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agila sverige 2013

It was time for my second agila sverige. I attended three years ago and wrote a couple of reports so I will try to do something similar this year.

A difference this year was finding me on the speakers list. My talk was about not writing too much dry code and it went very well. I got very nice and insightful comments afterwards so I am happy about it. It was some time since I did this kind of public speaking so I was a bit nervous. But as always I got comments on how calm I seemed. I am apparently good at hiding my nervousness. I definitely need to do this more often.

A theme that hasn’t gone away since the last time I attended is the reorientation of old roles in the new agile world. The old way of thinking in roles seems to be hard to get rid of. This year I sense that the focus on management has faded a bit. Maybe the roles product owner and scrum master has settled a bit? I heard other say the opposite so maybe I just avoided those sessions. Talking about testing prevails as before but it seems like test automation (and automation overall) is more of a given now. A definite trend is the need to talk about requirements gathering. I suspect that teams that has been doing agile for a while have a clear sense of lacking overview images/sketches/diagrams of their system. On the other hand what does doing agile even mean these days….?!?

Some talks worthy of mention (that would be all talks but then this post would be sooooo long):

  • Impact mapping was one of the new things for me. Staffan Nöteberg kicked of the conference by using it to explain how to avoid expensive no-result projects.
  • Peter Antman talked about code ownership and the tragedy of the commons. Stuffed with references to high knowledge he ended with a list of things that can make commons work.
  • One entire talk in rhyme by Marcus Hammarberg about always failing when introducing an agile way of working in large organisation.
  • Martin Christensen had an improved version of the user story format that looked really nice.
  • Jimmy Janlén alias the evil coach made a great performance about how to continue bad practices in the name of agile. Very entertaining.
  • How to shave that yak was explained in a humorous yet thought provoking way by Gabriel Falkenberg. It might become hairy!
  • The agical crew represented by Ville Svärd and Tobbe Anderberg presented mob programming. Sort of pair programming taken one huge step further. The idea is to let the whole team program together on one (1) computer. This is truly innovative and may actually be a good thing to do. The increase in quality will be huge, the learning curve of team members drastically improved not to mention the happiness. Will it be more productive than the normal way? Hard to tell. Maybe not but the increase in quality may well be worth it anyway. I hope I will be able to try it soonish in some setting.
  • Andreas Larsson declared the end of the agile revolution and prompted us to start reigning. There are no true opponents of agile left. We all like it! I wonder if this is because it has been watered out over the years or are we truly changing?
  • The ending lightning talk was an amazing performance by Adam Killander where he acted out a developer that had to choose between new development and maintenance. In the end he was preaching fundamentalist maintenance to the masses. Check it out in them streams.

In addition to talks there were a bunch of open spaces of which I only attended five due to cloning incapabilities:

  • How to write requirements. I went to this one mostly to hear how we talk about this nowadays. I found that not much has changed but there are people executing their specs (cucumber sorta) - that was nice to hear.
  • About getting stuck in technical decisions. We often decide what technical solution to choose based on what we user before, what skill set we have or what seems to be the common choice at the moment rather than base on what technology best suits the problem at hand. One example of this is how we user object oriented techniques to build web sites - a very functional problem space.
  • The mob programming talk extended into a very creative open space.
  • About competence. Andreas Larsson showed how he divides competence into the three sub parts technical, domain and personality. An interesting discussion around this.
  • The final one was about (and with) senior developers. Why are they not in abundance? Why do many move on to other roles? How sad is it that we are losing a fair bit of knowledge in this way? Thought provoking and yet another reminder to stay in continuous learning mode.

Some obligatory ending comments about the venue. This one works better than the old one. The two rooms used for the two tracks are next to each other so it is easy to change between in the 2 minute breaks. The food has been good and coffee has been available in abundance. The dinner was served in the main conference room which made it all stick together nicely.

The conference ended with sorta a retrospective. Post-its on the wall and on the chest and some mingling talking about experiences from the conference. Great to just talk about how great it was for a couple of minutes.

Huge amounts of thanks to the organizers.

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