Agile PM & Scrum

This Week at Skills Matter: 4th November – 8th November

Here’s what’s coming up at Skills Matter this week!


Infracoders London will be joining us at Skills Matter HQ for their November meet-up with a talk on ‘A Journey of Windows Infrastructure Automation At’ – a brief history, where it started, what’s happening now and where it’s heading using Chef, VMWare, power-shell plus a few other tools.

Also on Monday Richard Warburton and Martijn Verburg will be giving a talk on ‘Bleeding Edge’ at the London Java Community November meet-up. Talking about what happens to your technology stack if you’re willing to take a risk?


On Tuesday Skills Matter will be hosting the London Clojurians November meet-up where they will have three lightening talks from Henry Garner, Kris Jenkins and Jamie Brandon.

We will also host Oren Eini, aka Ayende Rahien, for an In The Brain talk about ‘The DB Disassembly Kit’, going into the details that actually make up the different components in a database, how they are put together and much more!
Finally we will host the London .Net User Group Meet-up where they will have a talk from Gael Fraiteur on ‘Multithreading Design Patterns’. Some things Gael will talk about include: characteristics of a threading model, enforcement and automation of threading model and why do we need threading models?


 The London Pyramid Group will have their November meet-up with talks from Jon Staley on ‘King Forms’ – a quick intro to Deforem & Colander and how he wrangled them to do what he wanted, and Riley Doyle on ‘From the Script to Web’ – covering key lessons learned in building an advanced ‘DNA search engine’ with Pyramid.

We will also have another In The Brain session with Susanne Madsen who will be talking about ‘Project Leadership: Are we too busy with the urgent to focus on the important?’. Susanne has years of experience running high-profile IT projects and is a qualified corporate and executive coach – this talk is not to be missed!


London Lua will have a talk on ‘Lua & Corona SDK – Cross platform mobile game development’ for their November meet-up.

The final In the Brain of the week will be with Ian Plosker who will be talking about ‘The Triumph of Simplicity: how database complexity will be replaced by simple services’. Ian will be discussing why the level of complexity in storing and querying data has exploded and discuss how database software eventually will be overrun by simple services.

Stay up to date with the latest from Skills Matter! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or sign up to our newsletter.

Weekipedia: next week @skillsmatter

It’s hard to tell just recently whether Spring has sprung around Skills Matter — or if something somewhere has  just sprung a leak.  Our sunflowers are growing, but in between all our expert events we’ve started to build a wooden ark.  But moving swiftly on, Skills Matter offers the ideal place to shelter from the rain to learn and share ideas — and skills — with a great community.  So what have we got to keep you dry?

April 30: In The Brain of Allan Kelly: The What and Why of AgileAllan Kelly — the author of Business Patterns for Software Developers — comes to Skills Matter on April 30 to present his talk The What and Why of Agile.  Join Allan Kelly as he sets out to answer the questions “What is Agile?”, “Why is Agile beneficial?” and “How might a team start to adopt Agile”. Armed with the answers to these questions Allan will to show why large organizations are using it, and why the UK Government IT strategy advocates Agile.  Sign up here.

Sam NewmanSam Newman & Vladimir Sneblic of Thoughtworks will be here on April 30 for a talk giving A Technical Introduction To Continuous Delivery, and will introduce Continuous Delivery for a technical audience, showing how it builds on the foundation of Continuous Integration to help shift teams to push button releases all the way to production.  This event is organised in partnership with ThoughtWorks who will be raffling copies of the book Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, London Java CommunityTest, and Deployment Automation, by Jez Humble (ThoughtWorks)April 30: sign up here.

The London Java Community continues to draw the crowds — and next week brings the popular “code share event” to Skills Matter. Dave Snowdon and Ged Byrne lead the event that aims to ignore the big long explanations of “JVM with a limited vocabulary of bytecodes” and looks at how some of the functional features of languages like Scala or Clojure actually work. May 1sign up here.

May 1: In The Brain of Dmitry Buzdin: State of the Web. Sign up now.Coding architect Dmitry Buzdin — author of the popular blog on GWT and Agile — joins us at Skills Matter on May 1 for his talk on the State of the Web and will lead discussion about pros and cons of current approaches and technologies in Web development.  Dmitry warns not to expect any coding tutorials here, but we will try to do everything possible so the picture of state of the art in Web development as it stands today in presenter’s brain is transferred to you seamlessly. May 1 – sign up here.

