Agile2008 Initial Thoughts

I just got back from Agile2008 in Toronto and boy, that was a great conference. I took almost 30 pages of notes and I've got tons of ideas on things we can do in our team at work. I'm going to write in more depth about the stuff I saw and learned but I wanted to say some quick things about my overall impressions.

For some great writeups on sessions (the kind of writeups I wish I was going to be doing) check out Gojko Adzic's blog I met him at the conference and he's a very sharp guy with a great blog.

My first big takeaway is the focus on engineering practices. We do Scrum at work which doesn't set out any specific coding practices. At first I thought this was great, to leave the programmers alone to work as they wanted. And to be sure, I'm not advocating forcing a lot of practices on people where they might not fit. But overall, I've come around to thinking that a team should at least talk about doing things like test-first development, pair programming, etc. The benefits have been shown, it's just a matter now of not doing something just to be doing it, but because it makes a real benefit. We're going to start talking about these things soon.

The other thing I came away with was that we're doing a pretty darn good job of being agile on my team. A lot of people I spoke to and heard have big problems with team dynamics and following the agile practices. We're probably 80% of the way there but I think doing another 10-15% of agile methods would help us big time.

I'm going to have a lot of things to writeup and talk to my work about and I think we'll be able to do a lot of agile things that will help us and the company out. We're lucky that our Director is a programmer and knows to let us do things if we think they'll help. We don't have the kind of pushback from management that a lot of teams seem to have, which is great.

More later!