Saturday, August 18, 2007

More from Agile 2007

Heather's wrap-up from the Agile 20007 conference. Congratulations to her for what I hear was a terrific presentation. I really like Heather's concluding words. Sometimes we are so focused on our own internal issues that we forget to benchmark ourselves against the real world out there. What we might find routine the rest of the world considers innovation in action. Thanks Heather for reminding me how important it is to get out more.

"Day 2 was pretty uneventful, but I've had a lot of opportunity to talk with developers, IT managers and product owners about UCD. Its pretty cool that they're so interested. I am discovering that many of these people are seeking to establish UCD groups in their company.

One of the interesting things I learned about was from a Google session. He was suppose to be talking about how they were doing agile (which he eventually got to), but what caught my attention was their "fix it" days. Once or twice a quarter they will seize 5000 engineers (*pfft*) onto a problem or bug and fix it. This stuck me as an awesome idea. It takes some work to organize a "fix it" day, but i can imagine me & my own teammates organizing our efforts for one day and knocking out a lot of 'good intentions' small projects. I'm sure most teams could do something like this.

Day 3, my last day at Agile 2007 and our presentation day didn't turn out quiet like I imagined it. Andrew (my UCD mate presenting with me) wasn't able to make it, so I had to go solo. When it was time for our 30 minutes of "UCD is awesome" glory, I probably talked a little bit too fast at in the beginning, but I chilled out. Everyone stayed awake, people stopped emailing and doodling. AND I didn't even have to read a single slide. I think I connected to my audience. And people asked questions too! It kicked ass completely.

It dawns on me, when I get opportunities like this to speak with others in our industry I learn more where my strengths and weaknesses lie. These events are excellent to pick up new techniques to keep doing one's craft better. Even more cool though, where other teams are challenged to find a sweet spot to integrate real users into Agile development, our UCD team at Elsevier is trailblazing methods for integrating our practices into Agile development."

Heather Williams :: Elsevier UCD Philadelphia ::

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