Re: Should the team be allowed to drop the retrospective?

Few minutes ago, I saw @mShady, my dear friend (Real life friend, not just on twitter) tweeting:

RT @ASGEgypt: RT @scrum_coach: Should the team be allowed to drop the retrospective? #scrum #agile #lean #xp #kanban

I checked the post and found the options are:

  1. Yes, It’s their process why not?
  2. No, explain to them and work through why the retrospective is so important.
  3. Maybe, if they are no longer a team then why continue with Scrum?
  4. Only do retrospectives once a quarter and build up a good list of things to change.
  5. Yes, the process will take care of itself we don’t need to watch it that closely. After all it’s common sense!

Interesting question! Not the most important topic in Scrum but like the way Agile works in general, if you play with it wrong, it is an indicator you have something else wrong as well before that, so, it gives you an alert.

See the rest of the blog post. I find the options my main interest, and wanted to share with you here how I answered this question:

I’d say have a really short one if the team members have been working together for sometime it can go really quick (an hour or so) just before the planning for the next sprint. We used to do so in a previous company and it was pretty successful.
It was like it’s one meeting divided into 2, one hour or so for previous sprint retrospective, and probably rest of the day (or most of it) for the planning for next sprint.

If they cannot have a quick meeting like this quickly then something else is wrong and they need to work on their team skills. Time boxing would be one option: The meeting will be needed “more” if they do not communicate well, Time box it to 2 hours or so and make it clear and strict since beginning, and consider investigating (assuming you are scrum master or team leader) what other issues the team may be suffering from.

However, I find myself going with (1) and (5) at the same time, “it’s their process” and “After all it’s common sense!”.

What do you think??

[Link List] jQuery, Agile, WCF REST, WF, OpenXML, Live Messenger Anniversary, Wallpapers

Yet another internal .NET Team email in my current company, Injazat Data Systems, that I sent yesterday, and am sharing with you as well.


· Simplify calling ASP.NET AJAX services from jQuery

· Use jQuery and ASP.NET AJAX to build a client side Repeater

· Reordering invoice lines using jqGrid and TableDND extension

· LA.NET jQuery Posts/Articles


· Implementing Scrum


· Web Development With ASP.NET Learning Material (Course – Source: MSDN Ramp up Learning Program)

· ASP.NET Articles on CodeGain (Many Articles)


· Posting Twitter Tweets from ASP.NET using the WCF REST Starter Kit Preview 2


· Migration Guidance for the WF Developer

o Part 1

o Part 2

Office Open XML

· Embedding Any File Type, Like PDF, in an Open XML File


· YoutTube: Windows Live Messenger 10th Anniversary Celebration Video

· 99 Amazing Widescreen Wallpapers To Spice Up Your Desktop

As usual, those and others are all originally shared on my Google Reader Shared Items:


Happy weekend,


In Search For Agile Domain Driven Design … Hopefully Part 1 of N

The Useless Introduction You Used To :)

This post has taken so long to be started in writing. I’ve been busy with many events in my life lately. Suffering from frequent limited internet access lately, and, all this moving between companies thing has been eating me. And yes, I admit, I’ have been as tired and more honestly lazy as you expected me to be!

Hey, there’s a little warning. This post is not exactly for my usual audience. I’m sorry, but introducing Domain Driven Design is not one of the goals for this post. There’re many interesting resources and books (even FREE: InfoQ, Domain Driven Design Quickly) on the topic. However, if you leave me a comment telling me to make a write-up on the topic, of course I will :) :).

One more thing. Another reason I’m working on this is that I’m preparing for an internal session here in Raya about Practical Lightweight Domain Driven Design. This session is truly internal yet. It should be recorded though but I’m not sure whether it’ll be possible to publish the videos (Yeah, I will see how we can have our public sessions of possible sure!). If you have a user group and would like me to give this session in a group meeting, I’ll be glad to do.

Introduction Still: The Messages, The ORM

This post was originally a couple of messages I’ve sent recently to the ALT.NET Yahoo Group. In which I discuss using Domain Driven Design with an ORM, more specifically, my favorite ORM, LLBLGen.

