Agile and Employee Engagement

i-love-my-job

In our newly formed Agile Community of Excellence, we discussed the topics of Empowerment, Motivation and Engagement.

This is a fascinating area for me and, if borne in mind, is a subject which I think really helps to make any Agile effort a really effective one. Employee engagement matters and a worldwide Gallup poll in 2013 was an indication that no company should be complacent on this.

Empowerment and motivation – more specifically – intrinsic motivation – are key to employee engagement. At Trainline, we have already embraced Agile for lots of good reasons and I believe that employee engagement is one of those good reasons.

So how can we make a positive impact on employee engagement? Below I will share with you three perspectives and consider how Agile principles support these. Continue reading

Deadlines are not Agile! Are they?

deadline

 

Rage against deadlines

How often have you found yourself set an ‘impossible deadline’ and been left asking: “Why the heck am I having to break my neck to hit it? Where did it come from? Who came up with the date?”

Pretty often, huh? I know it’s happened to me a lot. I regularly see people getting very angry about being set a deadline. The typical response is to froth at the mouth and curse “the management”. Continue reading

Use proxyquire to mock your React components

Testing React components has become trivial as more and more of them are now stateless functions.

The new shallow renderer and tools like Enzyme make it possible to render a component “one level deep” when testing, without even rendering it in some sort of DOM, while still having a great api to traverse the components’ output and assert facts on its behaviour.

Given all these great tools that we have, what happens when we have a container component that renders sub-components (child components) based on some sort of rule/logic?
How do we handle those dependencies to keep our unit tests free from dependencies?

Continue reading

Better collaboration: Agile and Improv

IMPROVISATION

whose-line-is-it-anyway

Collaboration and creativity are vital for effective Agile Teams. If you’ve ever watched “Whose Line is it Anyway?” on the TV, you will have seen improvisation (“improv”) in action. It is all about people working together in a mutually trusting atmosphere to co-create something new and surprising: the sum of the collective imaginations of those involved and something which could not have been known beforehand. Continue reading

Better estimates by embracing uncertainty

Uncertainty

Existential philosophers tell us that uncertainty is a fundamental given of existence.   But uncertainty is also something which we often find to be undesirable and we seem to spend a lot of time trying to rid ourselves of it.

Friedrich-NietzscheBut often the solution is not to rid ourselves of uncertainty.  Instead, it is to embrace it.  As Nietzsche said:

“Not doubt, certainty is what drives one insane.”

I am sure that a lot of software development teams will relate to this quote when considering estimation – that great attempt at removing uncertainty. Continue reading

DevOps when you are not a Dev (@Trainline)

Whenever I read about DevOps (which admittedly should be more but my job keeps me challenged in the office and my kids keep me challenged at home, so when I get downtime I prefer to switch off) it’s pretty much always by those from a Development background – we all know that the DevOps movement has its roots in Development, but how rewarding can it be for the Operations guys? (hint: very) Continue reading

Spotting problems and fixing them before our customers notice

Just over a year ago we were set the challenge of ‘spotting problems and fixing them before our customers notice’. To spot the problems we knew we had to change our behavior from only opening our logs when an issue was suspected, to making them available at the touch of a button to our engineers so it was easy for them to monitor their applications and spot problems and fix them.

Ash Powell’s blog explains how we did this, ‘What the ELK!? – Log Aggregation,‘ and here’s a short film we’ve just completed with Elastic to explain our business and how ELK’s role:

Keeping trainline on track

Challenges

Continue reading

New Relic in action at trainline #futurestack

Toward the end of last year I was invited to present at New Relic’s FutureStack conference in their Hacker Lounge track. I had a great time and it was great to introduce trainline to those across the pond and further afield.

All the sessions were filmed and mine has made it onto Youtube. The talk was on how we at the trainline adopted and scaled the use of New Relic across the entire organisation and the value that we’re getting out of it, including how team KPIs are judged on some of the metrics we get out of New Relic.

Video

Paul Kiddie – New Relic in action at trainline Continue reading