BT

Diana Larsen and James Newkirk on the State of Agile
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Interview with Diana Larsen and James Newkirk by Dave West on Jan 28, 2011 |
52:11

Bio Diana co-authored Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great! She publishes articles and writes occasional blog posts at “Partnerships and Possibilities” http://www.futureworksconsulting.com/blog and is on the Agile Alliance Board of Directors. James Newkirk was one of the co-founders of Object Mentor and served as conference chair for Agile 2010.

The Agile 2010 conference is created by a production team of highly respected Agile experts and practitioners to present a program that spans the whole spectrum of agile practice.The Agile conference series is a organized as a program of the Agile Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to uncovering better ways of developing software inspired by the values and principles of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.

   

1. Ordinarily my first question is what brings you to the Agile Alliance. I ask that even though I know what the answer is.

Diana Larsen: I am here because I am devoted to Agile and I would be at this conference in any case, but specifically I am here because I am serving currently as chair of the Agile Alliance board of directors.

James Newkirk: And I am here as the conference chair so I think I have to be, but I’d be here if I wasn’t the conference chair. This is to me kind of the event of the year. When I think about bringing people together and meeting people, I always look forward to this as the place to kind of catch up with people. So I would be here if I wasn’t the conference chair.

   

2. All right. Tomorrow morning Dave Thomas is doing his keynote and just looking through his notes I saw half life of Agile phrase, and there has been other discussions and other places about Agility reaching its peak. Do you buy into that?

Diana Larsen: I don’t know yet what Dave is going to have to say about that so I can’t really comment on his talk, but people ask me all the time: "Is this Agile or isn’t that Agile?" and my response is: "We don’t know what Agile is yet. It’s not completely baked. It’s still evolving and we keep learning new things. And we keep learning that there are options in Agile that fit in different kinds of places and, so whether a certain set of practices is under the name of Agile is now kind of reaching its peak and other people are moving on and that means it’s done its job or if it’s going to go on because it came from some place before it was Agile and it will continue onto some place else.

So these ideas self organizing and making decisions closer to work and having high bandwith communication are not totally new ideas. They have been proven over time to be helpful and workable in organizations and so those concepts, those values will continue forward and from the Agile Alliance point of view we are interested in Agile because we want to help this software industry be more productive, humane and sustainable. And so whatever is going to get us there is not going to get done; that is not done, we still have work to do.

   

3. Let me nuance the question for you. You were cofounder of Object Mentor and one of the founders was Bob Martin, who was always a big opponent of Agile. A couple of years ago there was kind of a mini revolt that people thought that Agile was too Scrum centric, too management centric, big tool, big process and so they said: "We are going to go out and be craftsmen" and Bob of course is in that communisty as well. So the question is has the Agile group gone too far away from its roots. Is that going to cause problems?

James Newkirk: I don’t think so. I think there are aspects of the craftsmanship stuff that to me is craft for craft’s sake which I think is actually a problem because I do think the idea of kind of bringing the programming activity and aligning it with business is a synergy that in times before we called it Agile is something that was missing. And to me delivering business value part of this, kind of change the way I looked at programming in a time, and I am not saying this is Bob’s specifically but what I've seen by other people it’s more programming for programming sake, like of course I want to do a good job, of course I want to do the right things, but those things have to be done in a context of delivering business value, because everything is a cost.

I mean if I look at the building of a large cathedral I think about craftspeople that would build that, you know, a huge cost. But it was in service of what they were building, they wouldn’t say: "I would do this for something that wasn’t a monumental thing." So I think at times I am a little bit worried about the craftsman stuff, kind of moving down this path of crafts for craft’s sake.

Diana Larsen: We want to do more than just make nicely shaped rocks.

James Newkirk: Yes. Because if it doesn’t deliver business value I am not really that interested in it.

   

4. What is the most exciting thing this year?

James Newkirk: I think we have a lot of exciting things at the conference. One of the things we tried to do this year was, take today, because today is Monday and it’s all invited sessions. And as I looked at the conference kind of evolve over time we use an open submission process for all the sessions, and there were times when we were missing some specific type of content or a type of content that wasn’t at the right level. And what we tried to do with our invited sessions this year was to look at places that we, as the program committee, looked at areas of program that were missing and kind of identify them and then target these invited sessions to fill those gaps.

So I think I’d be interested to see what the feedback is as we get feedback from the conference. One of the most exciting things was that we actually had to move the conference from Nashville to Orlando, but that is not exciting for the attendees, but it was pretty exciting for the organizing committee. So other things that you want to say.

