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Join the SUGSA Committee

Enjoy SUGSA events, want to get a bit more involved? Why not join next year’s committee?¬†Nominations for the 2013 Cape Town SUGSA Committee, are now open to all SUGSA members.

We promise you dinner and drinks with international agile celebrities (when they come for our annual event), highly entertaining committee meetings, an opportunity to be part of a great team all passionate about building a great community, a chance to organise a world class events, your name and photo on our fantastic website ūüôā

All we ask in return is commitment for 1 year to working as part of a team of 7 people to organise monthly events, an annual conference, a great website, and any other new ideas people have to enrich our community. You can expect to spend about 1-2 hours a week on committee business during normal months, with a peak of about 4 hours a week for the 3 months around the annual event.

If you would like to nominate yourself to be on the committee, please forward a picture, short bio, and statement about why members should vote for you to before 21 November 2012.

After 21 November 2012, the list of nominees will be posted on our website, and voting will take place electronically leading up to the December monthly event. Each SUGSA member is entitled to vote. The committee will be chosen based on the 7 nominees who have received the most votes. The new committee will be announced at the December SUGSA event, and will be expected to perform committee duties from January 2013.

Code Lab Slides and Videos

We will be adding links to all the slides and videos from Code Lab in this post. Please bear with us as we assemble these.

Closing Keynote:

Ideas Aren‚Äôt Precious, People Are: What we‚Äôve learned so far at the Nordstrom Innovation Lab –¬†Jeremy Lightsmith



Video’s shown in the talk


DEVOPS & Continuous Deployment –¬†Len Weincier

Code is up on GitHub at


Hands on Agile Software Architecture and Design –¬†Martin Cronje


Git Workshop – Kevin Trethewey

Unit Testing for SQL- Alain King


You want me to do what??? – Neil Zeeman

Fast Tracking GUI development – Herman Lindvelt

xUnit Test Patterns – Peter Wiles


Event Report: Code Lab

Event Report by Pavel Dabrytski

I had an opportunity to attend Code Lab conference which took place 31 July – 1 August at Erinvale Hotel and Spa in Somerset West. And I must say it was great: great people, great topics, great venue…

But let me start from the beginning. This year the SUGSA committee decided to skip Scrum Gathering like last year and organise something little bit geekier. I was sceptical: tickets only became available one month before the event and the program was only finalized around the same time. But within matter of 2-3 weeks all tickets were sold out! How? Well, check out the topics

Most of the sessions were hands on, so a day before the event I prepared: installed necessary tools and packed my computer mouse and charger. But in fact during the event I was able to pair with other guys. Which I personally prefer, as this way I not only learn something new but also meet interesting people.

The biggest nightmare for the organisers was internet connectivity. When more than a hundred people tried to connect their laptops, iPhones, iPads (and whatever other devices people have invented) to the free Wi-Fi at once… well, it failed.

But let us go back to the event. There was mixture of local and international speakers (Jeremy Lightsmith and William Rowden). And there was something you don’t always see during such time of events: all the speakers were honest and open. They were open about their success and failures. These people really inspired the crowd! Have a look at this video for example, starring our international speaker Jeremy Lightsmith .

Attending this event was a good way to stay up to date with new tools and new technologies. There was plenty of time during the coffee breaks to socialize and network. And after the first day many people stayed in the local pub for a drink. It was an opportunity to meet people with experience and who have already done their research, you avoid making the same mistakes in future.

I also came out of this event with a significant list of books I would like to read. This list will probably keep me busy till the next year.

Erinvale Hotel and Spa team was at their best too, making sure everyone has fresh coffee and muffins and delicious lunch.

So if you attended the event with me, I would like to ask you the question:

What will you do differently?

Coaching Circle Retrospective

Another round of coaching circles has come to an end. As usual we wrapped up with a retrospective.

We had a good representative from most of the circles for a great retro, despite the miserable weather. Red wine and a roaring fire definitely helped.

We started with a checkin for people to share their story about why they joined coaching circles. Followed by some brainstorming on what benefits people received, what they learned, things they tried because of the circles, as well as things they regret.

But all retro’s come down to actions. We tried to keep it simple. We loked at things we should keep and things we should add. Here is what we found.

Things to keep:

  • The fortnightly cadence and 90 minute duration
  • Intention setting at the end of each circle
  • Discussions about more broader topics that just Scrum
  • Big group circles, they did work!

Things to add:

  • Clearer expectations of what each circle is about, e.g. topics, level, etc
  • Enough mentors for each circle
  • Commitment from circle attendees to be at all sessions
  • Homework between sessions
  • Sharing more personal stories

We agreed that to achieve these we would essentially do 2 things

  1. Change the kickoff to include the first session where working agreements are set, commitment made clear, expectations of each circle discuss while everyone is together in a large group.
  2. Provide some guidelines to facilitators to help ensure they cover things we have learned in the past.

So if you are keen to join the next round of circles, be sure to be at the Kickoff this time.

Announcing the 2012 Scrum Gathering…, NOT!

You might have heard us mention that there will not be a Scrum Gathering this year. We know you were looking forward to it. But us wacky agile folks love change, so we thought it was time to mix it up!

Agile Africa will be a large scale agile conference in Johannesburg in late August that should fill your needs for international speakers, and agile talks.

So SUGSA is bringing you 3 different events instead!

1. Scrum in the Pub – happening in July (we hope). Details coming soon. It will involve beer and questions so you can prove your agile prowess to all your fellow agile geeks. There is even a rumour of prizes…. Of course, since it’s an agile quiz, we will be competing in teams. So start studying up your agile and Scrum trivia and picking your team mates.

2. Code Lab – a two day technical conference dedicated to team members who want to get better at good things like pairing and TDD. We hope to have 2 international gurus here as well (but names are under wraps until it’s confirmed…). Find out more here.

3. Agile Coach Retreat – Coach camps are popular in¬† Europe and the USA. But in Africa camping means tents, and there definitely won’t be tents if I have any say, so we are calling it a retreat. What is it? A weekend getaway to a remote location with a bunch of like minded agile coaches/scrum masters for 3 days of unconference open space. We will talk, we will share, we will eat and drink, we will learn, we will laugh, and mostly we will have fun. Keep an eye out for details later in the year, we hope to do this as the year winds down in November.

And of course on top of this we will keeping bringing you regular monthly events in Cape Town and Johannesburg. We hope you won’t miss the Scrum Gathering too much given all of this instead ūüėČ

Coaching Circle Retrospective

The first round of coaching circles for 2012 came to an end in April; closing with a retrospective as usual.

Feedback from the group in general was that they enjoyed the circles, particularly those new to the group who started with a mentoring circle. All agree a mentoring circle is a good place to start if you are new to Scrum, or new to the coaching circles. These more structured circles give people a good idea of what to expect in future.

There were a few comments about circles that didn’t work as well this round due to a small number of people, which reminded us that these circles work well if the participants are committed to attending all of the session for a particular round. Spotty attendance tends to impact the whole group.

Fueled by some wine and an inspiration for radical brainstorming we came up with some novel suggestions including doing coaching circles while lying on the floor staring at the ceiling rather than other members, bring along our pets (always present at my coaching circles:), and starting our own reality tv show.

So out came the sticky dots for some dot voting on the ideas we thought would most benefit the next round. They were:

Everyone agreed drinks and snacks make circles better so at the start each circle should discuss how they will deal with it, will everyone bring every session, or will it rotate, etc.

We also agreed that sometimes there would be benefit bringing visitors. Although the trust and safety of the circle is important, we thought this time around circle members could bring a visitor to a circle as long as the rest of the group agreed in advance.

Since venues is a common problem, the idea was raised of having a circle type next round where the venue rotates to each person in the circle’s house. This would mean a new venue each time, but would be less onerous on a single person to provide a venue for every session. We will see how popular the idea is at the kickoff.

And finally it was agreed that people enjoy sharing their work stress with like minded individuals and so we agreed that all circles should allow some time each session for people just to unwind and share their current work problems, before tackling the topic for the session.

That’s it. Thanks to those who attended the retro for the interesting discussion. The next kickoff will be on 7 May at Allan Gray, facilitated by Sam, since I will be in Germany ūüôā If you want to join a circle starting in May be sure to attend the kick off. You can signup for the event or find our more about coaching circles.

Lean IT Workshop

The Lean Institute of Africa is a non-profit company with the aim of promoting lean management in South Africa and the rest of Africa.

They are running a Lean IT workshop in Johannesburg on 16 May. Cost is R3500.

For more information please see their website:; the attached flyer or contact Lisa Mulder at 021 406 1477 or

Cape Town Event: Root Cause Analysis & A3 Thinking


4 April 2012, 6:00PM

Please note this event is on a WEDNESDAY, rather than the usual Thursday, due to the Easter weekend. Read More…

Event Report: Building self-organising teams with Information Radiators

The self-organising team. The stuff of dreams, the dreams of team members and “management”. How do we throw off the shackles of accidental oppression and liberate teams to do their best work?¬†David will share some of his insights from¬†his experiences building and re-building teams. Key to great teams is communication, both internally and externally.

Information radiators are the things we stick on our walls and plaster on our development environments. We see them every day, they radiate information. The art of crafting an effective radiator is something that David has been trying his hand at for a while, and he’ll introduce his take on the core library and some friends.

Particularly interesting is how radiators can hurt or improve a team’s autonomy, innovation and quality. The tension that binds radiators and self organisation is expressed by Peter Drucker: “What gets measured, gets managed.” Let’s explore how we measure, who does it, and what do we really want?

David will be presenting on this topic at Agile Africa in May. This SUGSA sneak-peek will be the first time this talk has been presented, so please bring your critical thinking caps and add to the conversation.
Say something about information refrigerators and making it easy for the team to do it and hence wanting to do it.¬† Lofi around accuracy – don’t imply accuracy.¬†¬† I think there was a YAGNI comment in there.


Hmmm… can’t remember much else.¬† Other than Aslam digging into multiple views of the data is good but make the data DRY.

Job on a Scrum Team

Looking for some growth or a new opportunity?

Interested in working in a Scrum team, please see the job spec below fo a company looking for a C# .NET developer to join a Scrum team in Cape Town.

We are looking for a senior developer for a 1 year contract with the below skills set. There is a good chance of extending the contract if both parties are satisfied after the initial period. The position is available immediately, the candidate will be working at our offices in Cape Town city centre or remotely from home.

Essential skills at a senior level:

  • Relational database design
  • SQL / T-SQL
  • C#
  • Stored Procedures
  • LINQ
  • HTML
  • Javascript
  • MS Visual Studio
  • .NET 4.0
  • Sequel Server 2008 R2
  • IIS (Internet Information Services)
  • Any Source Control system (e.g. SVN)
  • Continuous Integration (Cruise Control)
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

Optional skills:

  • MS Test
  • GUI Design
  • MDX
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
  • Web Client Factory Software (WCFS)
  • Entity Framework
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • SSIS
  • SSRS
  • SSAS
  • Scrum / Agile
  • Specflow
  • Selenium
  • Experience in working on global systems & entities framework would be an advantage.

We are an IT company founded in 1996 and have developed several internet applications of our own. Our current project involves the enhancement and development of new modules for a global, multilingual internet application.
The candidate will be working in a 6 member team of developers using the latest  Microsoft technologies. We are looking for a candidate with extensive experience in the required skills in the context of web application development, enthusiasm and commitment to quality and delivering on time.

If you are interested in this position please contact