The invitation for an OpenSpace
event is an important document in that it outlines
- who was invited
- what they were invited to discuss
- the "givens" established for that discussion
Opportunities and Challenges: "Growing Agile Practices"
Exploring Ways to Promote a more Agile Workplace.
- Sent: January 12, 2004
- To: Toronto professional groups: XP/Agile? Toronto, Scrum Toronto, Toronto JUG, Montreal XP Group
- From: Deborah Hartmann, RegBraithwaiteLee, and the Scrum Toronto professional group
- Re: One-day "Open Space" event on Agile Software Development
- Event Date: Sunday Feb 8th, 2004 from 10am - 4pm
- Location: Downtown Toronto or TTC accessible (see map for details)
- Cost: A fee of $25 will cover the cost of lunch and supplies. A discount can be extended in certain cases, please inquire.
- To Register: Please email ScrumTorontoEventsemail@example.com to reserve your attendance, as space is limited.
We invite you to contribute your professional experience to this discussion, as we explore ways to broaden and deepen our implementations of Agile Software Development practices. Our objective is to discover ways to remove roadblocks to Agility within our own development shops.
Agile Software Development, once the domain of innovators alone, seems poised to break into the mainstream. The word "Agile" is popping up in the marketing materials of big-name players, whether they be adopting it wholesale or merely toying with it. But there are those who argue that this heralds a watering-down of the key values that make Agile Software Development (called "ASD" hereafter) radically different. It will become more and more important, as we move forward, to maintain the emergent nature of ASD, and to that end we are holding this event.
ASD cannot be reduced to a laundry list of sequential steps - it requires constant revision and adaptation to its context. There can be no "cookbook" implementation that will guarantee its success. The final shape of any Agile practice will emerge over time, and at its best will assume a shape appropriate to its organisational, technical and human context - a different shape in each workplace, potentially. And yet, because ASD is driven by values and principles, ASD shops tend to share certain commonalities, and the lessons learned in one can be valuable for another.
This is an opportunity to brainstorm your own concerns and problems with like-minded colleagues in the open-ended setting of an Open Space meeting. We invite you to join us as we interact with one another's ideas and questions - and hopefully emerge with new strategies and the courage to turn our own problems into opportunities.
Your Initiative and the Agenda
The agenda for our conversations will be created by your initiative, by your perception of the challenges and opportunities worth discussing, in relation to the theme. You will also be asked to take responsibility for reporting your ideas and proposals. Your active involvement will be essential to our success. Organisations have used Open Space Technology successfully across Canada and around the world to enable spirited and productive dialogue. This approach will allow you to focus on those issues for which you have a passion to discover solutions and strategies.
Topics will be set by the participants themselves on the day of the meeting, but could include items such as:
- Introducing XP into a non-Agile shop;
- Overcoming resistance to <Agile practice xyz>;
- What can we do about hidden fears that undermine a project?
- Challenges of fitting Scrum into a non-Agile organisation;
- The Agile mindset - what is it? How can we promote it?
- Brainstorming topics for a future Agile/Traditional? Summit
If you want to find our more about Open Space as a meeting approach, we suggest you check our facilitator's web site at www.spiritedorg.com which has links to other Open Space sites as well. This meeting approach will be new for many of you, so expect some pleasant surprises.This will be an excellent opportunity to experience a professionally-led Open Space session, and evaluate whether it is a tool you want to add to your Agile toolbox.
Givens for the Event
This meeting does take place within some boundaries, to help focus our discussion during the short time we are together:
- Software Development, for our purposes, broadly encompasses the management and execution of software development, including areas such as requirements analysis, quality assurance and configuration management (which remain distinct disciplines in some workplaces).
- The Agile Manifesto, authored in 2001, is a "point-in-time" document stating the intention of 17 thought leaders in the field of software development. It is not our intention to debate the validity of this document, or to revise it. Its value as a helpful approach to software development is assumed for the purposes of this meeting.
- The document Principles behind the Agile Manifesto outlines, at a high-level, 12 principles whose adoption the authors of the Manifesto recommend. We do not plan to revise this list, however, in keeping with the ASD acceptance of "emergence", this list cannot be considered exhaustive and discussion of its content may prove useful.
- "Agile Practices" refers to specific development or management practices intended to promote a more Agile workplace, i.e. in harmony with the Agile Manifesto. This includes macro-patterns like XP and Scrum as well as practices with more precise scope, like XP's pair-programming. Some of these are already well documented on the web and in print, however discussion of specific practices is still encouraged, in keeping with the ASD idea of "emergent process".
- While some early ASD innovators have used it for "new product development", our discussion is intended to also cover use of ASD in workplaces where software is a supporting tool and not the primary product of the enterprise.
Our Commitment to You
You will be contributing a day of your time to this effort. Thus, as the Sponsor, we make the following commitments to you:
- To reduce the need to keep copious notes, a list of related resources (publications and links) will be made accessible to participants during the meeting.
- As a record of proceedings, the reports produced by the working groups during the day will be posted on a publicly accessible internet site shortly after the meeting ends.
- To encourage continued discussion following the meeting, threads will be started on one or more publicly accessible internet discussion boards, shortly after the meeting ends.
- We believe that Open Space is a useful "agile" approach to collaborative work, so to help participants leverage its benefits our meeting will be followed by an optional half-hour information session on Open Space, led by our Toronto-based facilitator, Larry Peterson.
Our Facilitator for the Day
We are fortunate to be collaborating with LarryPeterson, one of Canada's most experienced OpenSpace facilitators.
About the Sponsors of this Event
Scrum Toronto is an offshoot of XP/Agile? Toronto, formed last year following the Toronto ScrumMaster Certification course. We are a small group of enthusiasts, using the ScrumToronto Yahoo Group to organise our informal meetings. Many of us also participate in the ScrumDevelopment? Yahoo Group for worldwide discussions relating to Agile and Scrum.
Organisers for ScrumToronto are: DeborahHartmann and RegBraithwaiteLee.