Thoughts from the night stand: Intel Agile Conference

Photo: Kiwi

Over the last 2 days I’ve had the good fortune of being surrounded by some really bright people at the Intel Agile conference.  While Oregon weather isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I’ve enjoyed my time here listing to all the interesting talk around the method by which we attempt to develop & deliver value to our internal and external customers.  It’s exciting to find a community of people that are interested in a topic that you are passionate about, and I believe I’ve found that here at the conference.

My Favorite Topic

Scott Hanselman: Personal Agile Methods Applied: Effectiveness vs. Efficiency

Besides winning the prize for the longest keynote presentation title ever, Scott’s presentation was also the one that I found the most interesting over the last couple of days. Scott talked about a topic I’m passionate about, which is hard to sum up… but I’ll call personal productivity.  Listening to Scott speak was such an affirmation of the things I’ve been doing over the last few years to increase my personal productivity.  A few of the things that Scott talked about that I’ve been trying to implement include:

  • Setting up rules (including a CC rule) to tame your inbox.
  • Answering email only once or twice a day (including scheduling time to do so).
  • Blogging your personal BKMs
  • Collaborating through video
  • Using Dropbox to move things to the cloud and make them accessible everywhere
  • Using Evernote or OneNote
  • Using Remember the Milk for managing your tasks

Some other ideas he shared that I haven’t implemented yet (but in some cases have toyed with the idea of):

Other presentations that I enjoyed

Jay Turpin: Test Driven Design

This is a topic that I feel I need to move my team to.  The challenge is doing it for business intelligence development artifacts that we frequently work with (Stored Procedures, ETL Jobs, SSRS Reports, Cube Driven Metrics).  Truth be told I only attended the first hour of this session.  I got in way over my head when he asked that we pair program together and I’ve lost my skill since becoming a manager… I’m ashamed to say I didn’t even have visual studio installed on my machine. None the less I thought the session was great (what I saw of it).  Jay walked the attendees through a method of practice called a code kata which I find to be a very interesting technique and something that I’ll explore more of in the future.

Angela Druckman: Relative Estimation for Agile Projects

I can’t say enough good things about Angela, she was a fantastic instructor.  Her ability to handle a crowd of folks (and there were a lot in her session) is second to none.  I found her knowledgeable, entertaining, engaging, and appropriately assertive.  This session focused on the T-Shirting method for relative estimation and though it’s something I’ve done in practice (well… as much “practice” is allowed a people manager) it was fantastic to see the real deal articulated in this session.  If you’ve got the opportunity I would highly recommend attending one of her two day courses.


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