Last week, I spent a few days at Agile Cambridge. I’ve been to this conference once before back in 2014, where I gave a talk on whether agile can work for off-the-shelf software. I was also speaking this year, but about “Tracking the Unmeasurable with OKRs”. Overall, it was an enjoyable conference as it gave me time away from code, and enough headspace to think about the processes involved in writing software without the details of the tech used to do it.
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Agile song-writing workshop
by Farah Egby
Something about the title of this workshop drew my attention, and always willing to try something new and to step out of my comfort zone, I went along. In the 90 minute session, a group of about 12 wrote and performed an original song, inspired by our love/hate of agile. We did this by first decomposing the song into its constituent parts (a chorus and three verses). We collectively worked on the chorus, which would have an uplifting feel to highlight the positives of agile. We then split into three groups, where each group worked on a different verse. After several minutes, we rotated to iterate on the verse created by a different group. We did this again until each group had worked on all three verses.
It was now time to put the lyrics to a melody. Farah had come pre-prepared with a chord progression and some suggeted styles, so we didn’t have to start completely from scratch. After a few false starts, a melody started to emerge. It wasn’t long before we had our completed masterpiece.
It was an interesting idea for a session, and one which I enjoyed taking part in. The following day, some of our group performed the song on stage in the welcome session at the start of the day - I chose to offer moral support from the audience.
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Unleashing the transformational power of play. With Lego. Seriously
For my last session of the conference I chose to attend Robb’s session. I mainly chose this because it involved Lego, something which I have had a strong interest in since I was a child. Robb showed how using a small set of just 50 Lego pieces, insights can be discovered to aid with the coaching process. It was also fun to build some simple models as the workshop progressed, including one challenge of “build a tower with you in it”. We also got to keep the Lego at the end of the session :)