Friday, 2 December 2011

Agile World Breakfast Seminar

Yesterday I attended my second Agile World Breakfast Seminar given by Cake Solutions at Hays IT's offices on Cheapside in the centre of London. I was coming from Norwich so it meant getting the 5.25am train. An early start but well worth it.

A breakfast seminar is probably just as you imagine. You turn up at 8am, you're given a nice breakfast and the chance to network before attending the seminar. Following the seminar there is more opportunity to network. It's mostly over by 10am.

I'm being completely honest when I say I go for the networking and to catch up with the Cake Solutions team. The level of Agile given by Jan Machacek was introductory. It was solid, interesting and perfectly pitched for the majority of the audience. What sets Jan and Cake Solutions apart from other Agile organisations is that they are able to speak about their experience. Many Agile evangelists (consultant appears to be becoming a dirty word) are unable to do this.

I only took issue with one suggestion towards the end which suggested that using an Agile methodology could make your team appear to be going slower. Jan gave some metrics, but I think the missing point was that with traditional software development (Waterfall etc.) the only yard stick the business has are the metrics supplied by the development team. With an Agile team the metrics don't necessarily look so good, but the major advantage is that the business can see working software at the end of each iteration which is a far greater indication of real progress.

There were some very interesting and revealing questions about the collaborative software development process that Cake Solutions offers its clients. It was clear that there is a similar amount of risk on both sides, but the risk for the client is significantly reduced from more traditional methods of working.

The next seminar will be on the financial aspects of Agile development. I'm looking forward to more networking and more content relevant to me personally.