Ambient Noise Music for Your Epic Coding Sessions


  1. I like to have white or ambient noise playing while I study or don’t want it to be too quite when I’m alone, so I thought I’d share a list of my favorite websites in case anyone else was interested.
  2. Calm – – A visually beautiful website. Provides moving backgrounds and an option for guided calm which allows you to immerse yourself in the music and to relax. Has a free app for iPhone. Another one of my favourites.
  3. Showertime – – The experience of taking a shower without the water. Allows you to control features such as length of shower, size of room, water pressure, etc.
  4. Coffitivity – – The background noise of a coffee shop. Allows you to choose between different locations such as lunchtime lounge, morning murmur etc. Has an app for iOS and Android as well as a desktop app for OS X.
  5. Soundrown – – A website with a sleek minimalist design, allows you to choose between rain, coffee shop, ocean, fire, bird noises, or a combination of the five.
  6. Relaxing Snow – – Visually beautiful falling snow, the website gives you the opinion to play music with the scenery, or to choose your own.
  7. Raining.Fm – – This website gives you the ability to adjust the rain to exactly how you’d like it, with options to tweak thunder, rain and storm noises. Has an app for iOS and Android, as well as a timer and snooze option.
  8. Rain For Me – – Simple rain effects with the option to download the audio files for offline listening.
  9. Snowy Mood – – Inspired by Rainy Mood, this website really makes you feel like it’s winter. Perfect for playing while snuggled up in a warm bed.
  10. Rainy Cafe – – Combines the sounds of a bustling cafe setting with the sounds of drizzling rain. Allows you to select the volume of each setting, or turn one off completely.
  11. Original list on Tumblr-

Your BEST Agile Tool Ever – Excel

Excel-logo.3 Reasons Excel Rules for Agile, Scrum, Kanban

Whenever I begin work with a client… one of the first tools I pop open is Microsoft Excel. I know it gets a bad rap, but it’s seriously the most dynamic and effective (functionally) tool out there bar none.

  1. Your company already owns it. You (most likely) do too
  2. Obviously, I’m a big fan of physical wallboards… but if you have to go tool, go with the most functional tool in the world
  3. Excel teaches you how to problem solve better… by learning to create functions to improve your workflow

Learn Excel:

Learn to Code – Learn Online with 6 Websites


[Click to Enlarge]

6 Websites to Help you Get Coding


Udacity is one of the best-known MOOCs (or Massive Online Open Courses) available on the Web, and the content it contains can tutor you on everything from Android apps to social network analysis. Short videos a few minutes in length are punctuated by quizzes and exercises, and once you’ve signed up for a particular course it can last from a few weeks to a few months (check the information page for each individual course). You can think of Udacity as attending college over the Web, just without the fancy diploma at the end. Much of the material on the site (described as “courseware”) is available free of charge, but you do have the option to pay if you want to get one-on-one tuition or take on the interactive projects that come with the course. Some courses are funded by corporate sponsors; Google has built the Android app development one, for example. The Udacity model won’t suit everyone but it offers a broad range of useful content that you can fit around your existing lifestyle, particularly when you take the mobile apps (for Android and iOS) into consideration. Source:


If you want to begin right at the start, then Codecademy is a great place to dive into coding. The site is intuitive, accessible, and covers HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Python, Ruby and PHP. Each course is split up into easily digestible sections. You can see the titles of these sections, as well as the estimated time commitment required to complete them, before you get started. You won’t come out the other end as a programming master but the appeal of Codecademy lies in its accessibility rather than its depth. At the heart of the Codecademy site is the interactive portal that enables you to take lessons and exercises right within your browser, with feedback and instruction appearing alongside in an instant as you type. As you’re doing rather than simply reading or watching, you can pick up the basics very quickly, and because Codecademy is free it’s a great way of working out whether this coding lark is for you or not before you go deeper somewhere else. Source:


Treehouse is like a paid-for, more complex upgrade to Codecademy and would be the natural next step if you pass the Codecademy courses with flying colors. There are two subscription models—a basic $25/month one and a pro $49/month upgrade—but if you want to test the waters for free then there’s a 14-day trial available that you can sign up for without any obligation. As you would expect for $25 and above each month, the materials and content provided by Treehouse is consistently top notch. Videos, interactive exercises, quizzes, forums, expert speakers and other resources are all combined with Treehouse, though you’ll need to upgrade to the top subscription level to take advantage of some of the more exclusive workshops and interviews. The step-by-step, guided approach is useful for tackling areas that you’re not familiar with, and the available tracks cover HTML, CSS, WordPress, Ruby, PHP, Android, iOS, JavaScript and more. The site is slick and simple to navigate around too. Source:


“Learn by doing” is the mantra of Code School, though it’s an approach adopted by many of the resources we’ve mentioned on this list. This isn’t for beginners, though: you’re going to need some level of coding know-how to make sense of the material that Code School places in front of you. You could consider moving on to Code School after Udacity, Codecademy or even Treehouse, for example, though it depends on your existing level of knowledge and the type of code you’re working with. There are four main paths to choose from—Ruby, HTML/CSS, iOS and JavaScript—but other courses outside of these main paths touch on Git, Objective-C, JQuery and other more detailed coding standards. Some of the material on the site is free, though there’s a flat monthly fee of $29 to get access to everything. Like Treehouse, there’s a mixture of screencasts, video tutorials and interactive challenges to help you get on top of your chosen topic as quickly as possible. Source:


Dash is a project from educational institution General Assembly that focuses on building websites, specifically HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Like Codecademy, the courses are designed to be easy to get started with and very interactive right from the beginning—if you want to be able to jump straight in with as little preamble as possible then Dash could be for you. One of the spin-offs created by Dash lets you build your own custom Tumblr theme, which gives you some idea of where this resource is pitched. You might not be able to launch a career as a freelance Web designer on the back of Dash alone, but it’s free to use and friendly for beginners, and by the time you come out the other end you’ll certainly have a solid foundation in browser coding skills. The step-by-step guidance and rigid structure of the course may feel a bit limiting at times, but if you want to be guided very carefully through the fundamentals of the Web then it’s perfect. Source:


Like Dash, the Code Avengers site focuses on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, though after a helpful introductory lesson you’ll need to pay to carry on with your coding education. HTML and CSS modules cost $29 each while the JavaScript ones will set you back $39 a pop—a lifetime access option is also available for $125. Use the free lessons to gauge whether the level that Code Avengers is pitched at fits in with where you are and what you want to learn. Code Avengers makes what can be a daunting and inaccessible topic very easy to get into. The way that repetition and reinforcement is used over each of the 12-hour courses means that you come away with some good programming habits as well as a good grounding in the ins and outs of Web development. The interface is clear and clean as well, and there’s a good mix of coding challenges, step-by-step instructions and practical projects to help you make progress with your Web development skills. If you’ve had any personal experiences with one of the resources we’ve mentioned—or you think there’s another site that deserves some attention—then let us know in the discussion below. Meantime, happy coding! Source:

[Tool Review] — Pie — Work chat that’s all signal, no noise


If you’re running Agile in your team, you’re likely logged in to several group chat rooms right now. At the very least, you’re plugged into rooms for engineering and product discussions. There’s also rooms for design and marketing that you pop into every now and then. And you’re definitely in some kind of ‘random’ chatroom for watercooler stuff.

With so many chat rooms, and so many discussions, it can sometimes be hard to keep up. There are times where you load your chat app and find something like 500 unread items. If you work in a distributed team, or even if you’ve just stepped away for a few hours, you’ve definitely seen this before. How can you separate the important discussions from the off-topic fluff?

[Enter]: Piework chat that’s all signal, no noise.

