily the best long term decision. So where can you go to see what’s hot, popular, or the most active? I know of two such places. Read On…

Turntable.fm replacement plug.dj looks great

I was really upset when turntable.fm went offline, it was something I ended up using regularly. Before that site, I really didn’t understand what a “DJ” was, I thought it was just some guy that hit the play button. But the more I used the site, the more I started to understand a good DJ can feel out the vibe in a room and decide where to take it through music. It was quite the epiphany when I put that together. When that went offline, I thought that experience was gone. Then I find plug.djRead On…

Unplanned Look at the Product Pounce Landing Page Design

I’d rather be building out features, but it looks like I need to revisit the Product Pounce landing page design sooner than later. This wasn’t completely unexpected since I’ve been adding more features to the site and want to showcase them right off the bat. The current homepage is barebones at best; it is designed to say what we do and how simply how it works. As of right now, some of that content is out of date. Read On…

Setting Access-Control-Allow-Origin for a rails application

I was experimenting with AngularJS and using Rails as a backend and needed to enable Access-Control-Allow-Origin for $http. Here is a simple snippet I created that does the trick. If you were doing this in production, I would assume Apache or Nginx would be the appropriate place for this code. However, this is just a POC.

# application_controller.rb
after_filter :local_access_control_headers

def local_access_control_headers 
  headers['Access-Control-Allow-Origin'] = 'http://localhost:8000' 
  headers['Access-Control-Request-Method'] = '*' 

Well planned and executed marketing by Wegmans

Wegmans isn’t just a super market around here, it’s a destination. Going the store is less about “getting food” and more about shopping. My local store is huge, but it feels comfortable. The selection is massive, but I can always find what I came for. I can also find things that I didn’t come for and didn’t know I wanted until I saw them. So how can Wegmans accomplish this? How can they have a massive store, but yet have items that catch my attention that I wasn’t specifically looking for. The answer: The Wegmans Magazine Read On…