Review: User Story Mapping – OReilly Publishing

User Story Mapping
By Jeff Patton
O’Reilly Publishing

Content:

The Big Picture

Plan to Build Less

Plan to Learn Faster

Plan to Finish on Time

You Already Know How

The Real Story About Stories

Telling Better Stories

It’s Not All on the Card

The Card Is Just the Beginning

Bake Stories Like Cake

Rock Breaking

Rock Breakers

Start with Opportunities

Using Discovery to Build Shared Understanding

Using Discovery for Validated Learning

Refine, Define, and Build

Stories Are Actually Like Asteroids

Learn from Everything You Build

First off, I am definitely not the book’s target audience. The book states it is for product managers and user experience practitioners, product owners, business analysts, and project managers, or agile and lean process coaches. So that being said, I still think that user stories are important and I was hoping to learn something about improving them and using them for my job as a software developer and consultant.

As far as a book on user story mapping, this book is well-written, the author seems to have a lot of experience, and the book is written with humor.

However, for my own use, I don’t think I will realistically be employing any of these techniques as they are a bit involved and over the top.  Clearly the techniques in the book are written for people for whom user story mapping is a full time job.  No one else would ever have the time to devote to all of this.  Again, I wasn’t the target audience and that’s my own fault, however there wasn’t really anything I could glean and apply to myself, unfortunately.

Race Report: Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon

I suppose I should do a race report.  Last weekend I ran the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon.  But it wasn’t really about the running.  Or the race.  This time, it was about the people.  Many years ago, I got into running and I joined a running site, www.RunningAHEAD.com.  The site has several running forums and boards, and most importantly to this post, user groups.  One of the groups is for women only, the LLR.  From that online user group many many friendships have grown.  Over time, my participation in the group was reduced, especially once I stopped running.  However, I still interacted with a couple of the ladies via Facebook and/or Twitter.

Last January, I posted to Facebook from Las Vegas.  Wouldn’t you know it, so did my friend Lisa.  My “internet” friend Lisa, I should say since we’d never actually met in person.  Upon realizing she was there, I asked her where she was and for how long.  She was at a hotel I could see from my window, for about 40 more minutes and then she was leaving Vegas!  I of course jumped in a cab and rushed to meet her.

Sometime after that I also became friends with a few more ladies from the group on Facebook.  This past June, I got back into running (and even ran a race).  So when Lisa said I should come join the ladies and run a half marathon in Toronto, I said yes.  (Never mind that I was nowhere near really BACK to running, as I said, this was about the people).

Fast forward to last weekend, where I got on a plane (in the exit row) to Toronto.  And see a couple across the aisle from me (in the exit row).  When we land in Toronto, I hear her mention “LLR”, and I think to myself it must be a coincidence.  I get through customs and check Facebook.  One of the other ladies that is getting picked up by our hostess Lisa said she is in baggage claim.  I ask via Facebook messenger if she sat in the exit row with her husband.  Spoiler alert: she did!  We met up, found a few others, and eventually I ended up at Lisa’s house.

Friday night and Saturday and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, I met several women from the LLR (and some of their husbands, too).  Several of them were meeting each other for the first time as well.  I very well COULD have felt like the odd man out since I didn’t participate in the last few years in the group online.  I imagine many of the women could easily have thought to themselves, who IS this woman?  But I never once felt out of place or uncomfortable.  They are an amazing, wonderful, hilarious, welcoming bunch of women.  I am so glad to have met them and gotten to know them.

Oh yeah, and there was a race, and it was awful, and it was my worst finish time for a half by something like 30 minutes (official finish time: 2:53:55) and I felt like poop run over by a truck, but I ran it with Lisa and it was so worth it.  The end.

Some of the ladies of the LLR

Some of the ladies of the LLR — photo credit Meghan Braithwaite taken by Erica Boos, I think

 

View of Toronto

View of Toronto

 

Pre-race

Pre-race

 

Mid-race WHILE running

Mid-race WHILE running

Post-race

Post-race intentionally making bad faces. Lisa wins.

 

How Kids Are Like Computers

I realized the other day, kids are just like computers.

  • Kids and computers only do explicitly what they are told.
  • Sometimes the instructions don’t compile, both kids and computers will do nothing at this point.
  • Sometimes the instructions compile, but there is a bug.  Both kids and computers will follow instructions to that point and then stop.
  • Kids and computers both have pretty worthless reasons (error messages) as to why they didn’t follow the instructions.
  • You can search on the internet for ways to fix your instructions, but they often still don’t work.

Current Direction of the IBM Domino Market

You might have seen the tweets by now:

Spend 30 seconds & help our community find the current direction of IBM Domino in the marketplace bit.ly/PSCXPagesSurvey #ibm #xpages

PSC has put together a survey in order to get feedback from Notes and Domino users worldwide and we will be sharing the results of the survey publicly.

The survey itself takes under a minute and will be open until October 3, 2014.  The more people that take the survey, the more meaningful the results will be.  Go here to take the survey,  http://bit.ly/PSCXPagesSurvey and please share the link.

Review: Java Cookbook

Java Cookbook
by Ian F. Darwin
Publisher: O’Reilly Publishing

Content

  1. Getting Started: Compiling, Running, and Debugging
  2. Interacting with the Environment
  3. Strings and Things
  4. Pattern Matching with Regular Expressions
  5. Numbers
  6. Dates and Times – New API
  7. Structuring Data with Java
  8. Object-Oriented Techniques
  9. Functional Programming Techniques: Functional Interfaces, Streams, Parallel Collections
  10. Input and Output
  11. Directory and Filesystem Operations
  12. Media: Graphics, Audio, Video
  13. Network Clients
  14. Graphical User Interfaces
  15. Internationalization and Localization
  16. Server-Side Java
  17. Java and Electronic Mail
  18. Database Access
  19. Processing JSON Data
  20. Processing XML
  21. Packages and Packaging
  22. Threaded Java
  23. Reflection, or “A Class Named Class”
  24. Using Java with Other Languages

There are over 800 pages in this third edition of the Java Cookbook. The book states that it is not for beginners, and that is correct.  While some basics of Java are covered in order to move on to other topics, this is not a book for learning Java. Incidentally, the book includes a great resources section including many books for learning Java and general programming.

As you can see from the table of contents, this is a very thorough book covering many topics. I liked the format of “Problem”, “Solution”, and “Discussion”, however, it doesn’t “read” like a book. These are “recipes” lumped together by topic, but not necessarily sequential.  It made it hard for me to either browse the book or find any one particular problem.

The Java Cookbook is filled with loads of examples and sample code. There are tons of solutions to be found. I found it incredibly thorough, but very dry and a bit difficult to navigate.

Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free

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