Session Synopsis 2013

Agile on the Beach 2013 is a two day conference, hosting over 30 speakers and topics set on the Cornish coast with a beach party in between.  Perfect to evoke creative and technical thinking, enjoy time with the UKs leading thinkers in agile adoption and evolution.

Agile on the Beach is a leading annual conference in Falmouth, Cornwall. Exploring the latest agile and lean thinking in software craftmanship, teams and business. Including ample networking opportunities such as the beach party this conference brings together 200 people to explore, evolve and find out what it means to be truely agile in business, from its culture to product development practices

 

software-craftsmanshipSOFTWARE CRAFTMANSHIP : For the professionals, there’s plenty of technical innovations on offer. Software developers will be guided through the latest techniques, for two days Cornwall will be the epicentre of global Agile technology

 

 

dannorth

Keynote 2013 : Dan North for Software Craftsmanship

Bio : Dan has been coaching, coding and consulting for over 20 years, with a focus on applying systems thinking and simple technology to solve complex business problems. He uses techniques from Lean operations, Theory of Constraints and Agile software development to help IT organisations anticipate and respond to the challenges of changing business needs.

Dan is the originator of Behaviour-Driven Development, an agile approach to software development that encourages teams to deliver the software that matters by emphasising the interactions between stakeholders. He also proposed Deliberate Discovery, which challenges assumptions around software planning and estimation. He argues that there are no best practices and that everything we do is subject to opportunity cost.

He is a popular keynote and session speaker at international technology conferences, on topics as diverse as software architecture, behavioural psychology, simplicity, uncertainty and learning. His presentation style has been described as Eddie Izzard meets the Architect from The Matrix.

 

software-craftsmanship  Jim Barritt    Why you need to learn Clojure, right now

“Clojure is a relatively new functional language (<5 years) which is based on LISP and runs on the Java Virtual Machine.

In this talk, Jim will give you a brief taste of Clojure and describe why he thinks it is the most important development in the programmers arsenal against complexity in the last decade.

The format will be mostly through live coding, with very few slides.

If you don’t know anything about functional programming then you will also have a quick taste of that too.

Hopefully you will go away inspired to learn more and at least have some food for thought about the way you currently develop software.”    ThoughtWorks

jonjaggerJon Jagger – Cyber Dojo

Your coding actions are strongly influenced by the environment you code in.

A development environment (eg Visual Studio, Eclipse, etc) is designed to help you finish writing code faster. But finishing and going faster are not what you want to concentrate on when practising! When practising you want to be concentrating on working slowly, with heightened awareness, towards improving some aspect of your skill. Therefore in this session we will deliberately not be using a normal development environment! Instead, we will be using CyberDojo – an innovative browser-based environment designed to encourage deep awareness of genuine coding practice. It is fun and stimulating.

Please bring a laptop.

Seb_RoseSeb Rose    Bad test, good test

“Foundational unit testing techniques are often taken for granted, but are an essential underpinning for delivering simple, maintainable software. The tests need to assist software development not hinder it, and to that end need to be flexible, robust, comprehensible and performant. If you find yourself fighting your test suite, then something is wrong.
In this session, we re-examine the basics of a unit test. We will work through a number of examples with continuous input from attendees. Each example will start with a real life test and we will work through any issues identified till we’re happy that it’s as good as we can get it.

Although this session is not specifically about the testability of software, this will necessarily be touched upon as we consider some test cases. Examples will be written in several common languages, but knowledge of all (or any) of them is not a pre-requisite.”

software-craftsmanship Chris O’Dell    Continuous Delivery at 7digital – an Experience Report

An introduction to Continuous Delivery followed by an overview of how we implement it at 7digital along with the ‘people’ side of things.

In essence, I would combine these two talks:
http://prezi.com/ecn-crpxxe6v/continuous-delivery-at-7digital/
http://skillsmatter.com/podcast/home/team-transformation-for-continuous-delivery

I expect the audience will be a mixture of those new to the idea of CD and those who’ve already made attempts to implement it and are looking for affirmation.”

