It was amazing to see the interest in the academic community to introduce Agile in their way of working. It was a second such conference that I attended after the Agile Goa 2007. There were representations from nearly 30 colleges, well mixed with people from the industry. We are told by the college authorities that there were 150+ registrations for the event with 125 people attending the conference.
The story behind how the conference was organized is pretty Agile. Within 10 days after CSI Ghaziabad chapter conceived the idea of a workshop, the Agile community in the NCR region responded back with speakers filling up the slots in no time.
The day started with a few ceremonies and the Agile lamp was lit to keep the Agile light burning strong throughout the day. What followed was a full day of immersion into various aspects of Agile starting from presentation and discussion on “Waterfall to Agile” followed by an activity to prove why Agile is a better way of developing software. Just before lunch we had an interesting session on Scrum. Post lunch was dedicated to eXtreme Programming and case studies on Agile. The complete agenda is present here.
Interesting part of the workshop was the interaction by the audience. Enthusiasts in the audience kept on asking a lot of questions and most of the sessions had to be closed in the interest of time leaving a few questions unanswered. These questions were then taken up during the tea breaks.
All in all I would sum up the conference as a good start in this part of the world. I am sure that there would be many more conferences and workshops organized in Ghaziabad but this one definitely has set the tone for the future.
An interesting comment came from one of a very senior professor at the conference. He said
I came to this conference thinking that there is some new kind of software called Agile software, however, I am pleased to see that it is not a new software. In fact, it is a refreshing technique that I can apply to the development of any software. The software remains the same, however, the way we develop it changes so that we are more efficient.
Following is a retrospective on the workshop so that we can learn for the future.
What went well?
- First workshop in this part of the world.
- All arrangements done at a short notice. This includes infrastructure, snacks, lunch, pickup and drop for speakers etc.
- The Agile community responded in a very positive way and the speaker slots were filled up in no time. We had to turn down a few requests since there were no slots available.
- The sessions were very interactive.
- Content was good.
Areas of Improvement.
- The starting ceremony took a lot of time. This should be kept short. More so because Agile is light on ceremonies.
- Mobile phones should be put on silent.
- The seating arrangement should be either circular or in U shape, if possible. This allows efficient communication. A classroom kind of arrangement is less efficient.
- There should be limited movement of people in front of the speaker. This tends to distract the speaker.
- There should be a cordless mic for the speaker and a couple of extra mics for the audience to ask questions. If extra mics are not present for the audience then the speaker should repeat the question.
- One dedicated person should control the proceedings. He should ensure that the breaks (tea, snacks, lunch etc) begin and end on time so that the program is not affected.
- There should be enough space for free movement of the speaker and for Agile activities to be conducted.