I always enjoy going to Agile conferences, big and small, but this year Agile2014 was especially rewarding. I learned so much and got to spend (not nearly enough) time with some old friends while meeting more than a few new ones. I’d like to take the time to thank a few of these new friends for really making this past conference stand out in my mind.
First, to everyone at the show whose name is not on this list, you are still a very important part of what made Agile2014 so special. I found the crowds at Agile2014 to be friendly, welcoming, helpful and informative.
I heard more than once, and I totally agree, that everyone who came to Agile2014 did so because they wanted to make things better. They wanted to improve the way software is developed in their home organizations, or they had success in their recent software projects and wanted to help others achieve that same success. Some built tools that make it easier to complete a task, and they wanted to share them with the world. There are a few shining examples and personal favorites that I’d like to make special mention of, in no particular order.
Linda Rising is one of the stalwarts of Agile development and an enthusiastic evangelist for the Agile mindset. She’s been a frequent source and occasional contributor on SearchSoftwareQuality.com for years, and this was my first chance to meet her in person. I was impressed both with her thorough understanding of the Agile mindset and her ability to tie Agile into the way we think about anything, not just about software development. I was also impressed with her genuine spirit and warmth. If you ever find yourself at an Agile convention with the chance to sit and chew the fat with Linda Rising, I would recommend seizing that opportunity.
I also felt privileged to meet R Jason Kerney, one of the Mob Programmers that were presenting sessions at Agile2014. Kerney presented alongside Llewellyn Falco, who is fairly well-known for his innovative and informative software development sessions. Their session at Agile2014 was on finding and fixing bugs in legacy code without taking the time upfront to analyze and understand the code. Kerney was one of the people who remarked how everyone at Agile2014, from the attendees, to the speakers, to the volunteers and even the sponsors were all there because they want to make things better. “Even improving things in our own small communities helps make the world a better place,” he said, and I agree.
Diana Larsen is another stalwart of the Agile community that I got to meet in person. She’s a consultant with FutureWorks, has co-authored a couple of books on Agile project management and has graciously appeared in multiple stories on SearchSoftwareQuality.com. Diana gave a brilliant keynote at Agile2014 entitled “Finding Your Best Job Ever.” This one was particularly inspirational for me, and I dare say for the entire audience. At one point, she had nearly the entire audience standing with both arms in the air, indicating that they love challenging themselves and get to engage with challenges in their daily work lives. I shot a video interview with Diana after the keynote. It will be available on SearchSoftwareQuality.com soon.
Another talented and passionate individual I had the privilege of meeting was Gene Kim, DevOps evangelist and co-author of The Phoenix Project. After exchanging several quick emails and missed phone calls, I accidentally bumped into Gene during lunch. He’s a great guy, as friendly and inviting as he is intelligent and progressive. It was really interesting to hear about the research he’s doing on how DevOps is actually performing in real businesses across the country. The short answer is “very well.” It was also interesting to learn that Gene is starting to work on a second novel to follow The Phoenix Project, but I don’t think he’s ready to share any details publicly just yet.