We’ve been waiting until AYE 2009 is safely behind us before doing some maintenance and structural work on the AYE website. If you notice anything go awry, please let us know.


When Your Projects Are a Program

If you have too many simultaneous projects, maybe they are a program? Check out When Your Projects Are a Program and see.


Communicating with Management

My article Framing Your Thoughts for Management just posted in the article section offers tips for anyone who wants to more effectively share their thoughts with management.


Any Amount of Whining is Too Much

Ban whining. It’s destructive communication inside organizations. Read this story, Coaching Whiners, about how a manager coached an employee to transform a whine into a complaint with recommendation.

posted by Steven M. Smith on 08.06.09 @ 8:00 pm |


Facilitating a Temperature Reading

I have posted my article about facilitating a Temperature Reading.

The article was lifted from the handouts for the AYE Warmup Tutorial so it also serves as an example of the quality of the material that Don Gray and I share during that session. I thoroughly recommend that you join Don and me for that session. It’s a lot of fun.

Controversial? During a Temperature Reading, the facilitator does NOT accept a complaint without the sender providing a recommendation for fixing the problem. In other words, no whining. If you disagree with this idea, please leave a comment. I would be happy to backup the reasoning with a separate article.

posted by Steven M. Smith on 07.20.09 @ 7:52 pm |


The Virtual Cyber Cudgel – Working with or against your users?

How many different ways can you aggravate and confuse the people who are subjected to using your software? In this week’s new article The Virtual Cyber Cudgel, Jerry Weinberg shares some of the data input hoops he’s jumped through.

posted by Don Gray on 07.15.09 @ 1:35 pm |


Why Choose AYE?

In these days when money is short, lots of people cannot afford to participate all the conferences they might have attended last year. Money may be the first criterion for choosing conferences, but it’s not the only one.

Here are a half-dozen criterion to consider:

We hope you’ll choose AYE. We love to meet new people and enjoy our old friends.

Take advantage of the Summer Discount $1500 per person, $ 300 less than the full registration. Read more about the discount below!

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The Tenth Annual AYE Conference will be November 8 – 12, 2009 in Phoenix, AZ
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You can see the schedule and session descriptions on our Program Page.

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Summer Discount Ends July 31, 2009
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From May 1 to July 31 conference registration is $1500. After July 31 the standard registration of $ 1800 applies.

If you have any problems registering, call and discuss them with our registrar, Susie Brame at (503) 799-5132. You can also contact Susie at susie.brame@ayeconference.com or register online at http://www.ayeconference.com/register . We’re committed to helping you come and thrive at AYE, regardless of the obstacles.

Team Registration Special Continues
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Right now you have two ways to save money while attending this year’s conference:
When you and your teammates register and attend together, you qualify for our team discount. That’s $1200 per person for 3 or more, $300 per person less than the Summer Discount price and $600 less than the full fee.

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Meet and learn with the AYE Hosts at these events:
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Jerry will be participating in CAST 2009, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, July 13-16. On July 13, he will be presenting a tutorial: Ensuring Testing’s Proper Place in the Organization

Don will lead the Agilely Delivering Business Value simulation at agile-knoxville on July 14, 2009.

Esther and Diana Larsen will be leading Secrets of Agile Teamwork July 21-23 in Redmond WA.

Johanna will be part of a panel discussion on Agile Teamwork: The People Issues on July 23 at the Agile Bazaar in Boston, MA

Esther and Johanna will be at AgileRX in Phildelphia July 30-August 1.

Don, Esther, Jerry and Johanna will be presenting at Bizconf August 20 – 21, 2009. Part two of Jerry’s interview with Obie Fernandez is posted at blog.bizconf.org. (Read the first part of Jerry’s interview about consulting, dealing with clients and permanent employment.)

posted by Don Gray on 07.13.09 @ 11:05 am |


Is Your Mission Helping You Decide What Work to Do?

