Friday, November 1, 2013

Learning (with) Git

These weeks I'm in a training and  I knew we were going to do a lot of coding exercises and I wanted to be able to share the learning experience with my colleagues when I will be back in Barcelona, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone: I would learn Git.

Git has been around for a while and I had been using scarcely in the past, even I had some code published in GitHub, but when you don't practice, you forget. So I've started small.

I'm working in Windows but I use cygwin to get some Unix-like experience. I installed git in my computer and when I set up my code and initialized a local repository:
cd whereMyCodeIs
git init

A .git folder was created and all my versions would be stored there. I'm not planning on publishing the exercises to any external repository (yet). I created a .gitignore file to exclude from my repository my compilation files. (I struggled without .gitignore in my first repository. Lesson learnt).

Whenever I finished an exercise I would add the code and commit it.
git add .
git commit -m "Exercise 2. Solving the puzzle"

When I want to see which exercises (and commits) I've done so far I do:
git log --oneline

The first think you see the ID of the commit. With it you can retrieve that version, without the risk of losing anything:
git ckeckout 2e81eab

If you want to recover what you were working on:
git checkout master

This way I can review what was studied and modified in every exercise.
If I want to get a list of what files were modified between two exercides I get the commit IDs of the two and I do:
git --no-pager log --name-only --pretty='format:' --full-index 2e81eab..15cf40b

If I want how a particular file was modified between two changes I do:
git --no-pager diff 2e81eab..15cf40b pathToFile/

I know these are very basic commands, but they are helping me in my learning process. I've been following the Atlassian Tutorial.

Even better, read The Junior Developer’s Quick Start Guide to Git.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

2013 Conferencing

This year I wanted to attend to two Agile (un)conferences: Conferencia Agile-Spain (CAS2013) and Agile-Lean Europe (ALE2013). The former because I'm trying to participate in my local community, Agile-Barcelona, and I know there are a lot of amazing people in the Spanish Agile sphere and the latter because, I don't know why, I feel I'm part of that awesome community.

Both experiences have been great, in all senses, and in both events I tried to contribute. I'm a newbie, and I have lot to learn, but I thought I could bring something, not directly related to Agile, but related to our soft-skills, and I managed to give a short talk in both events and both in English. I'm really satisfied with the results.

I'll try to summarize both experiences in one single post.

ALE: Awesomeness
My first contact with the ALE community was in ALE2012, held in Barcelona. It was a life-changing event for me. I thought that that kind of experience could never be improved: I was wrong.

My visit to Bucharest for ALE2013 (#ale13), meeting a lot of new friends from Romania, with a superb organization and excellent keynotes was for me an improvement, not a continuation. I missed a lot of friends from xALEc (Franck, Ivana, Tonino, Kjell, ...), but I met a lot of new ones.

My humble talk was about The Cognitive Power of Comics (video available), trying to connect information visualization, reading habits and communication techniques, with the excuse of the publication of the graphic novel Commitment about project management and decision making (it was a pity not having OlavMaassen in the conference).

I learnt a lot between the sessions and in the conference halls, as always happens in ALE. I enjoyed having a lot of Spanish contributors and I started to love Romania.
ALE is the best moment of the year to renew your energy.

If I have to summarize the conference I get what the kids in ALE said:
"We understood Agile is about having fun, being creative and deliver".

CAS: Conferencia Agile-Spain
CAS2013 (#cas2k13) was my first CAS, even though I already had met a lot of spanish Agilists in the postgrade, other events and Hangouts. It was in Bilbao and was fantastic.

For the CAS I suggested a the short talk Hacking your Body Language and the organizers asked me to give it in English. My session was at the same time other speakers I admire (Jorge Uriarte, Bea Martín and José E. Huerta), and still there were people in my room. And I was really satisfied with the results.

The final challenge came from Vicenç Garcia, an organizer from Agile-Norte who asked three agilists to do “big sketchnoting” (Graphic Recording, Visual Notetaking) of the three keynotes: Antonio de la Torre, Javier Alonso and me.
I was the only one who dared recording the keynote in English, so Antonio did Angel Medinilla  keynote, Javier did Koldo Saratxaga's [2] and I did Tobias Mayer's [vine by Javier] (pictures by Gorka Armentia).
It was the first time for the three of us. I bought my markers the week before the event. We three have completely different styles, and we are learning, but I love these pictures. Thank you, Vicenç!

I had the opportunity to devirtualize a lot of spanish Agilists. I loved a lot of conversations (Teresa, Maica and Ana, specially). I learnt a lot of the group and the people. I had the opportunity ask favours and receive a lot more of what was requested. And again, I learnt in the sessions and between them.

And I enjoyed taking sketchnotes.

