Chris' most recent InfoQ article is a preview of Agile Coach Camp, billed as the Open Space conference "delivering value to those delivering value." The conference, which takes place in Durham, NC next month, is a bit different than most Agile gatherings, in that aspiring participants must "audition" for admission by submitting a position paper, guaranteeing a high level of professional discourse. Check out Chris' article for a preview of some of the topics proposed so far. Last year, Chris facilitated a couple of sessions, including one on What Makes Agile Projects Succeed.
Chris and Jeremy Lightsmith proposed similar sessions, and so chose to combine them into one. About 15 people showed up for an exercise-based session on generating requirements using the Story Mapping technique, which Chris first learned about from Jeff Patton. As I’ve done in the past, I served as the putative “client,” in my guise as editor-in-chief of a newspaper—come on, you remember newspapers, those things the Brits used to wrap fish back in the olden days? (BTW, the New York Times is now a mere 11 inches wide. I think this is the next step toward ceasing print publication, as it’s now conveniently laid out to be printed on your home printer.)
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We're just finishing up with Chris' first session at Agile Open Northern California, an experiential introduction to Agile. Chris led a group of 16 through two simulation exercises, then teased out the basics of Agile during the debriefs. Below is graphic facilitator Elizabeth McClellan's capture of the first exercise, where participants drew and folded paper party invitations–first using a wasteful batch and cue process, next using a more agile, incremental approach:
Last year, Chris was on the coordinating committee for Agile Open California, a grassroots Open Space conference for and by the local agile development community. This year, the privilege falls on me. I was bit by the Open Space bug last year, and have now been to several. The format lends itself to surfacing all kinds of ideas and expertise, and fostering the kind of feverish engagement that leads people to revolutions in their thinking. If you're a die-hard agilista, or just curious, please do join us this year on October 15 & 16 at Fort Mason, in San Francisco (there's a SoCal sister conference in September). If you register early (as in now), it's a mere $150, which is a pretty good price for guaranteed transcendental enlightenment.
Here's a blog post by David Carlton about a session called I hate Pair Programming that should give you a fair idea of the kind of content to expect. And below are some images to whet your appetite:
By Hillary Johnson
… or, enough already! Is Agile dead, alive, stagnant, the future, the past, the ultimate, the end, the Will of God? Am I doing it right, wrong, backwards, sideways, on a boat, with a goat? Should I get certified by the Scrum Alliance, or the Scrum Horde? And should I even care?
What's a good mother/son spring break activity? Why, going to Startup Weekend and spending 50 hours building a company with ten total strangers. Perfect because my 17 year-old vastly prefers the company of adults to that of other teenagers, and because he's been on the high school treadmill for so long that I thought it would be nice for him to see what the light at the end of the tunnel might look like–that the world of work can be a rather thrilling place.
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Today at STPCon Chris led two interactive sessions, one on Most Effective Ways to Improve Software Quality, and another on the Makings of a Great QA Leader. Both sessions used the Group Wisdom Without Groupthink method to brainstorm and then rank ideas based on the collective experience of the participants.
Chris led three sessions at PCamp the day before we left for the Scrum Gatheirng: Agile 101, the ever-popular Agile Learning Games, and a new session with Ainsley Nies called "PM Principles, Values and Practices," a World Cafe session that delved into ways for PMs to apply the Agile Manifesto to their roles and areas of expertise.( I stayed home with a sore throat, bleh.)
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Chris and I are at Disney World for a few days of R&R after hosting the Open Space at the Orlando Scrum Gathering, but the park will have to be pretty supercalifragilistic to compare to the conference, which was wonderful. So much engagement–250 people there, and yet it felt intimate. I left feeling I had got to know more people than I'd normally meet in a year. Check out the wiki to get to know some of them yourself.
Here, just to incite envy among the far flung, is a list of all the sessions posted on the Open Space market wall in Orlando. Disclaimer: These were handwritten, and often hard to decipher, so some titles and names are my best guess at spelling, and some sessions may have been added or changed after I took my notes. Feel free to amend in the comments if you know better!