Atomic’s Curriculum for Teaching Young Developers about Design

Created for recent Computer Science grads, Atomic’s Accelerator program is designed to supplement their development training and get them up-to-speed fast on higher-level consulting practices and skills. Participants in Atomic’s Accelerator Program make a commitment to study on top of their 40-hour work week, and they receive significant coaching and training in project management, team leadership, and handling customer relationships.

In recent weeks, I’ve had the fun and energizing opportunity to lead the design-focused portion of our Accelerator curriculum. Members of Cell Zero have been doing three to four hours of reading homework on design topics each week, complemented by two-hour discussions in which we unpack and distill our learnings.
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The Many Uses of Pairing: Replacing Post-Work Review with Collaboration

One big thing that Extreme Programming got right is pair programming. Rather than waiting until work is complete to review code with another developer, the authors of XP figured that if having two pairs of eyes on code was important, why not do it continuously? Read more on The Many Uses of Pairing: Replacing Post-Work Review with Collaboration…

How Rotating Your Team Members Improves Your Product and Developers

In life, change is inevitable. This is particularly true in the realm of software, for both technology and personnel. People may leave your team for a different team, or for a different company altogether, or new team members may be hired onto the team and need to learn the ropes. Read more on How Rotating Your Team Members Improves Your Product and Developers…

Just Point Your Defects Already!

We have been using agile workflows on our teams at Atomic since we were founded back in 2001. User stories have always required points, although there has long been a debate about whether or not a team should point defects. Usually, pointing defects is harshly discouraged, yet the argument has come up time and time again. Read more on Just Point Your Defects Already!…

Some Design Up Front: Why ‘Sprint Zero’ is Not Enough

Over the past several years, agile software teams have recognized the necessity of welcoming designers into their ranks. At the same time, organizations throughout the industry have struggled with and offered different perspectives on the “best way” for designers and developers to work together on agile teams. Read more on Some Design Up Front: Why ‘Sprint Zero’ is Not Enough…

Successful Sprint Retrospectives: Tips and Tools

A sprint retrospective is a brief collaborative exercise that teams can do at the end of each sprint—typically as part of the sprint review meeting. Its purpose is to reflect on what happened during the sprint with the goal of improving the team, but there are other benefits, like building team chemistry, sharing knowledge, promoting a sense of team ownership, and having fun.

This post covers what’s involved in a sprint retrospective, touching on some “dos and don’ts” and sharing a few software tools that can make them easier—especially for remote teams.
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Estimating Project Completion with Burn Charts

Micah has written before about using burn charts to track team progress. One of his tips is to use a project’s projected finish date to help the client understand what changes can or must be made to the scope and budget. I’ve long been curious about calculating when a project will finish, so after reading Micah’s post, I did some research.
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Divide Scrum Work More Efficiently with Vertical Slicing

Developing complex custom software applications is difficult, even in ideal circumstances. In a Scrum workflow, it is desirable to have as few stories as possible in progress at any given time. This helps to maximize throughput and to ensure that multiple stories aren’t partially completed in a given sprint without points to show.

Unfortunately, dividing up work efficiently can be a real challenge. Read more on Divide Scrum Work More Efficiently with Vertical Slicing…