SPA Conference session: The Sword and Other Tales

One-line description:Shiny new practices that have been stress-tested in small web development teams.
Session format: Tutorial (75 mins) [read about the different session types]
Abstract:In this fast-moving and varied presentation, Gwyn and Laurie will condense over a year's worth of retrospectives into one hour of shiny new practices that have been stress-tested in small web development teams.

We'll talk about the Wall of Wire, the Sword of Integration, and how to play Speed Poker with commitment and without cards. This is an experience session, so each new tool will be supported by a description of the problem that caused us to develop it, and the results of putting it into practice.

Other areas we can cover:

* How to use a sword of integration to fix build collisions (unimportant) and weld a group of programmers into a high-performing team (important)

* How to recognise a Stealthholder before they destroy your project

* How to enhance planning poker to get more accurate estimates, faster

* How to use heat-seeking actions to make sure that meetings actually achieve something

* How to survive if you're scrum-mastering several small projects at once

* How to use lego to introduce Agile to customers
Audience background:This session is primarily aimed at managers and developers in small (< 8) person teams. We use Scrum, but many of these practices apply to other agile methodologies.
Benefits of participating:New ideas, new energy, and a new approach to solving problems.

Attendees will recognise many of the issues we faced, and will return to their teams with new ideas to test out, enhancing their own process of continuous improvement.
Materials provided:Marker pens, paper, and masking tape - enough to take notes and make a Sword of Integration.
Process:We'll start by showing how rapidly prototyping process changes - like a Sword - builds initiative and trust among the team, and can have far-reaching benefits.

Then we'll challenge the audience to do the same thing, setting them a problem and allowing for several iterations of possible solutions.

Once the audience has had some practice with this on a contrived exercise, we'll invite them to use their new skills to solve a real-world problem: the Stealthholder pattern. We'll run a sketch, then invite small (
Detailed timetable:(subject to change and audience interaction - this is agile, after all)

0:00-0:10 - introduction
0:10-0:30 - the Sword
0:30-0:50 - Stealthholders
0:50-1:10 - Estimation
1:10-1:15 - wrapup
Outputs:New skills and new ideas! And maybe some paper swords.

We'll encourage people to write their own retrospective actions to make sure the changes make it all the way to the ground.
History:This session was run (in non-interactive form) at Scrum Gathering 2009 this October, and will run (in modified form) at XP Day.
1. Gwyn Morfey
New Bamboo
2. Laurie Young 3.