Diana Larsen: I think the part that excited me this year is some of the social media aspects. Twitter was around last year, but wasn’t extensibly used and this year it has really bloomed. And so we’ve been able to see how people are thinking, at least some group of people, about the conference, what their issues and concerns were, what they were excited about coming into the conference and that really fit my excitement. And seeing different individuals step up to contribute to the conference, who weren’t even necessarily a part of the original organizing, but found a place for their contribution to make a difference.

So that kind of sense of community that’s happening this year, even the fact that the open jam sessions instead of being at one place or kind of spread out is creating a different kind of community feel here. And that is pretty exciting to me, to see how people are using this conference and really make it their own.

James Newkirk: And I just want one more thing. Twitter is actually going to change the way we do submissions because we had the immediacy of, acceptance letters went out and within seconds. "I’ve been accepted Agile 2010 and we had 900 submissions and we had 880 people going. I didn’t get my letter. So that dynamic is going to change the way we communicate with the group of people who do submissions and that is actually changing the way we communicate with the people at the conference as well.

   

5. Not this year, but the year previously QCon London that was the first time that I saw Twitter really having an effect in real time at the conference. All of a sudden you see a whole bunch of people leave this session, go somewhere else and it turned out of course they were reading Twitter. So it’s an interesting dynamic. So community is an important thing?

Diana Larsen: The nature of Agile from the very first value, individuals and interactions over process and tools, I mean we have a commitment to interaction. We have a commitment to self organizing teams. We have a commitment to seeing software as a part of the larger organization community. So I think Agile is the community focus thing and in the beginning was kind of a grass roots movement and so that aspect of this way of thinking about doing software has always been important. And I think one of our concerns has been in the past that as the conference grows would we loose that. And so part of why it’s exciting for me to see it here is I know we haven't outgrown it.

We still got that and it’s not become a big and personal conference, it’s where people are making connections and even tomorrow night they’ve got set up a "dinner with a stranger". So if you came here and you don’t know anybody you have the opportunity to connect if you want to. I mean that is available to people. And those kinds of collegial connections that people can draw on long after the conference is over I think are quite important. We were in a session together, I remember this part but I am kind of fuzzy on that part, can you refresh me? Just having that in your network has great value.

James Newkirk: I always think of the community kind of the people as where I learn and it’s not just kind of to diminish the sessions, but I do think that’s what separates this conference from other types of conferences where it might just be: "I go to this session, I go to that session." It’s that sense of community that keeps me coming back to this.

   

6. So is Agile an international movement yet?

James Newkirk: I can give you some numbers if you’d like. We have approximately 1400 attendees here and about 20% are outside of the United States. So is Agile an international activity? I believe it’s an international activity. Is it as global as we would like it to be? I think there is work to be done and if I look at the role of Agile Alliance can play in that I think that is an area where the Agile Alliance can help influence that can drive interaction.

Diana Larsen: And we see we have interest expressed all over the world. There is a very active Agile community in Australia, New Zealand. In New Zealand there is an active Agile community, in India. I just came before I came here, I was having a conversation with a young man, Steven from China talking about how the community there is growing and the ways it’s bumping up against parts of the culture and how they are trying to work that out to grow their community there. There’s certainly for a long time been a strong community in Europe, particularly in Scandinavia and France and UK, obviously. We as an organization are beginning to support conferences in areas like Eastern Europe, that before a couple of years ago there weren’t conferences there.

So we are seeing a lot of growth in a lot of different areas and I am just mentioning a few. There are more than those I mentioned, I am sorry if I left someone out, but there definitely is growing interest in Agile. Sometimes when I give a presentation I have a slide that has one of those pictures of the Earth at night with all the points of light where electricity is and when I look at that then I realize everywhere there are those intense points of light there is Agile going on right now that we’ve heard about. So it’s definitely an international movement and we are hoping that we can be contributors in helping to form that and support all those efforts.

   

7. How about gender? What are your male/female numbers?

James Newkirk: I actually don’t have those numbers. I can anecdotally say, I’ve gone to a lot of developer conferences, we have a significantly higher female population at the Agile conference than we do at the most developer conferences, but I have to get you that number, I don’t have that.

Diana Larsen: There is one of that measures that we have sometimes used here which is when I go to those developer conferences there is never a line in the ladies room. Occasionally at the Agile conference there is one. Also just on that note we have a new program this year called: "diversity in Agile" that will look at a lot of different aspects of the diversity, working in Agile teams, but this year has chosen to focus on women in Agile. And we’ve done some interviews, there is a display going on in the open jam, from that program group telling about some of the women they’ve interviewed and their experience of working on Agile teams. So it’s definitely an interest.