Pie lets you quickly create a new chat room for everything you want to share, so discussions stay focused and on-topic.

Let’s have a look:


A chatroom for every topic. This is the first thing you’ll notice when you first use Pie. Instead of the traditional group chatroom model, Pie is more like a hybrid between message boards and chat.

You can quickly know what your team is talking about, and you can drop in and comment only on the topics you find interesting:


You can post notes, upload files and share links to Pie, so you can start a conversation about anything you want.

Frictionless sharing. With so many articles and resources on Agile coming out all the time, one of the most common things we do in group chat rooms is to drop in, paste a link, and nudge everyone to read.

We do this several times a day, so that minute or two that you’re knocked out of your workflow to share something adds up.

Pie makes this a lot easier with their Chrome extension — it’s the only chat app out there that lets you share something without leaving the webpage you’re reading.


And with the way Pie is set up, your link shows up as a new topic, so you won’t interrupt any ongoing conversations when sharing something new.

Tagged chat topics. You can use hashtags on Pie to create collections of chatrooms, or to help you find old conversations:



Pie gives you a central place to have all your team’s conversations, instead of having to pay attention to email threads, comments in Google docs and all the group chats you have going on.

It’s free for companies of all sizes. Try it out with your team:

Peter Saddington Session on the Science Behind High Performance Teams #agile2013

Dear Peter,

Thank you for being a part of Agile2013. Following is some information about your session.

  • Number of attendees at the beginning of your session: # 170
  • Number of attendees at the end of your session: # 170

We asked attendees to indicate whether they would recommend your session to their peers:

  • Yes (Green): # 120
  • Maybe (Yellow): # 3  ***CANT PLEASE EVERYONE*** 🙂
  • No (Red): # 0


Agile Alliance Team

Had a great time! Thanks Agile Alliance!

Below is the scribd version:

Action & Influence – The Science of High Performance Teams Teams Agile2013 Peter Saddington FINAL

WordPress and Pictures [PressGram Kickstarter App]


I know there are more than a few Agilists who are bloggers among us and even more than enjoy taking pictures of their families, friends, their work, and maybe even their food on occasion (admit it, you do it).

Well, if you’re a blogger then there’s a chance you’re also using WordPress, which is what we use here on – and we’re always looking for neat implementations that help keep more pageviews and more eyes on the content and community we have here.
Pressgram, a recent Kickstarter project that connect filtered photos directly to WordPress, is doing just that. If you’re a fan of taking photos and blogging about them but also in growing your own business and brand around content, then Pressgram is something that you may want to back.
There are some strong business cases as well as creative control that are worth a second.

@pawelbrodzinski – Kanban Workshop – My Notes


[At Agile Dev Practices Berlin 2013]

Principles of Kanban

  • Start with what you have
  • Agree to pursue incremental evolutionary change
  • Respect current situation
  • Encourage leadership on all levels

Practices of Kanban

  • Visualize 
  • Limit WIP
  • Manage Flow – Monitor/Flow of reality
  • Make policies explicit
  • Introduce feedback loops
  • Improve collaboratively

[SEE MY NOTES – PART 2 on Kanban here]


[Scrum Tool Review] – SonicAgile – Manage Your Project in a World of Blue

[We review Agile Tools. Have you seen our Agile Tools list?]

We’ve been looking around for another tool to review and it landed on our desk for sure.

[Enter]: SonicAgileAn Easy to Use Scrum tool in Blue

The SonicAgile folks tell us that they built SonicAgile because they wanted a lightweight and easy to learn project management tool which the developers could coordinate the work that their team performs on software projects.

SonicAgile supports the basic features that many other tools cover as well: creating backlogs, scrumboards, and burndown charts. It includes support for acceptance criteria, story estimation, calculating team velocity, and email integration.

Interested already? It’s simple. You can sign up for 30 days free. Booyah.

