Twitter is fun, c2.com is almost dead, and blogs have a lot of great ideas, but the best discussions about Agile still occur on the mailing list. Yet, I keep coming across people interested in learning about Agile but who don’t know about the mailing lists.
What follows are the mailing lists I know of (most of which I subscribe to). BTW I don’t recommend subscribing to this many mailing lists, as your mail volume will be insane (mine is about 300–400 messages a day). I can only handle it because gmail collapses long conversations into a single thread.
Scrum Development, ~6800 members, 500–700 messages a month. Description: “For updates and interchange between the users of Scrum and those just beginning to use Scrum. Restricted to those who want to build products and software using Scrum. For discussion on how to do so.” This list is a very good place to get started It was my first Agile mailing list.
Scrum Alliance community discussion group: “All healthy discussion is welcome. Differences in opinion and thought are encouraged. Spam, abusive language and direct advertisements/attacks aimed at splintering the community’s energy are prohibited and violators will be warned/banned. Heated debate, differences of opinion, methods other than Scrum or desire for a different SA community group are all open topics. Please be respectful of each other and be mindful that email is often toneless and can therefore be easily taken wrong.” My take—this is a good place to discuss issues that would get you kicked off ScrumDev.
Extreme Programming, ~9200 members, 800–1000 message a month. Description: “The purpose of the list is civilized discussion of questions, issues, problems, and topics in Extreme Programming, Agile Methods, software development practices, and related topics.” I don’t participate in this list because I don’t have the time.
Agile Project Management, ~3600 members, 100–200 messages a month. Description: “Agile Project Management (APM) is a group to discuss and promote techniques for the management of agile projects. APM seeks to provide managers with a forum to share practical advice, experiences and insights from the application of agile methodologies like eXtreme Programming (XP), SCRUM, Feature Driven Development (FDD) and DSDM.” I like this list part because it attracts a different crowd than Scrum Development: Sanjiv Augustine, David Schmaltz, Hillel Glazer.
Crystal Clear, ~200 members, <50 messages a month, Description: “Discussion of the Crystal Methodologies (Alistair Cockburn).” Low volume, high quality; most posts are of interest.
Lean, Kanban and the Edge
Lean Software Development, ~1400 members, 100–200 messages a month, Description: The name says it all.
Lean Agile, ~1400 members, 200–300 messages a month, Description: “For discussing how to learn, apply and evangelicize Lean-Agile Software Development and/or Scrum, TDD, TOC, Kanban, … within the context of Lean.” Started originally as LeanAgileScrum by Allan Shalloway after he was kicked off the ScrumDevelopment mailing list. Very similar discussions to “Lean Software Development.” It strikes me as odd that the two haven’t merged.
Kanban, ~700 members, 200–400 messages a month, Description: “An opportunity to discuss and learn more about the use of virtual Kanban systems in software development. Kanban has become popular throughout 2008. The main proponents are David Anderson, Corey Ladas, Karl Scotland, Aaron Sanders, Kenji Hiranabe (and with his Naked Planning approach) Arlo Belshee. Kanban started with David J. Anderson and his work at Microsoft and Corbis in Seattle. See Kanban in Action and From Worst to Best in 9 Months for further details. Corey Ladas has also published extensively at his Lean Software Enginnering blog.” A small group with lots of very interesting discussion.
Real Options, ~100 members, <100 messages a month, Description: “Discussion of the application of options outside the world of finance. Whether people realise it or not, “freedom to choose” is the underlying principle behind many of the Agile practices. We call this principle Real Options. An understanding of Real Options allows us to develop and refine new agile practices and take agile into directions it hasn’t gone before. Real Options also helps us understand why some people resist some of the practices.”
Agile Business, ~50 members, <50 messages a month, Description: “This group is a place for people interested in the business side of Agile. It is for customers, Product Owners, business analysts, Product Management, Product Development, executives, marketing and all those interested in those concerns (which should also include everyone doing Lean or Agile).Agile and Lean are interpreted broadly (i.e., the scope is much broader than just agile software development). Examples of breadth: How to get my car repair shop more agile, what would it mean to have lean delivery in a church, can non-SW projects use an agile approach; what does that mean”. This is a brand-new group.
Agile Beyond Software, ~80 members, <50 messages a month, Description: “This is a group for people who are interested in sharing stories, experiences, practices, and questions about applying agile beyond software. This could be in management, marketing, engineering, small business, personal life, community groups, or any other areas where you think it might be worth trying!!!”. Still trying to sort out the difference between this and Agile Business, although both Joe and Mishkin insist they do differ.
Solo Scrum, ~50 members, <50 messages a month, Description: “Group for investigating and sharing agile approaches (lean, scrum, etc) and engineering practices for better developing software on your own.” I only just joined the group.
