Yesterday was Agile Tour Toronto. All my team planned to be there. Some were presenters. The rest just spread on different sessions, as per our interests.
The key note from Jim Carroll (http://www.jimcarroll.com/) was pretty good. The take away: Things are changing so fast, that being slow is what leaves you behind. Science, researchers, health, auto, credit cards, retailers are pushing the bar everyday. Nest (the thermostat with IP), Square (the credit card payer from smart phone), the DNA reader that can tell you what diseases you have a high chance to fight, Google interested in car market. In a nutshell, keep an open mind that in 2 years, you might be doing something that does not exist yet.
I went to 3 sessions. One about the Lean data architecture (ETL? Why? Reports on the fly!). One on TDD with Lego (Bryan rocks! Was a really fun session and that guy is Energizer bunny!). And one on Bounded Context (DDD) that was an example where they put the developers in each of the bounded contexts of the big schema.
I have to say that I left the day "thirsty" for something new and energizing. I expected the crowd to be more outgoing, exciting, funny. Rather was serious, pushy individuals marketing their services/books/upcoming seminars, and sometimes even just plain dry.
The good thing about it is that after seeing all that, I felt like I was part of something really cool going on at my company. We are using a lot of the concepts that were presented as new and we actually have also improved on some of them.
During one of the breaks, there was a "Lightning talk" session, a 2 minute talk where you can say something about what you are doing, something new you are using that is giving you results or just something that you want to say in the context. There were about 5 people that had signed up for that. I was sitting beside Jason Little that just came back from his classes in Finland and Estonia. He sat for a moment, turned to me and said ; "What's your lightning talk?". I was caught like a deer in headlight. Then he left and he signed himself up, and had a very cool improvised talk about hacking the culture of people and organizations. I thought; Well, he has so much to say after all he has done! But then some others started jumping from their chairs and just went and talked about something.When I heard someone taking about retrospectives once again, I said to myself "You MUST have something to say!". So right there on the spot, I challenged myself to say something from what I have done so far. Right when they were asking for the last one, I just pinched myself to get up and had my first lightning talk. I was sort of shaking, probably my voice too. I do not remember exactly what I said but what I wanted to say was:
Recently I took the ACP test and when I left the room, the girl at the front desk said to me: "You should be proud of yourself for passing. A lot of people are coming lately to take this exam and unfortunately they are not passing". That made me think that a lot of people think they know all about Agile. On the other side, I am part of a big transformation where I am working with some smart people that have a lot of experience and expertise, and compared to them, I feel like I have so much to learn. So just like the takeaway from the keynote, keep learning, be fast because things change and there is always a lot of new things to deal with. Everyday we find something new that pushes us a bit further.
I am not sure if I was able to put my thoughts together nicely and get my point through to the people in the room. But the whole point of that was me pushing myself to speak in public without being prepared. Me pushing myself to speak in public about something mine, different. Whooa!
I think I will volunteer next year and try to make that event a bit more exciting. People should leave energized and smiley.