JAX 2009 – Agile Day

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Yesterday I attended the Agile Day on the JAX 2009 in Mainz. I do not want to rate the talks in any way. Since was one of the speakers, it just wouldn’t make much sense … 😉 … but I want to share a few personal impressions I had.

First I was surprised how many people attended the agile day. There were at least 300 persons, throughout the whole day. This showed me in a very impressive way that people are really interested in agility these days. In a short poll about half the people said they are using a few agile practices but they are not really agile. Most people of the other half said they are not doing any agility at all at the moment but they are interested in the topic. And just a few people stated they are doing real agile software development and most of them were speakers. For me that showed that there is still a long road to travel in the area of agility but many people started moving which is good.

The second interesting impression was a Pecha Kucha session. Stefan Roock organized that session. There were 6 speakers doing a presentation, each with exactly 20 slides, which are shown exactly 20 seconds each, 6 minutes and 40 seconds altogether. These are the rules of a Pecha Kucha presentation. For me it was really interesting to attend such a session. I have read about it before but I haven’t attended a Pecha Kucha session up to yesterday. I liked the short duration of the presentations. It urges the presenters to focus on one or maximum two ideas and keeps them from lengthily talking about dozens of things. On the other hand the strict format was quite distracting for me. Most of the time the slides were shown a bit too long or too short for the things the speakers had to say about the slide. So quite often they had either to wait or to hurry up. And I always was distracted somehow waiting for the next slide to show up. In summary it was an interesting experience for me but I don’t think that this very strict format is very helpful in most cases. I think short sessions – i.e. 10 minutes or less – are a good format but they shouldn’t be that strict.

The last interesting impression for me was the speaker panel at the end. It wasn’t the panel discussion in itself. Those I have seen many times. It was the fact that even the agile experts that stood there still had quite different viewpoints on the topic agility. I mean on the one hand that is quite normal for many topics but on the other hand it is always quite surprising to experience that live within a panel discussion. I think it shows that agility is still not a too well explored area that yet has a lot of evolution to go through.

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