Monday, 24 June 2013

Toronto Agile Coach Camp

So what do agilistats of Toronto do on Father's day weekend? They decide to have a kick-ass Coach Camp.
I didn't want to organise any session, I was really thirsty to hear new stuff. So I only put a sheet of paper at the door and asked everyone to write Agile movies :) I liked that hashtag on Twitter and I thought would be fun. Some people did write some movies, but I forgot to take a picture of it at the last day :( Oh well, was meant for fun so I hope some people read it and had a smile.
Friday evening was really easy with some lightning talks and some games. Then Saturday and Sunday were busy with some really good sessions. A lot of times, I couldn't decide between 3 good sessions at the same time.
Here a picture of the wall with sessions.

My favs:
1- Declan and Paul Whelan. Two brothers, Paul architect "with bricks and mortar" . Declan with computers and debuggers. Nice to see some commonalities, especially during the pre-delivery of a software. I know that there is a big discussion that "software development is not like building a house", so i won't get there. I got two ideas from that session : 1.Crits- people of different areas that come and critique the architecture proposed. 2. Cost contractor - people that come and prepare the cost budget based on the architecture proposed. I like the second one a lot because right now, I am working with a "project team", so a bunch of people that are gathered to finish a project. One of the pain points is the cost calculation. The sense of 'service' does not exist and there is no predictability on the cost for a certain work. If work is offered as services with a known cost, then budgeting would be easy. The best would be to have stable teams, but that is a bigger battle right now.
2- Michael Spayd. He is a Jedi! Love his style and his laud laugh! His session was about the "Spiral dynamics". It is about the level of a society, how things are done based on certain governance and then compare that with organisations, or at least this is how I understood it. He lined them up with colours beside each and focused on Red, Blue, Orange, Green and Yellow.

At the end, we had an improv where in split in groups per each colour and discussed which one was better, off course, making a case for the colour of the group. I was Blue! That meant that I had to make sure people do things as per the book, as per the rules and follow the process rigorously. Was not hard at all to improv that role. I have seen so many people like that! :)
3- Mike Bowler. Continuous Delivery. Eh, that little geek left in me needed a bit of fuel! Good conversation, good ideas and good direction on not to fall back on the old way of doing things.
One thing I remembered is that to have high technical standarts, you must have a strong understanding of the consequences that you have to deal with in case you do not take 5 extra minutes to do things right. We are so "lazy" sometimes and we think we are wasting time, but we forget the quality of the code, the need for a good automation system and the need for deployment in small batches.

I have to say that the session of Simon on SOLID gave me the same familiar feeling. Geek talk! I loved the fact that Alistair McKinnell was there and participated in the discussion. It was great to see him "in action". Not just about what he was talking, but also how he was directing Simon to lead his session in a better way. Master coach!

At the end, I managed to put up a session. I did it more for myself, was a ask for help. Practically hired Michael Spayd, Alexey Zheglov, Declan and some other people that were interested on he painful budgeting of an Agile project on a non agile organization. I have to say that the best thing of that session was this twitt: "We want to be agile. We bought Jira".

Temenos was another session I went and I understood I have a clean slate. I missed so many good sessions, but what can I do :(

At the end, a long rope was thrown all across the room and made a big web. Everyone that touched it, was thanked for something and thanked someone.
A lot of people referred to the group as their "other family". I am starting to feel like that too now. A lot of familiar faces, a lot of people that share the same point of view and understand jokes like "How many agile coaches you need to change a light bulb". I was fascinated by some people, by their courgae and by what they have done with their lives. Good examples and good source of inspiration.

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