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Mike Dwyer at CAST 2009: New simulation helps teams learn Agile

A common criticism of Agile development practices is that they are difficult to scale with large teams. Another common challenge faced, is figuring out where testers can fit in an Agile context. At this year’s Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST), July 13-16th in Colorado Springs, Mike Dwyer is presenting a workshop titled “Experiencing Agile Integration.”

I interviewed Dwyer recently about the session, in which he talks about a new simulation that allows participants to experience first-hand what it feels like to apply Agile principles. He said the goal is of the simulation is to provide a simple environment that reflects the dynamics of expanding Agile and enough time for the participants to inspect and adapt how they support the expansion so that the product, team and organization garnish optimum value from going Agile.

Mike Dwyer is a principal Agile coach at BigVisible Solutions working with IT organizations as they adopt Agile and Lean methods. He has extensive experience as a manager, a coach and consultant transforming high growth organizations into hyper-productive Agile organizations. In addition, he is a well-known and respected contributor to the Scrum, Agile, and Lean software community.

A product of BigVisible Solutions team and their shared experiences, the simulation was built after Dwyer and several of his cohorts came off a 280-person, 30-team project. The designers all hold or have held multiple certifications in both PMI and Scrum as well as in IIAB, APICS, and other professional organizations. Many of the BigVisible Solutions team are experienced testers with background in performance, web, application, system, CI, TDD and exploratory work.

“The simulation mirrors what we have seen many organizations do to ‘pilot’ Agile. In order to provide the experience to the attendees and work toward optimal value for them, we use a simple pattern based on Scrum workframes. That is to work at delivery of value for short periods of time, discuss and learn from what we have done and then apply our learning to our next iteration. Value is optimized by the coach/facilitator working with the teams and individuals to inspect and adapt what they are doing to find better ways for the team to reach its goal.”

For more on the upcoming show, check out the CAST conference website. For more about Mike Dwyer and his work, you can checkout his BigVisible blog.

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