It has been an amazing, intense 9 weeks, and while I’m sad that it is over, I couldn’t be more proud of the guys and what they’ve achieved. They’ve all improved in different ways:
Some of them arrived with a lot of experience… now they are awesome.
Some were juniors straight out of uni… they’re still juniors but now with great experience. They surely know the right way to do things. These guys could spot a smell if you wanted to architect a dodgy solution that was untestable.
Some are recently arrived from India with many years of experience but big gaps… they now leave with much improved communication skills, giving clear explanations in Sprint Reviews. They are now able to manage a Product Owner much better. They even shake the PO hand with confidence!
Everyone did Scrum well by the end, knowing and following the 8 Steps to Scrum. We know all the boot campers found at least the first 4 or 5 sprints very hard, but they stuck it out as the Product Owner turned up the heat, while always changing his requirements. The proof is in the pudding… test the apps yourself at www.scrumcommitments.com and sugarlearning.com.
“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” Aristotle
Why we created FireBootCamp
We didn’t jump into running a boot camp like this lightly. There was a few problems that kept arising at SSW:
Corporate training – lots people were taking our training – we still do it for large corporates around the country and it costs them a lot of money. We love teaching the newest technologies and methods along with our best practices, but when we followed up with them later they were not using what we had taught them to its fullest – they would tell it was “still on the backlog”… basically they were seeing but not doing.
UTS lectures – A number of the SSW guys lecture at the University of Technology. We were seeing people going through a 10 week course but the theoretical knowledge gained was not transferring into results. They needed practical experience beyond simple exercises.
Work Experience – SSW often get juniors who are happy to work with us for 3 months or more for free, but when they are blocked we don’t really have a great reason to pull off one of our consultants (that is working for our clients) to help them out, so the work experience guy might stay stuck for days or weeks.
This is why we started FireBootCamp, to integrate the theory with the practice in an environment where experienced consultants could support the learners through the process by:
Doing the theory in the morning
Then practicing the real project in the afternoon
Learning Scrum and ALM along the way
All while making “Bob” (the Product Owner) happy
The course is not a panacea, and not everyone will graduate a guaranteed expert – but every attendee is definitely many steps above where they were before starting. Plus they are more confident and competent, with a solid skill-set that they can build on:
Know the right way to attack problems
Work with people very different from themselves
Worked in cross functional teams
All while providing incremental deliveries of real business value in every sprint to “Bob” (the Product Owner)
The teams and what we gave to them (aka The Specifications)
We arranged our boot campers into 3 teams and had each team working on a unique project. For this, we created 2 projects for our boot campers to complete: Scrum Commitments and Sugar Learning.
ScrumCommitments Specifications – for both Part A – Product Owners Marketplace and Part B – the Developers Portal
ScrumCommitments is a site designed to help both Scrum teams and Product Owners from the initial team-hunting stage all the way through to the completion of a project. To this end, the project was broken into 2 parts.
Part A was to create a searchable marketplace where companies could go to find Scrum teams that have a great history of successful sprints. The search results needed to be filterable so that the product owner can find a team that suits his or her needs. The searchable categories included rating, price, technologies, and industry specialisation.
The team working on Part A were the Scrum Eagles:
Part B of ScrumCommitments was to create a developers product portal the Scrum teams could use for sprint planning, spring review, and sprint retrospective meetings to record what was agreed and decided on. This would form the history that product owners find invaluable.
The team working on Part B called themselves the Scrum Stars, and consisted of:
The Specifications for Sugar Learning
Every company needs an induction for new employees and a learning management system to keep employees working in a consistent manner and keep the quality high. Sugar Learning does exactly this, and allows the employer to track their employees process.
