Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Converting Story Points To Hours (That Old Chestnut)

Mike Cohn posted a very nice explanation of why it's such a challenge to turn story points, the unit of estimation used by many Agile (and some non-Agile) teams, into hours, the beloved unit of project managers the world over.  As Mike points out, it's a somewhat reasonable question when applied to a single team whose composition has been kept relatively intact over time, but a ridiculous one when applied to multiple teams, each of whom have differing ideas of what represents 1 story point of work and therefore work at differing velocities.

Monday, June 23, 2014

From One Fringe To The Next

We've been incredibly busy lately, which is at least part of the reason for the lack of blogging on my part.  Among other things, the London Fringe Festival wrapped up a week ago, which saw us volunteering and going to shows all while dealing with some family matters.  In fact, we didn't take in as many Fringe performances as we'd hoped to, and that has us feeling like we need more Fringe.

Fortunately, Toronto Fringe is just over a week away, and now we're making plans to take it in with Tammy.  She's already started a spreadsheet for it and everything, so I think it really will happen.  Now we just have to decide amongst about a hundred shows, boiling our choices down to what will fit into a 3-day weekend.  Stressful, and yet still fun!

Summer = Fringe!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Final Jar

Nearly 6 years ago Vicki and I spotted a cache of Bick's Dill Pickles with Garlic in the 1.5 L size, a rare bird which had long since gone extinct in these parts.  We excitedly bought as many jars as we could carry home by foot.  In the end, after more than one trip to the Superstore, I think we had stockpiled roughly 20 jars.  And I was in Heaven.

Today I'll begin enjoying the final jar of that stash.  When the NHL playoffs began two months ago, I decided I'd crack open the sole remaining jar once the Rangers were eliminated, as a small form of consolation for another disappointing year.  Little did I know that the Blueshirts would actually make it to the Finals, coming up just 3 wins short of capturing the Cup.  The postseason wrapped up late last night with another heart-breaking overtime loss, but today I'll get my reward on the 20th anniversary of the last time they actually didn't fail in their pursuit of the utimate glory.

This is also the 2nd anniversary of Jonesy joining our family, another event for which I'm extremely thankful.  And yet, even he's not getting any of the precious contents of that jar!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tesla Opens Its Patents To The World

Wow.  This is actually pretty impressive.  Elon Musk has decided that the various breakthroughs he and his team at Tesla have made with electric car technology will better serve mankind and the planet (and even the company itself) by being available to all rather than zealously guarded as is usually the case with secret sauces.  The more I learn about this Musk guy, the more I like and admire him.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Must See Theatre: Roller Derby Saved My Soul

Three years ago, Vicki and I took in Hamilton Fringe and one of our favourite of its shows was called Roller Derby Saved My Soul.  Its creator and star, Nancy Kenny, was a delight to watch as she brought the two female leads to life in the form of a pair of very different sisters.  Her script was full of pop culture references to Buffy, Xena, Wonder Woman and other iconic figures, and the physicality of Ms Kenny's performance was amazing... she actually does a good portion of the play on roller skates, motoring around the stage at a good clip as the story, and her derby skills, develop before our eyes.

This summer, Nancy has brought Roller Derby Saved My Soul to London, as well as several upcoming Fringe Festivals, including Toronto and Montreal.  I was fortunate enough to get a lunch date with her today so I could ask her a few questions about how the play came to be and what it's like to do a one-woman show on roller skates.  She told me she'd been inspired by seeing a one-man show back in 2009 and had decided, more or less on the spot, to write something of that sort for herself.  Not too long after that resolution she happened to see a newspaper article about a local roller derby league and was intrigued by what she read.  Several months of in-arena research and rough draft-writing later, Roller Derby Saved My Soul was born.

The play has been tweaked in some interesting ways since we saw it in 2011, but it's still the tale of Amy and June, two sisters with almost nothing in common.  And it continues to overflow with laugh-out-loud moments, powerful stunts and a terrific all-round performance by Ms. Kenny.  I was able to get out to see the new and updated version last week while Vicki was busy doing some volunteer work, and we're going to see it together later this week.  It's just that good!

And don't let the title fool you: while RDSMS celebrates the world of roller derby in its own funny way, you definitely don't have to be a fan of that sport to thoroughly enjoy Nancy Kenny's creation.  Everything you need to know about it comes out over the course of the hour, and (as Bill Cosby used to say), if you're not careful, you might just learn something while you're at it!

There are three performances of the show still to come this week before the tour moves on:

Tonight @ 8:30
Thu night @ 10:00
Fri night @  7:00

All of them are at the McManus Studio (downstairs at the Grand Theatre on Richmond) and tickets are $10 at the door, although you'll also need to spend $6 on a Fringe Button (also at the door) if it's your first Fringe show of the year (all the proceeds from the ticket sales go to the performers, so the button money pays for the venues and other expenses).  Even at $16 per person, this show will over-deliver, big-time, on the laughs and thrills, trust me.

Don't miss this opportunity to see a truly wonderful one-hour show!