Today was a good day at the conference.
It started with the Keynote by Alistair Cockburn, in which he “came to bury Agile, not to praise it” – adapting Shakespear’s words to poignant effect. The thrust of his talk is that it is time to get past Agile as a separate movement, the good practices that make up the various agile techniques are just that – good practices which form the craft of software engineering, and are largely the way our profession works today.
He made a strong point that the authors of the Agile manifesto did not invent these things, but cherrypicked a set of good ideas which had been around for a long time and put a brand around them. The landscape today is more complex than that for which many of the practices were initially intended, and the challenge is how to make them scale beyond the “six people in a room building a product”.
Once his talk is posted I’ll add the URL to this site. There was a video camera recording his Shakespearian rendition and someone’s bound to post it online somewhere.
After that inspiring start I went to a session on scaling the adoption of Agile practices in organisations – “Crossing the Chasm”. This looked at how organisations need to foster change to expand from pilot projects or gurella teams to full-scale organisation wide adoption. Ahmed Sidky and Chris Sterling presented a useful change model which can help plan the organisational journey which is needed.
The afternoon was taken up with “First Kill all the Metrics” – looking at the evils that are perpetrated with inapropriate metrics and an investigation of what/when/how metrics can be useful in encouraging and supporting apropriate behaviour.
I ended the day with a session on Group Relations and Social Systems which looks at the dynamics of people on teams and how the unconcious “team survial” motive can result in disfunctional projects that continue when they should logically be closed down. Quite a theoretical paper, but some very interesting stuff.
To show how far along the adoption curve Agile has come, tonight they are launching the PMI-Agile Community of Practice!
Posted by Shane Hastie