Lessons from Sailboat Racing

Recently, I was attending a sailing seminar on racing small keelboats. As the lecturer talked about the crew requirements for winning races, I noted a lot of similarities with effective software development teams. Both situations require a small group of people to work in coordinated concert to achieve a common goal. No one on the team succeeds alone–they all reach the finish line together. There is a mix of specialized skills and general work that almost anyone can do. And there is a constant need for improvement, coupled with a desire to go fast. (Continued)

Running cucumber on jruby under ant

I’ve just spent more time than I expected getting this to work. It seemed like it would be easy, since running cucumber from the command line is so easy. But ant is very helpful in sanitizing the environment for subprocesses–a little too helpful, perhaps. After chasing a number of dead ends and increasingly complicated detours, I ended up with this target: (Continued)

Safety Exercise

In my recent posting on Separate Retrospectives, I mentioned sometimes performing a Safety Exercise at the beginning of a retrospective where the situation was unknown or seemed a bit charged with emotion. I was asked about that exercise.

I use a simple poll of how safe people feel. I got this from Norm Kerth’s book, Project Retrospectives (page 110). (Continued)