The power of Visualization used in my current project

I’ve been involved and coached a project with several teams during the last year. The project aims to convert a big (and important) core business system from VB6 to the .NET platform.

It’s quite a big project with about 25-40 member (depending on which phase it’s in) and so we have several different teams working in parallel during the whole project. But it’s not until lately we’ve created an board to show the status for the whole project. Mainly due to high load in other areas of work, I have to admit.

This post will be a long one. But with lot of pictures so I hope you wont be boredWinking smile

Project status board

In order to easily and effortless communicate the status of the complete project we have created a board on the project...

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KanbanBoards part II–two step forward and one back

Disclaimers and introduction

I am now the father of three kids. They are my 1 priority. This project will come second.  I’m doing the project for myself mostly, but am very humbled by the fact that several people already have shown interest in my undertakings.

Up to now I’ve also have time to look at the project half-an-hour at the time. With several hours of back-in-my-head-thinking in between. That might be good.

I have no master plan. I will make mistake as you sure will notice in this post… I do not intend to document just the result but also my sidesteps and mistakes. I am a firm believer that it’s true our mistakes that we learn the most.

OK – on with the show.

In the first part of this series I simply wrote the first specification. So it’s no time to, Read More

Developing in .Net–a new era has begun

News

The other day I just realized how much have changed in the way we develop code nowadays. Well it might just be me but it’s certainly some major changes that has taken place in the .NET development arena.

I don’t claim this to be in the right chronological order but here are some major milestones for me:

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Specification by example with SpecFlow in TFS and the question of traceability

This is the second post talking about how to integrate the use of Team Foundation Server (TFS) in a Specification by example (BDD, ATDD call it what you want) workflow. You can read the first post here for some background, but I will include some background here too, as I have thought about it some more.

Background

Specification by example is not only a way to write executable specifications (red. those words still gives me the chills) but in the way it’s used in projects lies some kind of agile methodology hidden. The early and frequent communication and documentation (in a commonly understood format, Gherkin) it fosters really get the way you work in a very agile way. More on that later. Cucumber is a very well known tool in the Ruby world, where projects often create web applications. I think...

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Managing BDD features in our project (using TFS)

From time to time I find myself in the position where I ask “stupid” questions. I’ve found that it’s often the case that the question is not that “stupid” after all and if it is you get to learn a lot in the process. I have never been verbally abused, flamed or laughed at for my questions – which often are the reasons that people don’t want to ask to “stupid” questions. So recently I’ve been asking “stupid” (final time I use that word in this post, promise) questions surrounding the management of features (.feature-files for us Cucumber freaks). And at the same time I’ve searching high and low on the net for best practices on how to managing your features through the course of a project. I didn’t find much due a couple of reason:

  • the Ruby/ cucumber inheritance of .net tools such as SpecFlow is...
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Know where you step–generate a step definition report with SpecFlow

In my recent ventures into DOS-country and the SpecFlow.exe I noticed one last flag or subcommand that the SpecFlow.exe accepts; stepdefinitionreport. This subcommand will go through all your features and see which step definitions are called, how many times they are called and also if there is any step definitions that isn’t called at all. OK – that sounds real good, but for the life for me I couldn’t get it to work. But since the source is open and available from gitHub.com I simply pulled a version down and tried to debug the code. And before long I found the solution. SpecFlow (now 2010-12-16) uses .NET framework 3.5, but my specifications were written using .NET 4.0. There are some reflection going on inside the step definition report code and that doesn’t work very well (loading assemblies from different framework versions). OK...

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SpecFlow.exe and MsTest

With your SpecFlow installation comes SpecFlow.exe that is a program that can be used to generate tests from the scenarios AND to create nicely formatted reports from the generated test results. There’s been a lot written on how to generate these reports when your using NUnit (see this and this for example), but when it comes to managing this for MsTest there’s been almost silent. And facing this problem I can sure see why… It’s a bit trickier.

In this blog post I want to show you two things; how to generate MsTest’s from your .feature-files and how to create a report from the generated results. Finally I’ll show you how to put the two together and link it up to a nice “External tool”-button in Visual Studio. Here we go:

Generate MsTest’s from your .feature-file

With this step you can generate the test from...

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App.config for SpecFlow using MsTest

Every time I need to configure MsTest to work with SpecFlow I forget the syntax of it… Especially the first part…

The fact that it took me about 30 min to write this post is evidence enough that I should not spend any more on this. Here is my reference:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<configuration>
  <configSections>
    <section name="specFlow" type="TechTalk.SpecFlow.Configuration.ConfigurationSectionHandler, TechTalk.SpecFlow"/>
  </configSections>
 <specFlow>
    <unitTestProvider name="MsTest" />
  </specFlow>
</configuration>

Also there is some additional config setting that you might want to tweak. Here is a complete version with default values:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<configuration>
  <configSections>
    <section name="specFlow" type="TechTalk.SpecFlow.Configuration.ConfigurationSectionHandler, TechTalk.SpecFlow"/>
  </configSections>
 <specFlow>
    <trace traceSuccessfulSteps="true" traceTimings="false" minTracedDuration="0:0:0.1"/>
  </specFlow>
</configuration>
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Using tags in SpecFlow features

Since I first read about Cucumber in the excellent RSpec Book the concepts of tags has been the one that I haven’t really grasped. I liked the idea as outlined here, which states that you can use tags to organize your features and only run a subset of them. And the über-cool @wip-tag that allow you to limit the number of items in progress for the team. Yam for Kanban lovers. OK – but when I got around to try it in SpecFlow I was a bit disappointed to learn that the only @ignore was supported… Or was it?

@ignore

@ignore is in other words the only tag that is supported by default and is translated to “IGNORE” in your test framework of choice (for example Ignore in NUnit or MsTest). This can be used...

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Group coding–a knowledge sharing tool

I have the good fortune to from time to time give courses in TDD. I organize these events in two parts; one theoretical background part and then a practical part. During the practical part I found great use of Code Katas in general and the Bowling Ball Kata in specific.

I really like the way that a kata helps you to focus on the thing you trying to learn and in the case of the bowling ball take you through the principles step-by-step.

However, lately I’ve also sheen that the very practice of gathering your team in a room and go through a coding exercise on a screen together, taking turns at the keyboard, has yet another great benefit. You start to talk about your code.

In this case you can together create a shared understanding, shared principles and code standard and finally build the team...

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