The team behind Sugar Learning was Scrum Central:
What they delivered
ScrumCommitments – Part A – The Product Owner marketplace – developed by the Scrum Eagles
ScrumCommitments – Part B – The Developer’s Portal – developed by the Scrum Stars
Sugar Learning – developed by Scrum Central
What we covered in the first FireBootCamp
Each week we taught the campers new enterprise technologies to help them produce their product:
Week 1 – Scrum and MVC, plus Azure websites. Then working with TFS, Git and using visualstudio.com – Multiple times we setup Windows Azure and visualStudio.com – continuous deployment Week 2 – AngularJS, Authentication, Dependency Injection – We implemented authentication using OAuth. Intro to Dependency Injection Week 3 – Alternative Clients (WebAPI, Windows8, Windows Phone, IOS and Android Development) Week 4 – jQuery, Twitter Bootstrap, Unit Testing Week 5 – TypeScript, KendoUI Week 6 – SignalR, CSS, Mocking Weeks 7, 8 and 9 – SOLID, Enterprise Design Patterns: Repository + Unit of Work
SSW Sydney Awards
Dodgy Coder Award #1 – Even the strong get stronger
Andrew arrived at bootcamp as a strong coder. He could do some dependency injection…
Figure: The Bad. BINDING TO THE DB DIRECTLY – here the web project is tightly coupled to the data context (Entity Framework)… to be fair there is some some dependancy injection… but injecting a concrete class (from the web project which you can’t see)
Here is a later better check-in from Andrew:
Figure: The Good. Now Andrew is injecting his repository via the constructor (the interface describes the repository). So the Web Project is decoupled from the Data Access
Dodgy Coder Award #2 – Even the strong get stronger
Ludvik also arrived at bootcamp as a strong coder. However not that strong at using Kendo Grids, here is one of his early check-ins:
Figure: The Bad. Ludvik’s Kendo Grid has the binding is being done by a big nasty string. Guess what? Even if he can manage this mess, then working with a designer – they wont see HTML and they will screw things up
Here is a later checkin that is much better…
Figure: The good. Here Ludvik has refactored the code to use Razor syntax to define a function to return a string… this is much simpler as your now working with HTML – great for working with a designer
No news this month – we’ve been too busy preparing for the upcoming FireBootCamp gala morning, which is your chance to come and meet the FireBootCampers and see the great projects they created while training with us. The gala will be held at our Neutral Bay offices on Friday 21 March at 9am.
Check out some of the course highlights:
The SSW TV team have been with us every step of the way, capturing all the exciting moments of the course from inception to completion.
After 9 weeks of intense training, these “FireBootCampers” are the best candidates on the market. Come along, meet the guys, and put in an offer for the developer you want. Strike while the iron’s hot!
9am – 12pm AEDT, Friday March 21
Suite 13, 81-91 Military Rd, Neutral Bay Australia
9am – 12pm AEDT, Friday March 21 Suite 13, 81-91 Military Rd, Neutral Bay Australia
SSW invites you to come and meet our newest FireBootCamp graduates. These developers are so passionate about coding they took 9 weeks out of their life to do nothing but code, and they are keen to show off what they have learned and created.
This event gives employers the chance to see the web applications our Boot Campers have developed, speak to them in an informal setting, book appointments for interviews, and enjoy a scrumptious morning tea on us.
After 9 weeks of intense training, these “FireBootCampers” are the best candidates on the market. Come along, have a mimosa and put an offer in for the developer you want. Strike while the iron’s hot!
The boot camp is extremely hands-on. Under the guidance of an experienced mentor, the attendees work together in small teams to build and deploy a functioning enterprise ASP.NET MVC application. As well as technical skills, they learn best practices, problem solving and client management.
If you have any enquiries regarding the gala, FireBootCamp, or SSW, contact Joanna Feely via email at email@example.com or phone on (02) 9953 3000.
Week 2 of FireBootCamp was a whirlwind for the students as they held their first sprint review meetings. During the sprint review they had to present the completed product backlog items to the product owner ‘Bob’ (Adam Cogan, FireBootCamp mentor in disguise)
They were challenged to deliver completed and fully tested features to the product owner on a weekly basis using the scrum methodology. Delivering features in this fashion is difficult for even the best scrum teams, so our students are learning at an extraordinary rate through practice and not just theory.
Watch the video to feel the emotion and culture of a FireBootCamp for yourself.
Find out how you can become a world class .NET developer in 9 weeks at FireBootCamp.
I’m delighted to bring you an update from week 1 of our first ever FireBootCamp, SSW’s 9 week intensive course focused on software development methodologies based on building modern web applications with ASP.NET MVC.
The first week has just ended and, as the above video shows, the students are on fire!
It’s always exciting to be a part of something new, and this boot camp is no exception. My highlights from the first week included the reactions from our students when showed their allocated projects, and seeing the beginnings of what I’m sure will be a very rewarding relationship between the boot campers and FireBootCamp mentor/trainer Adam Stephensen. He, the boot campers and I have had some interesting conversations, and I’ve loved introducing the guys to the fundamentals of Scrum.
The first of many guest speakers, Andrew Coates of Microsoft Australia, came in and wowed the students with his presentation on Microsoft Azure, setting them in good stead to get working on the projects that they will have finished by the end of the course.
What’s next? Each week the students will be learning the technologies required to build an enterprise application using ASP .NET MVC5 using technologies like:
The Gala day will be a great opportunity to watch the FireBootCampers’ presentations, speak with them in an informal setting, book appointments for interviews, and enjoy a scrumptious morning tea on us.
