Jun 12, 2018

Impressions from SEACON 2018 - Part 1


by Silke Tautorat


An extraordinary keynote

The first day’s keynote “Umgang mit Komplexität lernen” (learn how to deal with complexity) was held by two 13-year old pupils of the Evangelische Schule Berlin and has been a very interesting start for a Software Engineering & Architecture Conference.
Romy Randel and Rosalie Hermann presented in a very professional way the everyday life at their school, in which each student can decide on their own at what pace they want to learn and work on projects.
Of course, the students have a fixed time-table, but in certain units called "Lernbüro" (learning office) they can choose if they want to do Maths, German or English and on what topic they want to work on.
Every few months the students together with their tutor, usually a teacher, agree on goals for the upcoming month and check on the achievement of the past time.
One day of the week is reserved for a project that the whole class, which comprehends of students from 7th to 9th grade, is working on, for example improve the neighbourhood or work in an old people’s home.
Another difference to other schools is the yearly “Projekt Herausforderung” (project challenge). All students must plan and organize a three-week project with a budget of 150€. This can be done all alone or in a group of students and can be everything from a stay on a farm to work with animals, a canoeing trip to a journey to Italy.
Both girls seemed to be very happy with this type of school and, according to the way they presented the keynote and answered questions, this model encourages self-confidence and self-organisation.

Eleven Lessons Learned from a large agile project bei EOS

Maik Wurdel summarized the twelve lesssons learned (he spontaneously added the twelfth one) he and his team made in a large agile project. They have been developing a major core system, which is supposed to replace the existing system shortly. They set up the first agile teams within their company EOS. Here is the list in my own words:

  1. Try to establish start-up conditions: not a lot of processes, cross-functional teams, all in one place. And make sure to have an effective communication on what you are doing in this new agile team to the rest of the company, otherwise a lot of misunderstanding and irritation might happen.
  2. Never start without a customer. The correct understanding on what the customer really needs and wants is very important.
  3. Get an agile coach to support the teams and the transition. The coach should not be just another Scrum Master.
  4. Go live early, to learn as soon as possible.
  5. Conway is right: Organizations are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations. Establish Feature Teams.
  6. Autonomous decisions need clear objectives, aim for high transparency.
  7. Define and measure your KPIs.
  8. Developers in agile teams do not develop faster, they learn faster.
  9. If you are using cutting-edge technology, check regularly if it is still the right choice or if you need to adjust. Start small.
  10. Agility is nothing you just do, agility is a state of mind and has its reasons. You don't do agile, you are agile - with good cause...
  11. Agility has its price: transparency and sprinting is strenuous.
  12. Agile transformation starts with the first team member. Everyone is different and has diverging experiences.

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