devXero's blog

a blog about agile, development, and automation

Agile 2009 – Day 1

Posted by Mike Longin on August 25, 2009

So here is the super succint version of Agile 2009 Day 1 for me.

Session 1 – “Developing Agile Leaders and Teams: A Developmental & Transformational Path”

I will be honest, I just felt it was missing something.  Gilles really demonstrated the different Leadership stages, and where we need our Agile leaders to be.  However I just didnt see\understand the path we need to help these leaders go down to get them to the next stage.

Session 2 – Enterprise Agile Transformation: The Two Year Wall

Presenter either no showed or came 10 minutes late which by then I had already walked out.

Session 3 – New Approaches to Risk Management

John and I walked in here after the last presenter no showed.  This was actually a really really interesting presentation that I really enjoyed.  David Anderson really gave a great presentation on the need to prioritize based on the risk of NOT having that feature complete.  The piece that really got me was on the 4 different types of features, and how they affect risk and thus prioritization.

The features are:

  • Table Stakes (features that you have to have, like wheels, engines, and doors on a car)
  • Cost Savers (features that keep support costs down)
  • Spoilers (features that your competitors have and you dont, which is causing you to lose market share)
  • Differentiators (features that really set your product apart)

Looking at these 4 types, really the differentiators are where you really need your best and brightest working on because they can change at any moment.  Your table stakes are where you really do not need to even be agile, since you can so easily outsource there creation.  These are your basic components and features that you already have 200 page specs on and don’t really get a great deal of upgrades\updating.  Now by looking at this, obviosuly your table stakes need to be completed before anything else is done, however your real money makers are going to be those differentiators.  By thinking this way it really does affect how you are going to prioritize.  Over the next few days I am planning on looking at the SWAT backlog and seeing if I can apply this at all.

Overall I found his presentation really enlightening and I will be looking for other presentations by him.

Session 4 – Build and Test in the Cloud – CI and Cloud Provisioning for Agile Teams

I was really looking forward to this conversation in the sense that I am a huge fan of cloud based automation.  That being said I definitely was disappointed in that this was really a tool presentation and not a conceptual conversation.  I probaly should have realized that this would be true considering it was in the tools for agility track but still was disappointed.  That being said, the Collabnet Team Forge looks like a really really impressive tool.  I think any team that is just starting out should take a serious look at it.

Session 5 – Integration tests are a scam

I mentioned this talk already but it was a very interesting presentation.  More then anything it was for developers on how to create GOOD code and tests using mocks and stubs.  I found it very very enlightening and also made me reevaluate some of my previous thoughts concerning mocking.  I tweeted earlier about how I agreed and disagreed so much with this presentation.  Us as a community of developers really need to move away from the large scale integration tests.  But to do so we need to learn if large unit testing suites are truly trust worth and can they really replace integration suites.  Once we have become more comfortable with them, then we will be able to have large scale apps with 10-20 minute regressions.

And now on to day two…

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