XP Days 2013 was a blast!

The last three days have been packed with fun, interesting sessions and nice people. I attended part of the XP Days in Karlsruhe and it was great!

Some observations:

  • Although there’s “XP” in the name, there’s a lot of Scrum content ๐Ÿ™
  • BUT, the ratio of developers to coaches and scrummasters was much healthier than at other agile-y conferences and meetups. I’d guess about 70% devs instead of 10-40% ๐Ÿ™‚
  • I got to know a lot more new people than I usually do. Not sure if people were just more open, or if I’ve behaved differently… One things for sure, the 2 dinner events helped a lot.


My takeaways from various sessions:

  • Hands-On Test Refactoring by Marco Emrich was my favourite session
    We got to try out BDD with Jasmine and using the Builder pattern for more expressive tests.
    Check out the code for the kata (downloadable on the left hand side)
  • Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 2.34.51 PMDan North introduced us to Agile Adoption Patterns – a certain order in which things “break” during an agile adoption: First people, then tools, governance, customer, money and last the organigram. We’ve gotten good at mending the first two breaks but adapting governance and customers are still major challenges. If we want to get over that, we need to learn to speak their language and ditch our jargon. The question we need to answer is “Are we nearly there yet?” – are we going to deliver?
  • Josef Scherer presented Solution focused coaching questions and I learned some new types such as “Was there an exception when it did work? Can you tell me about it?”, circular questions (“What do you think Uncle Bob would think of your code?”) and finding coping strategies for stuff you can’t change.
  • Continuing with questions, Deborah Hartmann-Preuss talked about Powerful Questions to invite insights instead of telling others what to do. Open questions, beginning with What for, How and What are more powerful because they don’t imply answers and invite exploration. Questions beginning with Who, When and Where are not as powerful. Closed questions, only allowing yes/no answers or picking from a given range of choices are least powerful.

Community Day / Open Space

During the open space on Saturday I mostly attended “Show & Tell”-like sessions, e.g.

  • How do you organize and keep track of concepts and ideas? Kind of like “private knowledge management”. No one had “the solution” [tm] but lots of little ideas. This post is actually one of my favourite tactics: Write about it or give a presentation – enforces structuring and makes it stick better.
  • How to train new SMs / POs? Among other things, Jรผrgen Hoffmann talked about long-term training
  • There are A LOT of DevOps tools out there and I now know the names of a couple more, e.g. Juju
  • My last session was Franziska‘s about Coding Dojos. So many katas to try… Object Calistenics, Baby Steps, Refactoring Golf, …
    BTW, December 14th is global day of Code Retreat ๐Ÿ™‚

I enjoyed XP Days very much! Such great people and content! I will definitely come again and I will also try to get a ticket for SoCraTes (however slim the chances…)

Big thanks to all speakers and all attendees!

Other people’s perspectives: