August 2017

Photo: Betty Pierce speaks at the start of Women Who Code Tampa's 'All About Agile' meetup.

Betty Pierce speaks at the start of Women Who Code Tampa’s “All About Agile” meetup.
Click the photo to see it on full size.

Tuesday’s Women Who Code/Tampa Bay Agile meetup at AgileThought’s offices featured Julee Bellomo and Wendy Vigre introducing the concepts of agile software development to the audience of Tampa Bay’s most signed-up-for event of the evening.

Photo: Betty Pierce speaks at the start of Women Who Code Tampa's 'All About Agile' meetup.

Betty Pierce speaks at the start of Women Who Code Tampa’s “All About Agile” meetup.
Click the photo to see it on full size.

In the spirit of the Agile Manifesto’s “individuals and interactions over processes and tools” and “working software over comprehensive documentation” philosophies, Julee and Wendy wisely chose to demonstrate agile concepts by having attendees partake in activities rather than sit through a lecture.

Photo: Julee Bellomo presents at Women Who Code Tampa's 'All About Agile' meetup.

Julee Bellomo presents at Women Who Code Tampa’s ‘All About Agile’ meetup.
Photo by Anitra Pavka.

We went through a number of exercises, one of which had everyone in the group stand in a place in the room that signified where they stood on the four spectrums shown below:

On one side of the spectrum… …and of the other side:
Individuals and interactions Processes and tools
Working software Comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration Contract negotiation
Responding to change Following a plan

Photo: Julee Bellomo presents at Women Who Code Tampa's 'All About Agile' meetup.

Julee Bellomo presents at Women Who Code Tampa’s ‘All About Agile’ meetup.
Photo by Anitra Pavka.

Those of you who are already familiar with the Agile Manifesto know that its creators favor the items on the left side over those on the right. It should be noted that they do believe that the items on the right side have value; it’s just that given each pair and the requirement to choose just one, they’d prefer the left one.

I was getting pizza during the point when we were asked to situate ourselves on the working software / comprehensive documentation spectrum, and the Hawaiian pizza  was near the comprehensive documentation extreme. When asked why I favored comprehensive documentation over working software, I replied “Because documentation doesn’t have to actually compile, or even work. You can often get away with simply submitting it.

(I will always gladly play devil’s advocate for pizza with pineapples on it.)

The big exercise of the evening is one that agile coaches love: the agile coin exercise. They love it because it demonstrates something that seems counterintuitive to a lot of people: you can get things done more quickly, efficiently, and well by:

  • Doing work in smaller units and delivering that work more often (instead of doing it in larger units, delivered less often), and
  • Letting the team work together to come up with their own ways to improve how the work is done.

We divided ourselves into groups of 9, and in each group, there were three roles:

  • 4 workers, whose job was to do the “work”.
  • 4 managers, one for each worker. Their job was to use a stopwatch to time how long it took their worker to do the “work”.
  • 1 HiPPO (HiPPO is short for “Highest Paid Person in the Organization”). Their job is to use a stopwatch to time how long it took for all the workers to do all the “work”.

In the game, the “work” was to flip 20 pennies to the opposite side. Each worker would do the “work”, then pass the pennies to the next worker, who would then do the same “work”, then pass the pennies to the next worker, and so on. The “work” would be completely done once all the workers in the group had done “work” on the pennies.

We had a number of iterations of the game:

  1. In the first iteration, each worker had to flip all 20 pennies before passing them to the next worker. This took most groups around 70 to 90 seconds.
  2. In the second iteration, each worker could flip 5 pennies, pass those flipped pennies to the next worker, flip the next 5, pass them to the next worker, and so on. This took most groups around 40 to 60 seconds, even though individual times grew slightly.
  3. In the final iteration, the groups were free to decide how the work would be distributed. Many adopted the approach of flipping 2 pennies at a time, then passing them to the next worker. Individual times grew slightly more, but most groups’ aggregate times dropped to about 30 to 40 seconds.

By the end of the exercise, you can see how breaking tasks into smaller units and allowing the team to devise their own optimizations boosts throughput. That’s the general idea behind agile processes, no matter what they are.

