Apache Dinner Berlin - next Monday

2010-04-12 08:00
Next Monday at 7p.m. the April Apache Dinner Berlin is scheduled to take place. Thanks to Torsten Curdt for organising the dinner - as in: Contacting people, finding a suitable data, booking the location etc.

Looking forward to another nice evening at an awesome restaurant with tasty indian food. If you'd like to join us, please contact Torsten to be included in the next announcement mail. The dinner is not restricted to Apache people from Berlin: Anyone who is fine joining a group of geeks and free software hackers for dinner is invited to join us. If you are Apache developer planning to visit Berlin in the coming months, please contact Torsten so we can try to schedule the respective dinner to match your calendar.

Coaching self-organising teams

2010-03-30 21:58
Today, the Scrumtisch organised by Marion Eickmann from Agile 42 met in Berlin Friedrichshain. Though no talk was scheduled for this evening the room was packed with guests from various companies and backgrounds interested in participating in discussions on Scrum.

As usual we started collecting topics (timeboxed to five minutes). The list was rather short, however it contained several interesting pieces:

  • (6) Management buy-in
  • (6+) CSP - Certified Scrum Professional - what changes compared to the practitioner?
  • (4) Roles of Management in Scrum - how do they change?
  • (13) Coaching self-organising teams - team buy in.


Team buy-in


As prioritised by the participants the first topic discussed was on coaching self organising teams - with a heavy focus on team buy-in. The problem described dealt with transforming water fall teams that are used to receiving their work items into self organising teams that voluntarily accept responsibility for the whole project instead of just their own little work package.

The definition of self organising here really is about teams, that have no (and need no) dedicated team leader. On the contrary: leadership is automatically transferred to the person who - based on his skills and experiences - is best suited for the user story that is being implemented at any given time.

The problem the question targets is about teams, that really are not self organising, where developers do not take responsibility for the whole project, but just for their little pieces: They have their gardens - with fences around that protect them from others but also protect themselves from looking into other pieces of the project. Even worse - they tend to take these fences with them as soon as work items change.

Several ways to mitigate the problem were discussed:

  • Teams should work in a collaborative environment, should have clear tasks and priorities, whould get some pressure from the outside to get things done.
  • Some teams need to learn what working in a team - together - really means. It may sound trivial, but what about solving problems together: Spending one day climbing hills?
  • Committments should not happen on tasks (which by definition are well defined and small) but rather on Features/ user stories. Task breakdown should happen after the committment.
  • There are patterns to break user stories that are too large into multiple user stories. (Marion: Would be great, if I could add a link here ;) )
  • Teams need to be coached - not only the scrum master should get education, but the complete team. There are people interested in management that tend to read up on the topic after working hours - however these are rather rare...
  • Teams must be empowered - they must be responsible for the whole project and for the user stories they commit to. In return they must get what the need to get their tasks done.
  • Newly formed teams inexperienced with Scrum have to get the chance to make mistakes - to fail - and to learn from hat.


A great way to explain Scrum really is as a two-fold process: First half is about getting a product done, reviewing quality by the end of each sprint during the review. Second half is about improving the process to get the product done. Meeting to review the process quality is called retrospective.

Management buy-in



The second topic discussed was on the role of management in scrum - and how to convince management of Scrum. To some extend, Scrum means loosing power and control for management. Instead of micro-manageing people it's suddenly about communicating your vision and scope. To get there, it helps to view lean management as the result of a long transformation:

  • First there is hierarchical management - with the manager at the top and employees underneath.
  • Second there is shared management - with the manager sitting between his employees enabling communication.
  • Third there is collaborative management - here the manager really is part of the team.
  • Fourth comes empowering management - this time the manager is only responsible for defining goals.
  • Last but not least there is lean management - where managers are merely coordinating and communicating the vision of a project.


To establish a more agile management form, there are several tasks to keep in mind: First and foremost, do talk to each other. Explain your manager what you are doing and why you are working in pairs, for instance. Being a manager, do not be afraid to ask questions - understanding what your developers do, helps you trust their work. Scrum is established, however there needs to be a clear communication of what managers loose - and what they win instead.

Scaling can only be done via delegation - however people need to learn how to delegate tasks. In technology we are used to learning new stuff every few years. In management this improvement cycle is not yet very common. However especially in IT it should be.

Being able to sell Scrum to customers is yet another problem: You need good marketing to sell Scrum to your customers. "Money for nothing change for free" is a nice to read on formulating agile contracts. Keep in mind, that the only way to really win all benefits is by doing all of Scrum - cherry picking may work to some extend, however you won't get the full benefit from it. In most cases it works worse than traditionally managed projects.

After two very interesting and lively discussions moderated by Andrea Tomasini we finally had pizza, pasta and drinks - taking some of the topics offline.

Looking forward to seeing you in F-Hain for the next Scrumtisch in April.

