I attended the Agile Chennai 2007 Conference and this blog is to record my learnings and information I took away from it.
It all started with welcome address by Dr. P. Narayanasamy HOD Department of Computer Science and Engineering (DCSE),Anna University and an inaugural talk by Dr K Jayaraman, registrar, Anna University. Dr K Jayaraman gave an overall view about Agile Development methodologies and some statistics; like 80% of the features in software remains unused etc. What surprised me was; a man whose primary work is not Software development was able to speak about Agile. Its evident he has done his homework and It was a good speech. Then Dr. Appa Rao from CTS spoke. He quoted a survey result from Forrester that some XX % of CTO’s and CIO’s wanted to switch to Agile Development. Well, will switching to Agile Development will ensure success of project??.. I dont know.. Dr. T V Gopal, professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering (DCSE),Anna University ; the man behind organizing this event in Anna University thanked the speakers. I was inspired by Dr. T V Gopal. He is simply great. The way he spoke in the conference showed that he is very informative and well educated. He gave some anecdotes in between the conference talks. Here are some of them
Estimate yourself whether you are in a position to estimate project. He quoted some facts from Dr. Parnas paper. It was very interesting.
As a student one has to excel individually and at work he/she has to excel as a team.
One dark night, a man was searching something around the lamp post for a long time. A passer by stopped and asked him what he was searching? The man replied -he lost his keys and light is available only near the lamp post and he is trying to find his key there. Likewise we are trying to solve all the problems with the limited knowledge we have..
Bala gave a breif overview of Agile. He started of with a definition for Software Engineering from IEEE. He explained that the software development as an Engineering principle worked in NASA and the cost for it is very high which cannot be applied in business software. He spoke about lean thinking, eliminating waste and The Toyota Production System and how to apply lean thinking in software development. He spoke about the agile practices at Team level, Individual level and Organizational level. A good talk and a presentation.
Siddharta spoke about the importance of understanding the Agile Values before practicing them. He gave some examples of how the practices may go wrong without proper understanding of values. Here are some of them
- Retrospective : when done without understanding the value, it will become a blame game
- Standup : The value of standup meeting is to let know others what one is doing and what bottlenecks he faces. without understanding the value, it may become a status report meeting
- Agile is not a set of practices, but a set of values
A good talk by both Bala and Siddharta.
Pradyumn gave a breif introduction about XP and Scrum. He explained what stories are, what are the various testing in Agile. He gave a small introduction to Scrum, role of scrum master etc. Pradyumn had a very natural flow and gave a good talk.
Introduction to Agile Testing : Narendra Parihar, Microsoft
Narendra spoke about his experience of implementing Agile testing in Honeywell. He had contradictions with the previous speakers like – they had 40 members in the standup meeting etc. He said he has used Yahoo widgets for the dashboard.. Got to explore how to use it in my project. He also said that they were using StarUML in their project. So, finally I found an opensource UML tool.. Honestly, I think this presentation could have been avoided.
Ashok : Elsevier
Ashok was a participant and was very enthusiastic. He volunteered to give a speech on how Agile is practiced in his company. He works from London office and he attended this conference while he is on vacation. Here is what he talked about
Kick off Meeting
- Business owners give the high level overview of the project
- Development teams, stakeholders attend the meeting
- Master story list is identified
- Story card contains the requirement and the acceptance test
- Story cards are given to developers for estimation
- Iteration planning is done
XP Game :
The day ended with XP game to illustrate various activities of XP. A nice program.
Overall the day was very good.
Day -2 started with a keynote by Jeff Patton. He spoke about Blending User Experience and Analysis in the Agile Customer Role. I would say it was a great speech. He told that people learn skills in a 3-stage progression
Level 1 : Following (shu) .
Learn a technique that works. At this stage people feel that success == following a technique
Level 2: breaking away (ha) .
Learn the limits of the technique, learn to shift between technique ( shu, ha , ri are the japanese terms used in martial arts)
Level 3: fluent (ri)
Shift technique at any moment
Case study 1: Fixed Price Offshore Agile projects. Marco Jansen. ThoughtWorks UK
Jansen spoke about his experience of handling an insurance project from India. The client is UK based. He spoke about how the team was split, how the stand up meetings were held when the team grew etc. A very nice talk. It gave an idea of how the agile project will be executed in a distributed environment
Case study 2 : Effective Product Development using Agile Methods. Bapiraju Nandury, Curam Software
He spoke about how he introduced Agile into the product development. A good talk. They use J2EE and he shared about his experiences. He showed some screenshots of how they are effectively using Microsoft Sharepoint for their project. He talked about his experience of introducing Pair Programming in his project
This is one of the wonderful sessions. If at all, I was asked to pick up one session I liked the most from this conference, I would pick up this. I should thank Anna University for allowing us to use their labs for this hands on session. Naresh and Bhavin showed us how to do TDD. They did a stack implementation. Then we were asked to pair among ourselves and do a sorting algorithm. It during this time I found a wonderful person Balaji Sowmyanarayanan (Read his blog and achivements and you will understand why I call him wonderful person). I paired with him for the first part of the session and Marco Jansen paired with me during the second part. A great experience. I got a feel of what Pair programming is and also how to do TDD. Note that I dont know how to do Unit testing. But I learnt from this session. A wonderful session which I will not forget..
The conference ended with a Retrospective. We talked about what went on well, what has to be improved and what are the things should be avoided.
A great conference.