SonicAgile Backlog

You use the backlog to create a prioritized list of user stories such as features, bugs, and change requests. It’s a snap, prioritize a story by just drag and dropping the story from one location to another.

Likewise, it’s easy to add stories from the product backlog to the sprint backlog:

Tracking velocity is pretty intuitive and easy as well. Try it out… and then try to overload your team. A nice addition is that when you add too many stories to a a sprint… the system warns you automatically:

SonicAgile Scrumboard

If you’re running a daily Scrum everyday, you can use the Scrumboard to view at a glance what everyone on the team is working on. Below is a view of what an individual is working on in the Product Details Page:

Every story can be broken into tasks and acceptance criteria:

One caveat though, you cannot close a story — and remove the story from the list of active stories on the scrumboard — until all tasks and acceptance criteria associated with the story are done.

SonicAgile Burndown Charts

Currently, SonicAgile supports several versions of burndown reports: Release Burndown, Sprint Burndown by Task Estimates, and Sprint Burndown by Story Points charts. Below is an example of a Sprint Burndown by Story Points:

Email Integration

The folks over at SonicAgile tell us that their system was designed to improve your team’s communication and collaboration. Most stories and tasks require discussion to nail down exactly what work needs to be done. If your rockin’ a dispersed team, or a team that isn’t local, you can collaborate through email, right? When you use SonicAgile, all email discussions concerning a story or a task (including all email attachments) are captured automatically. At any time in the future, you can view all of the email discussion concerning a story or a task by opening the Story Details dialog:

Summary (And some Technical Details)

SonicAgile is very close to being a pure Ajax application (which I like). Looking a bit deeper we’ve found that SonicAgile was built using ASP.NET MVC 3, jQuery, and Knockout. Almost all of the MVC controller actions return JSON results. The controller actions are invoked from jQuery Ajax calls from the browser.

SonicAgile was built on Windows Azure, and the team over at SonicAgile is taking advantage of SQL Azure, Table Storage, and Blob Storage.

Going through the system, I wasn’t too disappointed with the experience. It was intuitive and pretty easy to navigate. I specifically liked the ease of the drag and drop functionality, which is a standard these days. The color scheme took a little bit getting used to though.

Since they’ve opened it up for free sign ups and 30 days of trial, it wouldn’t be a bad ride to take if you’re looking for a new tool to use. Consider dropping a couple minutes on this one, you might just find that it will work for you and your team!

iDoneThis – Lightweight Updates and Status Reporting for Scrum Teams

[We review Agile and Scrum Tools. Have you seen our Agile and Scrum Tools List?

iDoneThis is a tool that promises to bring lightweight status reporting to every company.  Its secret sauce is that it makes the process incredibly simple.  It’s the easiest way that I’ve found to run a stripped down daily standup… maybe even for dispersed teams.

If anyone you know has been too intimidated to try Agile because of what appears to be complicated rules and protocols, just turn them on to iDoneThis.  It attempts to capture the essence of scrum — daily iterative progress and improvement — without much of the overhead.

With iDoneThis, you aren’t going to get a product that’s loaded with features and configurability options.  If you’re looking for a very specific agile product and process, iDoneThis isn’t the tool for you.  iDoneThis’s is mantra is to keep it simple, and you might be surprised how powerful that is.

iDoneThis is so easy to use that after you sign up, you can keep using iDoneThis without ever having to go to their website again.

Here’s how it works. Continue reading “iDoneThis – Lightweight Updates and Status Reporting for Scrum Teams”

Business Optimization and Human Potential

We are often blind.

As Agile Coaches, consultants, and organizational improvers, we strive to help teams and businesses alike improve their performance, output, and even culture.

The problem is… that we often come into a team or business blind, not understanding the full context of each team and each individual who makes up that team.

This is a problem.

To be the most effective we need to understand how people operate. We need to understand how they work collectively, as a group, as a team, and as individuals. The quicker we can assess and understand the contextual culture of our clients and teams, we are left to empirically deduce assumptions that most often are half-truths.

