Agile 2005

Hi all -

  Several people from MSBuild, the Developer Division, and Microsoft went to Agile 2005 last week in Denver.  It was very worthwhile.  I really enjoyed the keynotes and getting to meet a lot of others at MSFT doing agile methods as well as people from industry & academia.  I can now put a face with a lot of the agile gurus whose books I've read and that I've heard about.  The next Agile conference is July 2006 in Minneapolis.

  I would say that about 50% of the talks I went to were really good, 25% were interesting but not necessarily useful or applicable, and 25% weren't very good.

  For me, the top takeaway was the rise in prominence of automated acceptance testing (e.g. with Fit).  This is something that would be most useful inside MSFT, as we often have complex integration scenarios with other teams, and having a clear set of acceptance tests would do wonders to help clarify up front scenarios that are & aren't expected to work.  After all, if you can't provide a dozen testable examples of things that should work, you don't really understand what you're trying to do.

  Another obvious takeaway was the utility of computing velocity, which I’ve done retroactively for our past sprints.  I’ll probably blog separately about that.

  Another obvious takeaway is the trend toward automating everything that you find useful: dev & QA tests, metrics reporting, project status, etc.  If it’s automated, it will happen; if it’s not, it may not – this is just human nature.

  I’m somewhat annoyed that they have the Agile conference in the summer, as this is when I (and many others) already have travel plans.  Plus, we’re inside all day so it’s not like you really get to enjoy the weather anyway.  I would rather have it in the winter or fall.  But, not a huge deal.

Over & out!



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