Yes, I am getting on the wagon and writing my Agile 2013 blog post.
Was it awesome? Yes. Were the sessions amazing? Yes. Did I meet people who totally rock? Totally. Yes.
Case-in-point: Esther Derby, Linda Rising, and Hacker Chick (Abby Fichtner). Three amazing women who I’ve read of and from, and thought to myself in all cases “She’s amazing. I need to be more like that.”
Before I go into all of the conference-y related stuff, I want to acknowledge a group of people who were critical to having the whole conference (with over 1700 attendees) run smoothly. A big part of these conferences is making sure people are fed and caffeinated properly. (Mostly the caffeinated part.) The staff at the Gaylord Opryland did a great job, and I can’t imagine the chaos that would have ensued without their hard work.
As I walked around during break times, I noticed that a large portion of the staff were speaking in Arabic – specifically, an Egyptian dialect of Arabic. I was thrilled that I could understand and engage in conversation with them. We joked, we laughed, and we lamented the sad state that Egypt is finding herself in these days.
As things these days seem to get progressively more violent, my thoughts remain with the staff and their loved ones, and the country many still call “Mother of the World”.
Back to the conference.
There is so much to say, and a lot of people have said the things that I probably couldn’t say better myself. I do have a little story to tell, though.
On the second night of the conference, I was invited to an agile training and coaching company’s customer appreciation party. At the party, I decided to sit down at a table with a gentleman who was sitting alone. We started with small talk, but quickly progressed to talking about what we do. Within 20 minutes of chatting, I was converted from being a casual chatting acquaintance to becoming a raving fan of Mr. Reynolds.
There are many of us in the agile community who talk about agile values for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are many of us who work hard to spread the word of “better ways to develop software/products.” There are many of us who make it our life’s work to know and maybe even improve upon the different methodologies, their pros and cons, and ways to make teams really effective at what they do.
In contrast, Mr. Reynolds is simply Doing It. He is one of those people for whom agile values and principles just seem to flow effortlessly, without the burden of over-thinking, over-engineering, or over-reaching. By embodying the essence of People over Process and Individuals and Interactions, he is incrementally and iteratively affecting change, both at an executive and a team level, and very clearly takes immense pride in his work.
It was so refreshing to talk to someone whose eyes shone with the pride and joy of finding and implementing better ways of doing things in a way that is his own.
THIS is why we do what we do.
Isn’t it? Isn’t it all about finding better ways of <<developing software, developing products, growing sustainable organizations, innovating, growing people>>, in ways that work with our teams’ and organizations’ needs? Call it agile, call it lean, call it the purple elephant with the striped trunk. To me it’s all about how we do things better, and become better ourselves in the process.
When I made a statement about this on Twitter while at the conference, I was met with some comments about how this is a naive view of the agile manifesto. Maybe it is, and maybe I’m wrong.
Regardless, I won’t stop going down the path I have chosen, which is one of searching for ways to achieve continuous improvement, effectiveness, and helping people and organizations be the best that they can be.