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What I Did At Camp

Desert Code Camp, that is.

Last Saturday, May 15th, was the seventh incarnation of Desert Code Camp.  As I briefly announced before, Code Camp is a day of volunteer presenters and attendees bent on learning from each other.  I throughly enjoy these events.

Deeper Into Scrum

My first session was “Going Deeper Into Scrum, An Agile Journey” where the goal was not to teach Scrum but to find places where using the framework is difficult for the attendees, and then talk about those places.

The room was full and quiet, too quiet at first.  We soon got things going with a definition of the Scrum framework.  I drew the flow, cerimonies and artifacts on the board, answering a few questions as we went.  I then invited the attendees to write on the sticky notes distributed around the room.  They wrote one point or item of difficulty with Scrum on each note.  They were invited to the front of the room to place their notes on or near the part of Scrum effected by the note.

The resulting board was awesome!

Scrum framework with sticky notes

I then did my best to bring out the issues on the sticky notes, grouping them or pulling them into the discussion as the conversation flowed.  Several of the attendees were very helpful with questions and answers as we shared possible corrections to the difficulties.  I’m sure we did not address all the notes in the remaining time for our hour.  I do hope people learned and shared some gems of help that they can apply to becoming more Agile with Scrum.

Lunch Time

30 minutes was set aside for lunch time.  This started directly after my first session.  Due to the nature of such a conference, scheduling is done as best the volunteers can with the knowledge they have.  In my case, the second session I was teaching immediately followed lunch.  By the time I finished excellent after class one-on-one discussions and clean-up, it was time to setup the next class in a different room.  Lunch for me would have to wait!  (Thank goodness for granola bars!)

Agile Manifesto and Code

I encountered a difficulty with this session because of the classroom layout.  My plan was to use slides with the four values and twelve principles of the Agile Manifesto and use the marker board for supporting discussion visuals.  The projection screen covered the marker board.  I opted to use the slides, since the Agile Manifesto was the text and writing out all of it would kill the flow

The title of the presentation was “The Agile Manifesto – What it means to the code and the coder.”  We approached this by defining each value and principle of the manifesto and then discussing what the code would look like and the coder would be doing if they follow the manifesto.

The discussion resulted in many mentions of continuous integration, TDD, paring, refactoring and many other development practices.  There were also questions around supporting the manifesto in different business environments such as large vs. small projects.  I enjoyed the banter and peer education that was going on.

Community

A large thanks to:

  • DeVry University for providing their campus and classrooms for the event.
  • Joseph Guadagno, Camp Director, and all the other volunteers I didn’t see but must have been helping.
  • The people in the sessions I led.  There are many people in the Phoenix area working to improve and learn.  They have many questions.  They are bravely working on many impediments.  They are awesome!

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