Last week we sponsored Southern Fried Agile for the third year in the row – and boy, is third time the charm! This year was the biggest yet with one thousand attendees, all dedicated to keeping the energy in the Agile community alive. With a keynote by Menlo Innovations and “Joy, Inc.” author Rich Sheridan, this year’s conference was focused more than ever on joy, connectedness and the power of Agile. “Our goal is giving back in the community,” said SFA chairperson and SolutionsIQ Agile Practice Lead for Products Neville Poole. “People come here to see their friends… people that they may or may not have seen since last year, so you can feel that energy… There’s almost this sense of urgency because it’s only one day.”
For a one day event, it certainly gave us wonderful podcasts, and here are our favorites!
How is a cellphone like a satellite? Says Tom Friend, Agile consultant at Duke Energy who is blowing our minds with his work at NASA, “If you think about it, a cellphone is a micro satellite [without] stabilization [or] propulsion.” Tom walked us through using Scrum and other Agile practices in a satellite mission simulation to create a roadmap and a backlog and to produce a paper prototype of a to-scale small satellite (smallsat), which Friend calls a cubesat. Of the experience, he says, “It creates a shared mental model that everyone can see. It’s not what you get out of the paper, it’s individuals and interactions.”
Ken Pugh, author of “Lean-Agile Acceptance Test-Driven Development: Better Software Through Collaboration”, gives us a lesson on Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD) and Behavior-Driven Development (BDD). And guess what? They aren’t as different as you may think. It comes down to whether the tests are written based on acceptance criteria or on the behavior that a system must meet. Pugh reminds us that the important thing is getting the customer representative, the developers and the testers together to write the acceptance criteria in plain human language before a line of code is even written. More kernels of wisdom from Pugh:
- “Fixing a defect is valuable, but preventing a defect is even more valuable.”
- If during development you can’t ship until a particular test passes, then that test is a requirement. “Testers aren’t writing tests, they’re writing requirements.”
- “If you take more than half an hour to write the tests, then your story is probably too big.”
- “If you feel like you need a defect tracking system… you’ve got too many defects. I have been in places where they actually have just one defect! “
The Southern Fried Agile (SFA) conference has come a long way since its inception. James Collins, SFA chairperson and a technical leader at Wells Fargo, and Neville Poole, SFA chairperson and Agile Practice Lead for Products at SolutionsIQ, sit down with us to share their experiences going from a literal shoe-string budget to major conference venue. James and Neville touch on some horror stories and victories – and joy – that they have experienced in this fun and energizing conference which may or may not have had a chicken for a mascot once upon a time.