StephenFreemanSteve Freeman    Fractal TDD

“My colleagues and I have been applying Test-Driven Development (TDD) at all levels of the development process. TDD at the class level is now well understood (if not always well practiced). We find that the benefits we get from writing tests first and using them to drive design apply at the system level too. That’s why we try to address integration and system testing as early as possible. The sooner the system is in a deployable state, the better equipped we are to react to changing business needs by delivering new features. Our experience is that putting testing at the front of our development process, and paying attention to what we learn from them, flushes out architectural issues such as concurrency and distribution. The result is systems that are easier both to maintain and to support. We can also avoid some of common testing pitfalls, such as unreliability, slow execution, and brittleness.

Marcin Floryan  Marcin Floryan    The Art of Feedback

“Feedback is frequently cited as the cornerstone of agile methods yet many teams are only playing lip service to it. In this talk we’ll look at the function, importance, meaning and limitations of systemic feedback in software development.

We’ll looks at “”three things we wish were true””:
1.) The customer knows what they want
2.) The developer knows how to build it
3.) Nothing changes along the way
and how feedback helps us deal with the reality, in which they are not.

This talk is aimed at practitioners of software development who are interested in improving their processes and outcomes by deliberately applying feedback to improve knowledge discovery.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJames Lewis    Micro-services – Adaptive Architectures and Organisations

“For many organisations struggling with bloated legacy systems, keeping pace in todays world of intense competition from upstart competitors is a challenge. Micro-services, small, independently scalable and deployable applications communicating via the webs uniform interface offer a viable alternative. The Unix approach to building applications applied at enterprise scale. From monoliths, silos, RPC and integration hell to todays adaptive system designs with organisations deploying hundreds of these tiny applications automatically – we are on the verge of a bright new future.
This talk is aimed at developers, architects and executives with experience of building systems.”

software-craftsmanship Phil Nash    Agile and Mobile – do they work together as well as they sound?

“Most discussion of agile practices and processes seem to assume a context of desktop applications or server-based systems. They also tend to imply an enterprise context that colours the way priorities and expectations are set.

The early days of mobile were marked by a “”hack it and see”” mentality and, to this day, agile practices see less adoption (in my view) in the mobile space than in the enterprise. But times are changing. As mobile becomes more mainstream we need to take a good hard look at whether the approaches we have built up are appropriate. Which practices work well? Which ones need tweaking and which ones are just wrong?

This session is meant to be a discussion starter. We’ll look at some specifics derived from some of my own experiences – and others I have talked to. But this is a bigger subject that needs more attention.

The focus will be technical, but including design and user experience. Where we look at specific technical examples we’ll be using iOS, but the majority of the material is platform agnostic.”

agile026

Anna Jayne Metcalfe- Riverblade – Code Analysis in an Agile World

“Conventional code analysis techniques are not particularly well suited to agile projects. In this short session, Anna-Jayne Metcalfe explores why not, and how we might be able to do things differently.”

 

business
BUSINESS : The business stream will explore how a business can adopt agile beyond software development and its impact on wider business activities including the latest models for product development.

 

gabriel_steinhardtKeynote 2013 : Gabriel Steinhardt for Business

Bio: Blackblot’s Managing Director is Gabriel Steinhardt, a recognized international technology product management expert, author, lecturer and developer of practical tools and methodologies that increase product managers’ productivity.

A marketing and information systems MBA with extensive experience in the computer software and hardware industry, Gabriel has assumed diverse leadership roles with major corporations and start-ups in marketing, product management and technical undertakings.

Gabriel created the highly successful Blackblot Product Manager’s Toolkit® (PMTK), designed Blackblot’s Strategic Product Management™ training program, wrote the Blackblot Product Management Professional™ (BPMP) certification program, and authored The Product Manager’s Toolkit: Methodologies, Processes and Tasks in High-Tech Product Management book.

allankelly2012hrAllan Kelly – Do it right, then do the right thing

Several generations of managers have been taught to “Do the right thing, then do it right.”  Right.  It has a logic all of its own doesn’t it?  What’s the use of being highly effective is you are highly effective at the wrong thing?