I'm really grateful to Gerard Chiva, Daniel Cardiel, José E., Rut, Jaume, Albert, Marc, David and Finner for helping me in the conferences in one way or another. Thank you.

Monday, June 24, 2013


La información que me entra por los ojos es la que más me ayuda a entender y a razonar, pero creo la música me ayuda mucho más a sentir y emocionarme. Y hay otro sentido que tiene mucha más fuerza para evocar: el olfato.

Hay algunos olores, unos pocos, que son capaces de evocar en mí recuerdos y emociones vividas, con mayor efectividad y velocidad que lo podría hacer una imagen o una canción. Y como no somos capaces de almacenar y reproducir fácilmente los olores, a mi me parece algo mágico.

El olor que, de forma automática, revoluciona mi cerebro es el olor a jazmines.

Cuando era un niño pasábamos los veranos en Córdoba, la tierra de mi padre. Nos alojábamos en casa de mis tíos y pasábamos algunos días en Alcolea. En esa casa me sentía feliz. Me sentía muy querido. Por las noches, en alguna ocasión, iba a buscar jazmines con mi tío Pepe porque a mi abuela le encantaba su olor. Y se me ha quedado grabado.

El olor a jazmines me hace pensar en mi tío, en sus bromas, su bigote, su sonrisa, la piscina, el calor, los higos chumbos, mis primas, las bromas por la noche, mirar las estrellas charlando estirado en una hamaca, cuidar a un perro herido, la risita de mi abuela, los flamenquines, una excursión improvisada...

Un olor, mil recuerdos, sentimientos y emociones.

Y hoy, que mi tío nos ha dejado, ese olor me ayuda a pensar en él.
Un beso, tito.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My road to Sketchnoting

I'm a visual guy, and I love drawing. I've always though that any idea with an image is easier to understand, and that presentation is key. When I came across Mind Mapping as a technique to take notes I run to my bookstore to buy Tony Buzan's Book. I loved the idea of radiant thinking but I found that maps without images were not that powerful.

I was amazed in the Barcelona Leancamp about the notes that a girl was taking. She was drawing! Esther Gons (@wilg) is an artist, of course, but I though I could try something similar. What I needed was some some visual vocabulary.

Dan Roam's The Back of Napkin came to my hands, introducing the idea of communicating using images. The book contains a lot of inspiring ideas, but still lacked guidance about how to draw simple images (and what to draw).

Later I discovered the book Gamestorming (thanks to the Barcelona Meetup), and Visual Facilitation: using drawings in meetings to create and communicate ideas. They suggested that drawing is easy, and that everything can be drawn based on lines, circles an squares. A lot of inspiration again, but not an easy path.

Finally I came across with a great book, Mike Rodhe's The Sketchnote Handbook. What a great book!!! It has a beautiful presentation, it's very easy to read, and the book is presented using the same techniques the author explains. You can see different styles from different authors and you feel confident trying. It's not about art, but about structure.

Now I take notes using drawings in all the meetings, events and conferences I attend. And I try to practice, copy and try new things. I enjoy drawing with my kids simple things, enhancing my vocabulary. I love it!
Now I enjoy meetings, I'm more focused and I try to get the main ideas.

And I love it so much that I bought a copy for my sister.

Sketchnoting is not about beautiful drawings, but about structure, boxes and arrows. Using different typographies also help and the book suggests a lot of things to practice.

One of the best things I've got from the book is the name, a name for the thing: sketchnote, sketchnoting. Now I can find examples, track the Sketchnote Army, find examples in Pinterest, or other good advices.

I've also seen Sunni Brown (Gamesorming book author) using Visual Notetaking, and Doodling to refer to the same concept. It's worth to have a look at her TED Talk, "Doodlers, unite!".

I'll go on having fun with my sketchnoting experiments. Regarding the tools, I'm trying with gel pens, Faber-Castell PITT pens, in Moleskine notebooks small and medium sized. I share some of my experiments at my Flicker.

Go, draw, learn and have fun!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Unutopian Energy

Yesterday there was the Stoos Connect, a kind of conference broadcasted from the Internet showing that we can have a better and more human world. There were speakers like Niels Pflaeging, Daniel Pink or Jurgen Appelo. Some cities organised local events to watch the streaming together, and Barcelona was one of them.

I wasn't there, I was with Joserra Diaz in the PMA, so I cannot complain.

On Saturday, today, there was an Open Space in Barcelona, organised by the Unutopia community, and I was able to attend for a few hours. It's been strange because I did not have the context: I missed yesterday's presentations and this morning keynote and activities, but I wanted to join. I was curious.

I've met a lot of friends that I've met in events of Agile Spain and Barcelona, and a few new faces. I've been in two sessions, one about education models and another about Unutopia next steps. I've met

A lot of good intentions. A lot of energy. A lot of smart people.  Maybe I haven't seen specific actions. So, what.

