Becoming agile

Agile, through the storms

Archive for the tag “Alistair Cockburn”

Games should be taken, well, seriously!

The 8th Agile Practitioners IL meeting took place on May 30th 2012, at SAP offices in Raanana.

Loyal to the title of the meeting, Agile Playground, we played two games highlighting agile values.

The first game was based on Alistair Cockburn’s version of James Shore’s Offing the Offsite Customer game. It is a fantastic game to experience many aspects of agility: iterative and incremental process, inspect and adapt, short feedback loops, and many more. To me, when introduced by Alistair Cockburn in the 2009 Scrum User Group, I have learned on agile requirements in less than an hour more profoundly than many other learning opportunities I have had before and after.

Judging by the discussion that followed, participants devoted themselves to the session, and I hope we succeeded to have similar influence.

In the second part, Lior Friedman facilitated several estimation techniques, including planning poker, silent sorting, and relative sorting. Not surprisingly, this exercise proved once again that absolute estimations yield vast variance between individuals and teams – up to 10 fold, compared to relative estimations that yield in majority of cases not more than one notch difference between teams.

In the video below you may see a very uncommon sight in a group of Israeli software experts: a large group of more than 30 people exercising silent sorting

We would like to thank our hosts at SAP Israel for their warm hospitality, and, of course, all participants, loyal patrons as well as newcomers for coming to the group meeting

See you in AP_IL #9


AP_IL #9 and AP_IL #10 are already planned with contributors from the community. Follow our linked in group Agile Practitioners IL to find out who is going to be there.

If you would like to share, or you would like one of our sessions to focus on a specific issue – please let us know – These meetings are all about sharing the agile culture with all of us!

What has NATO got to do with agile practices?

In one of the most influential articles I have read on the values behind agile, Alistair Cockburn refers to the 1968 NATO conference.

The Science Committee that brought forward the task of assessing the field of computer science, and its recommendation in 1967 to hold a working conference on Software Engineering. The term Software Engineering did not publicly exist until then. It was chosen as being provocative deliberately, checking the boundaries between practicing computer programming and other established branches of engineering.

I have read this article several times, and keep coming back to it. To me, it explains quite a lot of what has happened in the 40 odd years following the conference.

Interestingly, in 1970 Dr. Winston Royce introduced the paper
“Managing the Development of Large Software Systems”, commonly known as the Waterfall process. This pseudo engineering form was described by Dr Royce himself as being flawed. Yet, it was, and largely still is, the most practiced methodology for software development for decades.

If you, like me, want to learn a little more on the history that led us to where we are today, you are more than welcome to the 5th meeting of Agile Practitioners IL.

Meet Gil Zilberfeld, and hear on the fascinating ten year history since the Agile Manifesto:

The Agile tribe war – A 10-year history lesson

In the beginning there was the Agile Manifesto, and everything looked peachy. And then the universe exploded.

10 years later, we’re in the (post?) agile era, where different tribes are off to win the “we were right” cup. There are the craftsmen, scrum people, lean people, the post-agilists, and everyone else in the middle trying to make sense of this thing called Agile, what really works and how much it really costs.

How come the agile principles that were supposed to be the Great Unifying Theory of software, opened a tribal war we’ve been seeing the last few years? Is agile the real answer, or simply a filler between the waterfall and the next hotness? 

Join me in a travel through time, to piece together a puzzle of politics, money, intrigue, and yes, even software, and come up with a better understanding of what the hell really happened here and where we’re going from here..

The meeting will take place at Amdocs offices in Raanana, Israel, on Sunday December 4th. Gathering and mingling starts at 17:30, and the talk starts at 18:00.

Hope to see you there!

And a quick reminder:

Agile Practitioners 2012 conference is offered at special Early Bird prices.

To view the program and to register, visit our website at

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