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Best Essays of 2008

25 Nov, 2008

It's that time of year again... I've updated my Essays Index with my best essays from the past year. I've also updated my list of most popular essays based on my traffic and readers' reviews.

I've also revamped the categories in the index page to make it easier for you to find what you're interested in. The new categories include "Adopting Agile," "Collaboration," "Coding," "Design," "Metrics," "Release Planning," and more. See the index for the full list.

Top Ten
** The Decline and Fall of Agile - 14 Nov, 2008

It's human nature to only do the stuff that's familiar and fun, and that's what has happened with Agile.

** Quality With a Name - 5 Apr, 2006

What is good design?

** An Approximate Measure of Technical Debt - 19 Nov, 2008

Introducing: The Spag.

** Kanban Systems - 15 Oct, 2008

How, when, and why to use Kanban systems to eliminate iterations.

** Use Risk Management to Make Solid Commitments - 8 Oct, 2008

How to use risk multipliers and risk-adjusted burn-up charts to make solid commitments to your executives.

** Continuous Integration is an Attitude, Not a Tool - 18 Aug, 2005

CI tools make it easy to do the wrong thing.

** Beyond Story Cards: Agile Requirements Collaboration - 21 Mar, 2005

Agile requirements, in-depth.

** Design Debt - 1 Feb, 2004

Why we trash seven-figure software investments.

** Continuous Integration on a Dollar a Day - 27 Feb, 2006

An easier, cheaper (and better) way to do continuous integration.

** Change Your Organization: A Diary - 10 Mar, 2006

Six months of changing an organization from within.

New in 2008
** An Approximate Measure of Technical Debt - 19 Nov, 2008

Introducing: The Spag.

** The Decline and Fall of Agile - 14 Nov, 2008

It's human nature to only do the stuff that's familiar and fun, and that's what has happened with Agile.

** Kanban Systems - 15 Oct, 2008

How, when, and why to use Kanban systems to eliminate iterations.

Estimate Inflation: A Cautionary Tale - 9 Oct, 2008

An example of What Not To Do, featuring scope creep, pushy stakeholders, and poor decisions.

** Use Risk Management to Make Solid Commitments - 8 Oct, 2008

How to use risk multipliers and risk-adjusted burn-up charts to make solid commitments to your executives.

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda - 1 Oct, 2008

In MoSCoW, plans prioritize you!

The Case of the Missing Visionary - 17 Sep, 2008

Beth was smart and capable, but everyone knew she wasn't Charlie.

The Documentation Myth - 3 Sep, 2008

What are we really looking for when we turn to documentation?

The Crucible of Great Teams - 27 Aug, 2008

Collective ownership doesn't have the flash or controversy of other practices, but it's part of what makes an agile team "agile."

Testing Private Methods - 19 Aug, 2008

What to do when you want to test a private method.

Forces Affecting Continuous Integration - 13 Aug, 2008

Warning: this brain dump is long, aimed at advanced readers, and not particularly well written.

Living in the Punch-Card Era - 30 Jul, 2008

Good builds are game-changing.

Paranoia, Control, and $30,000 of Tooling - 23 Jul, 2008

Software configuration management is important, but the tools aren't up to the task.

Singed Egos - 16 Jul, 2008

The evolution of the "No Bugs" section in The Art of Agile Development.

The Cornerstone of Agile Planning - 9 Jul, 2008

If you have trouble making and meeting commitments, start here.

Work In Progress - 11 Jun, 2008

The challenges of measuring performance.

Watch Out For These Common Problems - 5 Jun, 2008

The most common issues I see new teams struggle with.

It's a Trap! - 4 Jun, 2008

Two reasons teams can't make and meet iteration commitments.

Get a Life! - 21 May, 2008

People get really worked up over coding standards, and I mean really worked up.

Cargo Cult Agile - 14 May, 2008

Following the rituals of agile development without understanding the underlying ideas.

That Funky Metaphor Stuff - 30 Apr, 2008

Ubiquitous Language, System Metaphor, and a bit of history.

** Should We Adopt Scrum or XP? - 26 Apr, 2008

A thoughtful look at two methodology choices.

The Importance of Personal Success - 23 Apr, 2008

It's so damned personal.

I Want Subtext - 17 Apr, 2008

An experimental programming language from Jonathan Edwards.

Time-Lapse Author - 16 Apr, 2008

A screencast showing how I wrote the first draft of the "Sit Together" practice in The Art of Agile Development.

Colophon - 15 Apr, 2008

How I produce this website.

Change is Hard, Even for Service Organizations - 12 Apr, 2008

Notes from the field... far afield.

JS Kit: Lessons Learned - 11 Apr, 2008

Notes on installing JS-Kit, a comments and ratings service.

An Exercise About Trust - 9 Apr, 2008

Split into pairs, and use the worksheet to take turns interviewing each other.

The Stunning Truth at the Center of the Pigeon Story - 6 Apr, 2008

How do we get people to do what we want?

Mistakes - 4 Apr, 2008

"Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement."

In the Privacy of Your Own Thoughts - 26 Mar, 2008

Keep your brain switched on at all times.

We ♥ Tools - 19 Mar, 2008

Stop being a slave to the software.

How to Turn Smart People Into Ordinary People - 12 Mar, 2008

When shit rolls downhill, expect crappy results.

Iterative Writing - 5 Mar, 2008

The evolution of the "Pair Programming" practice in The Art of Agile Development.

Marick's Missing Manifesto - 20 Feb, 2008

Real success takes real work. It's worth it.

Practices or Principles? - 15 Feb, 2008

What's more important, using agile practices or understanding agile principles and values?

Truth or Clarity? - 13 Feb, 2008

Sometimes, truth isn't clear, and clarity isn't truthful.

Your Brain on Agile - 6 Feb, 2008

A story cut from The Art of Agile Development. With a monkey.

TANSTAAFL - 30 Jan, 2008

When you're buying something expensive and valuable that's meant to last a long time, you put real effort into it.

Études for Excellence - 22 Jan, 2008

Exercises for improving coding skills.

Who's in Charge Here? - 17 Jan, 2008

If the customer isn't in charge, then who is?

Opinionated and Antisocial - 16 Jan, 2008

The right method for your team is customized to the needs of your team. The question is, how do you get there?

Why Not? - 9 Jan, 2008

I can't convince anybody to do anything.

Our Professional Responsibility - 8 Jan, 2008

Look them straight in the eye and say "No."

A Project Planning Pop Quiz - 4 Jan, 2008

When will the project finish?

Shu-Ha-Ri and The Art of Agile - 2 Jan, 2008

In order to do agile development your way, you have to do it some way first.

Gopher Holes - 30 Dec 2007

How is it possible for codebases to get easier to modify over time? This is how.

Value Velocity: A Better Productivity Metric? - 18 Dec 2007

Another approach to measuring productivity.

Scrum and XP Practices: Cross Reference - 13 Dec 2007

A comparison of Scrum, both editions of XP, and The Art of Agile Development.