Rails Envy Podcast

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It’s like Java Posse for Rails Developers only shorter, funnier, and tightly scripted.

The Rails Envy guys, Gregg and Jason, have put together a great podcast on current Rails news, packed it into 10 minute episodes and spiced it up with humor. You probably already know them from their parodies of the Mac PC ads with Rails versus Java, .NET, Coldfusion, etc. If you haven’t added the podcast to your feed and you keep any track of the Rails community it’s worth adding to your weekly podcast menu.

Dropping the Daily Scrum

In a recent Agile Toolkit podcast interview with Alistair Cockburn he mentions a time where he was helping a team through a retrospective and he brought up a provocative idea:

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<b>I was like, how do you like your daily standups.  There's shuffling of feet and everyone's looking down.  I asked how often do you do your standups?</b>  

Three times a week.  

<b>Well, how do you feel about that?</b>

More shuffling, well, it's OK.  Finally one guy, a programmer goes "I don't like'em."  Turns out more people don't like them.

<b>Well, you oughta stop doing it.</b>  

But it's a cornerstone of Scrum, you can't not do daily standups.  You'll get kicked out of the community.

<b>I' don't get a royalty on every daily standup, you want to take it out go ahead.</b>

There weren’t any more details on how that played out, but the team apparently did just try removing the standup. I’ve had this conversation with several developers about standups. On some teams they seem like far too much of a chore and too stuck around reporting hours on tasks on a spreadsheet.

I did have one team where we took out the standup on Mondays and people were going to email their statuses around. That turned out to work pretty poorly as for the most part no one remembered to send the emails. Still if a team really wanted to experiment with no standups it’s their call. My guess is the better thing is to fix the reasons behind the dysfunctional standup. Jason Yip has a good recent post on standup patterns and ways to adjust standups that have the wrong vibe.

Interviews on Software Engineering Radio

Software Engineering Radio is a fairly heady podcast on computing topics. I’ve left it on my list for a long time even if I end up skipping through the occasional episode that delves into too many details on Remoting or Model Driven Development. Lately though I’ve really enjoyed their turn towards more interviews with people like Guy Steele working on a Fortran replacement or Werner Vogels of Amazon talking about massive scaling approaches. Might give it a try if you have some available listening time.