Introduction to agile methods – Seminar on 28 February 2013

On 28 February 2013 we facilitated a seminar with 14 participants in Agile Partner offices. The aim of the seminar was clearly stated as to allow the participants discovering agility and understanding the basics of the main agile methods that are currently in use.

In all our seminars and workshops we favor active participation and interactions between the participants and the speakers, thus we often use some sort of serious games or similar activities. In this seminar we used the Ball-Point game, which was popularized by Boris Gloger, because it is fun and energizing (as you can see on the picutre below).

Ball-Point GameAlso the Ball-Point Game offers a very nice metaphor of some key agile principles and the Scrum process in particular. As usual the debriefing of the activity raised the following topics:

  • Uncertainty, estimations and team velocity
  • Self-organization and communication
  • Continuous improvement
  • Experiments (success & failure)
  • Customer feedback / validation
  • Bottlenecks and organization rules / constraints
  • Pragmatism and adaptability
  • Limited WIP / small batches

That’s already a very good start to recognize the value of agile approaches and some of the key principles at the heart of those approaches.

The rest of the seminar was spent presenting a brief overview of 3 methods or frameworks that allow more and more teams to put agile values and principles into action in order to deliver higher business value with better quality software and less waste:

  1. Scrum (see: Scrum.org and the Scrum Alliance)
  2. eXtreme Progamming
  3. Kanban (read more about Kanban in other articles of this blog)

A closing Q&A session allowed us to make sure that each participant got out of the seminar with a high “Return On Time Invested”.

Even if we have been practicing and advocating agility for years now, this seminar confirms that it still makes sense to provide our customers with a mix of entry-level introductions to agile and more advanced sessions. That is exactly how we designed our 2013 Agile Ramp-up programme of seminars, workshops and trainings.

Don’t hesitate to comment about what particular topics you would like to discuss in future sessions!

First public Coding Dojo

On 29 November 2012, we organized our first public Coding Dojo.

As far as we are concerned, the experience was a success and we most definitely plan to do more of these in a near future.

We had to use a very simple Kata (FizzBuzz) because the dojo was organized during one of our free Agile Mëtteg session, over lunch time. This format is a little constraining because it does not provide enough time for a longer and more interesting kata.

Also, some of the attendees had little knowledge about TDD, whereas some were using TDD on a daily base. Because we did not want to leave anyone behind, we did a session where the attendees would volunteer to come to a computer that was plugged to a projector, make the last breaking test pass and implement the next one. The advantage of this format is that the session was very interactive. The disadvantage is that some, who are more advanced in TDD, might have felt underchallenged.

We probably need to think of a different format for the future, with more pair programming. Something more hands-on and lasting longer.

What do you think ? Would you be ready to spend 3 hours (one afternoon) pair programming katas in a dojo ? If yes, would you be ready to pay a small fee for this kind of session ?