For my first three days in UMD, my morning exercise has been to go on a hike to our HR office. Hopefully, I will have my ID and UMD login by tomorrow.

Despite the HR hiccups, it has been a great experience finally meeting my team in person! I'm looking forward to meeting the rest of the Kuali family soon.

Today, I finished setting up my development environment, signed my CLA, and had a personal Kuali overview training with Cheryl. I would finalize my notes regarding updates for the wiki and send it to Mark tomorrow. 

I would like to acknowledge Cherry, Sean P., Garey, Charles, and Cheryl for helping me the past couple of days!

Had our inaugural Agile Community Hangout last Friday. Always a blast hanging out with Farooq Sadiq and Shem Patterson. Agile guru Mike Vizdos also stopped by to give us some good advice. If you don't know anything about KanBan, checkout this blogpost to get a quick overview.

Here's some of the takeaways from the meeting:

  • Backlog grooming - this is not a nice to have. Do it every morning! Wrap your brain around what needs to get done today. If you are doing this daily, you'll never have a daunting monthly session that you keep putting off because it's just too hard!
  • Can it be done in 15 min or less?
    • If you can just bang out the request in 15 min or less, why put it in the backlog? Just do it!
  • Don't check email every second
    • Minimize distractions. Set aside a couple times a day for checking email. Otherwise the task switching will kill your productivity!
    • This makes it easier to respond to the 15 min requirement above (you set aside some time to bang out those <15 min email tasks, rather than disrupting your workday whenever they come in)
  • Learn how to say "no"
    • people appreciate the truth
    • if it's a low enough priority/high enough complexity that it won't get done in the next 3 months, just say "no" rather than "we'll add it to our backlog (AND NEVER GET TO IT)"
  • Make sure that your kan ban silos make sense for your workflow
    • sort tasks into "must get done" "should get done" and "nice to get done" (knowing full well that those nice to haves may never happen)
    • have a dead/stale task bin (you might not feel comfortable deleting a dead task immediately, but you don't want it cluttering up your workflow!)l
    • having a "waiting for something" silo can be helpful as well (when you can't finish a task but it shouldn't be in your "in progress" bin because you're waiting for someone to get back to you)
  • Don't schedule every moment of your day to complete tasks
    • Building "slack" into your schedule is crucial to being effective. Checkout Tom DeMarco's book SLACK if you don't believe me!
  • Tool
    • Don't let the tool rule your life! 
    • JIRA may be too robust for your needs right now, but it's available. Talk to Farroq and Shem about setting up a Kan Ban board and the features JIRA can give you for filtering, etc
    • I've been experimenting with Trello. It's free, connects with Google, is simple enough to be easy to use but has some good features. I used it to manage my DIY wedding, so it was a good fit for me. I think if I find KanBan to work as a task management system I'll probably bug for my own JIRA board. Haha.

If you have any questions beyond that quick summary, just ask me, or Farooq and Shem. Or if you're Farooq or Shem, let me know if I missed anything you found helpful!

Bins that I've been finding helpful:

  • Backlog - all the random stuff I haven't had a chance to look through, but thought would be handy to do (some day soon I'll split this into the must, should, and nice categories)
  • Waiting - Started working on an item but waiting for someone to get back to me. By far my largest category!
  • On Docket For Today - Every morning I make a wishlist for what I'd like to work on for the day. I have found in the past that when I start my day I've got lots of ideas about what I hope to do and then forget as emails come in and meetings happen. Having a list to hold me accountable helps me be more decisive and less reactive
  • Working on right now - This should be just ONE thing. Sometimes it ends up as two because I want a placeholder when I get interrupted. I also leave the last thing I'm working on at the end of the day here so I'll remember where I was in my task.
  • Done - when stuff is done. Duh! (smile)

Questions, comments? Let me know!


I've been working with our team of training volunteers to give the Training and Onboarding Resources a facelift. Check out our reorganized homepage. We've also slightly reorganized the material to make it easier to find what you're looking for.

  • Building a Community - Includes information on participating in the broader training community. Blogs, Google+, Confluence Comments, and more!
  • Onboarding Sequence - Includes all of the various sequences, checklists, and schedules that we've created for new team members. Find what works best for you and build to your needs with your buddy.
  • Guided Tours - The role-specific guides to the onboarding material.
  • General Resources - Material that is relevant to everyone on the project. Includes things like Tools, Kuali Foundation and Student overviews, etc.
  • Training Events - Collections of recorded material from live training events.

Let us know what works for you and what we can improve. If you have questions about how to give feedback, check out our TRAINING CONVERSATIONS page.


Had a conversation with one of the new team members about areas that checklists would be helpful.

I think the checklists you sent out are pretty good resources and cover their respective concerns well. The areas I would look for in a checklist would be:
- Organizational level concepts & structure
- Project level concepts and structure
- If available, team level concepts and structure

In each of those areas I would include an overview of the past, present, future and the vision/direction for getting there. It would also be important to walk through the process at each level (e.g. communication, workflow, agile, etc). A big resource to include would be definitions of concepts and acronyms. In the end, I would want to have an understanding of the group I just came into, where they're looking to go, how they're going to get there, and how I contribute to that.

Food for thought. Including here so I remember to look into this!

Remember that when you are creating blogposts (and any Confluence page), you can use labels on the page to aid in finding them (and organizing them) later.

Labels allow you to tag pages with keywords that you can use to create groupings either through macros on other pages or by searching.

