Archive for April, 2006

Guess the IDE in this photo

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Lasse Koskela looked at the agile open photos and asks me what the IDE in this photo is. Can you guess it?

which development environment is in this picture

I’m not sure I would call it an IDE (Integrated Development Environment), probably more a DIDE (DesIntegrated Development Environment), or DE (Development Environment), or, rather, just an editor.

When giving demos, or participating in collaborative coding events like a dojo, I prefer the environment and the programming language to be as simple as possible. This, to lower barriers to participation for everyone in the room, and since wall projections can carry less information, have as little screen clutter as possible.

So, this particular editor is simple, supports about 35 different programming languages and saves and runs the script, shown in the pane on the left, after pressing F5. The pane on the right shows the output. Both can independently be resized (ctrl+mousewheel).

(Spoiler, in case you haven’t guessed yet, the DE in question is SciTE. The testcase on the left is written in ruby, the simplest language you don’t know. SciTE is included in the most popular ruby installer for windows, and is included in most linux distributions ).

agile open photos

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

I managed to get the agile open photos online, a big thank you goes out to Marc Evers , who put my camera to good use. Having someone else take pictures as well freed me up to be more present during sessions. (draw parallells with pair programming).

Some photo’s to give a taste (there are many more photos from agile open than I can fit in a blog):

a large group of participants stand around, as the program is being created on the floor

participants making the program

coding dojo, a pair programming and two other participants looking at the beamer

Coding Dojo (Randori)

a group of people having a break, standing around tables drinking orange juice and coffee


five people sit outside on the terrace


several people around a table, making a current reality tree

Current reality trees don’t bite

bunch of people having a discussion in a meeting room

round table discussion

dark photo, with Focus slide clearly lit.

Zen presentation

drawing carousel workshop - participants sitting pairwise at a table, in a long row of tables, each pair working on part of a collaborative drawing

drawing carousel

drawing carousel team shows their finished drawing

drawing is released, even though it is not really finished…

agile open program 2006, day 1

thursday’s schedule

Fridays schedule

Friday’s schedule

Tom and Marc discussing, Marc gesturing

Tom and Marc discussing

Bernard and Raphael discussing

Bernard and Raphael discussing

Vera Peeters hosting the xp game

xp game

Barry and several others waiting for the closing session to get started

waiting until the closing session wants to start.


Saturday, April 29th, 2006

I’m recovering from agile open, still feeling somewhat unconfenced / conferenced out :) . I liked it a lot, biased as always, because I co-organize it… Unlike at some other conferences I visited recently, I was able to attend a couple of sessions I didn’t organize

last and not least, the planned unprepared session, and after that the unscheduled unprepared session, outside on the terrace with wine and excellent conversation.
unprepared session

I believe we succeeded to strike a balance between structure and un-structure, keeping in mind the goal for this conference is openness, and maximum participation from everyone. On the second day we changed several things in the structure based on suggestions made during the opening that day. I had the feeling everyone was feeling more comfortable on the second day, because everyone knew each other a bit better. We may add some get-to-know-your-fellow-participants activity for a next event.

RaphaĆ«l suggested we make a group photo, so we can remember who’s who later. Unfortunately, when we got around to it, some people had already left. The mostly broad smiles say more than I could about this event. Wonder full:

Just a few nights of sleep before Agile Open

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

Having Agile Open, is like having a birthday. A big surprise, and i’m not sure what I’m going to get…

It seems we are not slacking off (as I feared in Princess Risk ). We had a standup meeting over skype yesterday, that gave a lot of focus. We have virtual ‘standup’ meetings in a chat window. They last a bit longer than ordinary standups, passing the ‘talking stick’ is more difficult. But they are usually good fun, and quite effective.

One thing we were puzzled about, was wether to do a last-minute marketing effort. With twentyfour participants and seventeen ideas for sessions, it is looking to be a fun-filled conference. Maybe more participants would be even more fun? I don’t know. Today is the last day you can still join though :-)

Ideas for sessions will be welcome until the start of the conference, and possibly on the second day of the conference as well.

Sessions to go around

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

I participated in (re)writing a bunch of discovery session and tutorial proposals for agile2006. That turned out to be interesting, as all but one of them got selected, amidst fairly stiff competition. We decided not to run the xp game – running too many sessions is bad for the quality of individual sessions, and there are similar sessions in the programme already.
As this conference is going to be large, we tried to let our sessions scale to larger audiences, amongst other things by having more co-hosts per session than normal. That leads to a web of sessions, where some sessions share almost the same set of hosts, but not quite. After acceptance, I had a hard time deciding how to give my best effort in running the sessions. I decided to take responsibility for running the sessions where I am first or second organizer, and support other sessions in a ‘best effort’ way, where I’ll do whatever I can based on time and energy that I have.
Participating in many proposals with many co-hosts is slightly confusing. But fun.

I’ll be co-hosting

  • The drawing carousel – a pair programming eXperience
  • Simple tools for communication – a Balancing Act
  • Systemsthinking workshop – using the Diagram Of Effects (DOE) to effectively change your work environment.

Together with Marc Evers, hopefully supported by (in various configurations, depending on the session and what suits our co-hosts in the schedule) Laurent Bossavit, Emmanuel Gaillot, Rachel Davies and Lynne Azpeitia.

I’ll be supporting in preparation and/or running (tool words is in the same slot as systems thinking unfortunately):

  • Tracer Bullets (an experiential session on feedback) by Rob Westgeest and Tjakko Kleinhuis
  • Tool Words, Weapon Words by Laurent Bossavit and Emmanuel Gaillot
  • Writing on the Walls (about the use of information radiators) by Laurent Bossavit and Emmanuel Gaillot

Writing on the Walls is new, Tracer Bullets revamped – I haven’t had the good fortune of attending it so far.

Princess Risk

Friday, April 14th, 2006

As Agile Open is drawing near, pascal writes about how we manage risk. We use a simple brainstorming process, filling the risk table from left to right (event/what , probability, impact, mitigation). This has proven very effective. I believe it also helps us to relax, and share our concerns. The biggest concern for me right now is meta – after organizing a couple of conferences (three xp days and now the second agile open), we risk becoming unfocused.

Pascal mentioned the princess risk – the risk that a princess arrives at the conference. To him it signifies risks we did not anticipate in the past. These things will happen. For me, the princess risk entry in the risk table now also signifies as a call for myself to stay vigilant. The probability is stated as 50%. After three xp days benelux and one agile open, we should really have updated it to 25%, as a princess arrived at only one of those four events… (we introduced the risk after the second xp days benelux, at which a Belgian princess showed up, and threw us into chaos).

Unanticipated risks happen. Preparing scenarios prepares us mentally – we are aware that there are things that will not go as planned. Last year there was also at least one good thing that happened unexpectedly for me. Agile Open helped someone change his life.

It changed mine too. Co-facilitating an experiential workshop on congruent communication made a deep impression on me. I couldn’t really believe I was doing that, and yet I was doing it :) . We’ve continued to develop this workshop as we are making the tools we use our own. We’ve ran it in various configurations, most recently at SPA and xp days france. We’ll be running it again at agile2006, where it has been accepted as a tutorial (“Balancing act – simple tools for feedback, communication and courage” – I would include a link, but the programme seems to be online as a PDF only).

I’m glad. Risk is only a Princess – Value is King (or Queen :-) ) at agile open.