Agilia Conference 2015

Back to Agilia conference after year, this time as speaker. It has own specifics, mainly that I spent most of the first day by final tuning of my speech. Despite that I attended few interesting sessions during the first day and second one was also good focusing to learn as much as eaceossible.

Mario Almondo - Team Formula 1 - How to set up culture that drives collaborative approach to win?

Interesting keynote by a cool guy from Ferrari who shares his ideas how to achieve culture they have in Ferrari and which helps them to win. It was full of general ideas but I consider this to be very good opening keynote.

  • Everybody needs to believe in performance
  • Man who does no mistakes is the man ho does nothing
  • To win is easy, keep winning is hard
  • You should have different values for different customers
  • Only you can find out what limits you can achieve
  • We remember difficult situations better than the easy ones
  • The same factors creates different perspectives for different people
  • When you start a training you go down at first
  • Perfection is not an action, it is habit
  • Practice needs to be always based on good theory
  • It is cheaper do it right for the first time
  • Value must be experienced
  • Control via culture vs. Control via rules
  • If you say people to do something, you limit them. If you say them to do not do something, there are no limits because everything else is allowed
  • Ambitions of the team vs. Ambitions of the individuals
  • Win over competition vs. Innovate for customers
  • Emotional intelligence is more important than technical skill
  • Least reasonable opinion is that people should behave reasonably without emotions taken into behaving
  • Look around you. You are all intelligent people here... Now ask you a question "What is my advantage?" 

Anna Danes Boix - Keys to Managing a Succesful Distributed Team

I have really mixed feeling about this one. It was quite simple, but may be too much... Yes we need to avoid loneliness and boring things on distributed teams and we need to have a fun. But there are other challenges which I was expecting to hear about.

And she called us "Workers", that is terrible world, it makes me crazy...


My speech

My idea was to be very concrete and share with you what and why I do, or to be precise, what I do aim for. Also I decided to share our failures and challenges to show you that it is not easy. I hope it was good and you enjoyed it... I did... There were a lot of questions which I always consider to be a good thing and measure of success. Also a lot of people spoke to me later and we had good conversation and promises for future cooperation. Please share any feedback in comments here - I welcome it and will be very pleased by.

I do mentoring, consultancy and speeches for companies about Agile Testing, Agile adoption, etc. so feel free to contact me.

Here are slides for download.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 07.47.04


Janet Gregory - Key Factors for Agile Testing Success

That was my piece of cake. Nice end of the first day.

  • The message is the mind set
  • Agile = ... Continuous stream of value at sustainable pace...
  • Testing of ideas and assumptions
  • Exploratory testing is always based on something - personas, flows, tours
  • Test a feature
  • Thing out of the box
  • Curiosity is the most important aspect of Testing
  • What is my context?
  • There is no magic, but teams need to stop living in fantasy worlds
  • When I was doing puzzle, it was not finished, but I was satisfied because everything important was there (viz picture)
  • Testing Manifesto

IMG_2703 IMG_2706


János Kocsány - How to attract talents? Vision behind the unique working place

I did not understand what is the point to have such presentation on Agile conference, and it was even a keynote. Yes working place is very important, but we all know it should be green and nice to work there. Really disappointment for me.

  • Education and cutting edge companies should be on the same place

Henri Karhatsu - No estimates

This was one of the best speeches for me. Very interesting topic and presented in perfect way. Cool guy, cool ideas, very inspiring.

  • I have nothing against estimations if there is a good reason for it
  • Point is to find out alternatives how to solve the same problem which is the reason why people ask for estimates
  • No estimates is not denying to estimate, is is about to provide better way how to decide
  • Always asks what is the reason for estimates
  • Prioritization is comparison of opportunities
  • Replacing a difficult question be easy one can be a problem
  • When it will be ready? What does it mean ready? How much time you need to fly from city A to city B when distance is 500 km? And how much time it really means to get there?
  • Problem of whiteboards is to get data from them
  • Estimations and forecasting are not the same but both need to be based on proper data
  • Higher level of trust = lower need of estimation
  • Creativity is courage
  • There is a big risk to base your decision on estimated
  • There is a difference between output and outcome
  • Do not estimate the project where you are not sure it will start
  • You have to have an option to quit
  • Be skeptical
  • Start from the risks
  • Story should be small enough, than you have an option to choose these you need to do
  • You should not build features for customer, you should build them for your product

Janet Gregory - Distributed teams

I work in distributed team very often so interesting topic for me. Janet made some very interesting points and this is how I imagine the good speech on this topic. Janet, thank you again...