But what if the obsession with doing the right thing is itself harmful?
What if you don’t know the right thing to do until you have do something?
Isn’t the essence of Agile “inspect and adapt” so shouldn’t we make it up as we go along?

In other words, what if you need to do something in order to know what is right and what is wrong.

In this session Allan Kelly will present an alternative, possibly more Agile, view of the world and argue that doing things right is essential if you are to do the right thing.

business Judith Andresen   Company Culture under Pressure – Growing Business Changes Behaviour

In the beginning everything is very simple: flat (because non-existent) hierarchy, open doors, and teamwork. The larger the company is, the more employees demand for “”professionalization””. Roles and hierarchies are defined, meanwhile the company solidifies.
Instead of  having fun, employees suffer in neverending meetings.
Is that necessary?
How do you remain mobility, lightness and fun while growing business?

 

business Mark Craddock    G-Cloud and the new CloudStore

How we created the new CloudStore using Open Source and Agile methodology.
The G-Cloud Programme and how suppliers / buyers can get involved.

 

business Becoming a G-Cloud & Government supplier
Moderated by Allan Kelly with Mark Craddock, Steve Parks and Ewan Milne.

This session will look at what small companies need to do to join
G-Cloud and become a supplier to HM Government.  After walking through
the application procedure we will hear some first hand experience of
joining and being on G-Cloud.  The final part of the session will
adopt a panel format to allow the audience to ask questions and
discuss how they can benefit.

 

DavidLowe_colour David Lowe    Kanban Style at NET-A-PORTER

Since launching in 2000, NET-A-PORTER has successfully established itself as a luxury brand around the world: each month the NET-A-PORTER Group is visited by over 4 million people, gains 14,000 new customers and ships products from 350 of the world’s leading designers to 170 countries – all from a 100% online presence. Their founder and Executive Chairman, Natalie Massenet, attributes much of the company’s growth and success to their focus on technology – “We are a technology company that sells fashion”

For the last 3 years, NET-A-PORTER has been using Scrum to manage the huge demands placed on their tech teams for innovation and enhancements. This presentation will look at how some teams at NET-A-PORTER are now incorporating Kanban to make further improvements to their processes. And they are not just doing this within their tech teams.A basic undertanding of Scrum will benefit attendees.

steve_02 Steve Parks – Introducing Sceptical Managers to Agile

Healthy Web Projects — How to explain agile concepts to management and clients so they really get it

Waterfall planning is so entrenched as ‘common sense’ that it’s hard for management to really see the benefits of Agile working.

As a result they’ll often only sign off on parts of the framework being used, or will require traditional practices on top, defeating the very benefits of Agile.

In this talk we’ll look at the concepts that senior management find hard to understand or believe, and then use parallels with human health and fitness to demonstrate ways of explaining Agile so it really does seem like common sense.

This will be an interactive session, so if possible please bring examples of the agile concepts you’ve found hardest to sell.

business Ewan Milne    Agile Contracts: Building Trust

With Agile software delivery now firmly established in the mainstream, why is this approach so often matched to an ill-fitting contractual agreement? When it comes to procurement, suppliers and customers still struggle to move beyond transactional contracts to establish more relational models of engagement which would better align with a flexible and collaborative way of working.

agile065Rachel Davies, Unruly Media    The Art of Slicing and Dicing User Stories

Most agile software development team grapple with user stories as a technique for understanding what needs to be developed iteratively. Come to this workshop to hear some techniques for uncovering useful user stories and how to slice them in a way to deliver value in small increments. We’ll give you a cheatsheet for story splitting to take away with you.

business André Tanguy    Selling Agile to Enterprise Customers

Enterprise adoption of cloud-based services is growing. Learn how we sell our niche Agile software product to Enterprise and Government customers while retaining ownership and control of the product lifecycle.

