What's On Your Wall?

Tim describes how the Agile In A Flash cards help make his workspace more informative.

Agile in a Flash Card Index

In order to keep Agile in a Flash very low cost and actually make a buck or two, Tim and I were pressured to keep the number of cards to a very minimum. That's why you'll see no author bios, for example, and no index / table of contents. (Of course, if the book takes off and you buy bajillions of copies, we can likely justify an index.)

Without further ado, here's the index of cards (which also tells you, by omission, which blog entries here are not in this deck--if, uh, all goes well with sales, we'll be doing a second deck):

The Idea:
  1. Why Agile?
  2. The Agile Values, aka the Agile Manifesto
  3. Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto
  4. Role-Playing in Agile
  5. Agile Success Factors
  6. Courage
  7. Redefining Discipline
  8. Pillars of Software Craftmanship
  9. Toyota Production System (TPS) Principles
  10. The Right Process
  11. Got Organizational Obstinance?
  12. Got Individual Obstinance
  13. Don't Get Too Deep in Technical Debt
The Plan:
  1. Incremental Everything
  2. Embrace Change
  3. Reach Consensus on Story Priority
  4. INVEST in Your Stories
  5. Categorize Requirements with FURPS
  6. Sail on the Three C's
  7. Shrink XL Stories to Fit
  8. Acceptable Acceptance Tests
  9. Acceptance Test Design Principles
  10. Story Estimation Fundamentals
  11. A Winning Hand for Planning Poker
  12. Iterate with Principle
  13. Communication-SMITH with Information Radiators
The Team:
  1. Shu-Ha-Ri
  2. The Only Agile Tools You'll Ever Need
  3. Successful Stand-up Meetings
  4. ABCs of Pair Programming
  5. Retrospectives
  6. When Not Pairing
  7. How to Be a Team Player
  8. Collective Code Ownership
  9. Coding Standards
  10. Is Your Team Circling the Drain?
  11. Pair Programming Smells
  12. Stop the Bad Test Death Spiral
  13. How to Stay Valuable
The Code:
  1. Eight Crucial Practices of Agile Programmers
  2. Build Superior Systems with Simple Design
  3. The Seven Code Virtues
  4. ReallyMeaningful Names
  5. The TDD Cycle
  6. FIRST Properties of Unit Tests
  7. Triple A for Tight Tests
  8. Prevent Code Rot Through Refactoring
  9. Refactoring Inhibitors
  10. Field Guide to Mocks
  11. Break Unit Test Writer's Block
  12. Test Double Troubles
  13. TDD Process Smells

How to use the deck

People have been asking how to best use the cards in their teams.

We've had several notes via twitter or email about teams reading and discussing them at retrospectives or standup, and even using them in lightning talks at conferences.  We are happy to see them used in this way.

But people have been asking how normal, individual, non-coach team members can use the cards. Jeff provides our recipe for use of Agile in a Flash:
  • Pick a card that's relevant and read its front
  • Read the back
  • Re-read the front to help ingrain the short list
  • Consider tacking the card up, so that it's in your face, helping you ingrain the concepts
  • Seek and re-read related cards to get a more complete picture of the topic
  • Visit the corresponding post here on the blog site if you seek more detail on the topic and why we said some of the things we did
  • Visit the links located on many of the cards and at the blog site if needed
Don't forget to google the subject matter, because there is more written than we could fit in either the deck or the blog. Other opinions and recommendations are equally valid.

Please share and discuss the cards with your community, starting with the local software team and its neighbors but extending to conferences, user groups, or any other willing listeners. New insights can come from anywhere.

Javaranch Event

The Big Moose Saloon welcomes writing team Ottinger and Langr to a special event:

This week, we're delighted to have Jeff Langr & Tim Ottinger helping to answer questions about the new book Agile in a Flash. See this page for a description of the book.

The promotion starts Tuesday, February 22th 2011 and will end on Friday, February 25th 2011.

We'll be selecting four random posters in this forum to win a free copy of the book provided by the publisher, Pragmatic.

Please see the Book Promotion page to ensure your best chances at winning!

Sit in, ask or answer some questions, see if you can't win your free Agile In A Flash deck. If you don't win one, don't worry. We still have a few left for sale.

Sighting Report

From an undisclosed location in Des Moines, Iowa, comes this sighting report. It is likely a book store, judging by intact plastic wrap and "Alphabetical By Author" sticker on shelf. It also looks like they're down to their last copy. Snag it now, before their supply is totally exhausted!

Card-Carrying Mad Railer

David van Leeuwen, Card-carrying Mad Railer, shows off the new deck of Agile In A Flash that he won in a drawing at the Madison, WI conference.

Lisa Crispin and Courage at Belgium Testing Days

Our deck of cards makes a surprise appearance at Belgium Testing Days 2011 thanks to Lisa Crispin and her experience with the Courage card.