Just the energy from my friends. Their willingness. Their hope. Their rage. People spending their family time away from home to make a better world is enough to me.
That only thing makes this world a little better.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Agile-Spain Google Hangout

Yesterday (15th of January 2013) we had our first Google Hangout with the Agile Spain community. It was just an experiment, in order to check if we can take advantage of that technology, and it was a great success.

Agile Spain is a very active an healthy community, that has sub-communities in a lot of regions and cities. We have two big events every year, Agile Open Space (AOS) and Conference Agile Spain (CAS), and it allows that a lot of people with interest in Agile, from different parts of the country (and the world) gather together twice a year. So, the community works.

Marc Florit suggested in the Agile Spain list that we could use Google Hangout, based on the experience that some of us are having with xALEc. So, Jaume Jornet, took the proposal and organised the event with Google Hangout On Air.

We decided to try the Fishbowl format, because Hangout allows maximum 10 people in the room. As long as the event was "On Air", it was also broadcasted in YouTube. We agreed that maximum 9 people would be in the room, having always an empty chair. If anybody watching the event in YouTube was willing to contribute, he could join the Hangout and somebody would disconnect to leave a chair available.

The Fishbowl worked like a charm. Maybe 15 or 20 people joined the conversation (I didn't counted them) and a lot of people watched the event live and some others the recorded video afterwards.

The content of the session was initially thought as just an experiment. I explained the xALEc experience and suggested some uses of the Hangouts. Luckily, Xavi Gost suggested to talk about our recent agile experiences and that gave real content to the event.

I could see people from all around Spain, even from Peru. Some of them aren't as lucky as I am and don't have a local community. I'm sure that this opportunity will make our dear community even stronger.

That's not all. Today Carlos Iglesias suggested a new Hangout, to talk about Agile Contracts, and his suggestion immediately got answer on the list. In few hours the event was organised and at 13:00 the Hangout took place. I could not attend, but I've watched the recorded session. Amazing.

This community rocks.

You can have a look at the first Agile Spain Google Hangout on Youtube.
You can read comments in spanish in Antonio Martinez's blog.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 on the rear-view mirror

I've been reviewing last year, to learn things for the future and improve it in all the ways I can and I have a few lessons learned.

You can always change 
This year I switched from Linux to Mac as my personal OS. I'm not particularly happy, but it's been an experience, and it's good to challenge yourself from time to time. 
I changed my job, left my friends at Omatech (cooool company!) and joined Thomson-Reuters
I started taking English lessons and I joined a Postgraduate in Agile Methods. Back to school!
I learned Scala programming language.
I've learnt about the Core Protocols.
I've learnt about the power of LEGO.
I've started blogging and tweeting mainly in English.
I've ceased blogging about all the books I read.

The more I invest in Agile, the happier I am
This year I've joined a lot of activities from the Agile-Barcelona Community (my second family now). They run at least one event every week! But I also joined a Gamestorming meetup and events on NoSQL, Scala and whatever.
I organized a couple of events with Agile Barcelona and co-facilitated the Global Day of Code Retreat.
I've volunteered two translating projects, but I couldn't keep up.
I've read 13 books, only one was fiction, and only two were non-English.

The broader my horizon is, the better
I've got in touch with people outside my company, and it has allowed me to know a lot about how other companies (and minds) work apart of mine. 
I've met awesome people from Agile-Spain who have a lot to share and who have a lot in common to me.
I've met people from Agile-Lean Europe Earth, from France, Belgium, Romania, Finland, Italy, Portugal, South-Africa, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, ...
Every week I have a conversation with some of these guys (the xALEc), and it's a great experience.

All the time I invest in Agile, or personal development, is taken from somewhere else
This is a negative. During my Chrismas break I've come aware of the time I'm not devoting to my kids and wife. It's not an issue yet, but I'll have to find the balance.

Your body has to be able to follow your mind
Another negative. I have a physical problem that comes back from time to time (my slipped disc), and I know I have to do a lot of exercise to avoid complications. Everybody should do exercise, but I must do it in order to have an ordinary life. Sometimes a forget priorities.

Personal feedback is hard to receive
This year, for the first time, the team had a session of retrospective where all of us provided personal feedback to everyone. I heard things about me that surprised me, but I'll have to address them:

Sometimes I'm dogmatic and closed to other's ideas. I have to be more patient. I have to be aware of the tone and language I use (sometimes too strong). I have a lack of Vital Agility.

That abridged feedback I received is going to be my focus on the following weeks.

I don't have any other "new year resolution". Just, change the world.

I'm very grateful to my wife, for supporting me. And to all the people who wants to share their knowledge and experience. Thank you all.