Quoting from the first message:

For now, we’re going towards LLBLGen Pro 2.6 for DAL generation and such (using Self-Serving mode probably). Yes, we’re going for database first design, and not using NHibrernate. I’m hoping that we can keep those two issues for other threads :).

Right now, I’m going for other Domain Driven practices. I want to make sure using POCO classes is worth it, and then see how to have those in LLBLGen (which -LLBLGen main template- is in its internal not much different design than Active Record, which in many times is handy, it’s VERY rare t change DAL when one fits different DB providers with good performance), and what are common patterns to do Domain Driven Design at all when having LLBLGen as DAL (if it makes any difference – again: and if effort to make it encapsulated enough to make no difference is worth it).

Making this choice alone is worth its own article. Maybe should title it “In Search For The Perfect ORM” as well :-D.

UPDATE: Frans Bouma has a nice write-up about what is an ORM and different types on an ORM. It’s quite old (2004), but the concepts themselves are still valid.

My original question was:

So, is anybody here doing DDD and uses LLBLGen as DAL generator ?How does the experience look like ? What are common practices across all projects and what have been pitfalls ? etc… These are the kinds of questions I’d love to see somebody here with something to share about.

Domain Driven Design At Work

This is not really an LLBLGen issue. It is questioning the Domain Driven Design productivity itself. I like DDD. I see it as the natural next step after 3-tier deisgn. This whole separation of concerns, models, repositories, factories, infrastructure, and services paradigm just fits my mentality and view of how the world looks like. However, not all the practices in DDD are similar in terms of return of investment, the customer business value that Agile emphasizes. The trick is to know which are and which aren’t, and how to do the balance.

In the second message, I go through an example of typical usage for DDD that has tried just a little bit to be lightweight in some areas but not others, and my own overview about what needs improvement:


I’ve been on a project that leverages DDD once before myself. The project has been frozen for a while for other priorities, etc…Maybe I start with my own take on the subject!!
We’ve been using the “Adapter” model. I thought it was for seeking some sort of more control/flexibility. Reading Fran Bouma’s blog (, the creator of LLBLGen), I see how he’s so much of an “Entity Design” guy. Well, makes sense, he owns the best entity design I’ve seen so far having considered EF and CSLA.
Clearly he sees the “Self Servicing” as the core for entity design rather than model design. You know, the “entity.Save();” style. This makes me have two thoughts at a time actually. 1- That “Adapter” model is the right choice for DDD (I’ll get to that just below), 2- That maybe DDD fully is not what I really want (the entity Self Servicing style is so powerful. It has saved my day so many times before).
Looking at the project I’ve been working on, We had something like those namespaces / VS projects (and others … ):
Company.Project.Adt (for models that may be reused in other projects, like Language, Currency, …)
Company.Project.Model (for project business domain specific models)
Company.Project.Data (for LLBLGen stuff, we have also “DataDBSpecific” and such related to Adapter mode)
Company.Project.Repositories (have interfaces and implementations for repositories, let’s put aside why the two in one project for now)
A repository load method could probably look like:
  Category Repository:

Or for internal use:
  Shop Repository:


What I want to highlight here is the “include…”, “load…” parameters. I’m not sure whether this is the best way to do it.
Also, what really hits me is the mapping. You know, from LLBLGen entities to our domain models. We have been doing this in factories which live in the Repository space. Each factory had methods similar to this:


Regardless of the “public” access modifier (this is all very well hidden behind a service layer, but let’s put the whole issue aside as well), the idea of having to go through all the mapping has been just a boring ugly task, that has been there for long.
To be honest, we didn’t get so much benefit of it. It should have good promises, but how good compared to the cost of implementing them for complex object graphs ? That is the question!
Things got just worse when we wanted to implement our service layer. That’s a service in the classic sense of “web” service layer (REST), we wanted to created DTOs that can correspond to XML and JSON responses of our choice, and again, we had to do the mapping from and to the domain models and DTOs. Want more ? The DTOs wouldn’t convert to XML strings automatically (to JSON it would), we had to have another mapping layer from and to the DTOs and the actual XML.
Of course we had much time defining XML specifications and writing so many unit tests for this. I know not every project can go in this direction to this extent, but, I wanted to show where going in this path can take you.
So, even without service layer complications. You still have the model mapping tasks that (and this is what worries me) in many situations does not correspond to a “business” need. Note that I want to be doing Agile as well, and this makes the issue of delivering business value a true concern.
You can talk about automated generation for mapping. This may be something. We know it’ll not be this direct or one to one of course anyway, but it may help.
Would you do Domain Driven Design with “entity” models assuming the developers will stick to calling the repository’s “Persist” method instead of “entity.Save();”? You just can’t do that! How about new developers ? How about inconsistencies ?
Is mapping really that bad and much of an effort ? First look at it, I say it isn’t. But given complex scenarios I’ve been though I have to wonder about things like “complex object graph” and “caching” (in memory, on different levels, etc…).
It’s all about trying to calculate the costs indeed.


That’s what I’m trying to make out of this, the trick for the right cost.

Conclusion: How About YOU ??

Let me repeat the end of those messages:

Anyway, would love to hear your takes and what you have :) :) :).

If you have any thought on the topic, those will be most appreciated. You can comment here or in the topic messages page on ALT.NET Yahoo Group. This is an open discussion area, and I do not expect it to be closed soon.

Same, if you want to hear more ramblings on the topic, or just want me to shut it up all, send me a line.

Would love to see what others have to say about this….

Joining RAYA Software in October

I’m joining RAYA Software starting next month (October), part of RAYA IT, a business line of 3 main business lines that form RAYA Crop., a well known name in the IT industry over the Middleeast.

My role is very interesting. The entire company is interesting to me, not just for the size and brand, but for the nature of how things are going in there nowadays, which makes RAYA the perfect place to join at this specific time.

About the role

I’m joining RAYA with the same title I hold current, a senior software engineer, yet, I’m going to be a member of a team of only 3 guys, M. Yosry, whom I haven’t met but is said to be a real guru by all guys I met in RAYA, M. Zahaby, an ex-RAYA returning in it recently and a personal friend of mine whom I had technical chats with and even worked with in a single freelance and knew what kind of a geek he really is, and myself!

The team is very special inside RAYA Software. We as team are responsible for helping other teams standardize coding practices all over the company (well, this is all within Microsoft technology development teams, I know nothing about Java technology department), and help other team leaders and members implement agile processes (specifically Scrum) in the way that fits work nature in RAYA. We stand with other teams in design sessions and researches/investigations required for specific projects, and we help create and enhance a rich toolset, reusable components and modules over applications. We work with all other teams and report directly to the "Microsoft Partnership Manager", El-Mohanned, who is like the CTO for Microsoft technology development, and a very interesting guy as a boss. Both very respectable, and still having his geek nature deep inside not affected by his current high management rank!

About the company

RAYA is a well known name in the software industry. Like many big companies, it had its special advantages, and eve problems. These days, the guys at the company starting from junior developers, the the GM, Aly Zweal (not sure of the spelling), whom I really enjoyed meeting him as a part of my recruitment process. The guy has a great smart mentality that measures the technical aspects to the business aspects for just the right balance, and whose meeting was as well as  El-Mohanned’s description of the interesting job duties some of the main reasons I accepted the job offer.

Right now RAYA is going through some really revolutionary changes. The smallest of those are switching to Scrum and migrating many projects to using latest technologies and having a big yet very precise recruitment campaign. The company’s line of business is rebuilding itself for more progressing forward, which makes it the perfect time to join and share in this building, especially when the role allows more impact on this process.

