Hello, and welcome to what I hope will be the first in a series of blog posts between now and the conference this August. I’m Brian Button, the Technical Program Chair for Agile 2010. It’s my desire to bring in a strong technical program to the conference this year, reminiscent of the early days of XP Universe.
I want all technically inclined people to feel like they are represented in this conference. This invitation spans several different dimensions:
- Professional concentration: testers, developers, UI designers, UX designers, database specialists and every other group I didn’t mention,
- Experience level: novice or new to agile, intermediate, and expert,
- Domain: business systems, scientific and engineering systems, firmware and embedded systems, cloud computing, Java, .Net, Ruby, functional programming, etc.
If I’ve left your particular specialty or area off this list, I apologize – it is not meant to exclude you. There are too many different categories to list each one, but please be assured that you’re welcomed and encouraged to take part in the Agile 2010 technical program.
Interesting current trends
Getting a bit more specific, there are certain trends in the Agile world that deserve space at our conference. I’m thinking of the evolution of Test Driven Development towards a more Behavioral Driven style, the Craftsmanship movement, the move towards certification in different agile specialties, and different manners and methods of working as teams become larger and/or more distributed. Each of these trends is taking Agile in a new direction, different from where we have been in the past, and will serve to help shape our direction in the future. The Craftsmanship and certification movements, in particular, are going to play a particularly important role in shaping who and what we become over the next several years. I believe its important for us to have content around each of these topics.
These are some of the topic areas I’m considering for the Technical Program this year:
- Agile Development Practices – focuses on the practices and skills that good Agile developers should have,
- Agile Testing/Specification Practices – practices around manual and automated testing, including test automation/specification authoring frameworks,
- Integrating the User – practices around integrating UX and UI design into the agile world,
- Agile Development in Large Scale Systems or Distributed Development - how the practices change as the systems get larger or the team members become more distributed. This encompasses all roles, not just programming, but test, UX, etc.,
- Team-Room Agile – values, principles, and practices that are specific to the development process for a single team,
- New Frontiers in Agile Development – presentations and discussions around new and interesting tools, techniques, and practices across all roles.
I’d expect the two larger topics I mentioned above, certification and Craftsmanship, to be cross cutting concerns between a number of these topic areas – they seem to apply across many of them, so there is no specific topic area for them.
What you can do
All of this is preliminary. The program hasn’t been defined yet, the CFPs haven’t been issued yet, and this is all written in (virtual) pencil. If there is one thing Agile has taught us, it is that a team of people can create a better solution to a problem than any one person in isolation. Keeping that in mind, I welcome any feedback or suggestions that you readers may have these ideas. I promise to consider each of them carefully and give them appropriate weight as the program committee comes to decisions about what our content should include.
Additionally, I’d like people to consider the role they’d like to play in this year’s conference. I’m going to need several Stage Producers, who are the individuals responsible for reviewing, selecting, and scheduling the individual technical stages. I’m ultimately responsible for the overall technical program, but I’m going to rely heavily on my Stage Producers for the detailed selection process. And they are going to need reviewers, lots of reviewers. Last year, we had well over a thousand submissions to the conference, and we’re expecting even more this year. We’d like to have at least 9 reviewers per stage. More reviewers means more eyes on each submission, increasing the chances of quality submissions being noticed early. Whether you can volunteer to read a dozen submissions, or if you can be a review-god like at least one person last year and read all of them, we’d still appreciate and value your help.
Oh, yeah, we’re also going to need people to submit stuff, too! Start thinking hard about what you’d like to talk about, demonstrate, teach, or discuss this year. I’m looking for all kinds of content, but we especially want the deep stuff. Like Jim Newkirk has said in a previous posting, we want to provide a lot of content for our experts, so submissions at the deepest levels are going to receive an extra hard look.
Go with your passions, go with your interests, go with your experience, and submit something!
Contacting me with ideas, suggestions, opinions, criticisms…
If you have anything you’d like to say to me, or have me relay for you to the Program Committee, you can reach me at techprogram2010 at agilealliance.org . I’ll answer you as quickly as I can.