Øredev 2011 in the rear-view mirror – Part 6

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This is the sixth and final part of my sum-up of Øredev 2011. Read more by following the links below:

This is the final part of my Øredev sum-up. It will cover the last three sessions I attended to and conclude my visit to Øredev.

 

3:4 – Jim Benson – Healthy Projects

After gathering some key-words from the audience, Jim’s defined healthy projects to be:

  • Happy
  • Productive
  • Stress-free
  • Focused
  • Nice to the workers

He gave a good description of when things tend to go wrong within an organization, visualized with the following organizational structure (a single node topmost and several nodes bottommost):

  • Company (has many portfolios)
  • Portfolios (has many projects)
  • Projects (has many tasks)
  • Tasks

Imagine someone working at task level being “promoted” to project level, e.g. becoming product owner. If this person cannot understand his new area of work and keep focusing on the details of task level, it will lead to micro management. The same goes when moving from project to portfolio and portfolio to company level.

Speaking about rules, Jim states that when you add a lot of rules, you will also have to introduce a process. If the rules are then hard to follow, people will fail…and when they do, they will blame the process. Methods like Kanban, for instance, visualize the work, minimize the amount of ongoing work and lead to healthier projects.

A good technique that can be used to visualize how the team feels is to have it marking the scrum/kanban notes with an illustration that describe how they feel after completing a task. I found this to be a very good idea! It is so simple, yet communicates so clearly how the team is feeling.

This session grew on me afterwards. While sitting there, I found it hard to stay focused and found large parts of the session rather passable, but after reading my notes afterwards, I found some golden gems.

 

3:5 – Doc List – Development is a game

Okey, so this session was about Doc having an idea…and wanted a lot of stuff to happen. His question was, how do we measure how good we are at what we do and what are the tools of measurement that we should use? Certificates? Level of success?

Doc asks us – why can’t life itself be a game? Why can’t we have rewards in our professions (actually, Visual Studio has just introduced achievements, so we are getting there)? Why can’t we have quests? Want to measure how good a person is – give him a quest! Want to measure how good a team is – give them a group quest!

Doc wants to create a globally applicable system that ranks people according to what they know. With this system, if you need “a level 24 Java developer”, you will have a specification of what a level 24 Java developer knows…and a list of persons who are at that level (since it is measurable). Doc wants to build a global community for this and wants…

…well, there you have my biggest problem with this session. Doc is a really charming man who has been around a while and has a great rep, but…he wants a lot of things and talks about it without having created nothing so far. So, he just describes a vision.

I could have found the session interesting, and Doc convincing, if he at least had started. So, I eagerly await Doc to prove me wrong and announce that he has started working on that global system of his. Until then, I will lay my focus elsewhere.

 

3:6 – Dan North – Pattern of effective delivery

With Dan’s keynote being the undeniable highlight of Øredev for everyone that I know saw it (I did not, unfortunately), I really looked forward to this session…as did the entire Øredev. The room was packed.

Dan spoke of some exciting new patterns, like:

  • Spike and Stabilize (easy, semi-effective) – try something out, then build it well. Optimize for discovery.
  • Ginger Cake (semi-hard, semi-effective) – break the rules once you go senior…”it’s like a chocolate cake, but with ginger”
  • Short software half-life – how long does it take, before you have to fix a bug? Optimize for throwawayability.

No, in fact, I did not find this to be a interesting session at all. In fact, I found it rather pointless, which was a huge disappointment.

Dan, like many of the big speakers, is very charming and passionate when on stage…but I cannot help to feel that I perhaps should choose more concrete sessions than these “inspired and fun” ones, the next time I attend to one of these conferences. I am obviously not the target audience.

Please watch the video? Do you disagree with me? Let me know in the comment field below.

 

Conclusion

Øredev 2011 was a fantastic conference, with high mountains and, unfortunately, some rather deep valleys. Next year, I hope to see even more local talents, and more odd and exciting selections of speakers. How about a grave russian who (in bad English) demonstrates some kick-ass piece of technology without one joke being said or charming smile being fired?

I would like to see that. Maybe next time.

Anyway, a big, BIG thank to the Øredev crew – you delieved a really inspiring conference that I still return to mentally.

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