Open spaces is the agile shape of a conference: we start out with no agenda whatsoever, and anyone who has a good idea puts it on a post-it. If you’re interested in a session, note this in some way, and we end up with an ad-hoc planning for the day. More information about open spaces can be found at Open Space World.
Some highlights that caught my eye:
- ‘Scrum’ and ‘agile’ are definitely the hot thing in town. Lots of companies have some sort of agile process, and most call it Scrum. Although I am rather skeptical of using to-be-signed-off requirements documents (I believe this hampers agility) and teams that enforce silence in the office (I think this will give some productivity boost in the short run, but I also think it harms learning, communication, and perhaps even team spirit), I’m glad to see there is so much interest. We might really be on to something here…
- The next hot thing in the agile nation, Kanban, was virtually unheard of.
- Pair programming is not as hot a topic as I thought it would be. We have been using pair programming for quite some time now, with great results (I won’t give you the numbers, other people have gathered those way better than I can). Several people I spoke either wanted to try it but never had the chance, or are outright against wasting two people to do a one-man job.
- Open space sessions are highly self-selecting: all people I spoke have a very clear opinion, and are willing to discuss anything that comes along. It’s been a long time since I found so many interesting people in the basement of a big corporation on a Saturday.
All in all, a very inspriring day. It always fun to be surrounded by enthousiastic people, discussing the thing we all strive to do best: create great software.