Some groups have well-defined missions. Some don’t. The problem when you don’t have a mission is you can’t always know what work to do. In Make Your Mission Possible, I suggest ways to define a mission.

posted by Johanna Rothman on 07.08.09 @ 3:10 pm |


Summer Discount Changed to July 31

We noticed two different dates on the AYE web-site for the Summer Discount: June 30 and July 31. Since some of you may have been planning to register in July, wer’re changing the June 30th date to July 31. We apologize for any confusion.

From May 1 to July 31 conference registration is $1500. After July 31 the standard registration of $ 1800 applies.

Right now you have two ways to save money while attending this year’s conference:

  1. When you and your teammates register and attend together, you qualify for our team discount. That’s $1200 per person for 3 or more, $300 per person less than the Summer Discount price and $600 less than the full fee. Plus you can take advantage of a free day of consulting by an AYE Host. See the “Five Golden Opportunities …” blog entry for details.
  2. Take advantage of the Summer Discount $1500 per person, $ 300 less than the full registration.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you have any problems registering, call and discuss them with our registrar, Susie Brame at (503) 799-5132. You can also contact Susie at susie.brame@ayeconference.com or register online. We’re committed to helping you come and thrive at AYE, regardless of the obstacles.
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Meet and learn with the AYE Hosts at these events:

Esther will do an interactive session on Agile Retrospectives with the Agile NM group in Albuquerque on June 24.

Don will host a session on Agile Practices on June 26 at CodeStock 2009 in Knoxville, TN.

Jerry will be participating in CAST 2009, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, July 13-16. On July 13, he will be presenting a tutorial: Ensuring Testing’s Proper Place in the Organization

Don will lead the Agilely Delivering Business Value simulation at agile-knoxville on July 14, 2009.

Esther and Diana Larsen will be leading Secrets of Agile Teamwork July 21-23 in Redmond WA.

Johanna will be part of a panel discussion on Agile Teamwork: The People Issues on July 23 at the Agile Bazaar in Boston, MA

Esther and Johanna will be at AgileRX in Philedelphia July 30-August 1.

Don, Esther, Jerry and Johanna will be presenting at Bizconf August 20 – 21, 2009. Read the first part of Jerry’s interview about consulting, dealing with clients and permanent employment.

posted by Don Gray on 06.23.09 @ 9:17 am |


The Blame Game

When software development projects fail, management has three choices:

  1. Focus on improving software development practices.
  2. Ignoring the failure.
  3. Blaming someone or part of the organization.

In this week’s article The Blame Game Don Gray and Jerry Weinberg look at what happens when management chooses blame.

posted by Don Gray on 06.10.09 @ 1:38 pm |


The Art of the Discovery Interview

Interviewing is an art. I suggest many ideas for conducting more effective interviews in the article Drawing Out the Facts: The Art of the Discovery Interview. If you can only do three of them, I recommend:

  1. Building a foundation of safety so interviewees will tell you what they know.
  2. Conducting face-to-face interviews so you hear and see what is being communicated.
  3. Planning your questions and using metaquestions to adapt to the needs of the interviewee.

By executing a set of effective interviews, you will gain knowledge about the organization and its problems that no single person in the organization can offer you.

posted by Steven M. Smith on 05.29.09 @ 1:07 pm |


Five Golden Opportunities for Five Teams

When AYE 2009 is wrapped up, we want you to leave the conference with valuable, practical ideas and techniques you can apply right away to improve quality and productivity regardless of economic ups and downs–or the usual or unusual impediments.

As usual, you’ll participate in a range of thought-provoking, interactive sessions. We’ll have informal conversations among hosts and participants.

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And this year, we’ve added a special opportunity for teams.

When you and your teammates register and attend together, you qualify for our team discount. That’s $1200 per person for 3 or more, $300 per person less than the Summer Discount price and $600 less than the full fee.

In addition, the first five teams to take advantage of the team discount will earn a free day of consulting with one of the hosts.