  • Offshore is terrible word. We are all on different places but nobody is offshore...
  • Try to imagine distributed kindergarten
  • Sometimes there is no choice
  • Cost saving is very bad motivation and it is also false one
  • Distributed teams has a lot of challenges, but also there can be some benefits
    • Ability to hire the best people
    • More diversity
    • Follow the sun
  • Time zones suck
  • You need to keep promises
  • If you call yourself a test team than you are saying you are separated
  • Set up well known communication channels
  • Avoid side communication
  • Emails have no emotions
  • How to get the truth across?
  • Always use web camera!
  • Be proactive - here are tests for yours today programming
  • Blocker status should be a rare exception
  • In most cases we have choice
  • Remove dependencies before or latest during planning
  • Tests and examples are a common language
  • Some testing cannot be done before puzzle is finished but big part can
  • It is ok to do mistakes, it is very bad to repeat them
  • People needs to have feeling of personal safety and respect
  • Offer help, ask for help

Knut Fahlén - Beyond Budgeting

Very interesting topic but it was quite general. I was always waiting for more details but there were not any ... he just jumped to next topic.

  • Do everything within your reality
  • Budget is also power
  • Three levels of budget
    • Target = what we want to happen
    • Forecast = what we think will happen
    • Allocation = what is happening
  • If weather changes you need to change clothes
  • Reasons to go beyond budgets are Uncertainty, Economy, Technology, Demography
  • It is hard to be leader in technical innovation
  • Soft skills and emotions are hard to be copied
  • Are we bad in budgeting or performance?


Arne Ahlander - Becoming Successful Product Owner

Product Owners are a big challenge in our company so I was expecting some real examples sharing and advanced strategies, approaches etc. But this was very basic speech about general things which I think we can read everywhere...

  • If you would like to put on your shoes you need to have socks at first

Angel Medinilla - Change Management

Visiting Agilia 2015 was worth even if there was only this keynote. It was amazing... really amazing...

  • Do not ignore change dynamics
  • "I am surrounded by idiots" is very common excuse
  • Facts alone are not enough because people are not rational. We are emotional beasts! We are still very close to animals.
  • Everybody has 24 hours per day he can prioritize himself
  • To only think about doing something is point less
  • Brain always prefers presence over future
  • If you have no control over yourself you have no influence on others
  • Change is always in fight with culture. Any change without changing the culture will fail...
  • But it is difficult!!! Yes!!! Sorry for that...
  • Story telling is the most powerful force to drive the change
  • When we do not know what to do we look around us to follow others
  • People are identified by identity and environment. Changing environment is forming identity
  • Boiling the frog in the way it does not see it = increasing temperature slowly
  • "It is impossible" is your brain sabotaging your life
  • Change is a process, not event
  • Some people are against any change because of change = "Answer is no because no...". These people always reacts as first...
  • Fine cracks in status quo
  • "Being Agile" is not a goal. It is a solution...
  • If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it
  • Find early adopters who wants to join you on your way to Mordor
  • Responsibility is the best motivation for early adopters
  • Nobody can stop you doing something you love during your personal time
  • Retrospectives are about commitments and planning
  • Most of the people would like to be good guys
  • Ignore Laggards (people who kills ideas)
  • But you need to listen skeptics because they will always provide you with reasons and arguments which you need to evolve
  • Address emotions
  • It is not about company, it is about us
  • Describe things in easy way to be able to be followed in easy way. Yes it is investment but the change is not only for you, it is for everybody.
  • Find action triggers - sign on the exit door "Do not open this door until you push the code"
  • Make alternatives painful. Example: You do not need to estimate in Agile, but you are not Agile so estimate...
  • Use the power of group - when most of the company is on your side that it is easy to explain it to the rest. Nobody likes to be exception...
  • If you have some guru in something do not assign him to project. Let him to be available for everybody.
  • Leaders are the best when they are not noticed
  • Your role is to awake the giant. The giant are the people in your company. If everybody is on your side than even CEO has no power to stop you...



General feeling

In general I can repeat what I said last time. Quality of speeches was very variable. I really enjoyed Janet, Henri and Angel. Unfortunately I missed several of planned sessions on the first day due to final tuning of mine one...

Also networking evening was very good. Coffee was excellent, really excellent, thanks Gills Coffee.

I would appreciate more advanced and concrete presentations - to do not cover general ideas but to focus on concrete problem and its solution. Also some open area for discussion, games, unplanned and ad-hoc presentation will be nice.

I can recommend you Agilia Conference if you are looking for a conference, which has a big spread of topics and you can meet interesting people there...

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