   

8. Agile certification, a good phrase or a bad phrase?

James Newkirk: I think it’s indicative of where we are in terms of adoption, because if I look at 10 years ago nobody was talking about certification and you can use Geoffrey Moore's early adaptor terminology obviously those people are not interested in certification. It seems like as you become more mainstream this kind of topic of certification appears because people are looking for ways to say: "Is this the right person for this situation?" You are not going to get an arguing from me to say that a certain certification is a hiring criteria or something like that because I think it’s about how you work with someone, how you work with that person and whether that person is right for the situation and no test is going to be able to tell me that other than having a conversation.

So there are aspects of it that say that you’ve been trained in these types of things, but I personally still would not use it as a check box to say I would hire this person or something like that. There is a lot of conversations about certification here this week, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Diana Larsen: And the Agile Alliance board from a few years ago adopted a policy around certification that says we aren’t endorsing or unendorsing any certification but what we believe people should look for are things that are skills based show experience over time and things like that. But it can be a force for good and we are waiting to see how that develops.

   

9. You have developed a real community that everybody pretty much knows what everybody else can do. Is there a way to take that notion or that idea and apply it to all of Agile? Basically a community endorsement as opposed to a certification.

James Newkirk: I think at that point we are talking about a different terminology. I question whether that could actually scale. On the surface I like that idea, I question the scalability of being able to do that.

Diana Larsen: There were some people that tried to put together the kind of reputation based; there have been a couple of those attempts to put together websites where people sort of said: "I personally endorse this person" and they’ve never really got traction so far. So a couple of different people have tried that.

James Newkirk: I think it’s a hard thing and it’s different than I am being certified on a piece of equipment like I know how to run Cisco Router Blah. And I don’t think we are talking about the same thing. So I can see why people want to do this. I think what we are talking about is a lot more nebulous than something very specific.

   

10. A corollary question, how do you educate or train Agile people. I think this is very clearly not a specific skills set, it’s a way of thinking. So how do you educate people to become Agile. How do you take our high school and college kids and prepare them to enter the Agile workforce?

Diana Larsen: In the last couple of years Joe Chao at the State University in Ohio put together a proposal for the alliance we founded that added to their regular computer science curriculum a kind of a capstone thing where the students needed to work on an Agile project with a real client for a term and produce real software. And they recruited some non-profit and things in the area who needed a tool, needed an application and the students would work with them and actually practice using Agile methods. And that was one of the courses they needed to take for graduation. They called that the Agile factory.

There are some other efforts going on. I know a number of the extension programs, Portland State in Oregon where I live, also the University of California Berkley extension is beginning to provide classes in various aspects of Agile. UC Irvine in their graduate program has a strong Agile component; Calgary has had forever and North Carolina has had for a long time, so that awareness is growing and spreading and more of that is happening then was 5 years ago. So we are beginning to at least have an impact at the higher ed level. At the high school I don’t know, I haven’t heard anything about that but certainly a number of colleges and universities.

James Newkirk: And one thing that jumps out to me and you mentioned in some those things, is really just this working with other people. I think back to my kind of electrical engineering, computer science background. We had one course, I think, that you worked on with somebody else and was pretty much a solo activity and of course we were in the computer rooms, all night long, but we never really worked with other people. And I think when we talk about educating people to work on Agile is how do you work with other people because I can train you how to use a programming language or something like that.

The thing that I think you need to educate people is on how they work with others and that to me is something that I didn’t get out of when I went to college. I had to learn that working with teams.

   

11. So the business world has been recognizing that they aren’t a machine and that there is a need for Agility for rapid change, rapid evolution 10 years before the software community ever jumped on. So you go back Tom Peters' "Thriving on Chaos", that’s in the 80s and early 90s. Kent Back didn’t come out until 2001. Are we communicating effectively with the business world since we both seem to be saying we want to do the same thing or are we still running in parallel or are we starting to get together?

Diana Larsen: I think like any area there are some strongly embedded patterns in organizations and even before Tom Peters there was Edwards Deming in Japan, so that is what I said: these ideas are not new. They have been around for a while. Before that there was Eric Trist in the UK. So what we know is that organizations that adopt these practices tend to do better over the long term. They tend to do better in the market place, they tend to do better in the stock market, they tend to do better in a lot of different ways. That being said we also know that functional healthy families do better and that doesn’t mean we don’t still have dysfunctional families.

