A Quick Synopsis of Agile 2010

August 18, 2010 — Posted by Al Shalloway

I came back from Agile 2010 and got right into things delivering my favorite Lean-Agile course – Transitioning Your Organization to Lean-Agile Methods. I must say, this was the best Agile Alliance conference I've been to. After 2008's conference, I was so upset with the way us sponsors were handled that I had decided to forgo 2009's conference – limiting ourselves to giving out our Lean-Agile Pocket Guide to Scrum. But then, when the conference happened, I missed all my friends and the networking. Glad I went.

The networking was awesome as usual. Some of the people I had long exchanges with were Alistair Cockburn, Dennis Stevens, Mike Cottmeyer, Tom Poppendieck, Mary Poppendieck, and many others. I also attended some great presentations – Israel Gat's in particular had a real impact on me. Unfortunately, the presentation quality at Agile 2010 is quite high – some being excellent, some being fairly poor. Given the nature of the conference where fringe type talks are often delivered, this isn't surprising and is actually a necessary difficulty.

I felt a little like being in a time zone. The industry is clearly maturing and that is good. Many things that Lean/Kanban thought leaders have been saying for years – sometimes resulting in fierce opposition – were being touted as natural and having always been that way. These included the need to optimize the whole, go beyond the team, include management, do acceptance test-driven development, manage your work in progress levels within an iteration, amongst others. It's funny how people flip from opposing to ignoring to advocating but don't seem to acknowledge the flip.

The interest in Kanban was very high. Unfortunately, I don't think all of the Kanban talks represented it well. There is a wide range of Kanban 'expertise' out there now. Some people have been doing it for a few years, others have taken David Anderson's coaching class (a great class, btw) and now consider themselves experts. Oh well, that's the way the industry goes. I was glad to see Henrik Kniberg and Karl Scotland present. I attended an experience report re Ultimate Software that converted to Kanban that was great. Interesting how they expanded their team sizes – which Kanban allows for.

I was happy to see ICAgile 's announcement of certification. While this is not a fully fledged certification approach, it is a step in the right direction in that it will at least discuss competencies required for certification.  I have long stated that the first step of a certification program is to specify the competencies that represent what the certification is for.  As far as I know, other than our own certification program, this is the first such program available. Whether it will succeed or not is in question, but it is a step in the right direction over existing programs.

Although I greatly enjoyed this conference, I still find the Lean/Kanban conferences I've been attending to be more useful for learning new things – and the networking is just as great. Upcoming Lean/Kanban conferences I'll be going to include:

Bottom line, the Agile community is both maturing and becoming more fractionated (if that's a word, but I think you get my meaning). The overall trend is good. Both consultants and practitioners understand the need to go beyond the team and to start using Lean and Kanban.

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About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With 45 years of experience, Al is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, Scrum and agile design. He helps companies transition to Lean and Agile methods enterprise-wide as well teaches courses in these areas.



        

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Al Shalloway
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Cory Foy
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Guy Beaver
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Israel Gat
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