Trying out stormboard for remote, distributed team retrospective - Carrie B

How do you run a retrospective with 40 people, all over the UK? One answer is using Stormboard which is pretty handy as far as online whiteboards go. Veerrry nice interface and lots of free functionality of which the most cool is the kanban template which means your post its go on a grid and Stormboard ​knows where you posted them​ (how does it KNOW?) and exports them in the right categories (no typing up and order). Also there is voting stickies up/down and index cards and all kinds of other nice things.

Giving your feature a lifespan - Murray S

I've never really used feature-switching as an approach to delivering software, although I've certainly been intrigued. I like the approach outlined by Matt Chadburn to extend the idea even further. Feature creep is often what kills a project so having a built in lifespan for everything forces you to revisit and review what your project does and crucially decide if it should still do that.

The article reminded me of "Rewriting Code and Culture" by Sabrina Leandro. In this talk Sabrina tells us how songkick rebuilt their app and one of the things they did was to remove features that had accrued over time that were no longer core to the app. They took lots of other approaches too so it's worth watching the whole talk to get some other ideas if you are facing a similar problem.

Shutting down gracefully - Murray S

Ultimately, you may decide that your entire product has reached its natural lifespan and you need to shut it down completely. This article by Rev Dan Catt from the Contriboria team talks about how they managed that and were able to gracefully switch the site off in stages while still leaving up enough of a shell to preserve the content on the site and avoid link rot.

They didn't design the service with "shutdownability" in mind, but there are decisions they took early on in building a product (such as using feature switches) that made it easier to do the shutdown when it happened. Definitely an approach worth looking into and considering on your next new project.

Track of the Week - Clive C

Bran Van 3000 - "Drinking In LA"

This is one of those songs that's been around since I was around 10 that I never got tired of. Forced upon by my older brother, since then it's always been a favourite that stood the test of time.

Written by Murray Steele