Twitter Use #3 – Lighten Up

The first two posts I made about uses of Twitter were definitely focused on a more practical, professional value propositions.  Accessing thought leadership quickly as well as using Twitter to find great web content are useful (in fact, I got my first pingback today on the great web content post).

We are working really hard these days.  With a depressed economy (still) we are asked to do more with less again and again.  Hours are long and emotions can sometimes get the best of us.  Moments of levity during the day can be really helpful to manage our stress, and Twitter can deliver those effectively without impacting our productivity much at all.

For me, I tend to follow a few pretty interesting personalities from pop culture as well as certain professional athletes.  Besides being interested in their particular fields, my criteria for electing to follow is that they tweet fairly frequently.  Some of the people I follow include Rainn Wilson (@rainnwilson — Dwight from “The Office”), Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien) and the basketball star Shaquille O’Neal (@THE_REAL_SHAQ).  A word of caution, however, is in order here.  There are a number of Twitter users that are impersonating famous people.  Twitter has a “Verified Account” feature now, so we can be sure that the person is who they say they are on their homepage.  I include a snip from Conan’s page to illustrate.  My favorite tweeter is @sh&*mydadsays (yes, I replaced a few characters).  It’s a young man (28 years old or thereabout) who lives with his parents and he writes down what his dad says.  It it enormously popular with over 1.2 million followers.  It’s a little vulgar, but I think it is popular because it’s SO close to home with many people.

Conan's Twitter Page

So, lighten up.  Take a couple of minutes and follow some people on Twitter just for fun.  You’ll pick up some great conversation starters for the lunchtime conversation in the cafeteria.


Traceability in Agile: How Do We Do That?

The good news is that the product my team is developing is being adopted broadly within the organization.  The bad news is that in the future in order for my software to be used in products subject to regulated enviroments we will not pass scrutiny.  Seeing this problem out there on the horizon has inspired me to challenge my team to take the next step of the maturity journey and evolve our Agile/Scrum process.  I am not an expert on the specifics of achieving compliance, but it seems to me it is pretty simple.  Basically it entails documenting what is to be built, build what you say you will build, then show evidence you tested that you built what you intended.  Also, involved is change management over the whole lifecycle.  So if that’s the general process, I keep peeling the onion back and finding traceability at the root.

I brought this to the team, and we’re having some trouble getting traction on trying to improve our traceability story.  The lack of action makes me wonder if I am asking for the wrong thing.  How do the rest of you Agile-ites deal with traceability?  Specifically, I am looking for the ability to look at the potential impact of change by knowing all stories impacted should we change a particular story.  In the RUP, we had a neat little report called the traceability matrix.  It was easy to see impact of changes.

Please feel free to share your tips to getting to a solid traceability story.  Without it, I am likely shut out of some important business opportunities to “sell” my application into scenarios where regulation is required.  Looking forward to getting some ideas.