So some of these patterns are just very deeply embedded and I think Agile could help make a dent in that, but it’s probably going to require wholesale societal change for those ideas to spread everywhere, for those ideas to spread everywhere. So we make the progress we can make and we can’t cure the world but we hope to make the software industry a little more productive, humane and sustainable.

James Newkirk: And I can of relate some of my consulting background. I still don’t think people kind of take this capability that Agile brings to them and use it effectively and only through demonstrating it to people they the light bulb turns on and they say: "Oh, now that is what I can do. I can do this differently than I did before but it usually takes kind of this push, the show me part of this before they are willing, and it happens with developers, it happens with business people. It’s more like: "I don’t believe it, I’ve heard this before and until you show me I don’t believe it." When I was doing consulting and the work I do with Microsoft it’s pretty much shown me.

   

12. It seems that everybody can claim to be agile, does agile mean anything anymore?

[Dave's actual question:]So going back to history, first Agile conference was the XP Conference in Carolina 2001 or something like that. Alistair Cockburn had his first conference in Salt Lake the next year. So for two maybe three years it was XP and Alistair. And then that and became Agile. It’s interesting that Dave Thomas is your key note this year because the very first XP Conference he was not on the program, but he gave this very impassioned impromptu speech at one of the plenary sessions; he asked for time and was given it. He perceived the the XP community, it was an XP Conference, trying to set themselves up as a little bit exclusionary they were trying to build a community, but it was much more along the lines of religion or a cult or something of this sort and in fact I represented the paper at conference saying that Agile was not a method, it was a culture. Dave Thomas’s speech said there was a lot of good stuff going on there, don't reject somebody just because they are using the wrong language or the wrong tool or the wrong method and I think Agile as it merged became Dave Thomas’s big speech. And this is a corollary to the certification question is now that everybody can be in, but everybody can claim to be Agile, does Agile mean anything?

James Newkirk: I thought about what I was going to talk about with the certification thing. The thing I worry about certification is we’re still evolving and Agile itself is evolving, we as a community are evolving and I worry with trying to codify, like let’s say I use your example which is if I codified XP as the method that many years ago I don’t think we would be where we are right now because we might be stuck right there and what I worry about is being dogmatic versus being pragmatic. And to me to think about certification I see elements of dogma trying to be codified in there and will it hurt our ability to evolve this because maybe they can’t move this fast as we might.

If we had codified Agile as the 12 practices of XP I honestly believe the conference wouldn’t be as big as it is today, it wouldn’t include a number of things that are here today.

Diana Larsen: I actually want to go back and correct something that you said, which is the XP conference in North Carolina was the 1st one and then the Agile Development conference came along. Alistair was the driver of that, he was the first conference chair and so on, but that was an Agile Alliance conference. The Agile Alliance was formed then so from the beginning people saw that there was room to discuss more than XP and as a matter of fact Bob in the next year became the XP Agile universe for a couple of years before the merger and so just like the way that conference happened, evolved into, well this is really what the community needs and is calling for.

Agile itself is doing much the same thing. I think the problem comes when people take a snapshot view of what is going on and then extrapolate a lot from that as opposed to seeing it as part of continuum. And it’s not a moment in time. There are lots of people talking about being Agile versus doing Agile and I don’t know what exactly being Agile is because it tends to be again that "are we being Agile a snapshot and it’s "are we growing toward greater agility, are we growing toward delivering more business value, are we growing toward honoring and valuing our employees, are we growing in these directions?" is what tells me if we’re Agile and I can only see that over time, I can’t see that in the snapshot.

It’s too static and we are in a dynamic industry and Agile is a dynamic contribution to that. So that is how I see it going. And so when I hear people: "Do the Agile is dead?" which happened a few years ago or these kinds of pronouncements for me are kind of meaningless. It’s just been a continually growing thing and it’s not done growing, so I don’t even know what is going to be.

   

13. One of the unique things that Alistair did in his first book on Agile software development. He included a reprint of Peter Naur's software development as theory building which is early 80s where he was saying that the software development world is going down this path based on the premise that software development is a process that can be managed. And he was saying it it is an act of theory building. A lot of the things that Agile professes it values that don’t necessarily make it into the practices. What is your view on this process versus theory building or have you ever given it any thought? What should Agile be about? Should it be about theory building or should it be about process management?

