Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Agile SIG Meeting 1

The first meeting of the Agile SIG took place on March 19, 2009 at 6:00 pm.

Since this was our first meeting we spent some time at the beginning just organizing ourselves.

We discussed a format for future SIG meetings -

The Agile SIG is meant to be a group where members can come to exchange ideas about Agile Software processes. We plan to meet for about an hour and a half once a month and discuss real world situations that members are experiencing. All attendees are expected to participate in the discussion and are not expected to be knowledgeable in Agile Processes.

We expect the meetings to have the following format -
6:00 pm - 6:30 pm - Networking and voting on topics for discussion.
6:30 pm - 7:25 pm - Discussion on topis(s) with the with highest number of votes among attendees
7:25 pm - 7:30 pm - Wrap up and house keeping time if we need it

The meetings are going to based on the Open Spaces format - where the people who attend are the right people, the discussion that takes place is the right discussion and all attendees are expected to participate.

We then listed out topics that we all might be interested in talking about. All members can indicate their interest in a particular topic by voting in our survey - http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/nycspin-agile/surveys?id=2498133

The future meetings will be based on topics that get the most votes.

The present members then indicated an interest in discussing a topic for the rest of the evening.

We started with and Introduction of Agile Methodologies.

What follows is a recap of the discussion.

The Principles of Agile Software development (or the Agile Manifesto) can be read - http://agilemanifesto.org/ . The Agile Alliance is an excellent site to search for various things related to Agile methodologies - http://www.agilealliance.org/. Introduction to eXtreme Programming (http://www.extremeprogramming.org/) and SCRUM (http://www.scrumalliance.org/) were discussed.

After a brief introduction of Agile methodologies, we talked about the Hurdles of Agile adoption and risks of usage.

We discussed how Agile methodologies provide transparency into an organizations working and organizations impediments are highlighted early in a projects life cycle. We also discussed how management response to Agile teams should be to remove impediments.

Agile adoption is a cultural change and requires senior management support. Like other cultural changes, it has to be made simple and involve all the people in the organization especially the ones that are expected to participate in Agile teams.

Suitability of Agile methods in certain organizations was discussed. Some times in large organizations with distributed teams / non collocated teams with command and control structures, agile processes are not such a good idea and do not thrive.

In order for Agile processes to be successful, the business customers understand the changes easily and get on board really quickly. One way to start Agile projects is to pick 1 or 2 pilot projects with team members who are open to trying a new process. All members of the team including the customers and other stakeholders should be introduced to Agile processes. Once the team has seen success, they act as spokespeople in the enterprise and help with the roll-out of agile in the enterprise.

We hope to see you at our next meeting on Wednesday April 29, 2009. Please join our mailing list in order to stay connected.

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