As we jump into consulting or coaching with any client, it would be great to know their cultural context, how people are behaving, and even how to engage with them best.

Easier said than done, until TeamScience™ dropped on the scene.

TeamScience™ – Business Optimization and Human Potential

Continue reading “Business Optimization and Human Potential”

Achievements: An Agile Whitepaper

An Agile Whitepaper: Achievements

By, Renee Troughton


Abstract: Agile Achievements can be used to track and celebrate both individual and team behaviors in adopting Agile values, principles and practices.

Gaddie Pitch: You know how most teams find it difficult to know what they have to do when developing in an Agile environment?

Well what Achievements does is help to give clear goals about the expected behaviors for teams and individuals.

In fact Achievements can be fun and re-direct the focus away from the Scrum Master or Agile Coach to enable the team to encourage better Agile behaviors.

What is an Achievement?

Continue reading “Achievements: An Agile Whitepaper”

[Review] – Mike Cohn’s eLearning Agile Videos

Online Agile Videos

Mike Cohn recently announced that he’s providing a kick butt online eLearning tool to learn all about Agile. I reached out to him to see what it’s all about and we kicked a few emails back and forth. Regardless, I went ahead and got my hands on it. That’s what AgileScout is here for: Do the heavy lifting for you 🙂.

[Mountain Goat Software Online eLearning Agile Course] LINK

With so many Universities doing online learning these days, wouldn’t it be about time for Agile and Scrum Trainers to start offering online training tools? You’betcha. Who better to do it than Mike?

Here are my thoughts and experiences after a full 3.5 hours and taking all 9 of the tests:

Agile Topics Covered

  • Introduction
  • The Problem
  • Iteration Planning
  • Story Points & Ideal Days
  • Estimating the Product Backlog
  • Release Planning
  • Other Topics
  • Conclusion
I was captivated by the introduction video of a goat running around. Fantastic!

Review of Course Presentation Continue reading “[Review] – Mike Cohn’s eLearning Agile Videos”

[Tool Review] – UpstartHQ – Next Best Thing to a Physical Kanban Whiteboard

What does a little green frog, a new startup, and free software look like? It may just look like UpstartHQ, who are currently building yet another light and simple kanban tool (tailored for startups)? Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty. It’s simple… almost offensively simple. But that’s the point, right?

[Enter]: UpstartHQNot a physical kanban board, but may just be the next best thing!

Sign up, click the verification email in your email box and you’re ready to roll.

Go on, add your first story. It’s simple. If you’re quick enough, you can fill up an entire kanban board in seconds (like I did above). Continue reading “[Tool Review] – UpstartHQ – Next Best Thing to a Physical Kanban Whiteboard”

[Tool Review] – LeanKit Kanban – Optimize Your Flow

[We review Agile tools. Have you seen our Agile tools list?]

Kanban is kicking into high gear these days as more and more enterprises are taking on the challenge of utilizing Kanban to help them visualize their business. It’s just a matter of time before some really good Kanban tools come out to help. Lucky for us, they have. 

[Enter]: LeanKit KanbanOptimize Your Flow of Work

After you sign up for a 30-day free trial, you’ll have access to a simple dashboard. Get started with a few clicks and you’ll be on your way to creating your board:

The board is so intuitive and simple to use. Simply add a story, fill in as much information as you need into the card and save it! Continue reading “[Tool Review] – LeanKit Kanban – Optimize Your Flow”

Top Agile Tools – Best Kanban Tools

Kanban is growing like wildfire. Many organizations are finding value in this simple process via a “pull” system: The production of work is determined by the demand from the customer.

You have a choice:

1. You can build a Kanban board.

2. You can use a tooland an actual board!

Here is a list of the best Kanban tools out there today.

Continue reading “Top Agile Tools – Best Kanban Tools”