The intersection of technology and leadership

Agile 2009 Day 3

In the morning I attended Pascal and Portia’s The Bottleneck Game, an engaging and great place to learn about the Theory of Constraints and their use of Real Options.

What did I learn?

  • A new presentation style – Using lo-fi sticky notes on paper as slideware. Clear handwriting is a pre requisite so I think I need someone else to draw mine!
  • Inviting Observers to act as Consultants – As a way of engaging those that can’t play the game into the session
  • Portable microphones can make a huge difference – In the large room, it was sometimes hard to hear the presenters since they both had soft voices.
  • I’m not very good at folding paper hats – ^_^
  • Go slow when learning something new – The facilitators made sure we stepped through each step before moving on to the next one to ensure that we went through the motions. Too many times, it was too easy to jump over necessary stages. It was definitely helpful to be reminded to go slow when learning.

After the morning tea break, I went to Neal Ford’s presentation, titled Emergent Design & Evolutionary Architecture

What did I learn?

  • I like the distinction Neal made about design and architecture. Design is something that you can defer choices on. Architecture is something that you need before starting but can still change. It’s pretty important to make that distinction.
  • Neal has a great presentation style, very visual, combined with lots of stories. I can now personally recommend him based on my own experiences (and not just on hearsay!)
  • 90 minutes is way too long for a presentation, even if it was engaging as Neal is. I found myself fidgeting just to stretch after about 45 minutes.

Due to some longer commitments at lunch, I missed the talk Michael Feathers and Steve Freeman gave on TDD 10 years later. Fortunately I know a variation is available on InfoQ I can watch later. I had hoped to see them in person. Instead, I arrived just in time for Sharlene McKinnon’s, Iterating a Team in Flux session.

What did I learn?

  • Avatars – I really like the pictorial representation that they used for visual management. I’d like to know how they made them since they looked amazingly life-like yet cartoony.
  • Visual Management for surfacing of issues – It’s great to see how making information more visual helped them have better conversations and surfaced the problems that were already there.
  • Test your slide deck against the projector early – Sharlene had some resolution problems with the projector that could have been sorted out before the session. It was great that she didn’t depend on her slides yet could have been supported much more by the whole slide instead of the partial.

1 Comment

  1. Portia Tung

    Hi Patrick – I got the idea of sharing the agenda of a session as a session backlog (with three columns To Do, In Progress, Done) with agenda items as Post-Its from Henrik Kniberg ( at JAOO 2007. In my experience, it’s a great tool for facilitators!

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