Johannes Thönes

Software-Developer, ThoughtWorker, Permanent Journeyman, Ruby Enthusiast, Java and Devils Advocate.

5 Phases of a Personal Retrospective

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In this article I will write about the five different phases of a personal retrospective. If you are new to the topic of personal retrospectives, you should read my introduction.

The phases of a personal retrospective describe the different steps you can identify in virtually any retrospective. Everyones personal retrospective is unique - but these phases serve you as a framework, when planning your own retrospectives.

In terms of phases, there is really not much of a difference between project retrospectives and personal retrospectives. So I looked for phases in the literature - Norman Kerth names three phases: Start, Middle and End. These are a good starting point, however I think for the purpose of discussion it is better to use the stages Ester Derby and Dianne Larsen introduced.

For each phase you can select certain exercises or activities. These practices help people to recall and better understand what happened. They try to unearth hidden success stories and problems. You can find description of those exercises in

  • Kerth NL. Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews (amazon)
  • Derby E and Larsen D. Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great (amazon)
  • The Agile Retrospectives Resources Wiki (link)

Some of these exercises can be used in personal retrospectives. However every exercise needs to be adapted to personal retrospectives, as it needs to be adapted to your retrospectives. I will hint at those exercises during this article. In later articles I will focus more on the individual exercises.

Personal Retrospectives - an Introduction

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A personal retrospective is a regularly practiced ritual, during which you take time and think about yourself.

In this article, I will describe what a project retrospective is as well as what is similar to and different from a personal retrospective. Furthermore, I outline why to do a personal retrospective and tell a tiny bit about why I write about it.

Java 8 Status Updates

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The two big new language features of the upcoming Java SE 8 release are Lambda Expressions and Modularity. For both, status updates have been released these days. I’ll share the links with you, so you might read through them over the holidays ;-)

The Java SE 8 release is planned for mid 2013 by Oracle.

14 Golden Eggs of Good UI Design

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As I discussed, I have been to “Rules for Good UI Design” by Joe Nuxoll (@joeracer) at Devoxx 2011.  In this talk, he was giving 14 “Golden Eggs” for designing a user interface (UI).

The “Golden Eggs” have been written down from Joe’s slides - I hope without big mistakes. The comments are my summaries from his talk.

The full version of Joe’s talk will be available at Parleys soon.

Devoxx 2011 - I've Been in Paradise

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Devoxx 2011 is over - we have left the paradise.

I had - again - the luck to attend and it was an awesome experience. I’m really thankful that Stephan and his team is doing this works. We love you guys!

So - let me try to give you a very brief overview on what I found most interesting at Devoxx 2011.

Git Introduction Presentation at DNUG Koblenz

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I gave an introduction presentation about Git and Distributed Version Control Systems in general at the DNUG Koblenz last Wednesday. You can find the slides at SlideShare, the are under a Creative Commons license. So feel free to re-use and adapt them:

Using GIT as Frontend for SVN

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Our main source code management tool at my employer is SVN. However, in the last year, distributed version control systems have become popular.

Especially GIT, which has been developed by the linux kernel developers has some momentum. Furthermore it has a very nice integration into SVN, so that you can use GIT as an interface to a remote subversion repository. In this post, I will show a little bit how I currently use GIT to interface with different branches of the blueprint and training project.

JDK 7 Features: Project Coin Exception Improvements

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In this post I’ll present the new features in JDK7/Java 7 regarding exceptions, namely “multi-catch and final rethrow” and the “try-with-resources” of Project Coin. The other four Project Coin improvements were already discussed in an post a few days ago.

So, let’s dive into the topic:

JDK 7 Features: Project Coin

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Last recently I did a talk about the some of the new features in JDK7 or Java 7 (Project Coin, Concurrency Utils and InvokeDynamic) at the freshly founded Koblenz Java User Group . I’ll present the content of this presentation in written form in a series of  three or four blog post over the next few weeks or so. In this post I’ll start with the first four features of “Project Coin”.