Agile: it’s not just about the development team

Last week Andy Longshaw and I ran our “Agile: It’s not just about the development team”¬†workshop¬†again, this time at XP2016. You can read Andy’s report, and see the posters created by the participants, here. This time we had 90 minutes, which felt a lot less rushed than the 60 minutes we had at AgileManchester last year (read Andy’s report of that run here).

Workshop in progress

Workshop in progress

We have run this workshop four times now, twice at conferences and twice as in-house training. Each time generates great discussion around how the non-software parts of the business need to change their strategies in order to support, cope with and capitalise on a highly agile development team.

links for my agilenorth 2010 session

At AgileNorth last week I was asked at the last minute to fill a vacancy left by a speaker who couldn’t make it. I cobbled together a session about “flow”, one of the underlying principles of Lean Thinking, and therefore also of agile software development. Here are a few links to materials and references I should have given at the time:

  • My slides are now up on slideshare. Sorry, there are no notes.
  • I talked a lot about The Goal by Eli Goldratt; this book is pure genius, and a must-read for anyone interested in improving the productivity of their organisation.
  • We discussed the idea that the flow of value through an organisation is limited by exactly one constraint. A wonderfully simple illustration of this can be found in Kevin Fox’s short Blue Light story. Well worth a read.
  • I talked a lot about Kent Beck’s paper Continuous Deployment Immersion, which I mistakenly titled “You’d Have to be Crazy to Try This”. I think this is a really cool idea — not because you need to deploy each line of code separately, but because you need to be good at deploying and good at slicing your market offering thinly.
  • I mentioned various practices of eXtreme Programming, including YAGNI, OnsiteCustomer, FrequentReleases and ContinuousIntegration; all of these are needed as you attempt to increase the flow of value by reducing your development batch size.
  • I mentioned MMFs — “Minimum Marketable Feature-sets” — as being one way to work with the market to define your smaller batches.
  • I mentioned that one of the key difficulties in reducing the software batch size is the acceptance and understanding of emergent design.

I talked about a lot of stuff; please let me know if I’ve missed anything important here.

I’ve also set up an agilenorth2010 tag on to collate the online materials from all the other speakers, as I find them. Please tag anything you find that’s relevant from the day, so it’s all in one place.

“from chaos to kanban” now online

I recently co-authored a paper with the developers at Codeweavers Ltd in which we describe their two-year journey from complete chaos to a highly evolved kanban-style software process. The paper has been accepted for XP2010, and you can now get the PDF from the Codeweavers developer blog. Well worth a read, because it shows in detail the team’s gradual transition using simple inspect-adapt steps. (Paul and Craig also presented the paper at AgileNorth2010 and received a lot of interest and positive feedback.)

the naked agilists’ preview of Agile2008

The latest edition of the Naked Agilists virtual magazine is a little different this time around — it’s a preview of this year’s Agile2008 conference. Adrian Mowat has done a fantastic job interviewing various members of the conference’s organising committee, and has put together a series of podcasts previewing what you can see on some of the many “stages” there. (Thanks also to Clarke Ching for kindly hosting the podcasts — again!)

(Sorry this is very late. I know the conference has now started, but I’ve been away on vacation with no internet access.)

Naked Agilists podcast now available

Clarke Ching has now published the podcast of last Saturday’s Naked Agilists conference. You can download it by following the links from, or get it directly from Clarke’s blog. It’s a great 90 minutes of presentations and discussions, and the Naked Agilists website has links to the slides so you can follow the presentations along with the speakers.

We had five 10-minute presentations:

  1. Servant Leaders — Nancy van Schooenderwoert
  2. — Laurent Bossavit
  3. Fit4Data — Adrian Mowat
  4. Shared data for unit tests — Paul Wilson
  5. Let them Eat Cake — Brian Marick

And after each little session we had 5-minutes of discussion and Q&A. Also taking part in these discussions were Clarke, who chaired the whole thing expertly, me, and Willem van den Ende, who helped put the show together (as did Brian Marick).

Join the Naked Agilists mailing list to find out when the next event will be — and help us find an inexpensive technology that will make it live and interactive!

tonight’s naked agilists will be a podcast

Since our last great adventure in April 2007 it seems that Skypecasts have gone down the toilet somewhat. In fact, during our tests for tonight’s conference we never successfully managed to get more than one person in the Skypecast! So while we look around for decent technology for next time, tonight’s event will instead be a closed call, to be recorded and podcasted later.

We have a great line-up of speakers doing 5- or 10-minutes slots: You can see the programme at, and that’s also where we’ll post the podcast after the event.

Our deepest apologies if you were hoping to attend “in person”, but that’s just impossible this time around. (If you can help us find reliable technology and a reasonable price, please join the discussion on our mailing list.)

return of the naked agilists!

Do you wish you could attend the Agile conferences and XP days, but can’t get the funding or the travel budget or the time off work? Well there is one agile event that you can even attend from your own bath — the Naked Agilists!

Last year’s event was so successful that we’re running another. And you only need Skype to be able to attend. Save the date now:

Date: Saturday 19-Jan-08
Time: 20:00 GMT – 21:30 GMT
Venue: Your place, or mine

The event format is a Skype conference, supported by chat, and a website hosting slides and stuff. There’s also a mailing list where you can find more details of what happened last time, and loads of feedback on the event itself.

The event will be chaired by Leigh Mullin, who did such a great job last time — particularly to keep out the inevitable “tourists” who were hoping the “naked agilists” all had webcams! Please join the mailing list and propose a session. This time around we’re hoping to run with two different kinds of session:

Experience Reports
Lasting 2, 5 or 10 minutes. Think of these as mini blog posts — your chance to share a quick idea or observation with the rest of us. Last time, most presenters prepared a few slides to support their session, and most were also followed by a few minutes of Q&A, discussion and Skype chat.
Open Questions
You’ll get 1 minute to ask the group a question, and then there will be 10 minutes of discussion. This is your chance to tap into the experience and expertise of the assembled agile experts.

If you would like to present or table a question, please join the mailing list and post your suggestion there. We’ll put the programme together early in the New Year, so please get your
entries in early. Detailed intructions for participating in the call itself will only be posted on the mailing list, so even if you simply want to be in the “audience”, join the list now to avoid disappointment.