You may negotiate for an engagement with your chosen host that’s most valuable to you and your team. The consulting day is free. You pay travel, if necessary. If you select phone consulting, there will be no cost at all.

Choice of host is on a first-registered, first-choice basis, so the earliest registering team has the most choices. But each host brings different and interesting insights to our clients, so you really can’t go wrong!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Tenth Annual AYE Conference will be November 8 – 12, 2009 in Phoenix, AZ

You can see the schedule and session descriptions on our Program Page

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Summer Discount Ends June 30, 2009

From May 1 to June 30 conference registration is $1500. After June 30 the standard registration of $ 1800 applies.

Also, if you have any other problems registering, call and discuss them with our registrar, Susie Brame at (503) 799-5132. You can also contact Susie at susie.brame@ayeconference.com or register online at http://www.ayeconference.com/register . We’re committed to helping you come and thrive at AYE, regardless of the obstacles.

posted by Don Gray on 05.26.09 @ 9:01 am |


Planning for problems

It’s exciting to start something new. A new project, new development language, joining a new team. We often don’t take the time time to think through what might go wrong.

When things go wrong, we feel trapped, just like Engelbert in this week’s new article, No Exit. (You might want to read Liar’s Contest to see how Engelbert got trapped).

posted by Don Gray on 05.08.09 @ 3:32 pm |


Is Collaboration the Right Way to Work?

Collaboration is all the rage lately. But is it always the right approach? It depends…. read on.

posted by Esther Derby on 04.24.09 @ 1:12 pm |


New Article: Catch Them Doing It Right

Recognizing and rewarding employees is an action that pays dividends. Sadly, many managers have zero experience with a manager in their career who did this process effectively.

In the article Catch Them Doing It Right, you’ll hear Eleanor, a sage manager, advise someone who used to report to her about how to recognize and reward employees.

Eleanor’s advice includes: recognizing team members when they do something right; recognizing effective behavior as close as possible to when the behavior happens; knowing the person you are rewarding well enough to give them something that you know will please them; and having the members of your team recognize other members’ effective behaviors.

Put Eleanor’s advice to use in your organization. And share her advice with others. We’ll all be better off for it.

posted by Steven M. Smith on 04.06.09 @ 10:32 pm |


New Article Posted: Transitioning to Agile in the Middle of a Project

I just posted an article: Transitioning to Agile in the Middle of a Project. Please do comment.

posted by Johanna Rothman on 04.03.09 @ 5:04 pm |


Here Come the AYE Articles

New articles for 2009 are now beginning to flow, starting with an article by Jerry:

The Technology of Cooperation

posted by Gerald M. Weinberg on 04.01.09 @ 5:12 pm |


2009 Program Is Up!

We have a program for 2009. (Esther and I still need to edit our post-conference tutorial description.) And, registration is open. You have to contact our registrar, Susie Brame, to register, because I can’t quite make electronic registration work. We hope you participate in our conference.

posted by Johanna Rothman on 01.11.09 @ 11:32 am |


Planning for AYE 2009

We’ve been quiet because we’ve started to plan for the next conference. Our host meeting is Jan 9-12. If you have a session you really want to see offered, or a topic you’d like us to consider, comment or send it along.

For now, put the dates for AYE in your calendar: Nov 8-12, 2009.

posted by Johanna Rothman on 01.01.09 @ 3:01 pm |


Perfect Software—And Other Illusions About Testing

Jerry Weinberg’s latest book, Perfect Software?And Other Illusions About Testing is now available from Dorset House Publishing <http://www.dorsethouse.com/books/perf.html>. Here’s what some early reviewers had to say about the book:

“Finally! A book about software testing written by someone who actually understands software testing. I consider Jerry to be the greatest living tester. Jerry tests everything. Jerry tests me. . . . It’s been forty-seven years since Weinberg first wrote on software testing, and his ideas today are still ahead of their time. Read this and get your head straight about testing.”
?James Bach, consulting software tester, author of Lessons Learned in Software Testing

