Friday, September 30, 2016

Heretics of Agile at DSM Agile 2016

At the end of dsmAgile, we had a session full of "lean coffee" style meetings in a big noisy room with an open bar (so it wasn't so much coffee people were sipping as much as wine or highballs).

I was one of the selected/volunteered Lean Coffee hosts, so I was given a table and asked to choose a theme. I chose the theme of "Unconventional Agility" (a throwback to the talk Brandon Carlson and I gave at Agile2016).

I'm so sad that I didn't keep a full roster of guests at my table. Here is the roster-in-progress (incomplete until we say otherwise).

  • Melissa Perri
  • Aaron Hoffman
  • Keith Dahlby



I apologize to all for this, but let's just say that it was a little conference-speaker-heavy, and there was tremendous intelligence (emotional and intellectual), kindness, and passion at this table.  I believe some of my cohorts tried to record the discussions and if they provide me with the recordings I'll try to get a transcript posted here.

The topics we gathered, dot-voted, and discussed were:

  • No User Stories
  • Drop The PO
  • Putting a Brain on Your Process
These were chosen partly for their partly for their controversy, partly for the way they resonated with our personal experiences, and partly out of pure whimsy. 

My notes are very sketchy (literally written on one side of a 3x5 card) but presented here in hopes that we can start some interesting conversations about them.

No User Stories

  • Prevalence of BS stories
  • Features rather than stories/tasks
  • Digestible US == Task? "As a user I want this button."
  • Developer stories suck.
  • Is an abused tool a bad too? 
  • Would "jobs to be done" be better? 
  • Process over people sucks
  • Process is du jour.

Drop the PO

  • Customer pipeline better
  • Needs to be collaborative/empathic
  • Experience too crucial
  • Where is the experimentation?
  • PO needed to generate gestalt stories from multiple inputs?
  • How to manage the vision? Charter? 
  • PO-WX need design (I have no idea what I meant by this one-liner)

Putting a Brain on Your Process

  • Site visits
  • "Nah, Cubes R Us"
  • Call Center people
  • Persona -- less good
  • Dangerous to solve Other People's Problems (OPP)
  • Shared Ownership
I've now come to realize that I'm a rather poor note-taker when I'm deep in discussion, so anything we can do to flesh these out is appreciated.  I'm perfectly okay with the task of splitting these heretical ideas into individual blogs and editing them according to the memories (electronic and otherwise) of the participants so that I can do these ideas justice.