Turku Agile Day 2012 reflections from the day 2

Turku Agile Day’s day 2 was a more traditional conference day with four tracks ( My notes from the day 1 are found here. ) After long night of discussions and reflecting it was amazing to see almost all the people refreshed and keen on continuing their learning early on in the morning. Only few guys confessed having slept late.

Aki Salmi opened the day with traditional opening words, remembering to mention few times how awesome coffee.. well not coffee, but The Coffee — was being served during the day at the lounge by Cafe Art’s guys. A really nice thing was that Aki also gave opportunity to advertise / introduce Agile Finland to people at Turku. Quick question showed that only few of the participants were already members of Agile Finland – so we as a community have still lot’s of work to do to reach the larger IT-community with our messages and be able to network and connect people interested in advancing in their craft.

Vasco Duarte snapped the above photo like a good paparazzi.

Day 2 : Morning keynote – The Whole-Team Approach in Practice: Choosing a Test Automation Solution

Morning keynote was held by Lisa Crispin – of Agile Testing-book fame. Her session was basically a story about her experience using whole team approach and how their team eventually selected test automation solution that worked for their team. The beef of the talk was that it actually is and was the whole team, who made the decision and commitment into solution that worked. They tested different tools, put them against other and never minding team roles did let people to collaborate and help in making the solutions work.

I really liked how in the story they did not sacrifice their values and quality, even though they were faced with problems on how to test a new widget / component that could provide real business benefit – but what they did not yet know how to test in their regression test infrastructure. I liked that their team really worked with the whole team approach and people in different roles contributed greatly into the end solution.

Session provided nice quotes to spread in Twitter, but otherwise was quite light on providing any new insights, ideas or thoughts. But then again it was a really good story about real life experiences a professional team can face.

Day 2: Lightning talks

I’ve been fan of lightning talks since my experiences in Europython, but this was the first time that I saw a 30 minute lightning talk. Reason for that was that there was only one person opting for a talk – and in the beginning he gave us an option to see the 5 minute version, or do it in a longer format for 30 minutes. We opted for 30 minute version, and Antti delivered: Effective team work, session was also held earlier in Riga and video of it is available in Youtube.

Valuable concept to take home from it was the relational models theory – and especially idea that feeling of unfairness can be a result of working in different models. Antti used nice example of giving a loan. In one context – among friends – you would assume no interest is would be taken, where as in business / market context you would assume that interest is in order and is based on market principles.

Good stuff, good stuff

Day 2: Learn from My Fail: Tales of Test Automation Failures

This was most entertaining and most professionally presented presentation — pure comedy gold! Slides are available online, but do not do justice to the presentation. Elisabeth had the whole auditorium laughing and snickering — which is an excellent sign in any geeky conference. Though experiences and best practices suggested do not look like anything new – that was not the point – as Elisabeth told stories in painstaking accuracy and explained how these problems were discovered in the real life – and how & why many of us might fall into the trap with some of these.

I absolutely loved the style of the presentation and Elisabeth’s ability to condense core concepts both verbally as well as visually. Presentation works really well as a memory list to go through with your team to calibrate ideas and thinking on what you are trying to achieve and how you do not fall into any of these fails.

Lasse Ziegler did fantastic live blogging of the session with an iPad, taking photos of each slide and posting them immediately online. It was impressive show of usability of iPad as an conference note taking tool, as I was using my Air at the same time and writing comments and ideas down to Tinderbox-document.

Day 2: Lunchtime

This time I managed to get some lunch – and also had good lunch discussions with Mika Viljanen about all sorts of Agile Finland happenings, events and conferences.  Looking forward doing things with Mika in the future.

Day 2: Real Options Applied

Ola Ellnestam did a nice talk about real options and served the concept most vocally proponed by Chris Matts in a beautiful style. I loved the drawings and subtle presentation  style, which allowed people to really think and realize what the point was. At the same time though a colleague of mine commented, that the whole presentation could have been made in few minutes — in a very clear straight to the point fashion.

Takeaways from the presentation as a reminder:

  • Options expire.
  • Options have value – and with uncertainty the value increases.
  • Do not commit unless you know why.
  • Option creation is conversation of two parties in the transaction.
  • Explore and experiment.
  • Two options is a dilemma, get at least 3 options
  • Start from the ideal end and work back on different possible paths and figure out what options you should keep open.
  • You need to invest to keep your options open.

