I’m currently sitting my temporary dungeon (hotel room) trying to verbalize and regurgitate all the things from the last 2 days before I hit town one last night before reality pulls me back to the east coast. The agile conference (http://www.agileopencalifornia.com) was definitely the very cool open spaces format, with people relatively in various parts of the software/networking field. Much of the conference seemed to revolve around finding ways of making the agile methodology viral so that it spreads better inside of concrete business entities resistant to change (sounds almost religious). However, that being said, just about everyone was down to earth and shared common values that included caring for the people in these companies, more so than converting someone to a methodology, which is refreshing.
Some of the sessions were tapped by people who were trying to figure out this whole agile thing and how it relates to them, while others, especially on the second day, seemed to dig into the meatier types of information. Probably my fav 2 sessions were “agile inside a start up company” and “transition to agile on a large scale”. There are many facets to both of these topics as both are company wide and it impacts everyone, including the people in the mail room to the CEO or other decision makers of the company. The latter of the two had a lot of good insight for consultants who have a firm belief in the power of agile and how much it can benefit companies and their development infrastructure, life cycles, and even people’s moral.
Probably one of the biggest concepts I’ll take away from the conference is to evualuate the readiness of a company to adopt a new methodogly. As a consultant you want to be successful, so part of your system should include the ability evaluate the internal parts of a company, see what is going on first hand and then determine if what they are asking is doable and beneficital. Yes agile will stabalize your company if done right, but timing is everything and you don’t want to do something like this at a crucial time that could make or break your company.
For some insight into some of these sessions, go to http://agileopencalifornia.com/wiki/index.php?title=Proceedings.