It is pleasing to see the cards having a supporting role in the lives of respected professionals, and to see them appear in a testing conference instead of a more predictable place like an Agile or programming conference. Markus Gärtner provides descriptions of several talks in this blog.

Card-Carrying agile author

Jeff Langr, programmer geek and computer addict shows off his Agile in a Flash deck in front of a warm fire in Colorado Springs. Look, Ma, no shrink-wrap! Tim, have you opened yours yet???

Card-Carrying Embedded Software Engineer

Card-carrying embedded-software engineer James Grenning, fellow-author, fellow-ex-ObjectMentor consultant, owner of Renaissance Software, great guy.  Here James shows off his deck of cards at a Starbucks near Mundelein, IL.  Doing embedded software, but don't know how to do it test-first? See James Grenning (and buy his book Test Driven Development for Embedded C to be released very soon).

Card-carrying Rocketeers

Card-carrying Hash Rocket team members show off their deck of Agile In A Flash cards gifted to them at their office in Chicago.  They are a really great, kind, competent group of people worthy of your business. Tim loves their open workspace and open hearts.

Card-carrying Django Developer

Card-carrying Django developer, Cezar Jenkins, shows off the autographed deck he won at the Chicago Python users group meeting. His superior memory allowed him to edge out the other attendees and seize the prize!

Card-carrying Agile Author

Card-carrying agile author and programmer, Tim Ottinger, smugly shows his plastic-wrapped Agile In A Flash deck at home.  Tim is the originator of the Agile In A Flash concept, and co-author of the deck with Jeff Langr (without whom this project would have died on the vine). Feeling smug? You betcha.

Card-carrying software journeyman

Card-carrying software journeyman, Corey Haines, shows off his deck and a broad smile at a Chicago Starbucks outlet.

Getting the Word Out

By now, many of our readers (perhaps all) have recieved copies of the Agile In A Flash. The feedback we have received has been very positive and we are very encouraged. I understand that a few decks even traveled to the Agile Manifesto event in Salt Lake City.

Our goal is to get this tool into the hands of coaches, trainers, managers, product owners, and development teams all over the world. Since the book has only been out for less than one month, we don't have a lot of information about our sales, but we know from twitter that we are selling on several continents and that people are finding value in the books.

Our goal is to get the cards in the hands of the people who are really doing the work: your project team and its neighbors in the business where you work. If you are interested in helping promote the Agile In A Flash project:
  • Let your employers know that you are getting value from the deck, and maybe ask to outfit the whole team!
  • If you are a member of a user group or software interest group of any kind, talk to us about promotional give-aways. We might hook you up with discount coupons or maybe even a deck or two. 
  • On Feb 22, Java Ranch is holding a promotional event for us. Join us!
  • A review at your favorite on-line book retailer will encourage others to try Agile In A Flash.
  • Keep us in your tweets and status updates.
  • Send us a "Card Carrying" picture. We'll post them here. Maybe someone will be inspired!
  • Send us your great promotional ideas. We're all ears.
  • This blog could use a Digg or Reddit or HackerNews vote.
  • Vote us up at CodeBix


Agile In A Flash is published in the 10th anniversary year of the Agile Manifesto. It hit the shelf only weeks before the reunion gathering in Salt Lake City. We thank the original authors and signatories for providing us with a good foundation for our practice, and we look forward to whatever lies ahead.

Join the celebration by popping over to the Tenth Anniversary site. Read the articles, check out the photos, and join the dialog.

Two Agile Works that Work Great Together

Have you seen The Agile Samurai yet? We're currently reading it, and really enjoying it. You may see some new Samurai-inspired cards on this site in coming weeks. Jonathan Rasmusson has had kind things to say about Agile In A Flash as well.

Pragmatic programmers have recognized the value of these two works together, and offer a special deal on the physical works tucked away in their latest podcast announcement:
Don’t forget our special discount on our latest agile-themed titles. Save 35% on the paperbacks if you purchase both Agile in a Flash and The Agile Samurai. Just put both paperback books in your cart, and the 35% discount will be automatically applied. While supplies last. Does not apply to prior purchases, or to ebooks; do not read while operating heavy machinery, pages may be slippery when wet.

The Big Four

There are many concerns for software design and architecture, including functionality, scaling, performance, extensibility, backward compatibility, platform compatibility, future-proofing, the list goes on and on. However, for a system to continue to be workable (maintainable, readable, extensible, correctable) there are primarily these four large concerns.

Software developers have pondered the question of "design rot" as long as there has been software, and have realized that the internal structure of a software system is vitally important to its continued success, just as external factors are critical to user acceptance.

Object-oriented design has provided tools for managing continued workability, but many developers today have not received a well-grounded education in software structure. They are instead pushed to make software that lacks internal structure, but works and is appealing in concept or user interface.

We are presenting a series of articles via the Pragmatic Bookshelf magazine, which we hope will fill in the gaps: