Tag Archives: Event

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’t Precious, People Are: What we’ve 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 https://github.com/CloudAfrica/vagrant_example.git


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


Cape Town May Event: Predictability vs Adaptability, who wins?

When:  3 May 2012, 6:00PM.   We are back to our Thursday slot

Who: Mandy Schoeman

Topic: Predictability vs Adaptability, who wins?

Venue: Allan Gray Portswood office in the Presentation Room on the third floor.

You can download a map here. Everyone parking in the Portswood parking area will have to pay for their own parking tickets. There is also parking available in Beach Road.


Sign up



While classic waterfall is based on defined methods and stands for predictability, Agile is empirical and stands for adaptability.  Agile is not just about avoiding the pitfalls of developing the wrong software or product but is used to reduce overheads and keep them as low as possible. Considering both these methods have their own strengths and weaknesses, which one would you use to get the best business value and biggest return on investment (ROI)?

This practical workshop uses a fun game to demonstrate the benefits of choosing Agile over the traditional methods. Each attendee will receive the complete game instructions to enforce the benefits of BEING agile in their approach to software or product development.


A bit about Mandy Schoeman:


Mandy is a passionate people’s person with an enthusiasm for Scrum and Agile. She is a Professional Scrum Trainer with more than twenty years experience in the field of Further Education and Training.

Mandy uses training, coaching, agile games and facilitation techniques to help teams stay inspired focused and motivated, enabling them to reach their goals and achieve successful project delivery.

You can follow Mandy on Twitter (@MandySchoeman), check-out her website or connect with her on LinkedIn

Event Report: Root Cause Analysis and A3 thinking

The session started with an explanation of the 5 Whys, which Carlo likened to an annoying toddler. I had never thought of it that way – but it is very accurate!

In our groups we picked between 2 techniques: 5 whys and cause & effect diagrams, and applied them to an exercise – 3mile island. Reading about 3 mile island – you couldn’t help but be shocked and amused at the number of things that had to go wrong for disaster to occur – and how quickly they had happened.


During the exercise the parts that stuck out the most for me were:

  • Break the problem down to the human level, if you’re still at a machine level – dig deeper.
  • Each step can have action items, but you should expend most of your energy at the root level.
  • How you phrase your question is important, try various questions and see where their path leads you.
  • Try not to find THE root cause. There are usually many. Don’t worry if you don’t have clear 5 steps, most of us had tree’s.

Think of 5 whys and Cause & Effect diagrams as training wheels. Use them to practice the skill and discipline of asking questions and delving deeper into the problem. Another technique is a fishbone diagram – but I have no idea how that works.

We then looked at the A3 template: http://www.crisp.se/lean/a3-template. This is a techniques to force you to do more than just analyze the problem. Each A3 has both an owner and a mentor.

You look at the current condition, and explain the background – why is this important?

Root Cause analysis is one part of an A3 and should be done with the group closest to the problem – those involved.

Carlo mentioned some books to read for those interested:

Thank you to our sponsor, Alacrity for the snacks and drinks 🙂

JHB Event February 2012: Tools for Scrum

It has been quite a start to the year alright and we missed our ordinary last Tues of the month event for the JHB Scrum usergroup.

We have pinned down our next topic though which is sure to be a catalyst for some heavy debates.


The use of Pivotal Tracker and Jira in Scrum development teams.

Speaker 1: How we use Pivotal Tracker for scrum at IS

In this talk, I’ll walk you through some of PT’s fundamental features, and how we use them at IS to keep the scrum process ticking over. I’ll also talk about some of the untapped potential that PT offers, and give a sneak peek of an an important upcoming feature that’s currently in beta.

Bio of Gabriel Fortuna

I started working at Internet Solutions 10 years ago as a support technician, and since then have done software development, network management, and various other things to keep me out of mischief. Currently, I am a team manager running a small, but diverse team of software developers at Internet Solutions. We rely on scrum to understand to Get Things Done, and to maintain our sanity.

Speaker 2: There are pro’s and cons to JIRA so it’s important to know what you are getting into. I would like to present JIRA its strengths and weaknesses.

Bio of Kevin Shine

I have been in the software development industry for over 10 years, I have worked in various languages but spent most of my career working with Java. I worked as a system analyst for a few years and decided to move into a development manager position to try and facilitate change around the way developmentwas approached. I have been using scrum for software development for over 5 years. In terms of agile certification and I have a CSM and Scrum master I certificate.

I find a popular question with scrum is should we use a tool or not?

Most of my experience with scrum involves doing things manually, but this has presented some problems of its own and therefore the search for a tool to solve these problems. I believe selecting the wrong tool is worse than having no tool. That said I have tried a number of tools and approaches and would like to present JIRA as a tool I recommend for scrum.

Discovery Sandton
155 West Street
South Africa

When? 28 February 2012

To register go to: here

Cape Town: Release Planning with Scrum: Controlling the Chaos

Join SUGSA Cape Town on 2 February when we have Release Planning with Scrum: Controlling the Chaos.

When: 2 February 2012, 6:00PM

Topic: Release Planning with Scrum: Controlling the Chaos                    

Sign up: Please sign up here in order to help us with catering.

Allan Gray Portswood office in the Presentation Room on the third floor. You can download a map here. Everyone parking in the Portswood parking area will have to pay for their own parking tickets. There is also parking available in Beach Road.

The Agile Manifesto tells us that we should be responding to change over following a plan.  This encourages us to plan into the future at the last responsible moment.  But we still may need a plan.  A plan can help inform our customers what may be in the next release or by when their favourite feature may appear.  They can help inform stakeholders on the cost of the current focus and hence whether the investment makes sense at this time.  These are Good Things for a business.  The essence of agile planning is to understand that the plan may change.  The plan must be reassessed for validity every time new data comes into the system – usually at the end of a sprint. Plans often allow us to appear more certain than we may actually be.  The hardest part with planning in Scrum is ensuring that everyone understands that things change and we will respond as soon as they do.  Effective agile planning allows us to more reliably respond to the changing business and market needs as early as possible.

In this talk I will discuss some of the techniques that I have used over the last couple of years to do release planning.  I’ll touch on of some of the things that have worked for me and some that haven’t.  The ideas will range from some simple maths, to reporting release progress through a release burnup and overviews, to the how to deal with change and ensuring that people understand what it means.  I hope by the end of the talk I will have shared some ideas and generated some conversation around controlling the chaos that can surround a software development release.

About Patrick Vine:
Patrick VineI started my career more than a decade ago at Microsoft in Redmond. Since then I’ve moved through different companies as developer, architect and manager in diverse technologies and industries.  I first started to dabble in Scrum a couple of years back while working at Yellowtail Software where I helped the roll out of Scrum. While there I gained an appreciation for how well you can manage software using Scrum.  I’ve worked on Fixed Price, Fixed Team, Fixed Budget projects. I am passionate about working with Scrum, learning more about software development and helping teams get better on a daily basis.


Sponsored by

Growing Agile


Well, it’s all over (until next year). A record breaking event for us, spanning two cities, three days, 260 people, four continents and eighteen speakers.

Below you will find all the pics from the Cape Town event

Cape Town: World Cafe conversations

Join SUGSA Cape Town on 6 October when we have World Cafe conversations.

When: 6 October 2011, 6:00PM

Topic: World Cafe conversations

Sign up: Please sign up here in order to help us with catering.

Allan Gray Portswood office in the Presentation Room on the third floor. You can download a map here. Everyone parking in the Portswood parking area will have to pay for their own parking tickets. There is also parking available in Beach Road.

One of the most effective ways to think beyond the boundaries of one’s own frame of reference is the input of others. World Cafe as a facilitation technique and catalyst for drawing from other people’s experience and opinions is true to our most fundamental form of communication: conversations.

The session will be highly interactive and probably leave you feeling a bit exhausted… But hey, no-one ever said that exhilarating discussion and loads of fun must be easy!

The main outcome of the evening will be that you, as a participant in the World Cafe process, will be able to facilitate a World Cafe at your workplace, in your community or at any gathering of people with a specific issue to resolve.
A secondary outcome will be that we, as the Scrum User Group, will deepen our purpose and direction.

Alwyn van Wyk and a graphic recorder/cartoonist

(ps: The image accompanying this post can be found on Avril Orloff’s web site along with other great examples of graphic recordings of World Cafe conversations.)

JHB August 2011 Event

When: Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Venue: Alacrity, Muirfield Building. Fourways Golf Park, Roos Street, Fourways, 2191. See map.

Topic: Scrum: beyond process, what it means to be Agile                                                                            Register


You’ve implemented Scrum to the letter and the process is running well, but you are still experiencing problems within your software development lifecycle? Your velocity is spiraling down and you’re running into serious design issues. The team is getting more and more dissatisfied and frustrated with the implemented process and each other.

In this talk we take an in depth look at the real world challenges you face after adopting Agile and what it means to truly embrace and leverage it to its full potential. Whether you use Scrum, XP, Kanban or just want to improve your existing software development process these challenges have to be overcome if you want to deliver a quality product.

The talk will focus largely on development practice and teamwork through lessons learnt while implementing SCRUM. “When one has finished building one’s house, one suddenly realizes that in the process one has learned something that one really needed to know in the worst way – before one began.” Friedrich Nietzsche

About the speaker:

Johan Pretorius is the Development Manager at Xpedia Consulting. He has implemented Scrum at two companies over the last 6 years and is passionate about delivering quality software that changes the lives of the people creating and using it.


Event Report: Retrospectives – Get Better at Getting Better.

It was a cold and wet night, but many people still made it out to participate.  Many thanks to Cara for facilitating this discussion into retrospectives and for sharing her knowledge and learning from her experiences.

The flow of the sessions was standard retrospective style.   The agenda was laid out and we got down to the business of group discussion.

We broke into 6 groups to focus on the 6 parts of the retro.   But first – the whole group brainstormed the outcomes and the key factors for a successful retrospective.

We then brainstormed in our six groups – each on a board focusing on one of the stages of the retrospective.

After gathering the data, we each had 1 minute per board to read the boards – and then to dot vote the board of most interest / issue to you.  Each person had 2 dots.  We dug into the actions board and then started a more general Q&A which dug into some of the other boards.

So what we generated for the stages of the retrospective are below:

Everyone learnt something new and many learnt a lot new.  Many thanks again to Cara for sharing her experiences and facilitating the discussions. 

We closed with a quick raffle for a ticket to the Cape Town gathering.  Congratulations again to Tania who won the ticket.  We followed this with the usual drinks and snacks for more discussions around retrospectives and other things Scrum.  We look forward to seeing everyone at the Gathering next month!

Agile Retrospectives by Esther Darby and Diana Larson @ http://pragprog.com/book/dlret/agile-retrospectives.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink @ http://www.danpink.com/drive
RSA Animate overview on Drive is @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

Cape Town: Retrospectives: Get better at getting better

Join SUGSA Cape Town on 4 August when Cara Turner discusses Retrospectives.

When: 4 August 2011, 6:00PM

Topic: Retrospectives: Get better at getting better

Sign up: Please sign up here in order to help us with catering.

Allan Gray Portswood office in the Presentation Room on the third floor. You can download a map here. Everyone parking in the Portswood parking area will have to pay for their own parking tickets. There is also parking available in Beach Road.

The coolest idea across the Agile methodologies is continuous improvement – the real opportunity to get better at whatever we do, built into the work we’re doing. And the coolest tool for driving change and surfacing the potential waiting to be tapped, is the team retrospective.

This mostly interactive session is an exploration of facilitation techniques that stimulate, focus and energize engaged teams, offer fresh ways to look at issues and opportunities, and create the conditions for team ownership, self-organization and excellence.

About Cara Turner
I’m an Agile-passionate Scrum Master, and take the Prime Directive to heart through all the ups and downs of software development. Given the right circumstances, I believe all teams are capable of creating the best software there is – but getting to those right circumstances is the challenge facing most organizations. Facilitation has become a vital tool in my kit for harnessing the knowledge of those closest to the work, to direct their own meaningful change.