Agile Firestarter in NYC

A bunch of us from the NY Alt.NET and Stephen Forte have organized a Agile Firestarter event on June 27th. Being the build monkey of the group, I'll be presenting the Continuous Integration session.

Register now on Eventbrite. Ticket is $8 to cover food and drinks.

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The Parkinson’s Limit and agile team size

In the January issue of New Scientist, there is a article about Parkinson's Law and how researchers in Austria put the law in a more scientific footing via mathematic. The essence of the law is, "work expands to fill the time available for its completion", which is intriguing  but I am more interested in the second half of the article where Parkinson's limit is discussed.

Parkinson conjectured that there is a limit to any working group/committee size (20) beyond which no consensus would be reached no matter how the group is structured. I am curious whether this is also the limit of an agile/XP team size since an agile team tends to be of a flatter structurally (verses the traditional hierarchical nature).
Parkinson also noted that there is an anomaly around group with 8 members. He noticed that, for example, no nation has cabinet of 8 members. I have the good(?) fortune of working with teams sized on either size of 8 so I can't verify this claim. I wonder what are the proportion of previous failed or not so successful projects had exactly 8 team members. Then the question of how would one define team members. Would only developers, testers, BA count as a team member and not PM because they work very closely together day-in and day-out, whereas PM less so?
If you have previously (or currently) worked with team of 8 or larger than 20, what is your experience? Does the group dynamic change when the group size hit 8 or grew larger than 20?

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What? A year already?

How time has flied! It has been a year since I joined ThoughtWorks. In the last 12 months, I've:

  • Visited ThoughtWorks India in Bangalore
  • Worked in 3 totally different projects (.Net desktop app, build & deploy at an enterprise level, and Agile coaching) in 3 different locations (London, Connecticut, New York)
  • Became a committer of an Open Source project, DbDeploy.net
  • Attended ALT.NET conference in Seattle
  • Started ALT.NET NYC with a bunch of great, like-minded developers
  • Edited 4 ThoughtWorks IT Matters podcasts
  • Helped out with recruitment (code reviews, office interviews, phone interviews)
Skills and tools that I've learnt/developed that I didn't think I would otherwise:
  • Agile project management, planning, estimation (Mingle)
  • Presentation and coaching (PowerPoint!, public speaking)
  • Build & Deploy (CruiseControl.NET, Cruise, TeamCity, NAnt, MSBuild, PowerShell, etc.)
  • iPhone development
  • Mocking (NMock, Moq)
  • UI Automated testing (Selenium)
What I can't quantify is the amount of learning I've done during this time. Working with smarter people than myself drove me to self-improvement in ways that I did not think I can or would.
I don't know what would happen in the next 12 months but one thing for sure, I would definitely enjoy it.

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How do I know?: Descartes’ Rationalism versus Hume’s Empiricism

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