In The Brain of Brian Sletten: Testing REST with BDDThe buzz from BDD has never been buzzier right now — CukeUp! rocked Skills Matter a few weeks back with talks on all things Cucumber and BDD, and on May 2 Semantic Web expert Brian Sletten will be at Skills Matter to give a talk on Testing REST with BDD. Brian will use a Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) tool like Cucumber to establish reusable steps and comprehensive, but lightweight testing strategies for testing REST APIs. May 2 – sign up here.

As always, don’t forget to watch all the videos from this week’s events at Skills Matter:

Find Your Ninja Project : Cool Projects in April
In The Brain of Simon Brown: How much up front design is just enough?
In The Brain of Rob Harrop: Working with Continuous Deployment
Neo4J User Group : Neo4J Tales from the Trenches
In The Brain of Tom Bassindale & Peji Faghihi, Using Real User Metrics to Measure Performance

The Talented Mr. Bell @skillsmatter (free talk)

In The Brain of Gavin Bell: Is Everything Social?The web is a very social place these days, but can every human action become a social object? Lots of activities are private or competitive, these are often the interesting ones too.

Gavin Bell — author of the O’Reilly book, Building Social Web Applications — comes to Skills Matter this May.  The talented Mr. Bell will be giving you the benefit of his experience on the evening of May 8 when he asks “Is Everything Social?”.

Gavin will take a brief look at how privacy and competition change social activity, then the rest of the session will activity based. Covering Product design and social object centric design, within a scrum framework, you’ll look at the problems of finding somewhere to live; personal banking; present buying and scientific publishing and try to design good products for these areas.

As with all our “In the Brain” talks, it’s free to attend — so make sure you sign up now to find out how privacy and competition change social activity.

This week and next week @skillsmatter (Feb 20-24)

You lucky people; it’s time for another weekly round up at Skills Matter.  What happened this week?  What videos can we watch?  And what is in store for you next week?

The ice and snow are gone, and I think it’s only fair to give credit where credit’s due: our experts.  This week we had in residence Alberto Brandolini delivering Eric Evans’ DDD Immersion Workshop, and “Python for Rookies” author Russel Winder giving his Python workshop.  Both were a huge hit with their workshop delegates — and Alberto will be returning to Skills Matter on April 23, with Russel Winder hot on his heels on May 15.

Allan Kelly joined us on Monday for an interactive session on Dialogue Sheets, a new tool for retrospectives — because this was an hands-on event, I don’t have a video to share with you from the talk.  However, we are having a launch party for Allan Kelly’s new book!  Join us with Allan on March 21 at Skills Matter and hear about Business Patterns for Software Development, and get Allan to sign your copy of this book.

Also on Monday night was “Agilekev” Kevin Ryan, giving a talk on Kanban for Agile Portfolio Management. Go watch the skillscast video of this talk here:

Tuesday brought St Valentine’s Day to London and to Skills Matter.  We shared the love Tuesday night with Alberto Brandolini‘s In the Brain talk Drive your DBA Crazy in 3 easy steps — go watch the skillscast video here: — it’s already proving very popular viewing on Twitter.

By mid-week at Skills Matter we had Damjan Vujnovic delivering a Javascript Coding Kata on Wednesday evening.  Unfortunately, this is another event with nothing to show you on video!  But you’re not completely out of luck, Damjan comes to Skills Matter on April 30 to deliver Gojko Adzic’s Test Driven Development Workshop as well as his own Advanced JavaScript Workshop on May 17.  If you ask very nicely, we’ll even ask Damjan for another In the Brain talk when he’s next at Skills Matter.

Thursday night is the last night of the week for our In the Brain talks and User Groups, and this week it was the turn of Londroid: the London Android User Group.  Londroid brought us two talks this month: Robert Taylor on Robobinding: a data-binding framework, and Duncan Cragg on Object Network -mapping the web.

Next Week:

London Cassandra User Group

Free talk: London Cassandra User Group – Cassandra as an email storage system and CQL Then & Now (Feb 20)

>Cassandra London kicks off 2012 with a talk on implementing Cassandra as an email storage system and what’s new in CQL.  Rustam Aliyev share his experiences of implementing Cassandra as an email storage system at Elastic Inbox, and Courtney Robinson — a regular member of the London Cassandra User Group — gives an update on what’s new with CQL.
Feb 20: sign up here.

Expert Training: Udi Dahan’s Enterprise Development with NServiceBus (Feb 20-23)

Udi Dahan's Enterprise Development with NServiceBus with Andreas OhlundDelivered by NServiceBus core developer Andreas Ohlund, Udi Dahan’s “Enterprise Development with NServiceBus” course teaches you all the ins-and-outs of NServiceBus – the most popular, open-source service bus for .NET – now updated for NServiceBus 3.0. Used in production since 2006, NServiceBus is now used in hundreds of companies in finance, healthcare, retail, SaaS, web 2.0, and more. From basic one-way messaging, through publish/subscribe; providing solutions from transactions to cross-machine scale out; this hands-on course will show you how simple distributed systems development can be.

