Agile On the Beach

I spent two days recently enjoying being in Cornwall attending and presenting at the first Cornish agile conference Agile on the beach.

The event was a great success with world class speakers (you can see the full list on the website), and an actual beach party on the thursday night with a band (All the fires) and hogroast. The organisation was also superb, co-ordinated by Event cornwall. From the attendee perspective, It was great to meet and talk to such a good turn out of passionate developers and companies.

I have some involvement in the genesis of the event. My dad, Mike Barritt is working for a company called Oxford innovation who are helping companies in cornwall to develop and grow. At some point a while ago, I had connected him with Roger Marlow and suggested that a good way to help everyone get into agile was to host a conference. A year or so later, and I found myself down in cornwall amongst some of the people I have massive respect for in the industry. The event has also had a great sponsorship and support from ThoughtWorks, which makes me really appreciate what an amazing company it is to work for.

Some highlights for me were hearing Mary and Tom Poppendieck talking about Lean Startup and running a value stream mapping workshop, Kevlin Henney reminding us all that software should be FUN, and Jason Gorman firing us up to keep our focus on quality codemanship and staying out of the “Anaerobic” zone when developing code. It was also great to see everyone getting down to the code in a dojo with Jon Jagger, to have the fantastic Rachel Davies helping people with common agile adoption problems, and have Steve Freeman talking about TDD. Quite a line-up!

Unfortunately I couldn’t attend my colleague James Lewis’ talk as we were speaking at the same time, but I have seen the slides and it sounded awesome, so I hope to catch it another day. Parallell to us was Roger so I missed his talk too, but it sounded like he had a good time.

I managed to make a presentation myself, talking through some of the experiences I have had as a consultant working for ThoughtWorks, and in particular some developer practices. I over estimated the amount of material I was trying to get through but did manage to get to a few key points! For those who attended a couple of interesting jump points to follow up might be Martin Fowler on Feature Toggles, gource (the tool at the end), and The continuous delivery book by Jez Humble.

All in all, the event was a great time and I hope that it signifies the beginnings of putting cornwall on the world stage for software development and high tech companies!