Don’t Tell Me About the Scrum Meetings You Had in Scrum Standup

I’ve been at 7 companies now that have practiced “scrum” stand-ups. Too many times, the stand-up becomes becomes a monotonous routine that has a barely participating audience – or used by as a way to micromanage exacting hours and tasks out of the team.

Yesterday, I was in Meetings.


An indicator that I’ve seen on several of the teams that I have been on has been the day after a day spent in scrum meetings – the team goes around the circle repeating that yesterday they were in planning meetings.

Were You Even Listening?

My worst experience with scrum stand-ups was where I was brought in, they were so boring that nobody was listening to anybody else. It was literally a meeting where people were barely awake and didn’t expect to talk to one another. Things that they said were for the scrum master to write down and share each task (and hour) with management.

Let’s Make It Better…………

Yesterday, I Won Fantasy Football


One thing that Pardot brought from Hannon Hill I’ve continued to push (because most of my teams believe in a strong work life balance) is to share Heroes and Hassles in and out of work. Sharing frustrations with traffic yesterday and the joys of attending a baseball game and seeing the home team win (other examples, great workout, funny tv show) helps a team personalize each other

How Can I Help You With That?

My team now is mastering asking how we can work together or finding out how things relate. A casual paired programming setup encourages this, and it’s the whole idea of scrum, working with others to get closer to the goal. I want my teammates to tell me passionately about the decisions they are making while coding – and I want to ask questions, especially if it’s something I can learn from (we can all always learn from another way of thinking), or issues and decisions that will affect me.

You want to pick that up? But I wanted to! Oh I guess those are related [stories]

I’m working really close to that code, watch out for this….

With ruthless transparency in mind, if standup doesn’t help you ask a question or get involved, then challenge it..

Amazon Opsworks Chef 11 Issues

At Terminus (and SingleOps before that) we’ve used Amazon OpsWorks to manage our infrastructure and ops needs. It’s slightly more customizable than Heroku, but that comes with a significant amount of ways for things to go awry.

Servers are cattle, not pets

Perhaps the most common issue seen with EC2 access and small applications is a tendency for users to do things on a specific server instance. This is a major no-no.

OpsWorks was first released with Chef 10, but by now, the default is Chef 12 and unfortunately, the original cookbooks used for Chef 10 and 11 are starting to show their age. Over the last several weeks, some of the dependencies have been upgraded to require Chef 12 or have other breaking dependencies.

First – last week,  we had an issue with buff-ignore that was resolved by adjusting our berkshelf version from 3.2 to 3.1.5; buff-ignore had updated from ruby 2.1 to ruby 2.2

This week, on Monday when we started a new server, we received another warning

Recipe Compile Error in /var/lib/aws/opsworks/cache.stage2/cookbooks/compat_resource/libraries/autoload.rb

This resource is written with Chef 12.5 custom resources, and requires at least Chef 12.0 used with the compat_resource cookbook, it will not work with Chef 11.x clients, and those users must pin their cookbooks to older versions or upgrade.

Thanks to Github issues, and some grepping of the use of compat_resource we were able to find 3 gems that were now trying to use it, so we added to our berksfile.

# Pin our Version so that we still work in chef 11
 cookbook 'build-essential', '= 3.2.0'
 cookbook 'apt', '= 3.0.0'
 cookbook 'ming', '=1.2.3'


Habitat Thailand: concrete floor

Yesterday, we poured concrete to create a floor for the house. My task was mostly lifting and carrying 50kg bags of concrete mix closer to the mixing bowls. We made great time on the day and finished earlier than expected, a bit of a blocker because we can’t work on the walls as we wait for the floor to dry overnight.

Lifting form.was important for me because if you lifted with your back all day, you’d be in trouble. Indeed few others on the work site would even attempt to carry the bags on their own. The good news is though it’s my legs and shoulders which are sore and not my back. Remember, your thighs are strong, when lifting, prefer weight on them instead of elsewhere.

For dinner, we ate at Riverside restaurant. I’m still trying to make my food here as spicy as the King and I in Atlanta, but even asking for Thai spicy and the extra pepper sauce has not been successful. It’s funny because the servers chuckle when you add spice thinking that you will burn up.

We also made it to the Regina on the river antiques, lodging, bar, and cat lounge for the cat lovers in the group to have some cuddly time.

Habitat Thailand starting to Build

After our cultural activity yesterday, we had an orientation to learn what we needed about the site, team, and safety. Which meant that today, Wednesday was our first day of building.

As soon as we arrived, we met the husband and wife that would be living in the home we are building, and the exciting news is that they will be building with us all week long. We also have some of the local habitat staff and members mentors helping us a bunch.

Today was about the floor and septic tank. Kevin, Matt, DuPon and I did the majority of the digging of a septic hole, it was a 1m wide, 1m deep, 2 meter long hope to fit two concrete cylinders that will house waste as it breaks down. Luckily for me, it’s all empty right now.

The house is located near rice parties and this seems like old farmland being transformed into a new Thai neighborhood.

The other task was to shovel fine dirt from mounds into the foundation of the house, establishing a base to our concrete on tomorrow.

It was warm and I built up a nice sweat.



Habitat Thailand Day One

I arrived on Monday afternoon to Chang Mai and met up with my roommate and team lead at the Royal Llana hotel where we did a team dinner and got to know everybody. There is a lot of diversity on the team, about 1/2 live outside the United States permanently andbtravel much more regularly than I do. There is a good collection of young, middle aged, and older people on the trip.



On Tuesday, we did our cultural activity, a bit strange given that we are still getting to know our team and especially our Thai hosts, and have little to celebrate yet. Though understanding the hill people and Buddhism is probably of great importance of working with local volunteers, contractors, and the people we will be building houses for. One surprise is how many tourists there are here, from many Western countries.