Sometimes attendees say a conference changed their life.
If you changed your life as a consequence of participating in an an event, it is you who changed it.
Investigators, on TV at least, look for motive and opportunity for a crime.
For something positive it can be much the same.
Who had the motive? You had the motive to attend the conference, ask questions, perhaps propose a session around something you wanted to share, and you had the motive to do something with it after the fact.
The conference may have provided the opportunity.
In fact, you also supplied part of that opportunity for others, by bringing your questions, interests, observations and puzzles.
Tag Archive for 'community'
Sometimes attendees say a conference changed their life.
Devnology Community Day, Saturday February 4, Baarn, Netherlands
Keeping with my plan to do more shorter, local conferences and not keeping with my plan to avoid weekend conferences, I’ll be hosting Robert Chatley and Matt Wynne’s eXtreme Startup at the Devnology Community Day
It was great fun to run it at last years’ XP Days Benelux. It’s always amazing to see how focusing on incoming feature requests lets you easily forget the big picture.
Participants at Devnology should have at least as much frustration So bring your laptop or pair up with someone and join the fun. The only
thing you need is your favorite programming environment and a way to respond to HTTP requests.
FOSDEM – Sunday February 5, Brussels, Belgium
To keep my sustainable pace, I’ll just move my weekend to the Monday and Tuesday after these conferences. We’ll see how that works out.
Mini XP Days Benelux – Monday April 23, Heeze, Netherlands
Keeping up with the two main session themes of last year, smalltalk and configuration management, Stephan Eggermont and yours truly will rerun our session on getting started with Chef and Puppet at mini XP Days Benelux, the full program is yet to be announced.
Rob Westgeest kindly championed our session, as he assumed we learnt from the feedback from the previous session. The lego-themed slides were well received, but we could have focused the introductory stories more on one or two complete examples, as opposed to telling a bunch of benefits related to things we’ve done. The same went more or less for the code samples. It wasn’t clear to all participants how the ‘big picture’ fit together, so we’ll see if we can visualize that.
I look forward to seeing you at one of these conferences!
As a frustrated and puzzled skeptic I went to the Agile Lean Europe conference to work on my frustration and puzzles. As a frustrated and puzzled skeptic I returned. To my delight with different frustrations, puzzles and some highlights.
Regardless of what I say next: creating a pan-european agile/lean event that is not tied to one of the schools of thought, nor any functional silo (looking at you, coachcamps and testing days!) is a major achievement. I tried to pull it off with about twenty other folks a couple of years ago, and failed (early, but nevertheless. It is not something I bake cake for ).
First highlight: I found a community that welcomes skepticism without suffocating it. Thanks, amongst others, to @OlafLewitz and @ojuncu for open discussion on twitter beforehand, and to those who offered help instead of rotten tomatoes after I threatened to put trainers and coaches out of a job in a lightning talk . And those who took my call for more coaches combining hands-on work with coaching (too?) seriously. More on that in follow up posts.
Although many of the scheduled talks rehashed things I hoped would have vanished from agile / lean conference agenda’s to make place for new things, I was pleasantly surprised by a number of talks. (See below in talks)
Building a car using a distributed team.
Wikispeed is a collaborative, distributed effort to build a fuel efficient car (one that is also efficient at high speed, unlike some other fuel efficient car). Thorsten Kalnin described how they use whatever works to get there. At this moment that includes for instance aspects of kanban, scrum, using object oriented principles for mechanical engineering and finding storage boxes that can be rented for cheap, while still being suitable to do engineering work.
The inside wikispeed video is worth watching if you want to see more:
Your baby is ugly
Seeing Stephen Parry in action again, during his talk and afterwards during dinner. Olaf Lewitz has described other aspects of Stephens’ session. What I particularly liked was ‘your baby is ugly’ – get employees to analyze the companies performance as seen through their customers’ and describe that to their peers and managers (also mostly employees, lets’ not forget that). This is probably a lot more effective than outsiders saying that (e.g. Yours truly tweeting about how SAP is going lean but their products prevent their clients from evolving), and I guess it takes a lot of time and patience. Something I would like to try, nevertheless.
I stayed out of the Claudio Perrone’s A3 presentation after seeing the intro slides from outside which looked so heroic (Big Agile Transition), that I was afraid I would not be able to shut up during the presentation and heckle ehm excite. Turns out the rest of the slide deck is a lot more to my liking, including a pragmatic use of the satir change model somewhere in the middle. So I was wrong. Looking forward to see the video of it.
In the meantime I would recommend reading Toyota Kata by Mike Rother. I took it on the road this week and am pleased by how it does not try to make this kind of open ended coaching look easy, and uses storytelling plus questions to you, the reader, to show how this might work in your practice.
One more for the skeptic
It was only talks. Tip for next years’ organisers: if you want more hands-on sessions make some space for scheduled sessions that last longer than thirty minutes, some sessions that require preparation don’t magically happen in open space. Stephan Eggermont and I enjoy the challenge of seeing what of a three hour session we can meaningfully cram in thirty minutes, but we may be the exception. It seemed most people were watching as opposed to downloading the zip and following along.
I was looking forward to ‘exciters’, Walldorf and Statler from the muppets were given as example, and bar tables were placed in front of the presentations for people to heckle from. I haven’t seen that happen, and didn’t dare to either, preferring the safety of my twitter feed instead . I asked Stephan Eggermont to heckle during my lightning talk, which he did, but I was so focused I didn’t hear him do it…
It seems the open space explanation left out the butterflies. When I described my open space experience to another participant at the end, he stared blankly at me. It also seemed mostly open space veterans where butterflying and bumblebeeing around, as well as applying the law of two feet (sorry, the politically correct wording used in the opening was so complicated I failed to remember it . Shorter PC versions I’ve seen include ‘the law of motion’ or ‘when in doubt, move out’ ).
