AgileNorth 2005 retrospective

The conference was a great success, with over 50 attendees! Many thanks to the committee (Phran, Katie, Ant, Donna and Paul) for all their hard work organising everything, and to the various speakers for giving their time to create such a full and varied programme. We have collected feedback from the attendees so that we can ensure next year’s event is even better.

Here are a few thoughts on sessions I attended…

What is Agile?

The day began with a re-run of my overview of agile software development. After discussion with Brian Button I tightened the schedule and the process, and I thought it went very well this time. The variety of topics raised by the audience was challenging and encouraging, and of course we only managed to scratch the surface…

XP Teamwork – a goldfish bowl led by Charles Weir

The original descriptions of eXtremeProgramming suggested that a project’s staff would play only three roles: Developer, Coach and Customer. But in reality, the role of Customer is very hard to fill using real people. In this session the group discussed the difficulties of setting up an effective Customer role, using a format in which only those sitting in the four central chairs may speak. The topic swerved around depending on the mix of people in the chairs at any time, and I think some good insights were gained. Rachel Davies contributed a great deal from her experiences coaching XP teams.

Test-Driven Development – a demonstration by Brian Swan

In which we began the development of a blackjack game, with Brian driving and me pairing. We ran out of time, but still got some basic techniques and functionality in place.

Refactoring – a workshop with Ivan Moore and Duncan Pierce

Duncan and Ivan presented a piece of Java code that included loads of smells, and the group identified them and refactored to remove them. There was lots of discussion among the more experienced members of the group; some wanted to keep the design naive, while others wanted to introduced new classes to represent some of the more obvious domain concepts. Very enjoyable.

Finally, note that Andrew Beacock has also blogged about the day.

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