Saturday, October 28, 2006

Heartland Developers Conference 2006

I've been in Omaha for the last couple days at the Heartland Developers Conference. It was a great opportunity to catch up with a bunch of people.

It was nice to see Jeff Brand again. With his new responsibilites at Microsoft, Jeff doesn't make it down to Des Moines to hang out.

I also ran into Dru Sellers. I first met Dru a couple weeks earlier at Tulsa Tech Fest. Dru does with Jeff Julian. Thursday afternoon after our presentation, Nick Parker and I sat down and did our first podcast with them. It will be released sometime over the next few months. It was a good interview and Dru and Jeff did a great job at keeping the conversation flowing.

We had a good time Thursday night after the first day of sessions. Nick Parker, Matt Ring, Mike Vesey, Ken Sherman, Dave Havenridge, Phil Stanislav, and Matt Milner had dinner at Omaha Prime in the Old Market. The steaks were great, but I'm still searching for a shrimp cocktail that compares to St. Elmo's in Indianapolis, IN.

It was fun and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Agile Workspaces: Microsoft's Patterns & Practices Team

As most of you know, I'm very interested (read:fanatic) in agile development and have been disappointed with the lack of leadership from Microsoft in the agile space. However it appears that the Patterns & Practices team is starting to effect the development culture at Redmond.

In this video, Ed Jezierski and Peter Provost give a guided tour around their newly renovated agile development workspace.

Multiple sized reconfigurable team rooms - Lots of whiteboard space, each room has an overhead projector and multiple flat screen monitors at each workstation. Most of the team's daily work occurs in the team rooms, but every team member has an office space (shared or individual based on job function and preferences).

Escape Pods - Private small meeting rooms where developers can "escape" to make phone calls or hold small private meetings.

Modular interior office walls - The walls can be moved without a building permit.

Customer Room - Customers are top priority and have their own meeting room.

And the coolest....

Whiteboard Windows  - A white film sandwiched between two 8 ft. tall glass panels used to seperate rooms and can be used as whiteboards on both sides. Very cool and practical.

Has your team modified it's workspace to make the team more effective? Let me know, I love this stuff!