The agile track on the second day of QCon was the main reason for my London visit. However I was a little bit disappointed. The speeches were ok, but the content was in many cases too basic and without any new ideas or experiences.
One exception was the on stage “battle” between Kevlin Henney and Jim Coplien on the subject Agile Architecture is not Fragile Architecture. The two had been seen arguing earlier in the conference, and even if the heat didn’t build up to the expected levels the format was interesting and the performance was really great. They both firmly believed that architecture was too important to be put off by a “we’re agile and architecture is not, so we don’t do it”. Again TDD was under Jim’s cross-fire with questions like “How do you know which unit test to write if you didn’t design any architecture?”, “If we don’t have a short design phase upfront, where does the architecture come from?”, “What design artifacts do TDD create?”. Interesting points.
Of course master motivator Jeff Sutherland attracted a large crowd when talking about Lessons learned at Google. His speeches almost resembles revivalist meetings that you cannot avoid being sucked into. His performance is really great and afterwards you get the feeling that Scrum can be used to run countries and solve world poverty. Actually you probably could run a country successfully using Scrum. It require a lot of scrum of scrums though.