If you’d like to try the agile coin exercise, there are a number of descriptions online, including this one, which was followed up with an article about some variations on the exercise.

You may also be interested in Remotely Flipped, an online version of the exercise that you can play with remote friends (it runs on Heroku, so give it a little time to start up). For those of you who’d like to know more about its implementation, check out this article on the blog of Agility Feat, the people who made it; it was developed using PubNub, Clojure, and ClojureScript.

You use lots of these in many agile methodologies.

The meetup closed with a quick overview of Scrum and Kanban, as well as Julee’s assertion that there’s no such thing as “Scrumban” (a term people use for hybrids of the two). She says that’s just “Kanban done right”.

I’m going to leave the differences between Scrum and Kanban as an exercise for the reader, but I’ll post this graphic as a way to help you get started:

Table comparing Scrum and Kanban


Tonight’s meetup

Graphic with Rosie the Riveter in front of a circuit board with the logos of Women Who Code Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Agile, and AgileThought.

The most signed-up for gathering in the Tampa Bay tech scene tonight (60 sign-ups so far, Yours Truly included) is the special joint meetup for Women Who Code Tampa and Tampa Bay Agile, “All About Agile”, in which attendees will get an overview of “agile”, the popular shorthand for the practice known as agile software development.

Tonight’s meetup, which takes place at AgileThought’s offices (2502 North Rocky Point Drive, Tampa), will provide the answers to these questions:

  • What is agile? What is not agile?
  • How might agile change your job?
  • How might agile change your career?

Tonight’s speakers are:

  • Julee Bellomo: A consultant with AgileThought’s agile practice who specializes in product and portfolio management and product discovery workshops and help businesses prepare for agile transformations through leadership and enterprise coaching. She founded the Tampa Bay Product Owner group, and recently collaborated on the book Lean Agile Marketing: How to Become Agile and Deliver Marketing Success.
  • Wendy Vigre: An agile coach at AgileThought with a software engineering background who has led a wide variety of initiatives that vary from technical in nature, like code decoupling, to very business logic-driven, like state legislation. Her hands-on field experience includes product owner, scrum master, Kanban flow master and agile coach. She has worked in industries that range from healthcare to large accounting firms with teams that span from clinical to compliance.

Your handy pre-meetup briefing

You’ll probably get a quick summary of the event pictured in this photo:

Photo: Some of the people behind the Agile Manifesto working on the Manifesto on a set of whiteboards.


That was taken sometime between February 11 and 13, 2001 at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah, where 17 leading software development and engineering experts got together to hang out, ski, relax, and — because they were big ol’ capital-N Nerds — talk about what was wrong with the state of software development.

All of them were proponents of different methodologies that went by different names: extreme programming, Scrum, Crystal, Pragmatic Programming, and so on, but beneath all those different ways of building software was a common thread: addressing a need to get out from under heavyweight software development processes that crushed projects under bureaucracy and documentation, and which ultimately delivered applications that failed to meet customer and user needs.

What came out of that gathering became known as the Agile Manifesto, which lists these values:

They value this: Over this:
Individuals and interactions Processes and tools
Working software Comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration Contract negotiation
Responding to change Following a plan

They also wrote: “while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

The Agile Manifesto has 12 principles:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

And finally, if you have 8 minutes to spare, give this video a watch — it’s a brief explanation of agile in action:

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Every week, I compile a list of events for developers, technologists, and tech entrepreneurs in and around the Tampa Bay area. We’ve got a lot of events going on this week, and here they are!

Don’t forget that we’ve got a long weekend coming up thanks to Labor Day. This week’s calendar includes Labor Day Monday.

Do you have an tech or entrepreneurial event in or around the Tampa Bay area that you’d like to see listed here? Drop me a line about it at!

Monday, August 28

Tuesday, August 29

Wednesday, August 30

Thursday, August 31

Friday, September 1

Saturday, September 2

Sunday, September 3

Monday, September 4 (Labor Day)



The Hack Hospitality hackathon takes place in St. Petersburg, Florida this weekend, starting on Friday, August 25 at 6:00 p.m. and ending on Sunday, August 27, 2017 at 9:00 p.m.. The hackathon will bring together two groups that normally don’t overlap — techies and the hospitality industry — with the purpose of coming up with applications that the hospitality industry will find useful.

