agila sverige day 2 reflections

The second day of agila sverige followed the same format as the first day. See yesterdays post. Compared to other conferences the emphasis on interaction is very refreshing. Lightning talks I attended today was:

  • Thomas Nilsson started the day with the talk Flight of the Agile. He argued that there may not be the one agile way. Circumstances, staffing and the like may call for another approach then the purist way. This is a fair call and something that has been iterated over several times these two days. I hear an echo of Alistair Cockburns agile method called crystal.
  • Andreas Ekström talked about BDD and cucumber.
  • Christophe Achouiantz (wow - avega has an asp site) uses Kanban as a way to organize many scrum teams. The idea is to have backlog items on a kanban board and every team has a row. This brings good overview of the overall progress. It looked really good and is something I will try if I ever get the chance.
  • Inga-Lill Holmström from Ericsson talked about using anatomies as a complement to the product back log. I am not sure about the point with the word "anatomies" when what it really is is just dependency trees of product features or team activities. (Called system anatomies and program anatomies in Ericsson lingo.) I guess anatomy is just a word that Ericsson is used to. Many of us outsiders probably went huh.
  • Agile managers was the title of Tomas Björkholms talk. It was an entertaining talk where Tomas used the agile manifesto pointing out the managers just must love it. And he is right of course.
  • Joakim Ohlrogge used the tv series friends to bring a fresh approach. Nicely done and it fuelled the open space about artistic development a bit.
  • Staffan Persson thought that lean architecture was worth talking about. I am not convinced that the architecture metaphor is still useful.
  • Anna Forss thought that Microsoft Project can ruin a project but still recommended the tool at the end.
  • Kristina Josefsson och Carolina Palo Kobak brought experiences from using Scrum in a management team at TeliaSonera to the table.
  • Daniel Brolund held an excellent talk about being a goldfish. He argued for staying simple at all times. "What would a goldfish think about this?" is a good question to ask. Very entertaining and thought provoking.
  • Anders Nilsson and an author whose name has been forgotten talked about two extremes of agile teams. Extreme chaos or extreme discipline. The point being - naturally - that 'lagom' is just enough.
  • David Asarnoj reported from a scrum and ITIL organisation. Two different mindsets that doesn't naturally have much in common. Interesting questions put forward that were elaborated further in an open space.
  • Dan Bergh Johnsson presented the agile stack of Scrum, BDD and DDD. At this point I was tired enough to drift away a bit and can not really report anything useful....
  • Peter Hultgren presented code sparring - a way to train coding where a group meets and pair programs for a while then throws away the code and start over with new pairs. An interesting concept that surely can complement coding dojos and personal kata practices.
  • Finally Marcus Ahnve argued that we need experts but we don't need experts that are only experts. Everyone should try to have a little knowledge about all disciplines needed in the agile team. In that way everyone can work on most tasks.

Today there were only two open spaces since the third slot was reserved for retrospection. I first open spaced about what agile means. A nicely organized brain storm about agile on 6 different levels. The organizers promised a write down of the result somewhere and I will either tweet about it or post it here. The second space was about artistic development. A very interesting subject where we explored comparing software development to performing arts. Many things are similar like timeboxing, a team that needs trust to perform, product owner/scrum master can be likened to producer/director/writer in a performing group. No conclusions were made but I think we all agreed that a creative and artistic mindset is part of a successful software story.

Two questions worth pondering was put forth repetitiously during the conference. Why is the consultant ratio at the conference about 80%? And why do we all agree? Several open spaces were held around these two questions. A skeptic might say that agila sverige is a conference where consultants get together to complain about the lack of agility in their customers. We decide to stay outside organisations with structural problems and sort of hope that they will change by themselves. If we just shout our agile message loudly enough they will understand. Isn't it first when you really are in an organization that you are able to change it? I have no answer to this. In the meantime I will keep trying to communicate my values to whomever I happen to work with. Sometimes it will make a difference and sometimes it will not.

To summarize I must say that agila sverige positively surprised me. I expected a great conference but my expectations were exceeded. Lots of thanks to the organizers and I hope to meet you all next year!

Old comments

Thanks for writing this and yesterdays summary. I got very curious about the sw / performing arts open space. Too bad there are no cameras on the open space parts...