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Agile 2013 – Or – How I'll spend my summer vacation

My head is spinning this week. The summer seems to be rushing by in a blur. I’m gearing up for Agile2013 in Nashville Tennessee (August 5-9) and I’m torn between wishing I was leaving tonight and wishing I had an extra week to prepare. There’s so much excitement packed into one little week, I don’t know how I’ll keep up with it all.

There’s going to be great sessions including superb keynotes, speakers include two of SearchSoftwareQuality‘s main contributors (each presenting two sessions), there’s a day full of research findings on Tuesday, sponsors and vendors are going to be showing off their latest and greatest, a panel of distinguished analysts is going to debate what makes Agile agile and how to do it right, and somewhere in there I’m going to find time to catch up with some old friends and make a few new ones. It’s a little bit overwhelming.

I still don’t have my schedule 100% pegged down, but I have already found a couple sessions that I’m really excited for. Of course the keynotes are big draws. We’ll start off with Code for America’s chief of staff, Abhi Nemani is going to fill us in on how and why Agile methods and Lean practices are changing the way government programs are built. We’ll close out the show with Phoenix Project author Gene Kim will explain how DevOps is fits as the summation of over a decade of high performance  computing best practices, plus Kim will explain what a successful DevOps transformation looks like and what it takes to get there. And to round things out forty-year software veteran Tim Lister will walk us through his professional journey and offer up his wisdom when it comes to playing well (enough) with others.

But those are just three of over two hundred sessions. Like I said before, it’s a little bit intimidating to browse such a large catalogue and find the best sessions. I want to go to all of them, but apart from those keynotes, you have to pick one of a dozen or so awesome sessions that are all running at the same time in different rooms. I’ve got a lot of tough choices ahead of me.

I’m definitely keenly interested in Matt Heusser‘s talks on the evolution of Agile testing and on exploratory testing and Johanna Rothman‘s sessions on Agile team management and collaboration and on project portfolio management. I also think I’ll take in David Bulkin’s and Kevin Fisher’s session on continual backlog refinement. I’m not sure that it’s a totally original concept to take the product backlog off the PO’s hands, but I’m convinced Belkin and Fisher are going to have solid advice on how to manage the backlog with concrete steps for various types of software development organizations.

On top of all those regular sessions, I’m also excited to see the research that the Agile Alliance is presenting on Tuesday. The everyday practitioners are the backbone of software quality and always will be, but the researchers and academics often give us new ways to test how we test. Old ideas are confirmed or decried and new ideas are born. I’m looking forward to being awed and inspired.

And the icing on the cake is the time spent after hours talking with real live software testers, developers and project managers. The friends and connections you make at these events are unparalleled. Until next time, remember that making a new friend is the best way to lose an old enemy.

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