Diana Larsen: Software development is knowledge work, it’s not manufacturing work, so we can talk about a software process but it’s never going to look as clean as a manufacturing process or a service process where there really is some linearity, maybe even some routinization in that. Knowledge work is just never going to be that because we are always creating something new and so there is an element of sometimes chaos, but certainly complexity to that that is different. And so whether it’s theory building or model building it’s definitely knowledge work. And so we work with our brains. Some people told me an anecdote, when I was at a conference in Scandinavia, about they had been in the conference room working on their white board, working on some problem together; there were 3 of them.

And as they left the conference room to go back to where their computers are, they passed the project manager’s desk and she said: "Oh, I am glad to see you are out of there. I was wondering when you were going to get back to work. And they were, of course, appalled that she made this observation and looked at me to be equally appalled and I said: "She doesn’t understand the nature of your work. You need to do a better job and explaining to her how software gets made because she obviously doesn’t understand it yet because if she can’t see what you were doing as a part of your work she doesn’t understand, because it is thinking together, and particularly with Agile.

My mantra around retrospectives has been learning, thinking and deciding as a group which is a tough thing to do back to your working with people thing. And certainly it’s creating those kinds of models and theories depending how do you want to think about it that is involved and it’s not easy to think about, wrap our heads around. I think we want to simplify it down to pretending it’s more simple or just kind of complicated. But it’s not; it’s complex and sometimes chaotic because we are making new ideas all the time.

James Newkirk: We were having this conversation about theory versus process and so on and one of the things that kind of clicked in my mind, and maybe it wasn’t the early 80s for sure, but when I read Kent Beck’s extreme programming book this focused on values and as opposed to practice, now of course their practices, but these practices have to reflect those values. And I see Agile as it grows, people adopt practices without understanding the values and it’s very clear when you go in as a consultant or something like that, you run into these situations like, they are like: "Oh, we do our daily standup.

What do you think the goal of that is and what do you want to accomplish?" "We do what we did yesterday". "But why do you think you do that"? And that’s like a disconnect appears and I think if we're going to do anything about educating people or about evangelizing, it’s to think that we want to do things that reflect those values and those practices will change over time. But the values that we express and kind of think about, those are the things and will come up with the right practices, but the values are really where I think the change actually is because how many times have I went through different types of software processes, never one of them was about, why you would do this other than it made easier for the project manager to track what was going on.

So that is the value that was being expressed all the time not what the output was, so to me I think that as I can talk to people about this it’s really this discussion and feedback and simplicity, those are the ones that I took to heart and thought:" If I am going to think about this, this is how I’m going to think about it and then whatever practices that come out they match. If you do it the other way around you get people kind of having ceremonies for no reason. So that’s how I was going to rephrase, it’s not follow these 12 things and magic will happen; it’s like this is why we are doing it; this helps this part, this helps that part and so on.

   

14. My corollary question to that was in Kent’s first book he said there are 3 stages to XP: out of the box which is "do what you’re told", adaptation which we have clearly seen a lot over the last 10 years, but then transcendence is the 3rd stage. So is it too early to worry about transcending, this also gets back to this notion of being Agile is putting yourself in this transcendent state where you are the Agile. So is it to soon to worry about being transcendent yet or are we working at it?

James Newkirk: I think it’s a little too early to be transcendent and having been involved, Kent was involved and we built XP immersion classes at object mentor in this first part which said: do it Agile, we used Ron Jeffrie's 'why don’t we do it my way' and you could see if yours is better. The hard part in the beginning was people looking and going of the 12 practices I like 6 of these and I am not going to do these other 6 because I don’t want to program with other people. The hard part was you don’t know at which point in time did you throw out what you were doing by not doing one of the practices.

I think we know a lot more about some of that today than we did 10 years ago, but I do think it was this kind of mind shift which said: "Let’s think about this a different way, let’s do it a different way and then once I understand this way I will think about how I bring in the other stuff that I’ve done and then eventually kind of evolve it to make it work. The way I do XP is very different today than I did 10 years ago. There’re aspects of Scrum in the things that I do in XP kind of mixed together today and the teams that I work on do that and that wasn’t the case 10 years ago. And it took for me just kind of: "Stop doing that way and start doing this way and now it’s very difficult to think about doing it the way I used to do it.

Diana Larsen: I think of the music analogy. Some people are able to pick up an instrument figure out how to play it, do just fine, they have a knack for it and that’s great and they’re rare or at least we’ve seen them rarely; maybe we all have that ability. But most people have to learn sort of the basics, do the scales, before they can be jazz musicians, for instance, before they could really play with it and break some of the rules. So I think there is a real analogy there. The thing is even from the very beginning if you are learning to play the piano or whatever, you know that you are striving for this higher thing. You know that you are striving to create this note or to be able to be a part of the orchestra and create a symphony or whatever.

