In my wandering at Agile2016, I happened upon a very interesting track. I hovered by the door until my friend George noticed me lurking. He explained that participants arrived and engaged for 2 sessions about difficult and controversial topics, first experiencing a topic and then debriefing that experience and processing its meaning. I was hesitant to join in, unsure whether I wanted to commit to an in-depth exploration like that with strangers. Don’t get me wrong: I love interactive discussions and idea-wrangling. I just prefer it to be among friends in a safe place.
As I’ve discovered over the years, strangers at the big agile conference are just friends I haven’t met yet. Embracing the unknown and different feels more comfortable among so many people open to new experiences. Agilists at the practicing and advancing levels of understanding can find like minds to dig deeper into tough questions.
But who is in charge here?!? Each topic has it’s own Salonniere to facilitate the discussions. The Audacious Salon aims to attract people who are interested in the topic, rather than those who are interested in hearing anything that Salonniere might present. If you want to be a true participant, don’t focus on the facilitator, just join us for the experience!
I’m particularly intrigued by The Silence Experiment session’s description. Earlier this year, I attended a CodeRetreat where we practiced test-driven development in a paired programming environment. One of our 45 minute exercises was silent development where one member of the pair would define a unit test and pass the keyboard to the other member of the pair who had to write code to make it pass. At the same time, our host encouraged us to be the Evil Pair, pairs so lazy that we only wrote the minimal amount of code to make the test pass but also writing code that intentionally avoided fulfilling the mission of the test, making the red-green-refactor cycle less productive. For this big talker, silence was the most challenging of the day’s katas, so I’m quite interested to hear what Agile2017 attendees will take away from the experience of building prosthetic hands without speaking. Due to the nature of the workshop, seats are limited, so put this on your list of priority sessions!
I would love to have more community reflections included in our blog. After the conference, please let me know if you attend the session and what that experience was like for you. See you at Agile2017!