Introducing the Agile2020 Experience Reports


We were already busy writing and reviewing experience reports when the Agile2020 conference was canceled in early June.

Towards the end of March, we’d selected twenty experience reports (out of 88 submissions). Each report author was then paired with a shepherd who had advocated for their report. Shepherds volunteer their time to give constructive advice and encouragement to authors as they write and revise their work.

Even before the official announcement that Agile2020 had been canceled, authors and shepherds were anxious. Many were encountering challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some were furloughed. Others found it difficult to squeeze in time to write on the side as they worked from home. A few shepherds got disconnected from their authors as emails changed along with work situations. For others, work was ramping up and there wasn’t enough spare time or energy to continue writing or shepherding.

Consequently some authors, understandably, stopped writing their reports. Fortunately, others were able to keep writing. We want to share those completed reports with you. Currently, there are these three curated reports in addition to eight reports originally selected for inclusion in the Agile2020 Conference, with more to come.

  • Domain-Driven Design on an Agile project: How it Helped to Implement a Loyalty Program: In 2016, a global retail company decided to replace its off the shelf loyalty software with a bespoke solution. This report describes their journey and outlines how Kacper Gunia helped with the adoption of Domain-Driven Design practices. These deliberate design activities helped them to implement and release to production a large-scale microservice system.
  • Assessment Tricks and Traps: When used purposefully and properly, assessments inform continuous improvements. Assessing an organization through their transformation, however, is not a one-time job, nor it is a “one size fits all.” This report is about an assessment Cherifa Mansoura conducted as an external coach leading a small team, working with company leadership. It sheds some light on whether existing assessment tools can be improved and attempts to address the ambitious question of whether only external teams can conduct accurate Agile assessments.
  • Got Credit? Using Agile and Visual Models to Roll Out a Global Credit Transformation at Dell: In 2016, Dell Financial Services decided to transform its credit ecosystem. This involved a complete rebuild of the credit adjudication platform in the U.S. as well as rolling that platform out globally. Candase Hokanson and Cárlon Halmenschlager Szymanski describe how the company used Agile principles to accomplish its goals.

Experience reports come from all parts of the globe and cover a wide range of topics. Some are written by experienced Agilists, recounting the most recent chapter of their Agile journey. Others by reporters newer to Agile practices, who share their insights and learning. Some reports describe experiences at a large scale, others are very personal. Whatever the situation, experience reporters write candidly about their Agile journey.

During the writing of their stories, sometimes a special connection develops between authors and their shepherd. For example, author Megan Stowe effusively acknowledges her shepherd: “Finally, I’d like to give a HUGE thanks to Kathy Bine who shepherded this paper along the way and inspired me to keep going, even through pandemic-inspired writer’s block, and my unfortunate pattern of procrastination.” Personally, I find the connections I’ve made with authors to be both rewarding and energizing.

We hope you enjoy these experience reports from 2020. And thanks again, to you shepherds and authors for your dedication and persistence!

This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They may not represent the opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.

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Rebecca Wirfs-Brock

Rebecca Wirfs-Brock

Rebecca is President of Wirfs-Brock Associates and former Director of the Agile Experience Report Initiative. She helps organizations and individuals hone their design and architecture skills, improve system quality and manage technical debt. In addition to coaching and mentoring she conducts workshops on agile architecture, design heuristics, and pragmatic software design. She invented the set of design practices known as Responsibility-Driven Design (RDD) and by accident started the x-DD meme. Rebecca is also a shepherd…

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