If you’re a techie — a programmer, a UX/UI/graphic designer, an information architect, a technical project or product manager, or in any other job related to making software — and you’re interested in spending the weekend brainstorming and building applications for a key Tampa Bay area industry, come join us at Station House / The Iron Yard in downtown St. Pete.

The term “hospitality industry” is a broad one, and it refers to service industry fields including:

  • Lodging — hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and the like
  • Restaurants, bars, and other places that serve food and drink
  • Transportation, particularly the kind used by visitors and tourists
  • Tourism, which is a blanket term covering promoting the area to visitors, and attractions aimed at visitors, including theme parks
  • Cruise lines, which you could view as a combination of lodging, restaurants, transportation, and tourism

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the Leisure and Hospitality category accounts for 154,000 jobs in Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater. That accounts for about 12% of total non-farm wage and salary employment in the area. Simply put, hospitality is a key part of our local economy.

The hospitality industry doesn’t always make use of the latest technology. The tech they use often comes from a mish-mash of vendors and often doesn’t connect well. They also don’t have much exposure to the tech industry, and Hack Hospitality aims to fix that by bringing the two groups together to create practical, useful, and usable solutions.

Here’s Hack Hospitality’s schedule:

Friday, August 25
  • 6:00 p.m.: Registration
  • 6:30 p.m.: Dinner and networking
  • 7:00 p.m.: Introduction, keynote, and overview of challenges
  • 7:30 p.m.: Teams form and choose a challenge
  • 7:45 p.m.: Breakout sessions with individual companies
  • 8:15 p.m.: Teams start working on solutions
Saturday, August 26
  • 8:00 a.m.: Doors open
  • 9:00 a.m.: Breakfast provided by Ciccios
  • 11:00 a.m.: Company reps arrive
  • 1:00 p.m.: Lunch provided by Ciccios
  • 6:00 p.m.: Dinner (details TBA)
  • 11:00 p.m.: Videogame and dessert hour
Sunday, August 27
  • 8:00 a.m.: Doors open
  • 9:00 a.m.: Breakfast provided by SaltBlock
  • 11:00 a.m.: Company reps arrive
  • 1:00 p.m.: Lunch
  • 3:00 p.m.: Official presentation practice and tech check
  • 5:00 p.m.: Closing keynote
  • 5:30 p.m.: Team presentations
  • 6:30 p.m.: Dinner provided by SaltBlock
  • 7:15 p.m.: Sourcetoad prize
  • 8:00 p.m. Afterparty!

There will be a number of prizes for the solutions that are judged to be the best, including gift cards for local businesses, swag, and more to be announced as the hackathon draws closer.

The grand prize will be provided by my employer, Sourcetoad: $3,000 in cash! Not bad for a weekend’s work.

There’s a big upside to a hackathon with the hospitality industry: great food! Ciccio Restaurant Group (the people behind Green Lemon, Daily Eats, and other places) and Saltblock Hospitality Group will be providing the food for the event.

The hackathon venue alone is almost reason enough to go:

  • The Station House is a St. Pete institution. Part coworking space, part café/restaturant, part lounge, part yoga studio, part event space, it’s five floors of awesome in a beautiful brick building located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. They’re providing a beautiful, comfortable space in which to have the hackathon.
  • Also participating is The Iron Yard Tampa Bay, who occupy the Station House’s third floor. The Iron Yard is more than just a “bootcamp”-style coding school; it’s the social heart and soul of the St. Pete tech scene, thanks their opening their space in the evenings to the tech community for meetups and get-togethers, and their involvement in tech and civic events.

I’ll be there — not as a competitor, but as a mentor and a representative of Sourcetoad, who are a major sponsor at the event. I hope to see you there!

Want to participate in Hack Hospitality? It’s easy! Go to to find out more, or if you like, you can go straight to the registration page.

There’s a $20-per-person registration fee, but you’ll get so much for it: 7 meals, a lot of caffeine, some alcohol, a t-shirt, swag, a shot at a $3,000 grand prize, a possible new side gig or even full-time gig, and a chance to hang out with other Tampa Bay techies.