“This concise and cogent book?a gift to testers?explodes myths about what testing can and can’t do.� We’ll each want at least two copies?one for our own bookshelves, and another to hand to our clients so that they can better understand precisely how we can help them.”
?Michael Bolton, tester, trainer, and consultant, DevelopSense

“If the wiring in your brain needs a better programming and testing, read this.”
?Pradeep Soundararajan, consulting tester, author of Tester Tested! blog

“Perfect Software will be a tremendous asset to anyone who tests software and keeps having to explain what testing can and cannot do. Engagingly as always, Jerry Weinberg explains the essence of testing for anyone to understand. He makes a compelling case for doing enough testing?but not too much. I can’t wait to give Perfect Software to all my clients!
?Fiona Charles, test consultant and columnist

posted by Gerald M. Weinberg on 07.28.08 @ 12:32 pm |


AYE 2008 is Now SOLD OUT. See Waiting List.

The AYE Conference is now SOLD OUT.

We invite you to put your name on our waiting list by contacting our registrar, Susie Brame:

phone: (503) 799-5132 (USA)

email: susie.brame@ayeconference.com

If one of our registrants needs to cancel and a space opens, we will give the people on the waiting list a chance to register. We’ll offer any open spaces in the order the names are added to the waiting list.

If our waiting list grows long enough, we will consider offering a second AYE Conference in 2009.

posted by Johanna Rothman on 05.12.08 @ 4:00 pm |


New Website Design

Welcome to the new AYE website design, courtesy of Kim Black. Please let webmaster Jerry Weinberg <hardpretzel@earthlink.net> know how you feel about the new design, and, of course, any suggested improvements.

posted by Gerald M. Weinberg on 04.24.08 @ 4:26 pm |


Manage It! wins Jolt Productivity Award!

Johanna’s book, “Manage It!” has won a Jolt Productivity Award!

From the publisher:

Johanna?s latest, Manage It!: Your Guide to Modern Pragmatic Project Management shows you how to beg, borrow, and steal from the best methodologies to fit your particular project. It will help you find what works best for you, and not for some mythological project that doesn?t even exist.

You won?t need expensive tools or fancy software. Manage It! shows you how to use low-tech techniques to directly address the most pressing problems of modern software project development.

Congratulations Johanna!

posted by Esther Derby on 03.06.08 @ 12:02 pm | 1 Comment | Tags:


What is the Interaction Model?

Someone asked us recently, “What is the interaction model and why is it useful?”

Steve gives his answer:

It’s another gift from Virginia Satir, a pioneering family therapist. Her Interaction Model helps you update your own internal communication, which changes your external communication, so you can interact better with others. The updates change how you treat your perceptions, interpretations, feelings, and past experiences.

Satir viewed an interaction as a process. She carved it into six phases where internal communication typically breaks down. Analyzing an interaction using these phases enable me to slow it down and use both logic and emotion to shape how I respond to someone.

Satir was aware of the critical impact that feelings on communication. For instance, when I feel angry, I know exactly what the other person is thinking. If I succumb to my anger, I may stop the other person in mid-sentence and say, “You mean X. Say no more (shut up). Let me tell you…” If I think of the Interaction Model, I can stop myself from saying something I’ll regret later by asking myself, “What other meanings can I make from what I heard and saw?” That question helps me recognize I can’t recall a single thing I heard or saw and I have interpreted only one single meaning, which means I’ve missed literally everything. My internal dialog will often change my feelings. Being aware of the breakdown, I might say, “I was angry. I’m not sure why. I missed what you said. Would you please repeat it?”

We all learn and grow through our interactions. Not only does the Interaction Model help me be a better communicator, it helps me be congruent, which helps me feel better about myself, which helps me take more risks, which helps me change my rules, which helps me be a better communicator… The model shows how all these qualities are connected.

I love the Interaction Model.

posted by Esther Derby on 03.04.08 @ 1:34 pm |