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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What can Science teach us about Agile? (or why you must come to Scan-Agile)


I'm sure that you've heard many things during your life that made you think: "Boy, that guy/gal doesn't get the basics of (put your favorite subject here)".

Well, there's a reason for that. People make assumptions and claims that are false because they have a faulty model in their head. They simply don't know better!

For example, Aristotle made a claim that we now know is ridiculous: "objects of different weights fall at different speeds". That's just plain wrong!

How come a serious, intelligent guy can make a claim like that? What makes us make false claims and sometimes even live according to those false principles?

Aristotle could have easily known that different weight objects do fall at the same speed. He would just need to take two rocks of different weights and drop them a few times from a high place and measure the arrival of the two stones. He would have found that there's no difference. The two rocks fall at the same time.

It took more than 500 years to discover this simple truth. Galileo proved that objects of different weight do fall at the same time and he established Gravity as a constant force with a precise value.

Why am I talking about this in a software blog? Because in the software industry we still have a lot of Aristotles running around and telling us that rocks of different weights fall at different speeds!

In the Scan-Agile Conference we will have an academic session where presentations from different researchers and Universities will try to make us understand what is true or false based on concrete research. We will have our own Galileos to tell you all about the latest findings in research.

For example:

  • Dr. Nilay Oza from VTT Oulu will present results related to aligning Innovation and Agile Software Development.
  • Dr. Burak Turhan from the University of Oulu will tell us a dirty little secret about TDD. The truth is that we don't yet know what the impact is. You'll have to attend the session to find out what he means by that!

Among other sessions we will have a panel lead by Pasi Kuvaja on the status and direction of Agile Software Development. You can expect some news from this panel. Don't miss it.

There are other very interesting sessions in the Academic track.

Check out the full schedule at www.scan-agile.com/schedule and when you are ready go and register here.

Photo credit: jurvetson @ Flickr

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why learning is *still* so important (or why you should attend Scan-Agile '09)


Last year I wrote a very personal story about how learning made a huge difference in the life of two people of similar age and in a similar context.

Check out my story about Grandpa Tony and Grandpa Frank (BTW: it's a real story!).

So, this year I thought of finding a different way to talk about how important it is to learn continuously to ensure our best options to survive in our jobs.

I'll pick a few sessions from the Scan-Agile '09 conference to explain how you can actually use what you will learn in those sessions to improve your skills and your career.

Let's take the example of the workshop "Executable Requirements in Practice" hosted by Pekka, Juha and Janne. In this session you can learn about one of the most important practices in SW development today.

Making sure that you continuously develop software that meets needs that are identified throughout the life of a project is a basic success criteria. How do you do it practice? And how do you do it in a way that does not transform the test specialists into click-robots?

Executable Requirements is a simple term to describe what tests should cover in practice: Requirements. Executable because we need to be able to run those tests 100's of times in a typical project and people are not very good at doing the same thing 100's of times, therefore we need to have those in a executable form to be able to run them over and over again.

In this session Pekka, Janne and Juha will explain how they've actually done it! Not theory, but experience.

In many aspects their work is quite unique world-wide and we are very lucky to have them present this in Scan-Agile. Look-out for this "Executable Requirements" to become a trending topic in Agile circles and come to Scan-Agile '09 to learn all about it!

Check out the complete schedule here and register here.

Photo Credit: David Den @ Flickr

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