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Agile 2017 - Orlando

Insights -> Trends and News

As part of the events periodically offered by the group of Madrid Management 3.0 - Peopleware - Agile Management, I had the opportunity to attend the talk he gave Javier Garzás last September 19 and in which he gave us a summary of the conference Agile 2017, held in Orlando during the month of August and organized by the Agile Alliance. As you know, this is the most important agility conference in the world and it is where the great actors and authors of agility come together.

The objective of this talk was not only to tell us some of the presentations that Garzás was able to attend, but also to give us a transversal vision of how an event of such magnitude is organized, and the most curious aspects and anecdotes.

The conference was attended by about 2.200 people. In 2016 it was in Atlanta and the year before in Washington. The stage chosen for 2018 will be San Diego. You can get an idea of ​​the magnitude of the event by taking a look at the SCHEDULE. The conference is of such dimensions that there are four tracks in parallel (when the usual thing is usually two and even a single track), which forces you to plan very well which talks you want to attend.

The event starts on Sunday afternoon and ends on Friday morning. So do your calculations: taking into account 4 or 5 talks per day, for the 5 days of duration, the tsunami of information that we have to assimilate is overwhelming.

https://twitter.com/DukesKyle/status/896081081866141697

This conference derives from another major event which is the OOPSLA, Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages ​​& Applications. Most of the authors of the Agile Manifesto They have to their credit very great works on the paradigm of object orientation. Kent beck, Involving Ward cunningham, is the author of Extreme Programming. Alistair cockburn He is also the author of great works on object orientation, as well as Martin fowler.

https://twitter.com/aclairefication/status/895268555456905216

One of the peculiarities of this macro event is that other events revolve around it in parallel. Spaces are reserved for local communities to hold talks or sessions. Framed in this context, on Sunday, within what could be called pre-conference, a talk was organized by the community Women in Agile, being one of its speakers Abigail harrison, only 20 years old. She is one of the girls who are part of the call Mars generation, a group of astronauts in training chosen by NASA with the goal of traveling to Mars in 2030. A one-way trip, with no return. I find it fascinating that someone prepares for a trip where they probably have no chance to return.

Continuing with the peculiarities of this event, in addition to the tracks planned, space is also offered for everyone to organize "their theme", of the type open space, hackathons, etc. That is to say, there are people who are talking about unit testing, TDD ... you come, you join in and they tell you how they do it.

https://twitter.com/RavdeepSekhon/status/896008689110351872

La keynote most important of this year's conference was in charge of David marquet, author of the famous "Book of the submarine": Turn Your Ship Around! David Marquet was captain in charge of the nuclear submarine USS Santa Fe. Like all military men, Marquet followed a traditional leadership model, that is, giving orders and “waxing”, until one day, involuntarily, he gave an impossible order. Despite this, his crew tried to comply. Marquet then discovered that he was surrounded by followers and that they would all be in danger until a radical change took place: for his crew to feel fully engaged and to develop their full potential.

David Marquet's talk deals with one of the most talked about topics at Agile 2017, self-organization of teams: teams led and organized by their own members, autonomous, responsible for commitments and product quality, and adaptable to changes.

David Marquet is not a person from the technological world, what counts are his experiences in a small place, a submarine, whose inherited work procedures are hierarchical ( command & control), and how they changed or migrated to other paradigms that we call self-organization. It handles two concepts: Reds and Blues. He blue is the one who thinks and the RED is the one who does. In the army, as in factories, we are used to hierarchy, command and command. In his book he explains how to change using his real experiences in the submarine as context.

David Marquet also spoke of the leadership ladder, a model of maturity in leadership levels that he has patented himself. For example, a person would be at the bottom if they say things like “Tell me what I have to do”; on the next step I would say something like “I think that…”; on one more level I would say “I recommend that…”; at the next level: "I would like it to be this way ..."; at the next level I would say something like “I wanna…"; we continue to advance to the next step: “I've done…”. And finally, I would say something like “I'm doing…".

David Marquet's Ladder of Leadership

David Marquet's Ladder of Leadership

Continuing with the peculiarities of this event, one of the curiosities of the talks is that the public actively participates through their mobile phone, answering the questions that the speaker asks in real time. For example, questions like what makes me not take the initiative? It could be seen that the word that is repeated the most is fear, the culture we have, insecurity, etc.

https://twitter.com/danielhsloan/status/894558369410953216

Another of the most fashionable trends in the talks is the sketchnoting, that is, graphic facilitation. There are talks on how to count agility only with pictures. More and more care is being taken about how to better convey the message, the ideas.

https://twitter.com/sketchingsm/status/894572647870320640

https://twitter.com/sketchingsm/status/894572647870320640

There are also some tracks very attractive that are called stalwarts, consisting of presenting a famous person who sits in a chair in front of a table. One such person was Ron Jeffries, another of the signers of the Agile Manifesto. They were also other celebrities, such as Alistair cockburn. The format is like this: the character has three chairs in front of him. If you see a free chair you can sit down and if you don't wait for one to stay free and you can ask directly what you want. Therefore, there is no predetermined script and the conversation unfolds based on questions from the audience. Jeffries is often asked about one of his favorite topics, "no estimation", a topic that we will see later.

