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Looking Back at Agile 2014

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The Agile 2014 conference finished on the 1st of August.  InfoQ covered the conference as it happened with a number of news items, and recorded over 30 inteviews which will be released over the coming months.  Since the conference ended a number of the participants have posted their thoughts and additional material has been released.

The Agile Alliance has released the videos of the three keynotes and the Industry Analyst panel discussion which exmained Agile Trends and Future Directions

Stephanie Stewart examined her experience and summarised some of her key takeaways:

  • Apparently there is something called “naked planning” but you actually keep your clothes on … go figure!
  • I’m not crazy after all … WIP Limits at the Portfolio Kanban level are crazy-impossible.  Instead, I learned about something called “WIP Limits by Conversation” at Pawel Brodzinski’s talk on “Successful Evolutionary Change of Portfolio Management” which is essentially what we do here at Valpak (yeah, us!).
  • Commitment is still alive and well!
  • A common theme I heard was about the need for executives to get more engaged in Agile.   No, it’s not just that thing your teams do to be more productive … it is so much more!  Executives have an important role in Agile and it is about time they step up.
  • Apparently, SAFe is a 4-letter word to some folks; SAFe, as in Scaled Agile Framework.  The SAFe debate is hot right now! There was a lot of debate around whether or not SAFe is the Agile anti-Christ due to it’s very detailed structure.  I’m happy to say that I’ve taken a very pragmatic approach to implementing SAFe here at Valpak, as should everyone.  Use what you want and disregard the rest.  Do what works for you and your organization.  There is no one-size-fits-all Agile!  In fact, our implementation of scaled Agile is more a blend of SAFe and some Mike Cottmeyer inspirations.
  • There are indeed #womeninagile!  And, I’m happy to be one of them!  There was definitely a good showing of womankind at the conference.  I hope to see this continue and meet more of my fellow Agile sisters

Ashley Bailey wrote how the conference "just clicked":

  • Scaling agile practices from the Team Level to the Program and Portfolio level is truly one of the most critical needs for enterprise organizations today.
  • The DevOps movement is in full swing
  • People… process… and what’s the other one? Technology. 

Al Shaloway wrote three blog posts about his experience at the conference, things he learned, some advice regarding ways to tackle complexity and the value of the networking opportunities.  

Jeff Sutherland launched his new book "Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time" 

Michael Dubakov discussed his feeling that the conference was lacking innovation and suggested some changes the organisers may want to consider for future conferences:

  1. Add a decent mix of various disciplines. We can learn from complexity science, biology, sociology, sport, physics and other disciplines. Try to intrigue people from these disciplines to really mix their practices with our practices and invent something new finally. At least invite them to speak about things they know to stimulate our imagination and analogy thinking. Invite Dave Snowden, finally, to see his controversial view on scaling. There should be more perspectives. We need greater diversity.
  2. Have more real-life experience reports with real practices that work in some contextes. It will help to learn from each other and spread good practices. I know many good discussions are firing up between people, but why don’t do that on sessions as well?
  3. There should be more science. People over the world do great research about group dynamic, development practices, cooperative games, etc. Invite them to share their researches.
  4. Invite bright business people to talk about marketing, agile workspace, new hiring practices, strategy, etc. It will finally help merge Agile and business together. Nothing is separate. We should see high-level pictures and learn from them.
  5. 75 minutes talks? Are you kidding me? Nobody can control attention for more than 45 minutes. Split these talks and make workshops longer, since 75 minutes are not enough for a decent workshop. I’d like to see more TED-like talks, short and precise. Experiment with that at least. Inspect and adapt.

Dave Prior from BigVisible and the Projects at Work blog interviewed a number of the speakers and published six of the recordings here.  More of his interviews can be found here.


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