Good start to the Agile 2009 show… seems bigger than last year and well organized so far.
Interesting, we’re seeing lots of people from safety-critical shops – medical devices, telecom, military & aerospace, etc. Anecdotally seems like a big change from last year. Todd attended an Agile in safety critical talk that was a good general overview of why Agile is better than traditional development methods for these shops, but lacked specifics on how, why, etc. There’s an FDA & Agile presentation later in the week which will present an actual medical device case study – that should offer more specifics on how to reconcile the process-heavy, documentation-centric approach to a typical regulated environment with Agile.
We also attended Effective Code Reviews in Agile Teams. Good overview from the Spartez team. Originally thought this might be vendor specific (Mark’s blog also touched on this) as Spartez does lots of work for Atlassian Crucible but overall it was a good overview even though all the demos were with Crucible. Despite that, they kept it vendor neutral and described the challenges of adopting code reviews and the keys to success. They reviewed a bunch of common code review misconceptions and pitfalls. Namely that people see this as a frantic bug hunt and that it will find all bugs in your code. Also many developers see this as a “big brother” tool where metrics including every comment will be tracked. For managers, they warned not to expect a clear picture that code reviews have saved you x amount of time. Well that would be nice. ;) In terms of how this fits in an Agile context there is definitely one clear message, everyone can join/review/invite/modify a code review. It’s all about the team (of course!) and about learning, not blaming. They see code reviews not as a tool-centric activity but basically a way to enhance communication or emphasize individuals and interactions, to use an Agile Manifesto term.
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The exhibit hall was also quite busy, lots of good discussions with attendees.