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Archive for the ‘Agile Communities’ Category

It is the Passion, Stupid!

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If you harbored some doubts about having good time in Salt Lake City, please take a look at the picture above: Colleague Alex Pukinskis and I “caught” in a minute of pure joy during the Agile Roots conference.  I don’t recall the subject we were discussing, but the picture speaks for itself even without a subject.

The relevance of the picture to Agile goes beyond “and here is a picture from the Agile Roots conference.” I actually believe that there is something special in Agile conferences of small to medium scale. These conferences are all about the experience. The program, the presenters and the venue are, of course, important. But, more than anything else these conferences are about savoring the community experience. The value is in the experience.

Over the past year I presented in four small to medium Agile conferences:

My sense is that in each of these conferences the passion of a small group of organizers was the key to success. This passion proved infectious – it affected presenters, participants and volunteers to form an experience that can only be expressed in the words “I wish I were there.”

While I meet many passionate folks in larger Agile/Software conferences, the experience is different. My guess is that it is a matter of  “density of passion.” A few passionate organizers suffice to “ignite” a small/medium conference. This core passion does not seem to scale beyond a certain number of participants.

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Written by israelgat

June 17, 2010 at 5:34 am

Running for the Agile Alliance Board

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I am running for the Agile Alliance board. Here is my position statement:

Agile to me is about finding my voice. For most of my professional career I was entrusted with developing and bringing to market large scale enterprise software systems. Fulfilling and rewarding that so doing was, rarely had I experienced the great excitement that comes from the pursuit of a bigger purpose. Over the past few years Agile has been giving me this extra gratification. I feel privileged and fortunate to participate in and contribute to a movement that has the potential to transform quite a few industries.

My voice has been expressed in various speaking engagements, research notes by the Cutter Consortium, blog posts in The Agile Executive, and tweets under the handle agile_exec. I am primarily concerned with elevating Agile to the enterprise level, making certain Agile “islands” scale up, scale out and scale downstream. Moreover, I push toward devising business models that utilize the power of Agile instead of shoe horning Agile methods to fit arcane business designs.

As an Agile Alliance board member, I will focus on mainstreaming Agile methods with an eye toward making a significant economic impact. I share the concern Diana Larsen expressed in a recent Agile Roots panel: Agile as a term has crossed the chasm, but Agile as a method might not. The main obstacle IMHO is that our business fabric has not caught up with Agile methods. Software capitalization and Agile contracts are two good examples of areas which are not yet where they need to be. I plan to address both, and then some, if I get elected.

If we as a movement succeed in making Agile cross the chasm, the economics of software, of products in which software is embedded and of business processes that utilize software could change dramatically. As software is becoming pervasive, Agile software has the potential to become a low cost input in our economy. The macro-economic effect of this descending cost of software could be as powerful as that of the prosperity ultra cheap oil (as energy source) produced during the period 1908-1971. I am committed to doing my bit toward this worthy goal through the Agile Alliance.

Written by israelgat

July 26, 2009 at 8:43 pm

It is a Team, not a Clinic

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We have by now held three sessions of the Agile Austin “Ask an Expert” service. The thing that impressed me most in these three meetings is the effectiveness of the the team discussion modus. Rather than make the clinic a series of 1-1 consultations, we followed Scott Killen‘s good suggestion to conduct it in the manner articulated in the statement of purpose:

Team discussions with any Agilists attending the program will be encouraged to maximize the sharing of experience and draw out the wisdom of crowds.

It is starting to become evident we enriched the experience and made it more gratifying by moving away from the {professor –> student} modus. The sessions are kind of everyone singing, everyone dancing. Rather than a plain answer for a plain question, we get much richer threads. Moreover, it is obvious the experience one clinic “patient” shares with another is as valuable as the expert advice.

We are starting to see repeat “patients.” It is really becoming a team more than a clinic.

Written by israelgat

May 21, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Yours leanly…

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Appropriately enough for a post written a few days after the LK2009 conference, colleague Clarke Ching concludes his announcement of the May 21 session of the Agile Scotland clinics with the words “Yours leanly…”

I can’t help wondering whether the next Agile Scotland clinic will be announced using the phrase “Yours kanbanly….”

Written by israelgat

May 16, 2009 at 10:28 am

Agile Scotland Clinics

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Colleague Clarke Ching summarizes his initial impressions from launching the Agile Scotland Clinics, as follows:

Wow! I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response to the Agile clinics.  I was a little nervous that people might think it was a daft idea, but apparently not.

Clarke goes on to to compare the modus operandi for Agile Scotland with the Ask an Expert approach taken by Agile Austin:

I’ve taken a slightly different direction in that rather than dropping in, I’m asking people to book.  I’m not sure what’s best but I was concerned about confidentiality and scheduling issues.

Clarke and I will compare notes on the subject and report how the two communities evolve from time to time. For now, suffice it to say that I am as excited about the Agile clinics in Scotland as I am about the one in Austin.

Written by israelgat

May 5, 2009 at 9:39 pm