Recapping Agile 2019

I’ve attended to my seventh Agile Conference this year in Maryland and in this short post I’ll try to recap the most important things that have impacted me during this awesome week. Before going there I have to say that this is my last conference as an Agile Alliance Board Member and this makes me feel sad but grateful for the opportunity to have served the Agile community at large.

Let’s start with something that really passionates me these days: LeSS. For the first time in the history of the conference we had a booth run by the self-organized team of “Fans of LeSS“. In my opinion this group of volunteers made a great contribution to the community by bringing LeSS to a conference with thousands of attendees that now know what it is. I was pleasantly surprised that Bas Vodde, co-creator of LeSS, was also at the conference.

Bas is the getleman on the left

Another great thing that coincided with this conference was the announcement of the “Fans of LeSS” declarating that now is receiving signatories. This is a historic event because it unites many of us that have been loudly proclaiming that Agile and Scrum have been distorted by companies and consultants. I’m anticipating that this will help to bring back sincerity about the true meaning of Agile and Scrum.

Going back to the conference there were two sessions ran by James Shore in which he presented an interesting idea: providing all the necessary tools for non-technical coaches to coach developers on TDD. Before you start asking how a non-technical coach will be able to even answer basics questions on TDD let me tell you that James seems to have produced materials, in the form of videos and samples, that can guide developers in simple TDD exercises. Of course if developers got stuck you can always call James.

James Shore on the stage

It’s fair to say that out of all XP practices, TDD seems to be the most challenging one for several reasons, but then it is a practice that truly contributes to disseminate the knowledge and craft better software. For this reason I can say that I applaud James’ efforts to popularize this practice.

On the not so bright side James create all his material in Java/JavaScript that are not my pick of programming ecosystem. Of course, this is just a personal preference that can be easily counter backed just by looking out there to the number of companies that use Java.

James Shore and Arlo Belshee presented a very interesting session on leading a technical transformation at very large scale with hundreds of developers. These are my key takeaways from that session:

  • Centralized leadership is not well equipped for dealing with the high systemic complexity of millions of lines of legacy code
  • Empowered teams using XP practices are the best chance to approach a highly complex code base
James on the left and Arlo on the right

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this was meant to be short with just the three or four things that made my mind wonder and dream with a world in which better software products could be produced by happier developers.