I got to go to Agile 2008 in Toronto, joining over 1500— well, here’s (more or less) what I wrote for my employer’s monthly newsletter on the subject, complete with frothy prose and terminal exclamation point:
In the first week of August, Agile 2008 drew over 1500 agilists and curious folks to downtown Toronto to enjoy the humidity and hundreds of sessions on everything from “The Coach as Music Producer” and “Pairing With The Stars” to “Beginner’s Mind” and “Writing Agile Haiku.” (If you follow the links, you’ll find the original session abstracts, some slides, and even some post-facto reviews.) This year’s conference was twice the size of Agile 2007, and featured more opportunities for learning, interaction, discovery, eating, and drinking than any group of fourteen people could manage … but try we did, the intrepid contingent from SolutionsIQ.
It wasn’t hard to find us or each other among the three floors and five halls the show covered, thanks to the red-banded fedoras and all-black getups we all wore throughout the week, keying off our “Agile Noir” theme.
I’d fill this space three times over talking just about the sessions that were fantastic, notable, worthwhile or amazing. Tom Perry’s and Dhaval Panchal’s talk on swarming behavior in nature and its parallels in Agile practice received wild raves, and Mickey Phoenix and Chris Sterling both had devoted followings before and after their presentations. SolutionsIQ speakers and moderators were everywhere every day, and they played a significant role in the Agile philanthropy project that was among the many in the ample area provided for open-space or do-it-yourself presentations.
Those who attended the Thursday night banquet were treated to “Uncle” Bob Martin’s fabulously funny keynote address in which he, with quite serious intent, called for adding to the Agile Manifesto a fifth element valuing “craftsmanship instead of crap” in software production.
It’ll take us weeks to digest, sort out, follow up, and act on the prodigious quantities of information absorbed and connections made in four days’ time. It’s fortunate indeed that it’s a full 50 40 (or so) weeks before Agile 2009 in Chicago!
The conference used a novel system for reviewing submitted sessions and talks: look, for example, at the entries for my workshop and one of my favorites done (twice, by popular demand, by the inimitable David Hussman). You, too, can discover links like the ones sprinkled throughout this post through the miracle of keywords and Google … or you can just buy me a few beers and hear me read from my notes and riff on my recollections.
Or you could wait for my next post, where I’ll extract from my trusty notebook my collected quotations from the conference.
Obligatory Feel-y Content: it felt good to be at the conference among friends and role-models old and just-made. There you go.
UPDATE: If you want to get a feel for Agile2008 without having been there, check out Mark Levison’s
huge list of links.