Adding a label to a page

There are a number of ways to add a label to a page (make sure you are logged into Confluence first):

  • While creating/editing a page:
    1. At the bottom left corner of the edit window, click the button called "labels"
    2.  A dialog box will appear
    3. You can add one word keywords or short phrases divided with any delimiter not a "space" (for example "short_phrase" or "compound-word" instead of "a phrase with spaces")
    4. Once you add labels, you can remove them by clicking the "x" above them in the label dialog
  • On the page itself (not editing), there are two ways
    • The easiest is to press the "l" as in "lion" key on your keyboard. This will bring up the dialog box as above
    • Otherwise you must
      1. Scroll to the bottom of the page you are on
      2. At the bottom there should be "Like" on the left" and a "label" page on the right. 
        1. If there are no labels on the page already you will see this:
        2. If there are labels already on the page, you will see this:
        3. Either way, click on the tiny pencil and the edit label dialog box will appear. Follow the steps above.

Using label macros to display things

There are a number of different macros that allow you to leverage the labels functionality. The Confluence documentation is probably more helpful than me walking through each issue, but here's a quick sample of some helpful macros:

Content By Label macro with "howto"

Popular Labels macro

Searches with labels

    • Looks like this when you do it


Book Club and More

Have you joined the "book club" for Kuali Student? We've created a community on Google+ for the sharing of ideas around what you're reading/watching/listening to.

Back to Cheryl's Blog Main Page

  • Fix The Jetty with Hossein

    • C:\Java\jetty-distribution-8.1.13\etc\jetty.xml

    • <Call name="addConnector">  change port 8080 to 8081

  • Check  new JIRAS


  • Work with Hossein Aliabadi to fix the configuration of the IntelliJ
    • There were missing some configurations for the MAVEN_OPTS, and also JVM opts, the solution was increase the xmx for both environment variables, also fix those variables in IntelliJ
    • Reinstall all the environment, reinstall Intellij (uninstall IntellliJ 13 and install IntelliJ12)
  • Still missing fix the Jetty sever with IntelliJ
  • Review some possibles JIRAs with Miki Harmath
  • Continue working in the JIRAs


  • Worked with David Yin  and continuing to set up the environment using maven and IntelliJ
  • Tying to deploy in Tomcat 7.0.53
  • After a couple of ties with tomcat tried with Jetty version jetty-distribution-8.1.13
  • Checking variables and versions to check if the web site is opening locally, still failing
  • Looks like the problem is with the data, I just can log in into the web site but I can not get the options for the Enrollment module testing locally.



Today's Activities:

  • Attended overview with Cheryl
  • Created training blog
  • Completed security training, signed CLA, and emailed to #help for SVN access
  • Started dev environment set-up (complete through JDBC install... [ERROR] No plugin found for prefix 'install' in the current project and in the plugin groups [com.totsp.gwt, org.apache.maven.plugins, org.codehaus.mojo] available from the repositories [local (/Users/pauldanielrichardson/.m2/repository), kuali.private (] -> [Help 1]...Jon Morris is experiencing the same problem...)

Today's Activities:

  • Worked with Jon to collect a plethora of feedback on the developer setup instructions and forwarded to Mark Curtz
  • Worked with Dan G. on instructions for refreshing the environment after an SVN update (and for minifying files before commits)
  • Installed "TextWrangler" from the Apple App Store for routine text editing. As a former Windows user, I was spoiled by notepad++ and this seems to be a reasonable equivalent (certainly more functional than the built in TextEdit).
  • Ran through the Angular tutorials at
  • Began reading the Kuali Student Overview

Today's activities:

  • Kuali Student overview with Cheryl
  • Finished setting up dev environment, was able to deploy and run KS!!!
  • Worked with Dan G. to set up Grunt for angular

A critical part of our current strategy for training is the "buddy" who helps guide each new team member through their onboarding and training. Buddies can make or break a training experience. For all that influence, we at Kuali Student don't always give new buddies the support they need to succeed. As the leader of our training team, I'm going to try and create better material on how to be a good buddy.

What's available today?

While sometimes I feel like there is zero material for a new buddy out there, we do have a couple resources that are starting to really take shape.

Stuff for the future...

Some ideas I've had for the future include

  • Breaking down a concept more specifically in a blogpost
  • Doing a short video on some of the more important training concepts
  • Doing brown-bag style "webinars" to discuss training with buddy groups
  • One-on-one buddy Q&A where I speak with buddies before an onboarding cycle to help address their issues individually

Let me know what ideas you might have for improving our buddy program (and if there's anything you see that you'd like to help with!)

Back to Cheryl's Blog

Onboarding Experiences


  • Attended first team standup, giving introduction when it was my turn
  • Attend Kuali overview with Cheryl, learning about Kuali at a high level and how the overall foundation is organized, functions, and how it came to be.
  • Started in on the dev environment setup. Ran into a couple of issues along the was (ojdbc6_g driver couldn't be installed b/c didn't have access to the Kuali private Maven repo)


  • Attended second standup, let people know that I was blocked on the Maven permissions. Dan E got the issue resolved right away (credentials to the Kuali private repo).
  • Attended Kuali Student overview with Cheryl, learning much more about the history, direction, scope, and status of the project. 
  • Continued configuring dev environment once Maven permissions was taken care of.
    • Ran into another snag setting up my Oracle DB VM. Not sure what it ended up being (have a feeling it was trying to move forward w/o the Kuali private Maven repo credentials). Ended up having to delete my VM instance and go back a few steps. That seemed to take care of it and the rest of the Mac setup went fine.
    • Then came the ItelliJ setup. At this point I jumped back over to the non-Mac documentation and had to piece out what was done, and not done, in the Mac doc. Overall this wasn't too big a deal, though it did end up leaving me fumbling around at times.

Dev Environment Setup Tips For Success:

  • Follow the guide, making sure that you update version numbers & credentials as you go (no blind copy/past).
  • If you hit a wall, go back a couple of steps and start again.