MAS 061: James Shore


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Panel: Charles Max Wood

Guest: James Shore

This week on My Angular Story, Charles speaks with James Shore who is the author of the book, “The Art of Agile.” James is a thought leader in the Agile software development community. He combines deep technical expertise with whole-system thinking to help development teams worldwide achieve great things! Check out his complete biography here! Chuck and James talk about Agile development, James’ background, and future projects!

In particular, we dive pretty deep on:

0:00 – Advertisement: Get A Coder Job!

0:48 – Chuck: Welcome! James was on a past episode, which was show 205! Give us an introduction, please!

1:05 – James: I have been involved with the software industry since 1991. I have written a book and it’s fairly evergreen.

1:30 – Chuck: Yeah, I remember that’s when the Agile development was getting really, really hot!

2:09 – James: Yeah in the early 2000s there was this energy to do software really well, and it seems like it’s turned into this bureaucracy. I find that to be depressing a tiny bit.

2:50 – Chuck: Yeah, I agree.

3:01 – James: Going back to a perspective where excellence is no longer the priority; excellence in your craft.

3:31 – Chuck.

3:34 – James: Yeah that was Bob Marten.

James talks about the Agile movement.

4:22 – Chuck: This show is a walk back throughout your story. Let’s talk about HOW you got into this stuff.

4:40 – James talks about his background.

4:58 – Chuck talks about his Grandpa and his experience with technology when he was young.

5:10 – James: had a whopping 2K of memory! That’s really how I got involved into programming. Later on I got a Trash 80 then an Apple 2, so I had programming in through my blood.

6:01 – Chuck.

6:08 – James talks about switching between computer and antenna, and his black and white T.V. He also talks about the electrical engineering program at the university.

7:16 – Chuck: I studied ad received my computer science degree.

7:28 – James.

7:34 – Chuck: You have been in the industry since 2001 and you are a bit older than me.

7:50 – James: My first job was in 1994. Then I wrote some things with Fido Net. Fido Net was this early online form thing. Sort of like Used Net / Used Groups (online bulletin web forms) via the telephone dial-up. They were hobbyists running this out from their home. It was basically chat forms.

Once you have some experience (doesn’t matter your degree) – it’s...have you done this before?

9:30 – Chuck: This is RIGHT in-line with what I say in my eBook that I am developing now.

10:00 – James: I didn’t even post that I was looking for a job, but I got very lucky.

10:15 – Chuck: What is your journey look like and how did you get into Agile development?

10:30 – James talks about his Kickstarter, knowledge in JavaScript, programming experience, and more here – check it out!

13:16 – Chuck: How did you get to Agile development?

13:31 – James: I was programming throughout my teens. I was working on a really complicated project. I still play Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). It was the most complicated program that I built at that point. I had it in my head and then I didn’t understand it anymore. The program collapsed. To me that was really transformative b/c it’s not writing the algorithms but how it all works together. Then this taught me how to communicate the design to the other members on the team to make it work.

15:50 – James: Have you heard of Rational Rose? You don’t hear about it anymore b/c it was a complete flop.

17:20 – Chuck: Wow!

17:33 – James: It was actually detrimental to get it done. It really was a crisis of faith. I ran into this book: Object Modeling in Color by Peter Coad.

Extreme Programming is mentioned, too, by James’ coworker!

21:10 – Chuck: It’s so interesting to me. We focus so much on the technological side, we forget to talk about the people, and the other sides to this. It’s easy to overlook this other stuff.

21:47 – James: There is so much silver bullet thinking within this industry. The original communication from person-to-person is so crucial. It’s so important to software development. Ultimately, the computer doesn’t care, but the collaboration is the real trick and the real challenge.

23:10 – Chuck talks about his brother and his computer science courses experience.

24:27 – James: It could be that 1 team could solve a problem but nowadays it’s working with multiple teams. People want to water things down to help facilitate – but don’t do that. There is a huge large scale Agile that is large interdependent teams.

25:19 – Chuck: MFCEO is a podcast that I am listening to now. He says that nobody wants to sit down and dictate what each member will be responsible for.

Chuck reads a quote from an episode from MFCEO – check it out!

26:54 – James: It’s something that people have lost track of. I still program daily even though I do this Agile stuff as well. I have been programming for 25 years and Extreme Programming was the most effective thing for me throughout my career.

James: I think XP is the time (now) to have a comeback!

29:41 – Chuck: That was my experience, too. We pushed one team to go to Agile, and then we went to our boss.

Chuck: We’d sit down every two weeks and have an Agile-Perspective (what is working and what isn’t working). We are talking about HOW we are writing the software, and that is really what we are after.

30:54 – James: You are building the TEAM that builds the project. Of course, you need to have consistencies across the team, and every team is different b/c every member has different personalities. Mod Programming is we are going to work as a whole group around a screen. Personally, that is not my style but I would TRY it. If it worked for that team then I would do it.

32:00 – Chuck: That is the beauty of it. With this set of programmers x, y, and z may or may not work, and that is O.K.

32:25 – James: I heard about Extreme Programming and I thought it was nuts!!

32:40 – Chuck.

32:44 – James: The more I tried it, and the more it worked. Try Extreme Programming b/c it’s totally a different experience. It’s my book that I wrote 10 years ago but it still is applicable today. Try it for a few months (3 months) or so, b/c it takes time to figure out the different terms and such. Go try out a bunch of new different things, but figuring out HOW to make it work for me.

34:05 – Chuck: Yeah, you need data. Look at the data. Go experiment.

34:47 – James: Try it for real. Check out this essay: “We tried baseball, and it didn’t work.”

James: Many things only work in context! What we do is we change the context in Agile.

35:58 – Chuck: What are you working on now?

36:00 – James: I am actually working on It’s a set of tools for coaches and leaders to CHANGE their context. How can you find those constraints and invest on changing those.

36:31 – Chuck: Where do they go to find you?

36:40 – James: My website - it’s the ugliest website, but it’s been working since 2003.

36:54 – Picks!

37:05 – Fresh Books!

END – CacheFly






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