Agile Australia 2010

27 September 2010

Scattered impressions from my recent trip to Australia for the Agile Australia conference.

  • The Australian agile community is small and somewhat disconnected from the rest of the world (for a good reason, it's a long flight from anywhere). But however small and disconnected they are, they are no less mature. Many of the issues here were just the same as at Agile2010.
  • I was particularly happy to see it announced that Jim Highsmith is joining us at Thoughtworks. I first met Jim on a speaking tour that included my first visit to Australia. I've always found he has a way of helping people look at software development from a new set of perspectives, so I'm looking forward to having him as a colleague. (There's a worthwhile summary of his talk on InfoQ.)
  • There was a strong IT leadership presence at the conference, particularly brought home by Jeff Smith - CIO of Suncorp (one of Australia's largest insurance companies).
  • A high-point of my trip (before the conference) was my visit to Lonely Planet, where Nigel Dalton gave me a tour of story-walls around the company. I've been a customer of Lonely Planet guide books for twenty years, so it was good to see how much the organization had gained from the techniques we agilists have talked about. Nigel talked at the conference, focusing on the use of agile ideas outside the software development side. On my visit we spent a good bit of time talking about LP's shift to digital publication.
  • I did my what is now my usual style of keynote - a SuiteOfTalks. In deciding what to do I was rather torn since there were three talks I wanted to give, but there was only room for two with the expected Q&A. So after delivering two talks I gave the audience the choice: Q&A or a third talk. I was interested to note that the vote for a third talk was almost unanimous.
  • As I keep saying, I like being in Australia, but hate going there. 28 hours of travel isn't fun, even with an upgrade. But there's such a nice atmosphere to Sydney and Melbourne and I have lots of happy memories of exploring these cities with Cindy a couple of years ago. I certainly hope to be back for another longer visit with her.