Agile 2006 Follow-up
The conference was good. The weather was way too hot, but that is another issue entirely. I attended a number of good sessions and a few dull ones. There was not really anything in the middle. There was also not a lot in the middle as far as experience. Most things seemed to be aimed at the beginner level, or re-hashing talks from last year. As a result, those of us who have done some agile projects, some coaching, and are almost experts did not get a lot from the formal sessions. I actually got the most out of the experience reports and open space sessions I attended. I also had good talks with Ward, Jim, Brian, Randy, Paul, Jo, Lee, a few folks from SolutionsIQ (Lance and company), and many other folks whose names I can't remember (sorry, but I'm horrible with names). Other than the experience reports and open spaces, I think I got more out of the hallway and dinner conversations than the rest of the conference. In comparison to last year's conference, this aspect made it a bit of a let down.
My presentation went pretty well. I used some of the ideas from the book Beyond Bullet Points, which helped quite a bit. We also had a really good Q&A session after my "formal" presentation that was great. There were lots of good questions and a number of good points raised. Thanks again to the old team (Mitch, John, Bart, and Donavan) for helping out with the Q&A.
Mitch's experience report on promiscious pairing went well. He did a good job. I helped with the Q&A a bit (at Mitch's request), and the audience had a number of very good questions.
Brian Button mentions the conference as well in his blog. He seemed to enjoy the time. He mentions one of the experience reports I found interesting, and Brad and Peter's TDD/Pairing Game talk as well. They did a great job (and I'm not just saying that since Peter is my boss). I attended to see how they changed it from the internal talk (they didn't) and to help provide support and another Q&A resource (which worked well). I have used the TDD/Pairing Game in the real world on real code, exactly as they describe it, and it works very well. It is my preferred way of developing main-line code.
Robin, my wife, attended the conference as well (as a PM on the "intro" track even though she is a certified ScrumMaster with some experience working with agile teams). I'll let her speak for herself through the comments (if she wants to). She seemed to have a good time and learn a lot both from sessions and from informal chats.
[Edit: Fixed company name of SolutionsIQ based on comment from PP. Sorry folks.]