Saturday, November 22, 2008

Italian Agile Day 2008 First Impressions

First of all... wow 400 people, definitely a success and a huge growth from the former editions. It was very interesting and an occasion to meet so many passionate professionals (among them, after some long-distance debates I finally met Gabriele and Matteo in the flesh).

Pity that workouts were sold out virtually two seconds after the registration process started... I hope we'll manage to contact the speakers and get some materials.

The meeting was very dense, I barely had the time to breath between sessions. Maybe a little more relaxed schedule could leave you some time to interact with speakers and panelists on a face-to-face basis for better to clarify some doubts or to go into topics thoroughly (after all, culture is acquired in cloisters and not in lecturehalls, as I was brilliantly told in my youth in Politecnico that is forgotten).

That said it surely was a positive experience. The introductory panel dealt with the apparent dichotomy between pragmatism and agile; after an interesting debate Simone Genini pointed out the Agile Manifesto as a very good answer to the "where's the path?" question. Very interesting insights by the other panelists (Stefano Fornari and Paolo Polce) as well.

Not having the gift of ubiquity (I actually do have it, but if you discovered it you'd be envious so I always try to hide it) I could not follow everything I'd have liked, so I'll just talk about the six sessions or experience reports I attended to.
  • Agile come strumento efficace per la gestione dei progetti: interesting (and necessarily very light) introduction to risk management and some ways in which agile helps to deal with it. I was very happy to see that Simone gave many bibliographical references (pity I just bought three books on project management so I'll have to defer them a little).
  • Funambol: introducing SCRUM in software product development. Edoardo presented a synopsis of their transition to a waterfallish method to a "scrummy" one (transition in progress, we're working for you). Very interesting because I could really appreciate the power of the tools that Scrum gives us, as reading their burndown charts I just exactly knew what was happening even if I had no clue of Funambol and their teams before today (one for all, they choose stories that were too big).
  • First coffee break: a queue worse than the one I normally experience when commuting. Actually I didn't attend to it :-(
  • SCRUM-W: quando si maschera waterfall con Scrum. You instantly know when someone is used to presentations, and Luca surely is: no bullets slides, creation of expectations, clearness of exposition and knowledge on the topic.
  • Non si impara solo dai libri: la nostra esperienza di Mentoring. Matteo (see link above) reported two mentoring experiences in two very different realities: the first one in a loose environment and the second one in a highly structured one, and he explained the different approaches used.
  • Second coffee break: this time we really did it! probably many were discouraged by the morning experience...
  • Processo al database server relazionale: very funny drama (after all it was an experience report based on a true story) with very good actors performing a trial. Database was convicted in the end, even if I'm sure, as someone said, that tools are innocent and people are guilty
  • Il nostro metodo per piccoli team con molti progetti da gestire contemporaneamente. I arrived eager for answers, as that's just what we face each and every day, and I was quite disappointed when Claudio said, just a few seconds after starting, that he didn't have any. Luckily what he really meant was (at least that's what I understood) that he hasn't developed a great theoretical meta-ultra-mega-iper-method but he has found a series of practices that help him, his team and his customers. I wish our customers were like his... but complaining is useless, it is our job and responsibility to teach them.
More and more will follow on the Italian Agile Movement freshly refactored site.

What now? to quote Mr. Shin, passion!

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