Figure: BCE SPARROW uses a ‘metro’ design with all the latest Nuget packages for elegant, consistent and usable design
The benefits of continually improving our processes and practices around the Scrum methodology were never more apparent than with the project we have recently completed for Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE).
As developers, we’ve all worked on projects where the level of collaboration can break down due to any number of factors such as scope creep, availability of the Product Owner, ill-defined requirements or inadequate testing. One of the strongest benefits of Scrum is the focus on communication and feedback to alleviate these symptoms.
The BCE SPARROW Project
The SPARROW project is an extranet site designed to assist school principals when performing long term strategic planning for their school. As such, this was a project with a great deal of stakeholders.
On arrival, we found that BCE were ready for Scrum. They had tried applying agile principles to their own projects previously and were interested in formalizing the process. Following Scrum helped us to build a single collaborative development team comprising developers and a designer from SSW with testers and IT staff from BCE. The SSW team for this project included Damian Brady, Adam Stephensen, Brendan Richards, Ben Cull and Rebecca Liu.
Client Role: The Product Owner It was a pleasure to work with an excellent Product Owner from BCE, Kerry Edwards-Williams. Kerry performed brilliantly at managing this diversity of stakeholder input to give the developer team a single source of truth for tasks on the Product Backlog. For more information on this key role seeWhat is a Product Owner.
“I would not undertake any other project without using the Scrum methodology. I think it’s absolutely exceptional. It’s fantastic. I think my favorite thing about working on the project, was learning about the scrum methodology… and working with the SSW team… I’d highly recommend them to anybody.” - Kerry Edwards-Williams.
Client Role: The Tester
BCE Testers, led by Latha Matta, used Microsoft Test Manager to provide excellent bug reports directly into TFS – as per our rule: Do you know the three steps to a PBI?
Making client testers part of the development team worked to break down barriers between client and vendor and fostered mutual understanding and respect. This, in turn, led to fantastic turnaround times in identifying and responding to issues.
Figure: I’ll let one of the emails do the talking here…
Technical Details: The Middle Tier
It’s always exciting when a client comes you with a “greenfield” project as you get the opportunity to practice what you preach from day one. The core of the application follows Domain Driven Design within the Onion Architecture pattern. Dependency injection with Structure Map connects the various system components together.
Figure: Designing a system with Dependency Injection from day one encourages a clean, organised system design.
Technical Details: The Data Layer
Entity Framework Code First provides the main data persistence layer for the application while Entity Framework Database First was utilised when interacting with existing database resources. Updates to database the schema are managed through EF Code-First Migrations.
Technical Details: Automated Testing
Unit tests cover the core application components while automated Selenuim tests cover the overall site.
Technical Details: Continuous Deployment
In order to get fast feedback from testers, it is crucial that the process for deploying code changes to a testing server is as fast and painless as possible. Continuous deployment to a testing server, combined with automatic deployment of database schema changes via Entity Framework Code First migrations, means that a developer just needs to check in a code change and, if it compiles and the tests pass, this will be available on the test site within a few minutes.
Getting this deployed to the live production server was great, and I’m proud of the team for achieving this. Following the formal framework provided by Scrum helped us to build trust and collaboration across all aspects of this project. This then flowed through to a high level of agility when responding to issues and changes. Everyone on the team enjoyed working on this system and we’re confident that BCE is happy with the result – because at the end of every sprint we conducted a full review and retrospective.
Of course, you can learn for yourself everything about how we build awesome web applications at our FireBootCamp.
This Wednesday was an amazing success and I was very proud of the SSW team who put it together. Thank you guys, it was outstanding and a lot of people worked very hard over a 5 day period to make it happen.
Firstly ‘thank you’ to everyone who turned up, I appreciate you all being there on such a big night for SSW. It was a new record for the SSW user group, which had an old record of 150 held by the honourable Ken Getz and 130 by Brian Randell.
Running events and user groups is something we have done for a long time, however the area (Suite 13) is really only fine for the normal 40 to 80 guys we get… we had to make it work and work quickly, for the 201 registered excited Hanselman attendees + over a dozen SSW guys.
In addition we have had 270 watching the live stream. There will also be the recording that goes up on SSW TV and YouTube next week, that should get a couple of thousands of views in the first few months.
Figure: 200+ attendees is the new SSW User Group record
Thank you also to Andrew Coates and Yow for giving us Scotty for the night. Thanks to Vesselin Vasilev for the $1,500 prize from Telerik and of course thanks to Scotty Hanselman for the great presentation.
