Sunday, November 13, 2011

After Oredev 2011

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Now in Stockholm, 2 AM in the morning, still jetlagged, thanks to hotel wifi and my MacBook I don’t feel lonely to death :)

Last week was so technicolor and surrounded by hundreds of geeks and freaks. Pieces of memories are still buzzing in my head, Oredev is one of the best conferences Ive ever been to. You will understand what Im talking about if you just check twitter for #Oredev

I reached Malmo on Monday, as usual another 20 hours long trip from Sri Lanka.

1st day was so boring to me, I didn’t know anyone around.. in fact no one was around to see :). I was not in mood to go to Sauna event or to the dinner at night. So as usual I did my favorite task in Scandinavia.. that’s “sleeping for 13 hours”

When I went to have my breakfast on Tuesday morning, I saw some of the speakers there, So I fell in to conversation with @testertested, @arungupta from Oracle and few others. We had a brief discussion about our markets in general.

A short introduction to Malmo was good for any 1st time visitor. I met few other speakers and the week stared to happen from there.

The speaker dinner was glamorous, wish if I had a camera with me, but I found this video done by @yfrog. see that here. http://yfrog.com/0nlhobz. This beautiful place is a 500 years old building as explained by the Mayor of Malmo. In this video Im next to @ourfounder and covered to some people J

On Wednesday, the conference started officially. I enjoyed the keynote by Alexis Ohanian ( “only your mom visit your website”) the co-founder of reddit. It was an awsome speech by such a young professional with loads of humor, the passion he has in him is unbelievable.

I attended three sessions on Wednesday: the presentations by Jean Tabaka at Rally Software, Patrick Kua at thoughtworks and Potia Tung. I enjoyed pairing exercise by Doc (@athought) a lot.

I was to go to dinner with a group of speakers that day night, but I was bit pressured with my talk to be done on the next day, as well as Peter (from Exilesoft Sweden) had a lot to catch-up with me. So I decided not to go out at night.

During the morning hours on Thursday, I spent time for preparing my talk. After lunch I attended to Jean Tabaka’s another session “Golden circle” where she presented many slides about agile adoption @ Cochlear Australia. She used pictures of @rrottier and his colleague’s speech at agile conference in Australia.

The session before mine was done by Jeff Patton and he discussed many interesting points about todays fake agile practices.

Here comes my turn….. Im in the stage, in front of a room full of audience.. I remembered to breath as I thought that will take my breath away, then I started to have all the fun as I never thought before…

My session was focused on team collaboration in distributed environment; I made it a point to be focused on my experience with Scandinavian context with distributed teams in Sri Lanka. (This is my day to day life at Exilesoft), so I think the audience managed to relate it with their experience better and I managed to be so relaxed in the stage as never before. I structured my presentation based following 5 aspects;

1. Talent distribution is the number one reason to use distributed teams.

2. Arguments about complexities based on geographical zones are subjective to their own experiences.

3. Agile adoption and feature teams in highly integrated environments help to avoid most the traditional issue in the context, but introduce some new challenges.

4. There are good people everywhere, if we have the right way and attitude to work with them, they will work if not they cannot.

5. Faking agile is the worst thing one can do when dealing with distributed teams; it adds loads of confusion to all the parties.

I used a case study to model distributed teams in various ways such as component teams, knowledge teams and feature teams. ( 2 min is given to the audience to think through their solutions too). Then I spoke about few other aspects such as project initiation when using distributed teams, culture aspect, high expectations of commonsense, employee retention issues when the work is not interested and the relationships become sour, Layers of trust and the danger of building trust based on the facts which doesn’t exists (OP: check the code by yourself) and importance of collocation and AAR.

I shouldn’t have stopped talking, but the coordinator signaled me and said that there is only 5 min left. So I had to stop there. J

I like the feedback I got and the questions thrown to me. Im so happy to see one of the tweet about my talk on the twitter canvas by @imagethink.

Thanks to Oredev for donating money to children in Africa behalf of me talking at Oredev. As per most the speakers, this is the best thing you guys did.

Friday Morning lean coffee was really interesting. I think this is something I need to try out with my colleagues at Exilesoft.

I liked the Healthy projects by Jim ( @outfounder : the author of personal KANBAN and many other books) and Dan’s(@tastapod) session about patterns was really interesting, I couldn’t stop laughing throughout his session. I didn’t like the fact I missed his keynote.

I enjoyed the closing keynote by Amber Case about the future of interfaces.

Friday night we had a good dinner and so much fun with some of the speakers.

My overall takeaway points from the sessions I participated:

1. Its time to think towards user experiences and interactions in new ways, or we will be obsolete with our products.

2. BDD and agile testing: lot more to learn.

3. Rally software organization wide agile adoption, Need to think through how we can relate with it.

4. Future of scrum seems to be blur. Software professionals have started to hate scrum due to organizations adopting to rules of scrum but not the real agile values.. values without scrum has become a pain to most the people. Everyone sounded very enthusiastic about KANBAN as it promotes agile/lean values within itself.

5. Most the Scandinavian IT professionals are very passionate about what they do and they read a lot. This is what we need to encourage within our offshore teams to make them good teammates with each other.

 

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