My first experience with Extreme Programming (XP) was in 2000 after reading the "Extreme Programming Explained" book by Kent Beck, and it got me pretty excited about building software in a new, collaborative way. After taking "The Art of Agile" course* by James Shore and Diana Larsen last year, I felt a sense of excitement similar to when I learned about XP over 10 years ago. The course refreshed me on the principles, values, and practices followed by high-performing Agile teams, and re-energized my pursuit of building great teams that deliver valuable software. But the course wasn't just a refresher, it also contained new material that I felt made it relevant for today's market:
- Building products using techniques from The Lean Startup (including material and exercises about identifying Minimum Marketable Features)
- Starting off new projects on the right foot by building team trust, consensus on the project's purpose, and clear team working agreements. (Diana is the co-author of a new book about this very topic - Liftoff)
- How teams can facilitate change in their workplace
- How to make XP's On-Site Customer role work on teams without an on-site customer
I took this course with my entire company -- yes, that means all forty-some people at Cyrus Innovation, from software developers to operations and sales folks, with experience levels ranging from new to Agile and Extreme Programming to seasoned practitioners. We gave the course excellent reviews across the board; everyone walked away with something they could use immediately on their teams. As a team member, it felt great to have a shared group experience and consensus about the fundamental way we work.
So here's the "Hair Club for Men" moment -- we at Cyrus Innovation like this course so much, and felt it was so valuable to us as a company, that we decided to partner with James and Diana to offer this course again to the public in New York. It was a fun course, memorable, and interactive - including a fully immersive series of four iterations building a real software product. I think this course could be valuable to people who are just learning about Agile software development and to folks with experience looking to get reinvigorated about Agile and XP. And taken as a team, I think there are huge benefits in the form of shared context, vision, and momentum that can translate immediately to new or long-lived teams and projects.
For more details, check out artofagilenyc.com.
* Technically it's two courses in one week: "The Art of Agile Planning" and "The Art of Agile Delivery".