Archive for February, 2014

Distributed agile / distributed teams

February 8, 2014

I often hear people say “offshore doesn’t work I need my people together”.

This is simply not true. Perhaps they are embarrassed to say they haven’t been able to make it work. I don’t think that is true either. I think it is just a case of they haven’t tried it but they probably have and haven’t even realised it.

Staff often work from home because they are not very well, waiting for plumbers, etc. Whilst at home they dial into meetings and/or conduct conversations with other people using telephone, Skype, Google Hangout, GotoMeeting, etc.

I know a company where their team lead is in Sofia and he manages a distributed development team across Sofia (Bulgaria), London (UK) and Newcastle (UK). I also know a company with developers in San Francisco (USA), Bath (UK), Kiev (Ukraine) and St Petersburg (Russia). They and many others find it works very well.

My personal preference is to divide projects into small self contained teams, e.g. < 5 people, so the communication overhead between people is reduced which results a small amount of team to team communication.

For example an eCommerce project could be split into 5 small teams UI designers (London), www UI developers (London), admin UI developers (Sofia), web services developers (Sofia), import / export developers (Sofia), etc. Should the import / export developers sit in a scrum meeting and listen to the UI developers whittle on about things effecting them and vice versa. No. It’s not a good use of their time.

Here is an example of what not to do


A meeting for 16 people regardless of whether face to face or distributed is going be long and energy sapping. Just look at their faces!

If you operate multiple locations it makes sense to invest a few hundred dollars in a large TV and a conference camera like this Logitech BCC950 Conference Camera in each location.


Offshore teams and distributed teams work and there is a new generation of people for whom this is the norm.

You should embrace talent no matter where it is in the world.


Sofia Office Expansion

February 8, 2014

TechHuddle is expanding and we have recently taken on more office space for our Sofia Office.

We are hoping for 100% growth this year.

Magento Admin Panel missing browse button

February 5, 2014

Another gotcha today with the Magento Admin Panel was I was unable to upload images using Safari and Firefox on my Mac because I couldn’t see buttons to browse files / upload.

It turns out flash needs to be installed for these buttons to be visible. Very frustrating!

Cannot login to Magento admin panel with Google Chrome

February 5, 2014

I was also reminded today of the fact that I cannot use Google Chrome to login to the Magento Admin Panel on localhost. Every time I enter the username and password I am returned to the login page. Works fine with Safari and Firefox on my Mac just not Google Chrome my preferred browser.

One of the workarounds posted on the internet is to change the cookie timeout using the admin panel.

System > Configuraton > Web > Session Cookie Management

I tried changing with Safari but it did not work. Perhaps I should have cleared cookies.

I got it work in the end by editing


and changing this

$cookieParams = array(
'lifetime' => $cookie->getLifetime(),
'path' => $cookie->getPath(),
'domain' => $cookie->getConfigDomain(),
'secure' => $cookie->isSecure(),
'httponly' => $cookie->getHttponly()


$cookieParams = array(
// 'lifetime' => $cookie->getLifetime(),
// 'path' => $cookie->getPath(),
// 'domain' => $cookie->getConfigDomain(),
// 'secure' => $cookie->isSecure(),
// 'httponly' => $cookie->getHttponly()

It feels very wrong to have to do this.

You may need to clear localhost cookies and keychain on Mac.

How to reset Magento admin password

February 5, 2014

I installed Magento on my MacBook Pro a few months ago and came back to it today but had forgotten the admin password.

There are lots of articles on the internet on how to reset the admin password.

Whilst this works

UPDATE admin_user SET password=CONCAT(MD5('qXpassword'), ':qX') WHERE username='admin';

it isn’t necessary to set a salt so this equally works

UPDATE admin_user SET password=MD5('password') WHERE username='admin';

I would also recommend clearing the relevant cookies and keychain entry on Mac’s.