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ALE13 – Tales from Bucharest

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Tales from Bucharest

For three days, Bucharest has been host to some 150 Agilists from all over Europe as the ALE network’s unconference ALE13 opened its doors. As in previous years, codecentric AG sponsored this amazing event and allowed me to place my dot on the map in Bukarest, too.

ALE13 Teilnehmer-Landkarte

Agilists from all over Europe met in Bucharest for ALE13

For myself, being able to attend an ALE unconference for the first time has been very special. Seeing how far the community has come from its beginnings at the XP 2011 in Madrid (where I was fortunate to help form its vision) was yet another proof of what a self-organised group with a common purpose can achieve.

Something for every taste

As is fits such a diverse community, the unconference’s program included sessions for every taste.

Guided by Johan Martinsson and Remy Sanlaville, Software developers’ could experienced the impact of Object Calisthenics (an exercise that let’s you explore object-oriented design under a set of very strict rules) when applied to the refactoring of legacy code.

Coaches learned about Archetype feedback (a practice used within the Temenos framework) and cognitive biases. In a workshop facilitated by Angel Diaz-Maroto Alvarez they applied Design Thinking as a tool for understanding cultural resistance to Agile transformations.

For those interested in discovering new ways of interacting with their customers in new ways, Jurgen Appelo’s keynote and Kurt Häusler’s presentation about agile offers and pricing provided interested starting points.

From a software development service provider’s point of view, I found these ideas most valuable. As you might have experienced, Agile software development is a very different animal and follows many different rules. Being able to initialise projects in a way that doesn’t hurt the Agile principles allows all participants to experience the whole value proposition.

If you’re interested in more details, make sure to have a look at the video section of the ALE13 website. I highly recommend watching Joe Justice’s (of Team Wikispeed fame) closing keynote about eXtreme Manufacturing, which received standing ovations.

Open Space

ALE13 Open Space Programm

Participants brought their own topics to the Open Space

Within the Open Space that took place during the afternoons of each of the three days of the conference, attendants had the opportunity to spice up the program with their own topics. Among my personal highlights were Liz Keogh’s overview of BDD related practices and Angel Medinilla’s introduction to sketchnoting.

I also had the opportunity to share some of my experiences with Gojko Adzic’s Impact Mapping method (if you’re interested in that topic and attend W-JAX later this year, you might want to come to my presentation at the Agile Day).

Summary

Interesting presentations, a great Open Space and a perfectly organized entertainment programme made this year’s ALE unconference a very special event. For me, it provided a lot of input that will keep my thoughts busy for the months to come. So if you’re looking for some agile brainfood, keep an eye on the ALE network website and don’t miss ALE14.

Till then, Free Spirit!

Nils is a passionate programmer with almost two decades of experience in designing and realizing software solutions for small and large companies.

While his original focus was Java development with Spring, he later became a coach for development teams trying to adopt agile methods and software craftsmanship principles. In recent times, his focus has moved to requirements and product management in the software domain.

In his current role, Nils is responsible for the codecentric Digitization Labs and supports customers during the early stages of digital product development.

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