Scrum. Difficult Conversations. Start with Prioritization.

ScrumMike Vizdos’ post on having difficult conversations at the strategic level about Scrum and Agile is a few months old but always relevant. Whether we are trying to make the change to Agile in our own companies, or whether we are trying to work with a partner and get on the same page about agile development, we should be prepared to talk about the mystical agile silver bullet.

Agile doesn’t fix any basic organizational issues, it just allows us to gain feedback more often and reduce waste by ensuring we don’t spend 8 months going down the wrong track and then have to start over!

I was reminded of some videos from a while back about a poor project manager trying to run an agile project.  If you haven’t seen them before, take a look at the “I want to run an agile project” videos for a little bit of humour on the subject:

  1. I want to run an agile project
  2. I want to run an agile project – Part 2

ALM Summit Videos now posted

ALM Summit 3 LogoFor those of you that have been following my series on the ALM sessions at the end of January in Redmond, Microsoft has posted the videos from the summit over on Channel9.

I’ve updated my own posts to include video links, so if you prefer to read through the posts and then click through to the video, you can now do that:

Or, if you’d prefer to search yourself, go directly to the Channel9 ALM Summit 3 videos: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/ALM-Summit/ALM-Summit-3

Integration Testing with Unit Tests and MSTest

Visual StudioIn many of the projects that I have worked on, the application we’re building needs to integrate with a back-end system or a web service layer that is maintained by a third party or by another team.  In these cases, we shouldn’t assume we’ll have the ability to ensure that the other group has set up an automated test bed to verify regression.  Especially if that other system is having changes made to it to support the project!

This is where integration testing comes into play.  There are a few things that you should be doing with your unit tests to ensure your integrations continue working throughout the lifetime of your project, and also that your automated tests are running efficiently so that your team is not slowed down waiting on expensive integration unit tests that are running for long periods of time.

Continue reading “Integration Testing with Unit Tests and MSTest”

Applying Parameter Templates to the Sitecore Sublayouts

SitecoreI recently got into a discussion on LinkedIn on how to let the Sitecore authors style their pages more easily, and it seems like folks out there are still a little confused on how to use parameter templates for your sublayouts.

I guess the first thing that everybody should know is that you don’t NEED to use parameter templates to make your authors make choices.  If the choice is going to apply across the entire visualization of the page, that starts to sound like something that should be on the content item data template, not on the sublayout.

However, with DMS and personalization, we find ourselves building a lot more components into our solutions, which means the authors now need to be able to provide configurations at the sublayout level instead of the content item level.  There could be three promo boxes on a page, for example, and we cannot apply a single configuration from the content item to all three.  Parameter Templates allow us to provide the author with a sublayout configuration interface that is more familiar and straight-forward then providing key value pairs using the standard configuration fields that are available out of the box.

My colleague Nick Allen and I did a series on this a while ago, and Nick really did a deep dive into this with some great examples.  Take a read:

  1. Introduction to Sitecore Parameter Templates: Making Sublayout configuration more intuitive
  2. Introduction to Sitecore Parameter Templates: Sitecore client configuration deep dive
  3. Introduction to Parameter Templates: Accessing Sublayout parameters using the Sitecore API

ALM Summit: Day Three

ALM Summit 3 Logo The conference is all done, and I’m finally home from Seattle wishing there was more, but also really wanting to get back into the office and share what I’ve learned.

I met some incredible people this week, and had some great conversations around the breakfast table, over beers, and in the hotel shuttle rides.  I am really going to miss that warm weather, even if it was always raining, because it’s some 20-30 degrees colder back at home right now.

Like the rest of the days, Day Three started with a breakfast followed by a keynote.  We were not disappointed… Continue reading “ALM Summit: Day Three”