Regarding Agile, it’s cool how El-Mohanned’s first communication with me included a link to one of the two videos he uploaded to YouTube, "Raya Software Goes Agile":


This is the technical part, which is for someone like me a must-have base for having talks about anything else. But still, there’s more about RAYA Corp. in general. Belonging to a big corporate is another paradigm that I lived some of its blessings in my previous company GNS (Gulf Network Solutions). Now, I’m into the full experience of living within a corporate environments. It just helps you think differently about your entire life, and opens new areas to think about. A worth-it experience indeed that many people once taste find it very hard to change.



Oh, yeah, by the way again, RAYA is hiring! I mean it. THERE ARE OPENINGS. There’re openings for junior and senior developers, team leaders, and testers. You can check the careers page, and send your CV to the email mentioned under each vacancy, or to El-Mohanned, or simply to me! Hey, make sure to specify the position you are applying to in the email subject please. This is the rule, isn’t it? :D


What about SilverKey?

That’s what SilverKey is to me:


Geeky days and even nights, company kitchen talks, volunteering entire public BIG free DemoDay events, pre release tools and platforms, varying nationalities, cultures and mindsets, wedding and birthday and even farewell parties, virtually wearing multiple hats at work(roles), analysis and design negotiations. launch celebrations treats, Scrum process customizations, teamwork, Dody and Alia’s guitar, having breakfast in Ramadan tent, …

There’s much about SilverKey that I cannot explain by just saying. It used to be almost my house for more than two years now. I think I know about some of the people there more than I know about my own family and maybe same for them. There’re people who sure have made a difference during this period, Dody and Kent come on top of those. There’re guys who make for best friends like M. Nour. There’re some special personalities that are hard to meet occasionally like Amir Magdy, H. Zein and M. Tayseer. There’re people who are not just interesting as techies but have their own other interests like Ahmed El Malt and Tamer Zaki and Karim Ennarah. There’re fun foreigners like Sharron, Tosin, and, very quiet yet still really fun foreigners like Brian, Chris, Luke, David, and Olivia. There are very passionate and promising guys like Kariem Soudy and Amr Ali, There’re true fun guys like Mostafa Murad (AKA, TATA beik), M. El Sayyed (AKA, SAYYYED), Emad (AKA, iMAD), and M. Alaa (AKA, Developers friend). There’re kind guys like Ibrahim Marzuk and Taher. There’s an old buddy and community partner, Mohamed Hossam (AKA, BASHMOHANDES), business guys like Adam and Farid. And there’s for sure M. Kassem and Ahmed Ali and so many names that it’s easy to miss a lot of those over different generations (by the way, no categorization intended!). Although not so many of those names are still there today that most guys will not recognize the rest of all other names, this is much to carry for the company itself.

If it was only that I met Mona, my lifetime love, current fiancee and soon my wife (God Willing), and, the girl I believe is the best to exist in our world today, I met in occasions all related to SilverKey, that would be enough.

So, technically I’m not leaving SilverKey completely for the upcoming while. Afterwards, who knows,, most likely the new generation will take over on its own afterwards (God willing).



The thoughts and states expressed in this post and entire blog are solely mine. Neither of my past/current/future employers nor any of their employees/owners hold any kind of responsibility for or commitment to any of them, even if mentioned in behalf of this employer.

dotNETwork Third Gathering – Thank you for coming – Slides Available

Let me give a very big thank you to all of you who have come to dotNETwork 3rd gathering yesterday. To those who don’t know what I’m talking about, read here :).

I’ve enjoyed with you all Mohamed Hossam‘s great session on Windows Workflow, and enjoyed you, the great attendees during my Scrum session. his came clear in many areas. The fun sole that you all had was great, the input and interactivity from the most was very inspiring, and the way how our talk moved from applying Scrum in the real world environments from the real world perspective to the issues that any developer would suffer from / worry about in his company in  general – the job security talk was fun too, LOL – so, I hope I could share with you some real world experience I had through my friend developer net as well as shared what Scrum is mainly about, and the small enhancements/techniques I have invented and/or learned from colleagues though applying it.

The gathering files have already been uploaded. WF’s session files contain the session slides as well as the files for the session’s main demo. The files for Scrum session include the slides and sample Excel files used for tracking and Burndown chart generation.

