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Agile 2015 Recap

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Agile 2015 Recap

Key takeaways from the Agile 2015 conference show that agile development is here to stay, so get on board or get left behind.

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Agile 2015 was last week in Washington, DC. What a great event! Too often as I attend conferences, I forget that they are supposed to be FUN and accessible. Agile 2015 was definitely both.

For me the key takeaways were:

  1. Agile is here to stay. Companies that don’t practice or support Agile Development will be displaced like the Blockbusters and MySpaces of the world.
  2. Developers started the move to Agile, but other parties are seeking to join.
  3. The updated Southwest Terminal at Reagan National Airport is way cool.

Agile is Here to Stay, so Get on Board or be Left Behind

An engineer that made software for rocket guidance systems really opened my eyes to how far Agile has permeated software development across all verticals. This engineer talked about using Agile Development for the rocket’s software. Now, I was immediately skeptical as I’ve never worked on software where people could DIE if it failed! But, she assured me that they don’t release iteratively, they develop iteratively, holding off a release until it is truly feature complete and tested rigorously.

The testing aspect of her rocket software is what blew me away. Since her testing is reliant on physical resources like wind tunnels, sometimes a test will be delayed for a month or two. No problem! Her team simply adds another few sprints and adds more features.

This sort of application is why Agile is growing amazingly fast in the enterprise. We see that Agile has TRIPLED in adoption from 2012 to 2014. That’s two years! Outside of smartphone adoption rates, you would be hard pressed to find another adoption rate as significant.

Developers Started the Move to Agile, but Other Parties are Seeking to Join

Agile 2015 was heavily attended by development team members with very few from operations. In my conversations with those developers, though, the operations team was brought up many times. However, there seems to be a dichotomy of opinions, one of which I find disturbing.

Too often did I hear that operations teams should simply move their skills to development and allow development to push directly to production. I don’t know what Pollyanna world these people live in, but it is certainly not mine.

No DBA or System Administrator at a Fortune 500 company would allow development to push to production. Not only is this risky, it is simply not allowed from a regulatory perspective. Specifically, SOX compliance audits would prevent this behavior.

However, the few conversations I did have with operations people were positive as they showed how the “other” side of the house is realizing not only the impact that Agile brings to their world, but also the opportunity for the enterprise.

The Updated Southwest Terminal at Reagan National Airport is Way Cool

In the center of the round, small 7 gate terminal is a series of seats and tables. Each seat has an iPad from which you order and pay for drinks and food. Alongside that are two outlets for charging your phone and laptop prior to taking off. There are no paper receipts and you simply pay using the iPad and card reader. Also, the iPad lets you know when your plane is boarding so you can close your tab in one step.

The future has arrived.

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