Figure: It was a memorable night. You will see in the video that the question-answer part was the best
Organising the transformation of our Suite 13 was hard work. These people went beyond the call of duty for this week:
Thanks for all your hard work to set the place up with a new sound setup and 2 new screens for the people towards the back of the room. These extra screens in the SSW Conference Room was a first.
Not many people could continue to work, when in pain. To have your foot ran over twice* – accidentally by a car with 4 guys in it – and continue working showed dedication. You even got to work on time this week, well nearly on time, which is early for you
*Note: Yes twice. Once reversing over his foot… then the car stopped due to Raj’s yelling “go back”. In the panic the driver went forward over it again!
The user group live stream went flawlessly and was enjoyed by people all over the world.
Chris Sainty was not down the road in Sydney, he was in Sweden!
Thanks for organising the event. How you fitted 200 seats into Suite 13 amazed me. Thanks for just stepping up and ensuring this event ran smoothly from the SEO to the champagne on arrival.
Figure: Thanks for ensuring our speaker and attendees were looked after on the night (including champagne on arrival)
Thanks for spearheading the design for the night all produced from the Brisbane Office. I loved the new modern metro window signage. You got that done in record time (including securing approvals from me and others).
You did a great job working with your associate designer David to ensure lots of new things were delivered. I loved the posters, framed images, canvasses and the huge SSW TV logo that all together looked schmick!
I think you secured more approvals in 4 days than you have in the past year. Well done.
We threw you into the fire with too many deliverables for a week and you did very well. I will never tire of your ‘can do’ attitude and your ability to work until the job is done.
I applaud how you made a great grand plan of the overall look and feel and where everything should go and then realized the vision, day by day.
Figure: I loved the refreshed office with the new “Metro” wall
Thanks for liaising well with Matthew from Signarama. He was a real character!
As always great coordination skills. Thanks for doing the calculations that were needed to convince the guys that we really could fit 200 chairs in our conference room.
You worked great with David and Matthew. Thanks for spotting problems before they arose…
Thanks for organising the SSW TV images – the frames looked great. I looked at the photos and cutaway footage you took last night. Lots of good stuff there. I assume I will seem them pop up in future videos.
And the rest…
I’m sure I’ll forget someone but:
Thanks Ben Cull for getting the reports on the wall looking great. I never knew that SQL Reporting Services could look so good.
Thanks Ed Barnes for painting the walls and moving all the furniture around multiple times
Thanks Justin King for quality checking our newsletter and LiveStream
Thanks Ewen Wallace for manning the camera at late notice, the most overqualified camera man we have ever used!
Thanks Tim, you like efficiency so here I go… “You were a super helpful dude”.
Thanks Brooke, you were as awesome as ever. I wish I could bottle your bubbles!
Well done guys and thank you. It was a great team effort.
The video will be up next week.
Of course all 200 of you made the event memorable. You had great questions for Handsome Hanselman. Sorry for the squeeze, did you enjoy the night?
This year has been a great year for the cloud, for Microsoft, and for SSW customers. We’ve delivered many solutions built on top of Azure, CRM Online, SharePoint Online, and TFS Online – all running on Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure. These solutions work across devices. They are easy to manage – you are set up in virtually no time and they are enterprise-ready, and we’re able to offer substantially more for much smaller costs.
On the consumer front, Microsoft will look back and see 2013 as the start of the fight for the phone and the tablet.
Building on the Microsoft Stack: I’ve just come back from a couple of weeks at the MVP summit in Seattle (I love this event – I was MVP of the year in 2011). As a Microsoft Regional Director and ALM MVP, as well as Chief Architect of SSW, I enjoy keeping my finger on the pulse of Microsoft and its many product developments. Since my main job is helping companies adopt and deploy Microsoft technologies, my roles at Microsoft are very useful for my customers and staff. Therefore with all the new releases in 2013 it has been a busy year.
Internally at SSW we have implemented the latest upgrades across the board: all our PCs now happily run on Windows 8.1, our phones now use Skype and Lync 2013, the developers are making good use of Visual Studio 2013 and TFS 2013. Daily we run the latest Exchange Server 2013 and SharePoint 2013. Next on our to-do list is to upgrade to CRM 2013, which has just been released.
We’ve definitely seen a shift by our clients from SharePoint development to stand alone MVC solutions that have some integration points with SharePoint, CRM and other applications via REST APIs. Our developers love using ASP.MVC 4 and 5 with either SQL Server 2012 or Azure. One of these combinations power 90% of our client projects.
