The Real Point of Planning Poker

It’s funny, you’d think, from reading about planning poker that the purpose of this exercise is to come up with accurate estimates. I think that’s missing the point. The estimates are a useful by-product, if your organisation values such things, but actually the most important benefit you get from planning poker is the conversation. As […]

Using Capybara with RSpec Outside Cucumber

If you want to try using Capybara for browser automation on it’s own, here’s a simple script to get you started: require ‘rubygems’ require ‘capybara’ require ‘capybara/dsl’ Capybara.default_driver = :selenium Capybara.app_host = “” require “rspec/expectations” class Google include Capybara include RSpec::Matchers def search_for(text) visit “/” fill_in “q”, :with => text click_button “Search” end def ensure_results_contain(expected_text) […]

Features != User Stories

User Stories are a great way to plan your work. You can take a big hairy requirement and break it down into chunks that are small enough to work on without anyone freaking out. When you’ve crumbled up your big hairy requirement into little user story chunks, you can pick and choose which chunk to […]

Outside-In vs Inside Out – Comparing TDD Approaches

At last month’s ScotRUG Brian Swan and I attempted to solve the TDD Avatars problem as a live recital in our chosen style. We each had 35 minutes. The videos are here: Brian’s Inside-Out TDD approach Matt’s Outside-In approach When Brian had walked us through his approach and solution at the last month’s meeting, he’d […]

The Fable of the User-Centred Designer

Agile software development is not really about burn-down-charts, unit tests, refactoring or code metrics or even pair programming. At it’s heart, it’s about building software that really works for the people who are going to use it. All those practices you read about are just tools that help you to develop software iteratively, so that […]

Belly Wants to Eat Your Tests

Ever since I lead the team at Songkick through an Acceptance-Test-Driven re-write of their gorgeous web-ui, I’ve been thinking about problem of scaling a large suite of acceptance tests. By the time I left Songkick for the wilds of Scotland, it would take over 3 hours to run all the Cucumber tests on a single […]

Battling Robots at Software Craftsmanship 2010

I’ve submitted a session for the Software Craftsmanship 2010 Conference. It’s a redux of the Robot Tournament I ran at SPA2010. The idea behind the session is to simulate the life of a start-up software company. In the early rounds of the tournament, the priority for each team is to get a robot, any robot, […]