Agile 2014 Recap and a Slight Rant

The Scrum.org crew just returned from the Agile 2014 conference in Orlando. The great conversations with attendees were as good as the sessions themselves. There are people doing some truly amazing things with Scrum and software and this conference is a great place to meet up with them.

I haven’t attended the Agile Alliance conference in a few years, and was delighted to re-familiarize myself with it. I had a special tie to the event this year as a track chair for Developer Practices and Craftsmanship track. My co-chair, K. Scott Allen, and I are very pleased with how the track shaped up and I know a lot of people who really got value from the sessions. Big thanks to the speakers!

Scrum.org in the House

Scrum.org staff, trainers, and consultants were on hand all week. Our general consensus is that the conference is improving. This year felt like a real conversation with a very dynamic community. Only a few notable exceptions (as explained below) were spotted. You can bet Scrum.org will attend again next year!

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Some great sessions were lead by members of the Scrum.org community. They represent quite a diverse collection of topics! PDFs of slide decks are included on most sessions.

On Time, On Budget? What the…?

On a sadder note, I found this sign in the exhibiter hall. This is a tool company promising “On time and budget” after affixing the word “Scrum” behind their name.

Eww. Icky.

Focusing on time and budget “as per the plan” certainly misses the real benefit of Scrum: Empiricism.

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It’s easy to forget that Scrum used well doesn’t just turn the production crank in development teams. Genuinely effective Scrum enables companies to deliver value early and respond intelligently to reality as they do it. Time and budget thinking focuses on costs, not value. Cost-focused thinking is the core source of inhumane workplaces. Cost-thinking doesn’t value people. Cost thinking completely ignores the values expressed in the agile manifesto.

This simple sign signals the weakest understanding of agility, and is all too common in our industry. With messages like these being spread by tool makers and consultants, it is easy to see how so many teams fail to get real value from great ideas like Scrum.

David Starr is a software professional and Chief Operating Officer of Scrum.org where he contributes to Scrum.org’s mission of improving the profession of software development.

  • 4johnny

    That has got to be the worst un-differentiated marketing I have seen… All Agile initiatives are on time and on budget (iteratively and incrementally). :-)