Monday, February 16, 2009

Agile Open Northwest 2009

I recently attended Agile Open Northwest in Portland, Oregon. This conference used the Open Space approach which resulted in some really good interactions about Agile Development. The theme was "Agile for Real" and it was great to talk with other practitioners about their best practices and lessons learned.

We had time slots for eleven sessions over the two day conference and different people hosted about six different sessions for each scheduled session time. I hosted or co-hosted three sessions during the two day event. This was my first experience with an Open Space event and I quickly learned that asking questions and facilitating a conversation among all of the people in a session was most productive.

One of the issues I am most concerned with is how Agile Development can do a better job of working with the talented people in other specialized disciplines across an organization. I am concerned when I hear some agile experts answer with a pat “That’s not Agile” to questions and concerns from people outside development. It seems like business stakeholders often hear this when they ask for a long term schedule and commitment to certain content. I had the pleasure of co-hosting a session with Scott Porad on “How to give a long term schedule”. Scott did a great job of continually returning to ask the question and the result was some really practical ideas on how to come up with a schedule for a committed list of content and also how to communicate it.

You can read our session note on the AONW wiki page at:

One of my goals following this conference is to encourage conversations about how agile development can better leverage knowledge, expertise and practices of related disciplines.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great conference -- sorry I missed it. Your post made me think about the sliding scale that exists on the Product/Business side of the equation as well. Over a 3, 6, or 12 month time window, the feature set that constitutes a "meaningful" release for the business typically varies enough to make the question about how long it takes to construct a specific feature just one of many inputs.