Open Spaces at the Agile Conference

When I arrived at Agile 2013, I looked at the program and picked out sessions — mostly about improving the front-end of development. In order to do this, I had to pass the lounge area, which had tables, chairs, couches, easels … and lots and lots of white boards. This area was the “open jam”, a collaboration space where anyone could propose anything.
Well, I suppose, nothing vulgar — but there were sessions on “Mob Programming,” “No Estimates,” and even one on “PowerPoint Karaoke.” (More about that later.)

Extending Agile To The Left

At a time when other conferences are splitting into smaller and smaller regional and micro-tech events, the Agile Conference, with its 1,700 attendees, stands alone.
Alone and overwhelming. The event had sixteen different tracks spanning everything from DevOps to coaching and mentoring, leadership, and lean startup to classic elements like development, testing, and quality assurance.
Not to mention the vendor booths, the Stalwarts Stage (where experts “just” answered questions for 75 minutes), the four-day boot camp for beginners, and the academic track. The 215 sessions brought one word to mind: overwhelming.
Instead of focusing on one track or concept, I spent my time at the conference looking for themes and patterns. What surprised me was where I found those ideas — to the left, in product design, and to the right, in DevOps, not in the middle, in classic software.