Responding to RFPs without meeting every requirement can be difficult, so we looked at alternative approaches including  understanding business use cases / buying decisions, creating an Agile roadmap for business success and supplying exceptional on-going support as an on-going sales tool

business Toby Parkins & John Thornton, UKNetWeb   Tales from the Whiteboard

Following on from last year’s collection of tales this year will focus on management and business level issues.

Educating management level peers, or equally clients, can be tricky. The first few tales will include some NLP inspired analogies that can be used to help people understand the relevance of various aspects of Agile.

“The perfect customer and perfect project” which actually achieved more development than expected. What made this project great and how can we replicate this dream situation.

Finally, “How to get kill customers without any blood loss” will address the difficult situation where the customer actually needs to be rebooted. Hopefully the reboot will be enough and full parts disposal will not be required although the general approach to this situation as conducted earlier in 2013 will be revealed.

belindawaldockBelinda Waldock, Oxford Innovation    Innovation Games

Following on from last year, this year Belinda will be sharing how a combination of business coaching, innovation games and agile tools are being used by Cornish businesses to identify, leverage and realise their high growth ambitions.

 

team Teams: The Agile approach is not just about the business of software. It’s about the business of your approach. The conference will ask managers, directors, or indeed anyone leading a team to re-assess the way they work. Learn about high performing and innovative teams and find out what they do differently and how to create and manage your own. Agile on the Beach is the perfect environment to take some time to re-design the approach you take to your team.

team  Xavier Izaguirre, Total Media    Agile in the Marketing Communications Industry

A case study on agile practices to manage a global team of 20 people in an advertising technology company. Setting the context, the practices introduced (stand-ups, kanban boards, retrospectives etc) , the results and the testimonials from team members and other heads of department.

How agile practices are becoming commonplace in advertising planning and creation as a result of the evolved media landscape. New model of collaboration with our existing digital clients.

 

team Michael Rawling, Unruly Media Ltd    eXtreme User eXperience (XUX)

How one team melded UX with XP. Our XP team have been developing a product in the spirit of start-up and are exploring how to get the best from UX expertise. The team developed personas and learnt how to use them to shape stories – even tagging cards with persona stickers and usability testing activities. Our team is very technical and potentially there could be clashes when it comes to creative thinking so we’ve tried “design chavettes” with team collectively, deputising them into the UX team. We regularly go beyond pairing with multi-disciplinary tripling!

The whole team test and iterate on the product design as well as development. We embed our hand-drawn sketches directly into the product as placeholders for features, then implement basic versions adding polish as we go, reducing the distance barriers between users, stakeholders and developers. Lean StartUp embraces a more scientific perspective to learn what works but often teams leap too fast to solutions without user perspectives in mind: XUX helps put brakes on without squelching ideas and innovation!

This presentation welcomes people from all domains seeking better, Leaner ways of improving their product’s user experience and embedding those skills in the team without compromising UX or XP values.

 

ed sykes headshotEd Sykes    Enriching conversations and decision making with data

In so-called software engineering, conversations and decisions are often made based on feelings. Psychology has revealed that human feelings and intuitions are often deeply flawed, yet paradoxically they can sometimes be incredibly useful. How do you know when to trust your instincts and when to ignore them? …… In this workshop I will attempt to teach a data-based tool that I have started to use to enrich conversations and decision making in the delivery of software. The workshop will take the form of a game where facilitators and players attempt to predict the delivery date of a feature. The feature will be built over 4 rounds. In each round, data will be presented on the progress of the feature and players will be required to predict the finish date of the feature. …… After each round the group will discuss their observations. At the end a case study will be shown where the tool was used to affect the outcome and delivery date of a feature. It’s hoped that through play, presentation and participation those attending will understand the tool well enough to try it in their own software engineering efforts.

team Rich Quick, Arnold Clark Automobiles    Bringing Agile to a £2bn company

Rich Quick introduced Agile and Ruby to Arnold Clark, a £2.2bn company in a very traditional sector, the car industry.  What’s more, he did it from the very bottom as an ordinary employee.