So I butterflied, mostly, except to host an open space session because someone wanted to pick my brain about session selection processes. The best suggestion in that session came from @LLillian, who stated the obvious thing I’d missed before: besides playing a perfection game, encourage session organizers to Ask for Help, to lower the barrier for new session organisers. Duh. Why didn’t I think of that before! Other than that, it struck me that few of the open space topics were original. It seems we have been struggling with the same problems for a couple of years. Maybe it is rotation of participants, maybe we are asking the wrong questions. Of course, I could have taken responsibility by posing a question as a session. It seems the stuff I’m struggling with right now is in a stage where I don’t know how to formulate the questions yet. It seems grumpy tweets, responses to that and hallway discussions help me move forward .
It will probably take a week or so to pinpoint my newfound frustrations and puzzles, at least I feel my time in Berlin was well spent. Especially now the QWAN Learning Community has some more first followers, I got over the scariest two minutes presenting I’ve done in quite a while, and I got useful feedback on the idea from various people. So thanks everybody for making it happen.
I’m co-programme chair for the Software Practice Advancement conference in London on June 12-15, together with Rob Bowley. The call for sessions is open until February 28. Read Rob’s “a quite unique conference” to see why attending SPA is fun, and amazing value for money.
Why is running a session at SPA a good idea? Because you will lay awake at night after having a nightmare of rowdy SPA regulars tearing your session apart? Not only that Running a session here is an excellent way to learn, and since the conference is relatively small, there is ample opportunity to continue working on your ideas after hours. SPA attendees are critical, curious and have lots of experience, which can make your session interesting in various ways .
In case you have not organized a session at SPA before and are interested in running one, I’d like to highlight some things that are different compared to most other conferences:
I planned to write individual posts about new and upcoming workshops, but the rate at which we get invited and accepted to conferences this fall outstrips my ability to post new entries I have to post now, before the conferences themselves are over… I hope you’ll join us for at least one of these. We’ll be doing some hard-core programming workshops as well as more enterprise and facilitation oriented sessions this fall.
Barry Evans works as an independent consultant and writer, and is based in France and the UK. I met Barry a few years ago at Agile Open in Belgium, when he was working as a senior coach in BT’s large-scale Agile introduction. Now we’ve done an interview to find out more about his new book “The Trousers of Reality”.
Willem: So Barry, When did you start thinking about writing a book?
Barry: I have always been a writer. I come from a literary family and it was always something I wanted to do..
Willem: what triggered you to write this one?
Barry: I started writing this book when I realised I had something to say and I had enough life experience behind me.
Continue reading ‘An Interview with Barry Evans, author of “The Trousers Of Reality, volume 1″’
It’s cool to see more spaces opening, the spanish agile user group is hosting Agile Open Spain, 23 & 24 October 2009 .
Xavier Quesada Allue tells me this will be mostly in Spanish. My Spanish stops around ‘donda esta el bano’ and ‘hola’, unfortunately. If yours goes further, this might be for you. Madrid as a location is attractive, and should be easy to reach. No doubt the organisation will be very good as well, and the event is for free!
In the meantime, if you speak english, why not attend Agile Open Holland – my named cloud is bigger than yours, or is it?, September 10 & 11? Registrations are going fast. At last count we had over 50 participants, with space for about 80. As in previous years it’s looking to attract a good mix of old & new faces, all equally fanatical about uncovering better ways to develop software. It’s not free, but we kept registrations low enough – we hope the value for money makes it a no-brainer; the fee covers part of the costs, but its’ main purpose is to prevent no-shows, so that everybody who wants to attend, can attend. I hope to see you there!
London’s eXtreme Tuesday Club celebrated it’s ten year anniversary last tuesday. Unfortunately I could not be there, so I’m celebrating here, beer in hand, as one should – I find the weekly meetings in a pub with eXtremely interesting folks and the conferences (XP Days) that are organized around it refreshing.
Marc already has the scoop, details and a pretty word cloud to explain the theme, so I’ll keep it short and simple. The next Agile Open conference in the Netherlands will be September 10 & 11, in Baarn.
We chose the theme ‘my method is bigger than yours… or is it?’ because it seems that as this agile software development thing goes mainstream more and more people lose sight of what we perceived was one of the underlying goals of the Agile Manifesto: get continuous experimentation and learning going by developing software and helping others do it across communities – hence the signing by people involved in all ‘lightweight’ methodologies at the time. We like the Named clouds meme and hope it spurs some discussions.
Even if this theme does not speak to you, come to Agile Open Holland anyway – anything goes, and new cloud formations are likely to form during the conference. Named ones in the sessions and the hallways, unnamed ones in the sky (we do hope the sun shines most of the time though..).
One of the things that made the xp2009 conference exceed my expectations was the beach. Here you can see photos from thursday, May 28th – Patrick Kua hosted an Open Space session on ” is there a lean versus agile versus kanban divide?” that turned into one of the best sessions of the conference. The guys from agical organized an unplanned barbecue, which was great; most participants were there, and the hotel management was very supportive.
I’ll process and post the rest of the photos when time permits – I decided not to do everything in a big batch this time (which sometimes means the batch never gets executed and photos are not published). Tomorrow Marc and I depart to Luzern, Switzerland for the first instance of our Agile Product Development training, so there is not much time left.