Instead of spending Thanksgiving in the wet and dank Pacific Northwest The Susan and I opted for Maui and some serious beach time. Being me I ended up taking a software book, one I’ve been meaning to read for a very long time. I can’t say I finished it but Mary & Tom Poppendieck’s Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit is a very fine read thus far. I’ve seen Mary speak on a couple of occasions and its always worth attending.
The thing that really struck me while reading the first couple of chapters was the following thought on things that should be considered “waste”. By “waste” they mean activities that provide no value to the customer.
“Product tracking and control systems also do not add value, and further, they may be an indication of too much work in the system.”
This is why I use a couple of simple files for storing backlogs for small projects. Sure I could use Fortress or Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) or even Mingle but that just adds more waste. Having spent the last eight months chasing work items for the entire project around in VSTS I’m convinced Mary is right – minimize the amount of work in the system. Large detailed backlogs are “waste”.
While sitting on the beach I also read a couple of other books by Neil Gaiman; Anansi Boys and Stardust, both of which are excellent. Stardust released as a movie this summer and is now out on DVD(Widescreen Edition). Guess I’ll have to check it out.
If you’re going to Maui I’d also recommend Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook . We found it a little hard to navigate as not all the places mentioned had clear directions but all their recommendations proved solid.