Wednesday, August 26, 2009


We were all staring at the freakish picture of the speaker, Alistair Cockburn, when a guy emerged from the door and crossed the entire room, playing bagpipes along the way. Cockburn then appeared on the stage and started reciting the "Agile" version of some part of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar... That's how the keynote speech, titled "I come to bury Agile, not to praise it", started.

It was an interesting talk overall. Here are some points Cockburn made during the presentation (not an exhaustive summary):

  • When we pick items from the backlog, we should not just consider business value; technical risk is also an important consideration. We may want to start working on the riskier things earlier to get a lot of knowledge as fast as possible.
  • The "gold card": when a developer gets a "gold card" (I'm not sure through what mechanism), that developer gets to work on anything he wants for a couple of days. Cockburn seems to be in favor of having some sort of "thinking time"!
  • We should stop talking about "Agile". We should bury the term itself, since all those practices are now part of the current way to do software engineering. It is now time to consider experimenting with newer techniques.

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