I asked about the concept of starting with the ideal in mind – as it has the downside of potentially locking yourself into one specific outcome, instead of letting the greatest ideal outcome emerge from positive serendipity and chance while keeping your options open. What Ola meant – if I understood correctly – with that was to have a higher level ideal, which separates WHAT from how – so that it does not lock your thinking prematurely.

So in terms of keeping your options open on a business trip your ideal could be to be well rested, stress free and have positive dialogue and interactions with your business partners – instead of more specific ideals of being on time at a specific hotel by plane.

Real options is a nifty and simple thinking tool to make thinking your options explicit and a way to think how to value your different options in terms of money, even though option values are purely subjective and ever changing. Ever since meeting Chris Matts and Liz Keogh at Calm alpha – and hearing them talk about the concept in real life terms, I’ve been using same ideas in my work and life quite often – and made significant improvements ( subjective analysis though🙂 to my decision making as keeping my option explicitly open and realizing the value and cost associated to them has allowed me to focus better to the important questions and potential solutions.

Day 2: Lost session

It was hard to choose participation to the next session as there were multiple interesting options while my own energy level was sinking rapidly. I opted to just hang around in the lobby and talk with people. I did not feel the urgency to go into any of the sessions as I also knew that I would get to see presentations online – either as a Bambuser recordings –  or later on as proper high quality videos.

Had I known that Matt Wynne will be talking about a dear topic of mine: Mortage Driven Development. I just started to watch the presentation on Bambuser and have been smiling all the way from the start – as Matt is brilliantly talking about concepts and barriers for real agile adoption.

Funny stuff: http://bambuser.com/node/2710260

Note to self. In future it is a good idea to get the low quality Bambuser stream to conferences, if that does not sacrifice attendance to the conference.

Day 2: Testing with the stars Final

As I did not participate in the testing with stars track during the conference the finals looked like silly improvisational theatre to me, even though guys had already done hard work, learned and improved their presentations and understanding on different aspects of testing applications.

Thing that I really got from the sessions was how snappy Rapid Reporter is in note taking during testing sessions.

Day 2: Keynote – The power of Agile Mindset

Linda Rising gave the last keynote before closing words talking about different mindsets people can have ( http://mindsetonline.com/ ): fixed mindset or growth mindset – and how how you see the world can also affect your performance results. Linda also referenced Pygmalion in Management -article from HBR, which is a good read from 2003 about how managers’ expectations can also affect what the performance of employees is. Article is available as reprints as well as to be found via search engines in the web.

If you have been awake for past few years and reading management or self help / inspirational literature, then you must have come across these same ideas in one format or in another. But still it was pleasure to see Linda present those ideas – and see how people reacted and echoed them in the twitter.

Takeaway from the session: praise effort, not just talent – and keep an open, growth focused mind.

Day 2: Closing words and conference dinner

During the closing words sponsors were able to say few words and finish their raffles giving out stuff to lucky attendees. I believe Siili Solutions was giving out some technical books and Affecto had a competition, where you could have won an iPad. As it happens quite often with these kind of raffles, the first winner for the iPad was someone who was not present at the conference during the raffle. Let’s hope that he does not find out that he missed out on opportunity to be an owner of a brand new iPad.

After Aki’s closing words it was time to gather all our belongings and move slowly towards conference dinner at Aula Bar for some fun and games with conference attendees. As it had been already a long 2 days, not everyone joined us – but those who did, got to enjoy beautiful weather, great food and another rounds of interesting discussions.

I left the conference already at 20.30 with Siili-solutions gang, as they had space in the bus going to Helsinki. During and after the trip we continued interesting discussions, eventually finding our way to the Helsinki nightlife and meeting people from the #webshaped.fi -conference. At that time I was already so knackered that I had to retire back home to sleep.

I’ll try to write third posting later on about actual reflections on subjects of the conference, and what will I do about them in the near future. These two postings have mostly been just about writing down my notes and describing what went on in the conference.

Please do comment and write your posts on what did you experience at Turku Agile Day and share them with the rest of us!

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Yksi vastaus artikkeliin: Turku Agile Day 2012 reflections from the day 2

  1. About the ’Testing with the stars’ final: all the serious educational stuff was done in previous sessions, in the finals we had nothing but make a pure entertainment and just make fun of it🙂

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