Dave Snowden

The next mashup

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Its only a few weeks until the next CALM event, this time in Denver.  Given several requests to extend the early booking deadline we did so, but that runs out tomorrow (Friday).  Sorry about that we have to commit to expenditure and so late bookings attract a heavy penalty.  Bookings can be via the link above and just to remind you, this one is cost recovery only no one is making any money out of this.

For those not familiar CALM stands for Cynefin, Agile, Lean Mashup.  The idea has been to try and reduce the tribalism associated with different groups that loosely connect around the AGILE label, so that includes the SCRUM and KANBAN people.  For the first event in Reading earlier this year we originally planned a fairly structured event, but then listened to feedback and allowed for something more spontaneous.  That was useful, it got some people enthusiastic, others confused and some of us were frustrated (well I was) that we didn't make more progress.  There were some examples of well my method is complex, yours is only complicated which didn't help.  However that was the first event, it was important as if nothing else it confirmed the need for some way of determining what should be used when and with what.

Now I know from other feedback that at least one tribe can't see the point of this, their ritual dances providing all the needs that anyone could ever want and all those heretics should simply given up on anything that the one true Agile process.   I realise that there are people like this in the world, I recognise their technical competence and all that but I really do not want my daughter to marry any of them.

Either way CalmBeta is going to have a little more structure.  On day one we are going to run a mapping exercise using a Cynefin method all the methods, tools and practices that there are around.  We will also be collecting war stories.  That will give us a starting point.   Some of that will also look at Dynamics,  I have for example always argued that SCRUM done well is a complex to complicated dynamic which cycles between the two domains.  Its not located in one or the other.  Visualisation techniques like KANBAN are powerful, but should we be taking that concept and using fitness landscapes and other forms for complex or ambiguous aspects of a system?  Lots of interesting questions, but we need to start to drive to some publishable and actionable output this time..

On day two we will start to focus, but in parallel streams (as many as people want).  I will be proposing two/three (although I expect these to change a bit as we get closer)

  • I think there is a lot in LEAN philosophy that matches complexity, but is wrongly interpreted in a lot of practice (especially with things like LEAN Sick Stigma and the like) within a fairly old fashioned model.  So I am interesting in how we reclaim the original LEAN ideas and inform them with complexity thinking.
  • I blogged the other day on the need for professionalism.  I think within development that means people should be familiar with, and have been trained in a broad range of methods and techniques.  But it also means that they need other skills in and insights from other disciplines: cognitive science, evolutionary biology, anthropology etc.  We have a lot of amateurs who play with ideas, but don't understand them.  So I want to look at a session on what a professional process would look like here.  I've already dome some thinking about this, but that is just one view point.  Hopefully more in Denver.
  • Finally we are experimenting with new narrative approaches to requirements capture, and we are looking for network partners.  I am hoping that Denver will provide an opportunity.

Now I know that Simon, Karl and others also have ideas so day two is going to have diversity, but diversity with purpose.

So get that booking in!  If you still are navigating bureaucracy then an email undertaking accompanied by promises of blood sacrifice if you fulfil your promise might be accepted next week.  This is 2012 after all.

And of course Boulder is a great place in its own right, it even has decent beer which you can't say for a lot of the USA!   Good company, good conversations and hopefully a product that will have utility.