The Themes Behind AATC2017

Added to The Alliance

By Brian Button, Craig Smith, Nancy Van Schooenderwoert, Richard Seroter, and Laurie Williams

Remember when Agile was just about team practices, back when XP first started (or maybe we are just young and you just read about in a history book!)? Regardless, the new and exciting thing that XP did was link up development and testing in a way that couldn’t be split apart and began to remove the silos that had existed in the IT world.  And for the first time we worked as a real team, not as isolated coders. If XP were invented today it would cover a lot more than just the coding and testing; it would involve operations and user experience and hardware, too!

If you take a look at the practices we use as developers today, some of them we couldn’t even conceive of ten years ago. Yet, while we have so many more capabilities, we also have a new set of problems. What are the Agile practices that support our current way of working and where is the best intersection of practices for emerging technologies? We need to freshen up our view of what the Agile practices mean in the context of these new capabilities.

As we start finalizing our program for this year’s Agile Alliance Technical Conference (AATC2017), we wanted to share some of our thinking with you. From now through the start of our conference, we’ll be talking about our speakers and topics, keynotes, and special events. First, we wanted to explain the themes we used to organize our speaker search process. If you remember back to our vision we wrote about earlier, we are looking to expand the tent of the conference by inviting a wider range of roles to attend and present. These roles include Developers and QA, of course, but also include UX Designers, Infrastructure Engineers, Data Scientists, Cloud Specialists, and more.

The first theme that we want to explore are the core technical practices, the practices that software developers use every day to build robust, quality software. These practices are often identified as Agile but are just good software engineering practice. At AATC2017, we want to highlight topics such as test driven development, refactoring, and infrastructure as code, especially for those newer to the Agile Engineering world or just for those wanting to refresh or expand their basic skills.

The second theme is team technical practices, the practices that support teams in building great software. For many years we identified these as “Extreme Programming” practices such as continuous integration, collective code ownership, and pair programming, but these have now evolved to Agile engineering practices that also include Lean UX, behavior driven development (BDD), continuous delivery, and automated deployment to cloud infrastructures. The conference will focus on interdisciplinary practices that increase flow, communication quality, or the effectiveness of teams.

The third theme is about scaling up technical practices at the organizational level, due to the fact that the core of every business is now technology and the software behind that. This theme is where there is a burst of new energy as many organizations launch their journey to “being Agile”. This drive has required a new set of technical practices such as A/B testing and experimentation, data analytics, DevOps and repeatable deployments, system-wide monitoring, security, and continuous deployment. This entire field is ripe for discussion, learning, and advancement and we expect a lot of discussion and excitement around this theme, as there are the most unknowns and challenges here.

We’d love to see you in Boston to carry on the discussion of these topics at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel from April 19th to 21st. We are pulling together a full and exciting program, pushing outwards from the usual Agile engineering discussions into entirely new worlds and concepts. All we need to make these discussions successful is to have you there and taking part. See you in Boston this Spring!


About the Authors

Hi, I'm Brian Button, and I've spent most of my 30+ year career deeply embedded in the Agile world. I started as a developer, writing realtime C/C++ code for some very interesting products and projects. After doing that for a while I moved into the Agile world around 1999 by I accepting a position with one of the first Extreme Programming consulting companies.

Through them, I traveled the western world and the US teaching, training, and mentoring companies in their adoption of XP and agile. Since then, I've worked on team and organization transformations in several companies while still doing my best to remain at least tangentially technical. Eventually the lure of tech called me back, and I've been a technical leader for organizations in my last two roles. My happy place lies at the intersection of Agile and technology, which is why I'm such a fan of XP.

Giving back to the community is very important to me, so I've volunteered through Agile Alliance for the last 15 years or so. I've been involved with running the Agile20xx conference series many times, and I've served as a Director on the Agile Alliance Board for the last three years and was fortunate enough to have just been re-elected to serve a second term.

Craig Smith has been an Agile Practitioner, Coach and one of Australia’s premier Agile Trainers for over fifteen years. As the Global Agility Lead for SoftEd, a director of the Agile Alliance, co-organiser of the Agile Brisbane Meetup Group, co-host of one of the world’s leading Agile Podcasts (The Agile Revolution), and an Agile Editor for InfoQ, Craig is one of Australia’s heaviest contributors to the Agile community.
Craig has presented at numerous local and international conferences and meetups. He specialises in all facets of Agile training, executive coaching and technical excellence by helping teams and organisations move quality to the left.

Nancy Van Schooenderwoert is an Agile coach and founder of Lean-Agile Partners. She has been an electronics engineer and software developer for embedded systems in safety-critical applications like medical devices and flight simulators. Nancy coaches companies building hardware-software products in diverse industries. And yes, Agile does work for hardware!

Richard Seroter is a Senior Director at VMware, with a master’s degree in Engineering from the University of Colorado. He’s also a 12-time Microsoft MVP for cloud, Pluralsight trainer, lead editor for cloud computing, frequent public speaker, and author of multiple books on software design and development. Richard maintains a regularly updated blog on topics of architecture and solution design and can be found on Twitter as @rseroter.

Laurie Williams is the Interim Department Head of Computer Science and a Professor in the Computer Science Department of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU). Laurie is a co-director of the NCSU Science of Security Lablet. Laurie's research focuses on software security; agile, lean, and continuous deployment software development practices and processes; software reliability, software testing and analysis; and broadening participation and increasing retention in computer science. Laurie has more than 210 refereed publications. Laurie received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Utah, her MBA from Duke University Fuqua School of Business, and her BS in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University. She worked for IBM Corporation for nine years in Raleigh, NC and Research Triangle Park, NC before returning to academia. Laurie received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Utah, her MBA from Duke University Fuqua School of Business, and her BS in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University. She worked for IBM Corporation for nine years in Raleigh, NC and Research Triangle Park, NC before returning to academia.

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

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