In this type of event, the presence of sponsors is strong. One of the aspects of calibrating the market temperature is who sponsors and who stops sponsoring. In recent years, two of the three leading companies in the world in agile tools continue to be:  CA (Rally) as sponsor premium, Together with Version One (authors of a famous poll every year that deals with the state of agility), both competitors of Jira In U.S.A. Another curiosity is that Scrum.org sponsors the Scrum Alliance (which is the organizer of this event).

Another of the ideas of the conference, not so much for curious, but for novel, is what is called Holistic Agile, agility in everything. Can agile methods be applied to work teams whose delivered product is not a software product? The answer is yes. If we want to be agile, we must also be agile in our daily lives. It should be extensible to people who are both in the HR department and those who are part of the accounting department. We seek an agile spirit. And we find more and more successful examples of the application of agile methods in non-technological environments.

https://twitter.com/sketchingsm/status/894969795954843648

https://twitter.com/sketchingsm/status/894969795954843648

Another of the star talks was that of Joshua Kerievsky, author of the book Refactoring to Patterns, quite recognized in the world of patterns and also author of the current called Modern Agile. Within the concept of self-organization, Kerievsky spoke of the safety, in the sense of psychological security. Many authors talk about this issue in different ways, but they all refer to this concept. Will it be the next challenge? Security not in the sense of cyber-security, of hackers, but of having security on my computer, in what I am saying and doing. One more step towards self-organization. Thoughts like "... I am not going to say something because they are going to criticize me or they do not let me ... my colleagues do not accept me ... my boss is not going to let me think ... I am going to say what he expects me to say”Would be factors that hinder self-organization. A thought that reflects the concept of safety or psychological security would be: "The health of an organization is measured by the time between when someone has a feeling and exposes and discusses it with another person".

When there is psychological security, people feel safe to take risks, to make mistakes, to handle conflicts safely. A leader should develop, model, and foster psychological safety.

One of the most important authors, Woody zuill, creator of the movement of "Not estimate" (#NoEstimates), also participated in the conference. The No estimates try to question whether estimates are the best way to manage and make a prediction in a project, a topic that would give you to write several articles. Zuill is also the creator of the current or concept of Continuous Discovery. Drawing on the experience in his company, he talks about randomness and chance. In his retrospectives he talked about the things that had succeeded and how he had failed to predict them, and he justified the continuous discovery as the only tool to evolve. In this sense, he made many references to a book called The drunkard's walk, like how the drunkard stumbles from here to there and eventually reaches his destination.

We continue with another of the top talks, Jez humble, author who made the Continuous Delivery with his book "Continuous delivery”, A book of obligatory reference for those who intend to enter this field. We say fashionable because the concept is much older, because beware, that this of the continuous delivery the Unix folks were saying it back in '78. Humble focused a lot on trying to tear down the reasons why people don't implement the continuous delivery: they hide behind the fact that the environment is highly regulated, that it has a lot of formalism, a lot of legacy, very old systems, or that our people are “too stupid”. And speaking of sketchnoting, in the following sketch we have a summary of this talk by Garzás himself:

https://twitter.com/jgarzas/status/895718620885651456

With 15 minutes remaining, Humble cut the presentation and said something like "this is extra ball" and began to talk about the famous manifesto of James Damore, which was the tech news for July / August this year. If you remember, Damore was an engineer who worked at Google and who published a manifesto in which he said that Google discriminated based on gender, and wrote a report justifying that there are biological differences that make men more suitable for technology than women (yes friends, yes, amazing but true). As expected, the one that got mixed up was brown, and Google evidently fired him. In the chat, Humble took apart all the arguments in this report one by one. He presented a multitude of data aimed at arguing that, although there are biological differences, none of them favors being a technologist.

And finally, highlight the talk, in mode Open jam (here we call them Open Space) offered by Jurgen Appelo, which was about a fairly widespread current of opinion about whether it makes sense for us to talk about agility, that we tell people that they have to change quickly, that they have to learn, continuous delivery, etc. and that those who create frameworks or methodologies version every five years, that they tell us things in a book or a framework that is updated every x years.

And to finish, the quintessential Twitter discussion of the conference was: #NoEstimates. I have already mentioned it before. That is to say, to question one of the most important activities that we have always had in technology, which is estimation as the basis of everything. It is about not estimating tasks, not estimating story points, etc. Since software is by nature unpredictable and repetitive, why do we insist on making accurate estimates? I recommend this articulo by Woody Zuill where the essence of this debate is condensed. There is that ...

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Antonio Mendez

Antonio Mendez

Antonio is Director of Operations at Panel Sistemas. Follow @ steiner_69 on Twitter, or visit their profile at LinkedIn. You can also contact him via e-mail at this direction.

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