You can check the slides shown below:



For download, you can find the sessions’ file as a single ZIP file available dotNETwork official website in the downloads page. (direct download)
The dotNETwork site was updated and didn’t keep old files. Alternative download location – download from HERE.

Again, thank you all for coming :). See you next gathering.

dotNETwork 3rd Gathering – I’ll be talking rather than blogging, Bashmohandes too!

n542293349_349500_9935dotNETwork third gathering has been announced. It’s Saturday of the 3rd week of the month as planned since the 2nd gathering.

If you are unfamiliar with dotNETwork as a whole, that’s simply (as I mentioned before here) the first big offline .NET usergroup in Egypt. So far the main activity of the group though is to provide FREE monthly events ton .NET related topics, focusing on the latest topics that matter for the average .NET developers.

Windows WorkFlow Foundation, AKA, Mohammed Hossam (Bahmohandes)’s Session

Mohammed Hossam is known for many deep technical blog posts in his popular blog Bashmohandes. He’s also the founder of the Middleeast Developers Yahoo group (an INETA Community). To me, he’s an old friend from ArabTeam2000 online forum and small offline community. He’s also our lead software engineer here in SilverKey Egypt. During this, he was very essential in preparing our couple of DemoDay public free events and his DemoDay sessions used to get the highest ratings. Now he is moving to Microsoft Canada to work in Windows Live Team)

At least through working in SilverKey, Mohammed was involved in very advanced implementations and customizations of WF that required direct contact with WF guys inside Microsoft since WF was still in BETA, and identifying bugs that remained even to the current release :D.

I don’t know about all the details of the story. I’m not also sure what he has in mind for the session, but honestly you can take my word that this is going to be a very special WF session for you!

Scrum for Developers, AKA, My Session

The 3rd gathering is very special to me as I’ll attend it as a speaker this time not as an attendee. I’ll be talking about Scrum. The information that developers need to know whether they work in an organization that is still evaluating Scrum, or that’s already implementing it on the go. I’ll be focusing on the practical implementations and even customizations of Scrum emphasizing what the developer needs to know rather than waiting to be told by the project manager. Most of my Scrum experience comes from practical implementations of it in SilverKey, so, the achievements, winnings, gotchas and even mistakes of implementing Scrum in different projects in SilverKey are likely to drive my session.

Of course I’ll also go into an introduction to Agile methodologies in general by the opening, as I expect many to not be familiar with Agile concepts in general.

Although I have presented before in public events like SilverKey public DemoDay I and II (which had even more audience than dotNETwork), and private events like SilverKey internal DemoDay and ITWorx internal CuttingEdge club, this event is very special to me because it’s formed by totally independent efforts of a usergroup, which I used to believe we completely miss in Egypt.

I would sure like my very first session in .NETwork to be a more into coding, but hey, I’ll be talking after Bashmohandes anyway :).


How to get there

the event will be in Canadian International college (CIC).

On Saturday, March 22, 2008 : 12:00pm to 4:00pm.

There will be busses in ‘El-Saka El-Haded’ club ("Nady El-Seka") at 11:00 AM.

The agenda is shown in the first picture to the right.

Hope to see you all there. Again, this is a FREE event ;).

More Information

Note: I’m not going to be blogging about the detailed minutes of this gathering as before (1 , 2) of course, as during WF session, I’m likely to be having the last checks on my own presentation, and during my session, I’ll be busy giving the presentation itself, LOL!

Of course the slides and even event videos will be available soon after the day.

Related Links


Last Word

As I’m still in the process of making my presentation, it’ll be great to hear from you all what you’d like to hear in a Scrum session. Your input is highly valuable as the most I care about is make this session helping a developer to get to start with Scrum, not just hear a few words about what it is, and forget about it totally afterwards :D.

So please, drop your comments here, or send me email (use the "Contact" page, or reach me via Facebook or private email if you have any) and tell me what you recommend to include, or how you imagine such a Scrum session to look like.

Thank you very much in advance, and hope to see you all very soon.