YOW West 2015 - some thoughts

· May 28, 2015

I’m at the airport waiting to go back to Indonesia after great Yow West 2015 conference. As always the mind is filled with impressions and memories. And as always when you think back is mostly the great people you met that sticks in your head.

I just realize that there’s like an “agile culture” that I’ve now seen all over the world. I met a lot of people that I’ve never seen or interacted with but still, since we have read, thought about and worked around the same things the connection was immediate and I felt right at home directly.

The agile community in Australia is really vibrant and filled with awesome people championing conferences like YOW and Agile Australia. Standing a big risk of forgetting someone I had such a great time meeting Dave Thomas, Craig Smith and Nigel Dalton that was running the conference in Perth.

One thing that’s always fascinated me with conferences is that during the days themes always seem to emerge. Common things that surfaces in talk after talk. And quite often this is just the main theme of the conference.

Someone asked me yesterday which talk I thought was the best or what my biggest take away from the conference was I ended up answering that I can’t remember a single full talk but a sentence from all.

The theme that emerged in this conference was the notion of not caring too much what it’s called: agile, lean, kanban, specification by example, Scrum, ScrumAnd, ScrumBut, ScrumButt and what have you. Instead we just want processes and practices that support us going faster.

What that looks like in you context might vary, but recurring themes was smaller, autonomous teams building smaller autonomous things. Nothing new there but very apparent theme that many people seemed to strive for.

In stark (yes, Swedish readers that is a Swedish word that you can use like this) contrast comes the insight that many predominate model and roles is geared towards a very different kind of work place.

  • Did you know that Human Resources as a concept was pioneered by the followers around Fredrik Talyor of Taylorism fame? It was a way, originally, to find employees (or resource if you like ^^) that would be compliant to their managers. And the name still sticks. Human. Resources. Like Batteries in my book. We have to stop using that name. It’s very old and doesn’t fit modern organizations.
  • Have you thought about that the role names in a typical IT organization often has a strong connection to the phases in waterfall? Requirements guy, Tester, Architect and Developer. That reinforces a way of thinking that doesn’t fit the way most agile people like to work. But we keep it.

And there was other things from the past that is making a come back;

  • functional programming can be traced back to the very beginning of our industry. I counted at least 4-5 talks on that
  • I saw a really cool specification technique using state diagrams. From the 1980-ies.

My talks

I did two talks at the conferences and you can find them here:

Overall impression

People. The people that I met, talked and interacted to what was made the conference great. As always.

But that would not have happened without great organization and facilitation.

Very happy to have attended YOW West!

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