Book your place and find out more here:

Groovy & Grails User Group

Free talk: Groovy Grails User Group – Deploying Grails Applications (Feb 20)

This month’s meeting for the Groovy Grails User Group will be all about deploying Grails applications. Several community members will describe how they go about ensuring up-time during upgrades, using a Platform-as-a-Service (CloudBees), and more.
Feb 20: sign up here.

In The Brain of Andreas Ohlund: Putting your events on a diet

Free talk:In The Brain of Andreas Ohlund: Putting your events on a diet (Feb 20)

A common problem when designing service oriented architectures is that events going across services tend to be very large in terms of properties they carry. This has the negative effect of making development tougher, testing harder and deployment a risky operation.  In this talk, NServiceBus and Enterprise Software Expert Andreas Ohlund will analyse the checkout process of an online retailer to identify some of the misconceptions that lead to fat events. Finally we’ll look at techniques that will help you keep your events small and fit for the purpose thus mitigating the problems above.
Feb 20: sign up here.

London Ruby User Group Lightning Talks

Free talk: London Ruby User Group Lightning Talks (Feb 21)

As is now traditional, we devote the February London Ruby User Group meeting to lightning talks. We have James Coglan giving a talk on Websockets, a talk on capistrano extensions, Richard Livsey on removing authentication from your models and Harry Marr on Custom documentation generators.
Feb 21: sign up here.

London Java Community : Zero Downtime of JavaEE applications and Home Automation with Java and Arduino

Free talk:London Java Community: Zero Downtime of JavaEE applications and Home Automation with Java and Arduino (Feb 21)

As well as LJC ligtning talks will be Fabiane Nardon on achieving zero downtime in a JavaEE application is not easy, showing several tools, tips and tricks to get there, and Yara Senger & Vinicius Senger showing how you can use Java EE and open-source hardware, like Arduino, to automatize your house. Using jHome, a complete Java EE 6 API for home automation, you can control lamps, wall sockets, electric gates and doors using Web App and Twitter.
Feb 21: sign up here.

Neo4J User Group:Neo4j in a .NET world

Free talk: Neo4J User Group:Neo4j in a .NET world (Feb 22)

This month, Tatham Oddie will be coming from Australia to present at the Neo4j User Group on Neo4j with .NET, and will cover the Neo4j client we have built for .NET, hosting it all in Azure and why our queries were 200ms slower in the cloud, and how we fixed it.

Tatham will present a case study, explaining  -what our project is, -why we chose a graph db, -how we modelled it to start with, -how our first attempts at modelling were wrong and what we’re doing now.

Join us at this great Neo4J meetup and get a chance to win a ticket to the Progressive NoSQL Tutorials to boot! Follow #prognosql on twitter on the day of the event, to find out more!
Feb 22: sign up here.

Expert Training: Martine Devos’ Certified ScrumMaster and Estimation Class (Feb 23-24)

Martine Devos' Certified ScrumMaster and Estimation ClassMartine Devos’ two day ScrumMaster and Estimation class will teach you the fundamental principles of Scrum, qualifying you as a Certified ScrumMaster. Leading a Scrum team is radically different to traditional project management. Rather than plan, instruct, and direct, the leader of a Scrum team (called a ScrumMaster) facilitates, coaches and leads.

In this intensive and highly interactive workshop, you will learn to deal with the obstacles that confront Scrum teams. You will also put theory into practise through a variety of exercises and take-aways to use with co-workers. Upon successful completion of the course, you will be enrolled as a Certified ScrumMaster. This includes a two-year Scrum Alliance membership, where additional ScrumMaster-only material and information is available.

This date sold out! But find out more here:

That’s more than enough for one week!  As always, make sure you follow @skillsmatter and @jameschesters on Twitter in to join the discussion, and be the first to hear when the Skillscast videos are published.  We also have some special Twitter raffles next week, so keep your eyes peeled for a chance to win a place on some great events.  See you at Skills Matter next week.

Weekipedia — this week and next @skillsmatter

What a week that was for us at Skills Matter! The panic on the streets of London left this town looking like a ghost town by Tuesday night — although thankfully our Clerkenwell home was free from violence and unrest, the same can’t be said for all our staff and members of the community.