See you at Hack Hospitality!

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Every week, I compile a list of events for developers, technologists, and tech entrepreneurs in and around the Tampa Bay area. We’ve got a lot of events going on this week, and here they are!

Do you have an tech or entrepreneurial event in or around the Tampa Bay area that you’d like to see listed here? Drop me a line about it at!

Monday, August 21

Tuesday, August 22

Wednesday, August 23

Thursday, August 24

Friday, August 25

Saturday, August 26

Sunday, August 27


Here’s an idea for a great geek weekend:

It’s happening on Saturday, November 11th at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and it’s called DevFest Florida!

Organized by the Space Coast, Central Florida, and Sun Coast Google Developer Groups, DevFest Florida is a day-long conference with over two dozen speakers and sessions in three tracks talking about the latest development topics with a Google-y bent. There’s web development, cloud development, mobile development, IoT development, VR and AR, and more, in a fantastic setting in a nice climate, all for a mere hundred bucks!

The conference’s timing is excellent. Just as much of the northern hemisphere is settling into winter, Florida is getting into a temperate groove with warm (but not too hot) days and cool (but not too cold) evenings. There’s also the 2017 edition of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, which overlaps DevFest Florida. Since the conference takes place on a Saturday and only on that Saturday, you can take in the Festival on Friday and Sunday!

Of course, one of the reasons you’ll want to attend the conferences are the speakers — check them out! One of them is my Sourcetoad coworker, Connor Tumbleson, who’ll talk about Attacking an Android application…

…and Yours Truly will also be there, with a talk aimed at web developers who are wondering if it’s safe to dip their toe into the native Android development pool.

Sourcetoad, where I work, is a proud sponsor of DevFest Florida. We’re also big fans, so you’ll see a lot of us there!

It’s a lot of geeky conference bang for a hundred bucks, but that price won’t last for long. Register now, so you don’t miss out on DevFest Florida!


I’m presenting the ARKit workshop at RWDevCon 2018!

by Joey deVilla on August 14, 2017

I’m a confirmed speaker at RWDevCon 2018, which takes place Thursday, April 5th through Saturday, April 7th, 2018 at the Westin Alexandria, just outside Washington, DC!

I’ll be doing a couple of sessions, one of which is a half-day workshop on one of the hottest new technologies that’ll come out with iOS 11: ARKit, the augmented reality framework for iPhone and iPad.

If you’re wondering what’s possible with ARKit, check out the futuristic battle scene on a table from the demo by Wingnut AR at the WWDC 2017 keynote:

If you want to see what indie developers have been able to do with beta versions of ARKit, check out this compilation:

I’m not yet at liberty to discuss exactly what I’ll be presenting, but I can say this: it will be mind-blowingly good, and you won’t want to miss it.

There will also be workshops on:

  • Machine Learning with CoreML and Vision, with Patrick Kwete and Audrey Tam
  • Practical Instruments, with Luke Parham
  • Swift Algorithms, with Kelvin Lau and Vincent Ngo

You can find out more about the RWDevCon workshops in this article.

If you want to get in on some of this development action, follow this blog, and go register for RWDevCon 2018!

Early bird conference registration is $899, but if you really want to dive deep into AR and catch my workshop, early bird conference + workshops registration is $1,399.

RWDevCon is a conference where all the sessions are developer tutorials. It’s organized by the fine people at:

RWDevCon is a smaller conference with a few hundred attendees, but those attendees are part of the dedicated, tightly-knit community that frequents The focus on tutorials means that if you’re a developer looking to boost your iOS development skills, you’ll get a lot of bang for your conference buck:

The size of the conference, coupled with the nature of the community, means that you won’t just be another face in the crowd, and you’ll make friends and connections at this conference — those of you who were at the early RailsConf conferences in Chicago and Portland, or the Toronto conference RubyFringe and FutureRuby, or the GIANT conferences will know what I’m talking about.

I’m also told that they throw a good party:

In addition to tutorials, RWDevCon features a number of “inspiration talks”. Here’s one from RWDevCon 2017 — I’m an Idiot, by Rich Turton, in which he talks about how to leverage your inner idiot to make you a better coder, writer and communicator:

I’m looking forward to this event!