There were 2 standout projects this year. Both embraced the technology, both used Scrum, and both brought complicated solutions to life. The first one was Toll Transport, led by Mark Liu, and the second was PwC, led by Eric Phan. There were many other projects also where I saw exemplary work built on the Microsoft stack.
My final project starting for 2013 is one I’m very excited about: FireBootCamp. FireBootCamp is an intensive training course that will cover technologies such as .NET MVC,
even a starter developer to a .NET hero in just 9 weeks! http://firebootcamp.com
Building SSW TV:
We have continued to work hard to make more and more presentations available to view on SSW TV. This video site, for which I am the Product Owner, is focused exclusively
on promoting Microsoft platforms and interviewing Microsoft experts from around the world, continuing the SSW tradition of sharing knowledge to help our industry create
better quality software. In the last 12 months I have personally created over 30 videos on SSW TV. During this period, our total views have jumped from 44,000 views to more
than 218, 000 and our subscriber numbers have more than quintupled from 295 to more than 1500.
I also continue to run the Sydney and Canberra .NET User Groups every month to ensure best practices are identified and shared with the community. This year we’ve covered
a wide range of subjects from business law to Scrum, and have had some exciting international guest speakers such as Glenn Block from Microsoft and Jason Beres from
Infragistics. The final User Group of the year will be a crescendo featuring the handsome man Scott Hanselman.
Through SSW TV we make each Sydney .NET User Group a global event by live-streaming the meeting each month and then publishing the video online. No interested party is left out!
The TV team have matured and grown our channel extraordinarily this year.
In addition to client work, throughout the year I have spoken around Australia and at interesting international events. I also presented at my old favorite,
TechEd Australia and TechEds abroad, on topics such as:
“I feel the love again – Using Access 2013 and SharePoint 2013 together”
I know many of you always want to know what’s new with Microsoft and what’s cool in the industry so I will be putting together new rules and new presentations in 2014. Now’s the time to sing out and tell me.
I would like to thank our clients and all those who have sent me a terrific amount of feedback. Keep telling me what we could do better – my email address is adamcogan at ssw.com.au
I’m proud to be one of the technology leaders in Australia and I will continue helping teams work better together by being a Scrum Master, Scrum Trainer and a .NET
architect, working with TFS and implementing the whole ALM lifecycle.
I am proud to announce the launch of the best training course we have ever done. It takes a beginner .NET developer to a *Job Ready* world class junior developer in 9 weeks.
Long story short, they get thrown into the fire, continuously mentored, while building a real world app. They will successfully complete 4 sprints. I called it FireBootCamp.
I’ve approached this very differently from all the training SSW has done for many years for companies around Australia. It has aspects of the best practices we’ve learnt presenting at conferences around the world and lecturing at the University of Technology Sydney for many years. We all learn better by doing, and working with others. The successful applicants become “FireBootCampers” spending 40-60 hours per week for 9 weeks. They will learn the right way to do .NET enterprise applications using a series of generally accepted patterns and practices. Most teams will build an ASP .NET MVC app all the way from concept to deployment.
No one will get stuck. No one will go down the wrong path. They will be mentored by an SSW Solution Architect each day during the program and we believe this is one of the keys to success. Having an experienced architect help them get over the hurdles when they get stuck, teaching them on best practices and pushing them to work hard and work smart, will turn these new recruits into job ready coders.
Employers: At the end of the program we welcome you to join our Gala night where the students will show off the apps they have built. You will have the first opportunity to add a “FireBootCamper” to your team. So if you are looking to hire a passionate junior world class developer, then register at http://www.firebootcamp.com/employers/ and be a part of the Gala night on 15th February 2013 at 2-6pm in Sydney, Australia. (If the demand is there, we may live stream the event.)
Job Seekers: If you you want to be part of the action, build a great app and get great experience, become a “FireBootCamper” for the next 3 months.
The first FireBootCamp starts 16th December 2013 in Sydney. Get in early for a special half price introductory fee.
Quizzes: We wanted to provide more value to the viewer and give them an opportunity to reinforce the key points of the video. Now you can take a short quiz. Go ahead and test your knowledge!
TV Format: We have finally ditched the blog format. See how the content is now more accessible in our new TV-friendly format with the playlist down the right, showing the newest 16 releases. I preferred the scroll stopped when it got to #16, but I lost that argument and it now revolves endlessly.
Navigate by Technology: Say you want to see all the SharePoint videos? Now just click “SharePoint” in the new section on the bottom right “Navigate by Topic”
Figure: New SSW TV Video-style Design
With this new look and feel, you will notice that we have moved away from the old blog format (below).
Figure: Old SSW TV Blog-style Design was just a blog