There are plenty of conferences these days – even plenty of Agile conferences – so when I first heard of the Agile Alliance Technical Conference (AATC), April 7 – 9 in Raleigh, NC, I asked why. What would be different?
The Agile Alliance wanted to start a new, smaller conference that’s primarily focused on the technical disciplines and how they are changing to mesh with the needs of Agile teams today and in the future. The Agile 20xx conference has grown over the years to about 2,300 attendees and it’s covering a huge landscape of everything Agile.
Technical practitioners who can only attend one, maybe two, conferences in a year have been picking smaller events, often ones that offer hands-on skill building. Meanwhile it’s been about a century in “software years” since the birth of the Agile Manifesto!
Development practices and technology that were unthinkable in 2001 are now humming along – like continuous delivery, mob programming, Infrastructure as a Service, Big Data analytics, and open architecture. The Agile Alliance should be spotlighting the intersection of good Agile teamwork and these new capabilities.
OK so that means it’s a conference about the team-level Agile practices, right? No – not really because DevOps isn’t confined to the team level and it involves a lot of technical areas.
Like most engineers, I’m visually oriented. I don’t understand a thing if I can’t make a diagram of it. So, with the others on the program team, I started sketching on a web-based whiteboard to see what exactly the focus of this conference ought to be. We wanted to distinguish between technical practices and more process-oriented ones. If we’re not just talking about what happens at the tech team level, what else is there?
The above figure is a cleaned-up version of what we created together. Once we agreed on a few things that were outside our scope, and a few that were inside it, we discovered that our scope bounds didn’t line up at the edges of the tech teams, or at the edges of what you might strictly define as technical practices. One could argue about whether Pair Programming and Mob Programming are technical practices, but we chose to include them. And we chose to omit some pure-technical areas that are well served elsewhere.
Having discovered a compelling scope, we next needed to discover the people doing leading-edge work there.
Stay tuned for our next blog on “How we’re building AATC” by Lisa Crispin.
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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.