Monday night at Skills Matter was welcomed in by the London Ruby User Group, with two expertly delivered talk. The first talk came from Gareth Rushgrove about using configuration management tools like Chef to set things up, and Vagrant to easily manage the virtual machines from the command line. Watch Gareth’s LRUG talk here:

Paul Mucur followed gave a presentation on Puppet, on how configuration management allowed him to not only install and configure servers quickly and in a repeatable way, but also let him feel confident about the consistency of each and every machine to which he deployed. Watch Paul’s LRUG talk here: Remember, our recordings include video, slides and coding from the talks — and are usually available the morning following any presentation at Skills Matter. Our podcasters are the unsung heroes of Skills Matter — if you see one around, show them some love!

Following hot on the heels of the London Ruby User Group, the London Ajax User Group took to centre stage on Tuesday night. Civil unrest over the weekend and on Monday in the cities had made some people understandably concerned about making it home — but those that came along to Skills Matter for LAUG were impressed with a talk from Jonathan Evans on Developing Web Apps with the Cappuccino framework. Cappuccino is not just for breakfast any more — and you can see for yourself what the fuss is about by watching the video here:

A combination of factors meant that talks originally planned for Wednesday night were all postponed — including the London Scala User Group on Scalaz with Chris Marshall, a talk on Coffeescript with Andrew Chalkley, and a talk from the excellent Allan Kelly on How to be an Agile Company. But attendees were encouraged not to lose heart, the events have all been rescheduled. Check out the list below for details!

In The Brain of Allan Kelly: What does it take to be an Agile company? – September 1Allan Kelly

Everyone wants to be Agile, or so it seems. But what does that mean? What does the Agile company do that others don’t? In this talk Allan Kelly considers what it means to be Agile and what you need to do to be an Agile company, rather than a company which just follows an Agile method. September 1: sign up here.

London Scala User Group: Practical Scalaz: making your life easier the hard way – September 14Chris Marshall

Previous talks have concentrated on the fundamentals and construction of the scalaz. In this talk, Chris Marshall (one of only four scala gold-badged users on StackOverflow) will concentrate on using Scalaz to help make certain tasks easier and to avoid repeating yourself. September 14: sign up here.

So what is on the table for next week at Skills Matter?

Scrum in action The inimitable Martine Devos will be with us imparting several decades worth of real-world Scrum experience to two enthusiastic classes at Skills Matter. This is your chance to get yourself certified by a real enthusiastic and persuasive expert — Martine delivers her Certified ScrumMaster and Estimation class on August 15 & 16, followed by her Certified Scrum Product Owner class on August 18 & 19. Martine takes no prisoners with these hands-om and immersive Scrum courses — if you want to get that Scrum certification, you have to jump in!
Certified Scrum Master: Aug 15-16book here.
Certified Scrum Product Owner: Aug 18-19book here.

F#unctional Londoners Meetup Group: Gary Short on Applied F# – August 16F#

In this presentation, Gary Short looks at how he uses F#, and we’ll see examples of F# used to calculate values for some of the metrics that are important in my line of work. August 16: sign up here.

In The Brain of Miles Sabin: Encoding Unboxed Union Types in Scala – August 16Miles Sabin: Advanced Scala

In this talk, advanced Scala expert Miles Sabin will show how we can encode union types in Scala. If you’ve ever wanted to know how to play cool and practically applicable tricks with Scala’s type system, then this is the place to be. August 16: sign up here.

In The Brain of Andrew Chalkley, Introduction to CoffeeScript – August 18Andrew Chalkley

Andrew Chalkley will review the core functionality of what CoffeeScript has to offer. Even if you don’t adopt CoffeeScript as part of your toolkit, it’s worth a look to learn how the resulting JavaScript is compiled in order to help with performance and other JavaScript best practices. August 18: sign up here.

So that’s how it stands for the next week — you’ve got Functional Programming from the F#unctional Londonders Meetup Group, Andrew Chalkley on CoffeeScript, Miles Sabin’s advanced Scala talk on encoding unboxed union types, and word-class Scrum training. What more could you possibly want — other than, in the words of Elvis Costello, “peace, love and understaning”? Just wait until you see what is coming up later in the month!

If you’d like to stay up to date with Skills Matter, there are dozens of ways you can do it — you can follow us on Twitter, “Like” us on Facebook, join our LinkedIn groups, sign up to our newsletters, or best of all you can receive our Open Source Journal posted directly to your home or workplace. If you like what we do, share the wealth — tell others on all your social networks! After all, wasn’t it by recommendation that you found out about Skills Matter?