Nov 15, 2009

Agile seminar in Palo Alto: Coaching coaching coaching

Last Thursday, Nov 12, (yes, yes, I know, I know... last Thursday was ages ago but I'm still posting this) Serena sponsored an agile panel at the California Café in Palo Alto, within the Stanford Campus, which they called Agile Pigs and Chickens BBQ Silicon Valley. It was a nice event at a good venue and around 50 people attended . Panelists were Roger Brown, Jeff McKenna, Jorge Rodriguez, and John Scumniotales.
The panel had a Q&A format and que questions were case-based mostly. Some of the topics were:
  • Dealing with legacy: yes it is possible to start adopting agile while dealing with legacy (most projects do) and a recommendable approach is to start new things agile and to transition legacy as it is revisited.
  • Getting started with agile. Recommendation is to start small and grow layers gradually.
  • Scalability. Advice was keep it as small and simple as possible and avoid outsourcing, otherwise the task becomes quite challenging
  • Web 2.0 and agile. There's a misperception that agile doesn't require discipline and documentation when in fact it requires stakeholders to be continuously on top of their game--without overdoing things--and documentation as well as planning are necessary in agile. It is done differently and more effectively.
  • Next challenges: Focus on design, value, outer layers of the organizational onion, creation of companies 100% agile.
One other point that is quite crucial is that agile adoption can be much better if companies have an agile expert coaching then for as long as necessary. This is way too often neglected, with companies assuming that training is sufficient only to go belly up at implementation time. See for example my recent posting on a scrum project gone bad.

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