Some pictures

2010-03-25 11:00
Uwe and Simon were so kind to take some pictures of the last Hadoop Get Together in Berlin:

Image Hadoop Get Together Berlin

Image Hadoop Get Together Berlin

Image Hadoop Get Together Berlin

Image Hadoop Get Together Berlin

Image Hadoop Get Together Berlin


Thanks for the pictures.

Bob Schulze on Tips and patterns with HBase

2010-03-24 03:41
At the last Hadoop Get Together in Berlin Bob Schulze from eCircle in Munich gave a presentation on “Tips and patterns with HBase”. The talk has been video recorded. The result is now available online:

HBase Bob Schulze from Isabel Drost on Vimeo.



Feel free to share and distribute the video. Thanks to Bob for an awesome talk on eCircle’s usage of HBase - and on providing some background information on how HBase was applied to solve your problems.

Another thanks to Nokia for sponsoring the video taping - and to newthinking for providing the location for free.

Looking forward to Berlin Buzzwords in June. Early registration is open already. Several great talk proposals have been submitted already. If you are a Hadoop Get Together visitor (or even speaker) and would like to have a community ticket, please contact me.

Dragan Milosevic on Product Search and Reporting with Hadoop

2010-03-19 20:30
At the last Hadoop Get Together in Berlin Dragan Milosevic from zanox in Berlin gave a presentation on "Product Search and Reporting powered by Hadoop". The talk has been video recorded. The result is now available online:

Hadoop Dragan Milosevic from Isabel Drost on Vimeo.



Feel free to share and distribute the video. Thanks to Dragan for a fantastic talk on Zanox' usage of Hadoop - and on providing some background information on why and how you introduced Hadoop into your systems.

Another thanks to Nokia for sponsoring the video taping - and to newthinking for providing the location for free.

One more video to go. It will be available early next week.

Third Apache Dinner Berlin

2010-03-11 22:04
Today the third Dinner for Apache committers and friends took place in Berlin. We met in Schöneberg at Marcello Berlin for pizza, pasta, wine, beer ... and lots of discussions.

It always surprises me to see how many Apache related people there are in Berlin. This time we had Peter from Tomcat, Daniel and Simon with Vera from Lucene, Eric from http components, four guys from the svn project (Welcome again at the ASF), Oswald and myself and Thilo.

We scheduled the meetup comparably early - at about 6:30p.m. - giving the parents among us the chance to attend with their children: Looks like some projects recruit their new project members pretty early ;)

Next time we will meet some time before or after Apache Retreat in April. Then again organised (as in "set a date", "reserve a table at your favourite restaurant", "call your friends") by another Apache committer in Berlin. If you would like to join us, or are a committer yourself interested in finding out about other people in town with the same affiliation, do not hesitate to contact me: I'll make sure you are included in the next vote on the dinner date.

PS: Why on earth do user meetups in Berlin always have the tendancy of growing and growing and growing? ;)

Preliminary schedule online for ignite Berlin

2010-02-23 19:13
Today first talks scheduled for ignite Berlin were published. If you yourself would like to give a talk: Submission seems to still be open.

Berlin Buzzwords - June 2010

2010-02-11 22:42
As announced at FOSDEM: Early June (currently scheduled for 7th/8th) a conference on the topics scalable search, storage and processing will take place in Kalkscheune/Berlin. The conference is co-organised by newthinking store, Jan Lehnardt, Simon Willnauer, Thilo Fromm, and Isabel Drost.

The focus will be on NoSQL databases like CouchDB, Jackrabbit, MongoDB, HBase. Search tracks will cover topics like Lucene, Solr, katta and others. Data munging tracks will focus mainly on Hadoop, MapReduce in general and distributed systems.

More information including the call for presentations will be made available online next week on a separate webpage. Early registration starts in March. Watch this blog for more information or follow @hadoopberlin.

Apache Hadoop Get Together - March 2010 - Update

2010-02-11 14:25
Due to conflicts in the schedule of newthinking store, we had to change the time of the Get Together slightly. We will start one hour earlier than announced.

When: March 10th, 4p.m.
Where: newthinking store, Tucholskystr. 48, Berlin Mitte

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Hadoop at Heise c't

2010-01-31 13:37
<surreptitious_advertising>
Interesting for those readers speaking German: Heise published an introductory article on Hadoop in its latest issue. Have fun reading.
<surreptitious_advertising/>

Thanks to Simon for proof-reading and providing valuable input. Thanks to Thilo Fromm for the hadoop graphics (unfortunately none of them got published in its original form), the catchy title, proof-reading the text over and over again and for keeping me sane during several past and coming months.

If you want to know more on Apache Hadoop, come watch my FOSDEM Hadoop talk next weekend. If you want to join discussions on Apache Hadoop and Lucene, stay tuned for a conference in Berlin on these topics.