Agile Articles, 570 members, < 20 messages a month, Description: “The Agile Articles group was founded in order to gather links to: online papers, recommended books, agile websites, open source tools.”
Agile Testing, ~5400 members, 200–300 messages a month, Description: “In this group, we discuss how to test software in projects that are using an Agile style of development.
We expect most members of the group to be independent testers working on an agile team. However, we’re open to discussions of other types of agile testing: developer testing, customer acceptance testing, and so forth.” I like the group’s practical focus, leaving the majority of the philosophical debate to other lists.
Retrospectives, ~370 members, <100 members a month, Description: “Retrospective Facilitators Community.” Low volume, very insightful.
Software Craftsmanship, ~660 members, ~100–400 messages a month, Description: “Discuss what Software Craftsmanship is and how to promote it. Effectively a response of Uncle Bob’s Crap Code keynote at Agile 2008.”
Agile Alliance Functional Testing Tools, ~300 members, < 100 messages a month. Description: “This discussion group is for discussions related to advances in functional testing tools for Agile projects … The good news is that tool support for automated functional tests has grown significantly in recent years. There is a large variety of commercial and open source testing tools/frameworks available that support Agile development practices. … However, we believe that it’s time for another significant boost to the state of the art. We’ll discuss those advances here.”
Test Driven Development, ~4500 members, 200–300 messages a month. The name says it all.
Test First User Interfaces, ~700 members, few postings in the past few years, Description: “discuss writing Graphic User Interfaces using Test Driven Development techniques.” Come by and restart the conversation.
Refactoring, ~3900 members, < 100 messages a month, Description: “This is a forum for discussions about Refactoring, including tools associated with Refactoring. It is a place to share and discuss new and old refactorings in a variety of software languages.” Hard to believe a forum I’m not subscribed to.
Lean Programming, ~300 members, <50 messages a month, Description: “This group is a place for all conversations relating to the production of code – including test, code and design. Topics such as test-driven-development, emergent design, design patterns, code quality, and anything related are welcome. This user group was formed by several technical trainers and coaches of Net Objectives who are active on the site, however, it is open to all.” Another one I didn’t know about until I started this post.
Agile Embedded, ~190 members, < 20 messages a month, Description: “The Agile Embedded group is interested in using agile techniques such as extreme programming and scrum to develop embedded software.” Another mailing list I didn’t know.
There are a lot more lists related to tools than I mention here, but these are just the tools I use today. There are lots of other tool-related mailing lists out there.
JUnit, ~7600 members, 100–200 messages a month, Description—just like the name says.
NUnit, ~270 members, 100–300 messages a month. Description: “The primary support list for NUnit as well as the place where we discuss new approaches, features and bugs. As such, it replaces the previous nunit-users and nunit-developers lists on SourceForge.”
CCNET, ~1380 members, 300–400 messages a month, Description: “Mailling list for users of CruiseControl.NET. Please submit support requests to this list.”
Win Tech Off Topic, ~1700 members, 100–200 messages a month, Description: “This mailing list is for all the Off Topic messages from all of the other Windows-centric technical mailing lists I belong to, i.e., ATL, DCOM, DOTNET and GENX. These messages are typically marked [OT], [OOT], [VERY OT], or whatever. Sometimes this seems like most of the content on these lists, and often the most interesting, but since it’s “off topic,” folks are often flamed for their posts.” This list doesn’t have an Agile focus but is still one of the best places to ask technical windows programming questions.
Jobs and Announcements
Agile Announcements, 600 members, < 100 messages a month. Description: “This group is for Agile Announcements. The announcements can be about user groups meetings, job postings, service offerings, course, or whatever. And any discussion about announcements posted. The geographic scope is worldwide.” Oddly enough, reading user group announcements from around the world is interesting. It gives me great ideas for Agile Ottawa.
Agile Jobs, ~250 members, <20 messages a month.
XP Jobs – ~1700 members, <20 messages a month.
There are over a hundred local Agile mailing lists, I’m located in Ottawa so I will only mention these two: Agile Ottawa, Agile Programming Ottawa – for some strange reason we have two Agile Ottawa mailing lists. Nuts.
Mailing lists for all of my personal productivity tools.
Do It Tomorrow, ~680 members, <50 members, Description: “This group was established as an informal place for members of other time management groups, not to mention those new to time management/productivity methods, to discuss the time management methodologies put forward in the books of author and coach Mark Forster.” I’ve tried GTD and failed at it. DIT seems to suit my personal style.
Pomodoro Technique, ~200 members, <50 messages a month, Description: “The aim of this discussion group is to help users of the Pomodoro Technique to get to know it better to use it more effectively. Whether you are new to Pomodoro Technique or a veteran reply to the topic” This is the technique that helps keep me (and many other agilists) focused during the day.
Updated to include the new Scrum Alliance Community Mailing list.