This talk will cover how he did it, what the obstacles have been, what the results were, and how you can introduce change in your own workplace even if you’re the most junior employee there is.

This talk is designed to be educational and empowering. We’ve taken a back-to-basics approach to Agile using a mixture of Scrum and XP, so I’ll cover what we’re doing and why. But the main message is that change for the better is possible and that respect for everyone around you is the key to achieving that change.

team Wouter Lagerweij & Ciarán O’Neill, Qualogy
The “Just Do It” approach to Change Management

Forget about seeing. Doing is believing. The As-If principle, coined by psychologist William James, tells us that changing behavior will change thinking, not just the other way around. Is that why ‘shock therapy’ Scrum works? Does this Stockholm syndrome approach to change management actually work in practice? And if so, how does that relate to current thinking about complexity and management?

Based on real-life experiences, we describe the effectiveness and limitations of decisive leadership as an application of redirecting situations from the Cynefin chaotic domain into the others. We describe steps taken, contexts misinterpreted, other mistakes made, and lessons learned.

All this illustrated with a tale of a failed multi-million euro project that was turned into a success, then a failure again caused by the unexpected success, and then… Well, come and listen.

 

team Andrea Provaglio    Overcoming Self-organization Blocks

We know that self-organization is a critical aspect of every successful Agile project and we know that it takes trust, respect, openness and responsibility; so why many teams have a hard time to achieve it?

Self-organization changes the leader/team dynamics and the teammate/teammate ones. Resistance may arise and the source is frequently rooted in mental habits, such as a latent blaming culture, confusing guidance and command, fear of taking responsibility or losing status, unconscious personal agendas.

Attend this session to learn how to deal with organizational issues such as:

* Creating team’s cohesion; counteracting division
* Positioning yourself at your proper guidance level
* Identifying a latent blaming culture and its causes
* Understanding the manager’s and team’s roadblocks to self-organization
* Making your team collaborate more smoothly

team Martin Rowe, Petroc
Scrum: Easy to understand but difficult to do

This Case Study contains lessons learnt when introducing and using Scrum outside of the software domain: specifically when managing the University of Plymouth Foundation Degree in Computing at Petroc in North Devon. (We are on the border and year on year have students on the course from Cornwall). We will take a quick look at some of the underpinning influences (Systems Theory, Complex Adaptive Systems, Lean, and Learning Spaces), and then cover the fundamentals of Scrum from the perspective of the diagram, e.g. filling and managing the Backlog, the role of the Product Owner and the ScrumMaster, Sprint Planning and Review, Planning Poker, Stand Up Meetings, and Retrospectives.

As Scrum is ‘easy to understand but difficult to do’ we will look at the benefits and issues encountered when introducing and using the framework. These include the emergence of creative self organising teams, the importance of the underpinning values, cultural change, the importance of the inspect and adapt cycle, the difficulties of getting tasks ‘done’, and the goal of a hyper-productivity. These benefits and issues apply to the management of an academic course and a team of Lecturers in an educational setting. I suspect they apply to the management of projects and teams in any sector – the benefits are liberating.

team Sarah Fairbairn, Sullivan Cuff Software
Playing Games

Come and try out a mini series of bite size innovation games.  Learn how games can be used within your company to help prioritise work and also used externally to understand what your customers want.

Do any of the following sound familiar:
•    Limited time and resource means prioritising correctly is hugely important
•    Small market research budget
•    You need to develop something new – you can’t ask your customers what they want – they don’t know themselves yet
•    It’s difficult to come to decisions quickly in meetings – meetings go on for too long!!!

At Sullivan Cuff we have put into practice many of the ideas and practices talked about at last years Agile on the Beach event.  This talk shares our experiences over the last year, focussing on how we have used innovation games.

During the workshop we will run a mini series of games to give attendees an idea of how to run and use them themselves.