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Monday, April 17, 2006

Agile India 2006

So the Agile India 2006 conference is around the corner once again. Too bad I'll be in Singapore when it happens.

Going through the list of topics once, I'm struck by a sense of deja vu. Yet another introduction to Agile. Yet more introductions to developer testing. Didn't we go through much of this last time?

And, how many sessions on tools!! Selenium, Watir, Frenkenstein, J2EE Testing, Sahi.. please, enough already! Last time it was FIT, Marathon, CppUnit, Cruisecontrol and DamageControl. Tool discussions should be limited to workshops. That's where they are the most useful. Nothing more boring than watch someone explain xml configuration files on a powerpoint slide.

Presentations should be for concepts: To illustrate, explaining why continuous integration is so damn cool should be done in a presentation. You want to generate people to buy in and believe in the concept. Describing a specific CI tool like Cruisecontrol or DamageControl should go into the workshop.

Two topics that caught my eye were "Design And Implementation of Robotics Languages" by Ravi Mohan and "Agile Approach to Bootstrapping a custom Firmware for Lego Mindstorms" by Rajesh Babu, just because they are so different from the rest.

I heard Ravi Mohan talk last year and it was very interesting for its "geek" factor. It was about using Agile techniques with AI software (using a combination of Lisp, Erlang, C and Ruby :) ). And then ripped up a few people on the panel discussion.. that was fun. We had a chat later on. His website is One Man Hacking.

The two keynotes also sound interesting, especially the one on DSDM. Most people equate Agile to XP, or sometimes Scrum. The fact is that there are many agile methods, some of which differ drastically from XP. From what I've read, DSDM is one of those. For instance, DSDM teams have specialist roles, whereas XP says that most team members should be cross-functional. And DSDM does emphasise some modelling, unlike the XP mantra of No Big Design Up Front.

A couple of people I'd really like to hear are Alistair Cockburn and David Anderson, (both are Scots incidentally) simply because they bring in such a different perspective on Agile. I'm a BIG fan of both of them. [Sometimes I think that the term Agile has been co-opted by the XP and Scrum groups, but that's a topic for another post.]

There are a few other interesting sessions here and there, but I just get this nagging feeling in my gut that most of the other sessions are just going to rehash the same old stuff yet again.

Anyway, for Rs.500, the conference is an absolute steal! Definately worth going to. It was excellently organised last year and certainly worth going to again this year. If you haven't registered yet, hurry up and register already. You can register online, and you only have to pay at the counter when you get there. The registration form is here.

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