And I think a lot of times when people have focused on just do it and then go on and adapt it and so on we’ve taught the scales without ever really referring to the symphony. And I don’t think that happens in music. I mean there is always that sense of: "Why I am learning this?" for people who want to be good musicians. So I think you can start with the practices and teach that and say:" Do it this way, learn these and then you can make your judgment call about what to keep and what to throw out. But that doesn’t mean you leave out the value’s piece. You still can teach those practices in context and I think that maybe that piece maybe got lost somewhere on the way, in some instances.

And you know, there are numbers of wonderful consultants and coaches and folks out there doing great job, the best job they know, but people learn what they want to learn at the pace they can learn it.

James Newkirk: It’s simpler to learn the practice and as opposed to and I think at times people just go:"Do I have enough time to do things?" and whatever. It’s simpler to learn the practice and I think at times we have people kind of gravitate towards just that.

Diana Larsen: And harkening getting back to those first conferences in 2002 XP Agile Universe conference, that particular one that was outside of Chicago, Joshua Kerievsky and I did a session on organizational change that if we’re going to make this shift to XP, if we’re going to do this it is going to mean a shift in mindset for a much broader part of the organization than just the dev team. And it’s going to be significant organizational change for them and that was a piece that had not yet been looked at. And after we did our presentation Martin and Ward and Kent and a couple of other folks came up to us and said: "You know, people really need to hear what they are saying because this is going to be an issue and it is easier to learn the practices than to change your organization.

But in fact Agile is asking for a culture change, just like you said, and it is a culture and it’s different from the culture that maybe has been in your organization and so that whole question of "how do we make culture change?" has actually taken on a bigger and bigger part of this sort of mental bandwidth, even of this conference, certainly of the community as people more and more realize that that’s a piece of it. Practices without values is pretending that we could change our way of work without having to change anything else of how we work. I that means that we just can’t change one part of the system and not have the rest of the system changed. We know that’s how systems work.

   

15. One last question. Assuming that next year’s chair has been shadowing you this year and kind of know what’s been what’s planned fornext year a little bit, any surprises? Who is going to be the chair next year, are there any surprises that we should know about?

James Newkirk: The conference is in Salt Lake city, hopefully it will be there and actually they’re still forming the team. We had a retrospective last night on the submission process and we have some ideas about how we are going to evolve with how the social media affected some of that process. So i think that beyond that he certainly has some ideas but I think I should let him share those. One of the things that we’ve done in the past is kind of the feedback from each conference. We need to live one of the values, which is feedback and it’s very clear to me that we need to take the feedback from the submission part of the process as well as the conference itself to just kind of drive our next iteration.

So I will wait until we get the feedback from this week and I have a kind of closing report I need to for the board and to kind of quantify the feedback from this week and hopefully see next year’s conference better, which I’m pretty sure it will be.

   

16. About 15 years ago the great Salt Lake grows sufficiently that will support the airport. So what top secret things are the Agile Alliance events about that you would have to kill me if you told me?

Diana Larsen: None. Pretty much everything we do is transparent. We are really pretty open about what we do. We don’t do a good job yet of communicating it and letting the rest of the world now. So that is one of our next challenges actually. But we are always looking for people with great program ideas. Particularly this conference and a couple of other small things that we do give us some funds that we are going and can distribute back out in a community in a variety of ways supporting conferences around the world. We serve as a sponsor for them, we don’t organize them all, but we serve as a sponsor for them; helping local user groups, bring in speakers, we have a program fro that; the diversity in Agile, we are looking at how can we make more effective teams by capitalizing on the strengths that diversity can bring to a group.

There is a number of them and they are all listed on the website, but we are always looking for more really good ideas about how can we better serve and help grow our understanding and our community and make everybody stronger. So that is all just kind of out there, the internationalization effort is out there. We are effectively looking for where should we be aligning ourselves with other organizations, other parties. So that is what we are about and it’s kind of just out there. It’s very exciting that we are demoing now at this conference our latest website, which is, as somebody told me today, a step change than what we had before. So again we are looking for feedback on websites so we can make it the best it could be and it will continue to evolve as well. So there are no deep dark secrets.

   

17. Any other burning issues that any of you would like to share that I haven’t given the opportunity to?

James Newkirk: Not that I can think of. I’ve seen the website.

Diana Larsen: I think that’s it.

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