Agile Australia 2010

Agile Australia 2010 was one of the best conferences I’ve been to in a while. The following are my brief notes from the sessions I attended.

Presenter Ideas
Jim Highsmith – Focusing on speed will result in a poor quality but focusing on quality will lead to greater speed.
– Software development is one of the only industries where economies of scale do not work.
Jeff Smith – People leave a company because of poor leadership.
– Suncorp runs a leadership forum where the attendees are nominated and elected.
Neal Ford – Emergent design enables design decisions to be deferred to the last responsible moment. Big up front design cannot solve the design problems that emerge during a project.
– Measuring and tracking key code metrics like coupling and complexity can help identify recurring code anti-patterns that can be addressed on a continuous basis.
Panel Session on Flavours of Agile – Scrum has become they ‘Gateway Drug’ for organizations adopting Agile. Unfortunately this has lead to a lack of emphasis on quality.
– Scrum often leads to the adoption of more technical agile practices including ATDD and similar practices.
Kane Mar – Extending continuous integration practices into deployment helps ensure business value can be delivered but is only relevant for niche product types.
Craig Smith – Discussed the factors affecting team performance.
Martin Fowler – If a certain development practice is painful – then do it more frequently. This approach will ensure that it gets you’ll get better at the practice.
– Technical debt quadrant is can be used to classify different types of technical debt.
– Internal quality is invisible to the customer but external quality is visible. Customers should only be able to trade cost/quality on external quality aspects.
Dave Thomas – Legacy system maintenance and enhancement can benefit from Lean and Agile approaches. Typically this offers significant business value because legacy systems are what is running the company and therefore generating revenue.
Nigel Dalton – Demonstrated a variety of different implementations of task tracking in Kanban style within non-technical areas.
– If you don’t like change, you’ll hate irrelevance even more.
Chris Mountford – Demonstrated a variety of different approaches to reducing to time to get feedback from large continuous integration build systems.
– Discussed rules around developers committing during broken builds. Typically no commits while unit tests are failing but okay to commit if automated functional tests are failing … provided someone is working on a fix.
Sharon Robson – All agile team members are testers
– The practice of testing practice in a agile project is no different to any other project, however the timing requires continuous involvement from an early stage.
Jez Humble – Discussed value of deployment pipeline and emerging area called DevOps.
– Discussed ATDD style testing on the provisioning of deployment environment.

I really enjoyed the conference and met some great people – looking forward to next year.

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