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Reflections on Agile 2011

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Reflections on Agile 2011

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For me, the first 2 days of Agile 2011 were a whirlwind. On Monday I co-chaired a milestone event—the Agile Executive Forum—in which 60 senior executives demonstrated that agility isn’t confined to delivery teams.

From the opening keynote about innovation, agility, and social business networks to a discussion of a multi-year 400 person firmware project (with interim deployments of course), to a software vendor whose continuous integration platform contained 100,000+ automated acceptance tests, to a privately held company whose entire management staff, from the CEO down, has gone through an agile transformation—this forum demonstrated the broad reach of agility in organizations. The number of participants and the level and intensity of the discussions showed how interested executives are in fostering agility in their development groups and their overall enterprises.

The second highlight of Monday’s conference was the Agile Manifesto author’s “Park Bench.” For the first time in 10 years, 15 of the 17 authors got together for a reunion in front of about 1,000 attendees. It was great to be a part of this event as there were several cohorts I hadn’t seen in 10 years. The group confirmed the feeling that the Manifesto was still valid and useful, and that we wouldn’t change it today. The audience survey was summed up by host Laurie Williams—“they nailed it.”

Bob Martin quipped, as only Uncle Bob can, “Our original meeting was probably the only meeting in my career that actually worked.” Even after 10 years this group jelled quickly. In a private get together on Tuesday evening we decided that one thing we had done wrong was waiting 10 years to get together again and we decided to do this more often—both because we enjoyed talking as a group and felt that we could continue to make some contribution to the industry.

It’s been a great conference so far—more to come!


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