Welcome to the Agile Experiences Program!

Let me introduce you to the Agile Experience Reports Program.

At Agile conferences, people have always talked about their Agile experiences. Those who presented on the Experience Report track (or the Insights Track as it was formerly called) also wrote a paper about their experience. Unfortunately, the existence of these published papers has been a well-kept secret.

With the inauguration of the Agile Experience Reports Program, we’d like to change that.

Our goal is to spread written words of agile experiences to a much broader audience. So we will publish experience reports on a regular basis, not just annually as part of the Agile conference proceedings.

Experience reports are firsthand descriptions where the author is very much a part of the action. Authors are encouraged to include personal observations and reflections. Experience is a sharp contrast to traditional papers where the author is expected to be “fly-on-the-wall” objectively writing without putting any of their thoughts or reactions into the paper.

In an experience report, you get to hear what the author was thinking, what they did, and how they changed and grew over time in wisdom. Experience reports can be about an individual, a team, or an organization. They can tell of some things (practices, values) the authors came to appreciate over time, how they overcame challenges or confronted resistance to change. An experience report can share how the author adapted or adopted agile practices to their unique situation.

But most importantly, an experience report is a personal story that others can relate to.

Nanette Brown, who is my Agile Experience Report track co-chair was shepherd for the first two reports in this program. She nicely sums up why experience reports make for good reading,

“To me experience reports work because one powerful way in which people learn is by relating to the dilemmas, thought processes and successes of others. The nature of the experience report is to enable the reader to put themselves into your (i.e. – the author’s place) and understand how you approached solving the problems with which you were confronted.”

Initially, we have two reports. More will be available soon. We publish experience reports as soon as they are completed.

Actionable Metrics at Siemens Health Services is by Daniel Vacanti and Benett Vallet. It details how a shift from traditional agile metrics (Story Points, Velocity) to actionable flow metrics (Work In Progress, Cycle Time, Throughput) reduced Cycle Times, increased quality, and increased overall predictability at Siemens Health Services.

Daniel Vacanti is a 20-year software industry veteran who got his start as a Java Developer/Architect. He has spent the last 13 years focusing on Lean and Agile practices.  In 2007, he helped to develop the Kanban Method for knowledge work and managed the world’s first project implementation of Kanban. He has been doing Kanban training, coaching, and consulting ever since.  In 2011 he founded Corporate Kanban, Inc., which provides Lean training and consulting worldwide to clients.

Benett Vallet has been at Siemens Health Services for 20+ years. He is a Director of Product Development and leads the Agile Competency Center. Prior to that, Bennet held multiple leadership roles within the company’s Product Lifecycle Management organization where he has been involved in the development of large-scale healthcare information systems. Bennet has been involved in leading agile transformations since 2005, the year the company adopted Scrum/XP.

No Way! Agility in the Federal Government, by Brandon Raines and Judy Neher, tells how two agile coaches worked to transform a major government organization using Agile, Lean and Scrum principles, practices and techniques.  From the contracting process to initiating, executing and closing projects, to redesigning the physical workspaces, and moving from a matrix to a team-centric structure, they helped this organization completely re-tool how it did business.

Brandon is an Agile Coach at Blue Collar Objects. Over a career spanning 15+ years, He has been a Developer, Tester, Project Manager, Architect, and Certified Scrum Coach. He was introduced to Agile through eXtreme Programming. He helps organizations, mainly in the federal government, in their transition to Agile. He helps teams use Scrum, XP and Lean principles to work more efficiently by focusing on work that provides the highest business value and by continuously improving.

Judy Neher, of Celerity Technical Services, is an agile trainer and coach who passionately transforms government software teams from traditional to agile practices.  Judy has 27+ years of experience with the Intelligence Community as a mathematician, computer scientist, and traditional software manager; ultimately, as an agile coach, trainer and leader.  She has worked with over 50 development teams and likes to think she’s seen it all but learns something with every experience.

We’re on the active lookout for more authors with compelling experiences to share.

If you’d like to learn more about writing an experience report, check out our author guidelines, read more about the Agile Experiences Program, or please contact me, the program director, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock at experiences at agilealliance dot org.

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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