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Øredev 2011 in the rear-view mirror – Part 6


This is the final part of my Øredev 2011 summary. It covers the last three talks that I attended and concludes my visit to Øredev.

Jim Benson – Healthy Projects

Acccording to Jim, healthy projects are:

  • Happy
  • Productive
  • Stress-free
  • Focused
  • Nice to the workers

He gave a good description of when things tends to go wrong in an organization, visualized with the following organizational structure:

  • Company (has many portfolios)
  • Portfolios (has many projects)
  • Projects (has many tasks)
  • Tasks

Imagine someone working at task level being “promoted” to project level, e.g. by becoming a product owner. If this person can’t understand his new role and keep focusing on task level details, it will lead to micro management. The same applies when moving from project to portfolio and portfolio to company.

Jim then talked about rules. If/when you add rules to an organization, you also have to introduce processes to handle these rules. If the rules are hard to follow, people will fail. When they do, they will blame the process.

A good technique to visualize how a team is feeling is to mark scrum or kanban notes with an illustration that describe how they feel after completing a task. Simple, yet communicative!

I found it hard to stay focused during this session, but it really grew on me afterwards.

Doc List – Development is a game

This session was all about Doc having an idea and wanted a lot of stuff to happen. He asked, how do we measure how good we are at what we do, and what are the kpi:s to use? Certificates? Level of success?

He then asked – why can’t life itself be a game? Why can’t we have rewards in our professions? Why can’t we have quests? Want to measure a person? Give him or her a quest! Want to measure a team? Give it a group quest!

Doc wants to create a globally applicable system, that ranks people according to what they know. With this, if you need “a level 24 Java developer”, you will have a specification of what a level 24 Java developer knows and a list of persons who are at that level (since it is measurable). Doc wants to build a global community for this and wants…

…well, there you have my problem with this talk. Doc is a charming man who has been around a while and has a great rep, but…this was just talk. I’ll wait for Doc to prove me wrong and actually announce that he has started working on his global system. Until then, I lay my focus elsewhere.

Dan North – Pattern of effective delivery

With Dan’s keynote being one of the highlights of Øredev (I missed it), I looked forward to this session. So did the rest of the conference. The room was packed.

Dan spoke of some exciting new patterns, like:

  • Spike and Stabilize (easy, semi-effective) – try something, then build it well. Optimize for discovery.
  • Ginger Cake (semi-hard, semi-effective) – break the rules once you go senior, like an experienced baker baking ”a chocolate cake, but with ginger”.
  • Short software half-life – how long before you have to fix a bug? Optimize for throwawayability.

I didn’t find this to be an interesting talk at all, but rather pointless. Watch the video - do you agree?

Conclusion

Øredev 2011 was fantastic, with high mountains and some valleys. Next year, I hope to see more local talents and a better mix of speakers. Being an American shouldn’t automatically quality you.

Anyway, a BIG thank to the crew! You delieved an inspiring conference that I often mentally revisit.