Papers & Presentations

These are papers and articles that Tim Mackinnon has published and presented at Agile conferences over the years.

Mock Objects (Original Paper)

This is the original paper that first documented our thoughts on Mock Objects at XP2000.

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Innovation and Sustainability with Gold Cards

This is an early paper Tim Mackinnon co-authored when working as the team lead at Connextra.

When I observed that my team wasn’t taking the time to innovate, I asked my colleagues to work with me to help shape an idea around a light weight mechanism for scheduling research time without feeling guilty. The result was a great success and led to the joint publication of a paper, which is still applicable for agile teams today. A small fun fact, is that originally I wanted to call them green cards (the color of the index cards we had the most of), until it was pointed out that it sounded too much like an immigration system. Having recently returned from the dentist, where I noticed my patient card had a gold start in the top corner - I proposed the name “gold cards” instead, which consequently stuck - and we used the same gold star on the corner of each index card that proposed a research idea.

The final paper was presented at XPUniverse 2001 by our colleague Julian Higman, and appears in the proceedings Extreme Programming Perspectives

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Retrospectives - An Introduction (XPDay2)

A presentation giving a quick overview of Retrospectives and a simple timeline exercise.

Originally presented at XPday2

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XP - Call In The Social Workers

This paper documents Tim Mackinnon’s experiences working with mixed team disciplines, to improve the effectiveness of the Agile team at Connextra. It was the inspiration behind the name “Heartbeat Retrospectives” which is what I called them when presenting to Norm Kerth et. al at the Retrospective Facilitators Gathering 2003.

This paper was accepted and presented at XP2003 in Genova, Italy.

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XP - Have You Got The Discipline (TickIt 2Q04)

This paper was written for TickIt and describes Agile discipline and how XP uses a set of supporting practices to achieve it. This makes it highly compatible with the TickIT software quality certification scheme.

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Slackers Guide to Project Tracking

A purposely irreverent paper but one with a serious punch. It was presented at the Agile Development Conference 2004 and covered different experiences with estimation and tracking on agile projects. It was the basis for experiments with the Iterex Professional tracking tools, and has influenced many teams I’ve coached since then.

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Mock Roles Not Objects

This was the refined Mock Objects paper presented at OOPSLA 2004. We found that many people missed the most important aspect of mocking and this paper reflects our collaboration with other developers to better express the role of using test expectations to define collaborators and API between software components. We coined the term “needs driven development” to clarify this.

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Introduction to Futurespectives

This is a brief presention outlining the basics of Futurespectives, a way of influencing your teams future. I invented this technique while attending the Retrospective Facilitators Gathering 2005 where I heard Jean Tabaka talk about the exercise Giving an A. The following day we were messing around with facilitation techniques and it occurred to me to combine this idea with a timeline exercise, but one that was based on future events.

I need to write more about this technique, as I find that many people have misunderstood it, and not realised the importance of that “Giving an A” mindset.

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Retrospectives - Learning not just repeating

A paper outlining retrospectives, their different types, exercises and some sample results. Also introduces Futurespectives.

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Agile Standup Cards

These are cards you can print out and pass around your daily scrum/standup to keep people on track. I’ve since returned to encouraging teams to “Walk the board”, and instead point to cards they have worked on in an iteration.

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Agile and Beyond

This is a video of the keynote speech presented for Agile Italy 2007, in Bologna - and repeated at the Agile Conference in Toronto 2008. The theme of the talk was aiming higher with agile practices. Too often teams convince themselves that they can’t work in certain ways or solve difficult problems. Italy have found that with the right mindset, and supporting practices, most teams can achieve far more than they take credit for.

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ESUG Project Planning

This is a talk I was invited to give at the ESUG 2009 conference covering Agile planning techniques and story writing. Even now, the concept of tracking some form of velocity, and splitting stories down into increasingly smaller levels of granularity is extremely relevant.

There is also a recorded version of this session available online.

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A Brief History of Mock Objects

This is the “afterward” chapter I guest wrote for Growing Object Oriented Software, Guided by Tests. This book was written carefully written by my colleagues Steve Freeman and Nat Pryce who took on the mantle of promoting Mock objects as a design technique. This chapter outlines the history and thinking that got us to mock objects.

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