Interview with Dean Leffingwell- Leading SAFe Workshop

Enterprise solutions for Agile have always been a challenge for many organisations. Dean Leffingwell, software industry veteran and creator of Scaled Agile Framework (pronounced as SAFe) is running a workshop at Agile India 2014. This workshop will introduce the participants to the principles, values and practices of SAFe.

Dean Leffingwell

His deep rooted expertise and his pragmatic solutions to real time problems have resulted in successful enterprise level implementation of Agile across organisations. His hands-on approach and practical examples make him as one of the sort after expert in this domain.

Dean Leffingwell

He is also the founder and CEO of ProQuo- a consumer marketing identify company, and the author of Agile Software Requirements, Scaling Software Agility, and Managing Software Requirements.

Dean Leffingwell's Books

We had a short chat with him, where we discussed about SAFe and his experience with various kinds of organisations.

1. In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge companies are facing while scaling agile methods at their org. level?

Primarily, educating ALL the stakeholders to the new process, and bringing everyone to understand the benefits, and the changes necessary to achieve the new common, SAFe/ Lean|Agile way of working.

2. ‘Enterprise Agile’- Is it an oxymoron?

No. SAFe has been successfully applied to enterprises with hundreds, and even thousands, of practitioners.

3. There is a common misconception that Leadership has no role to play in Agile. What do you think is the role of leadership in implementing SAFe ?

In SAFe, Leadership is not excluded. Indeed, leaders assume the primary responsibility for successfully implementing the new way of working. Training is provided to help them on this new learning journey.

4. In your experience, is SAFe more suitable for Services or Product Company? Is there any difference?

No tangible differences. The principles and values of SAFe, and the underlying principles of product development flow, apply in both contexts.

5. Are there any gotchas that teams should be aware while implementing SAFe?

Any transformation of this scope is hard. If enterprises could have achieved the benefits via their old way of working, they would have already done so. Lean, Agile and Scaled Agile change most everything! But SAFe is powered by Agile, so the personal, team and business benefits are well worth the effort.

6. What is the key take away from your 1-Day SAFe workshop?

This workshop is a distillation of the popular two-day “Leading SAFe” course. While it lacks the depth that the two-day course provides, it covers all the foundational elements and is delivered by Dean Leffingwell, the creator of SAFe.

This workshop has limited seats. Book early to avoid disappointments: http://booking.agilefaqs.com/agile-india-2014#workshops

Interview with Dave Thomas – Advanced Ruby Workshop

Dave Thomas is one of the keynote speakers at Agile India 2014. Many of you might know him  as one of the 17 original authors of the Agile Manifesto or the founder of Agile Alliance or the person who brought Ruby programming language to the western world or the co-author of The Pragmatic Programmer or the co-founder of Pragmatic Bookshelf.

Dave Thomas

Besides the keynote, Dave is also running a one-day workshop about the advanced features of Ruby 2.0.

Dave Thomas Books

We did a short interview with him to understand his views about Ruby and programming in general.

1. Tell us a little bit about your first introduction to Ruby? What was your reaction?

I am a programming language nut. I love trying new languages. Back in the 90’s, I’d download languages from Usenet (ask your parents) and play with them—normally several a week.

Back in 1997 or ’98 I downloaded Ruby. I think it was version 1.4.

Normally when I try a language, I stop after an hour or so. Very few are different enough to warrant the time. With Ruby, I was still playing hours later. At the end of the day, I called my business partner Andy Hunt and told him he should try it too.

And I’m still using it today.

2. How do you think Ruby has changed the way we program today?

I think Ruby has done several things.

First, the Ruby community has really lead the way with  testing. Andy and I were among the authors of the Agile Manifesto, and so we helped spread the word about Ruby among the early Agile crowd. In turn, those folks used Ruby to experiment with agile concepts. The result is that the Ruby world probably has more commitment to testing than any other language.

Second, I think Ruby has shown that dynamic languages can be used in the real world. In the early 2000’s, there was a lot of skepticism—sure these “scripting languages” were fun, but to write real programs, you needed grown-up languages with type checking.

Of course, these people were wrong. They were wrong firstly because, at least back then, Java, their language of choice, was effectively dynamically typed—the majority of runtime objects were help in collections, and were untyped in those collections.

And secondly, they were wrong because type checking, at least as they meant it, didn’t really catch the kinds of errors people actually made.

So I think Ruby has made a fundamental difference to the way we see programming today.

3. What are the advantages of Ruby over other programming language?

It makes people happy.

4. After reading your book, Pragmatic Programmer, it changed the way I thought of my career as a developer. Recently Chad wrote another book, Passionate Programmer. How is it different?

Thank you for the kind words.

The Pragmatic Programmer was largely about programming—our advice was aimed at helping developers become better programmers.

The Passionate Programmer is a truly great book because it takes a different, and in a way more important, tack. It is not about programming. It is about  programmers. Chad writes about how you, as a programmer, can become a better, more rounded, and happier individual. Yes, it will make you a better programmer. But mostly it will make you a better person.

I think everyone should read this book (even non-programmers).

5. With power comes responsibility- How do you think the Ruby community is utilising the power of this languages responsibly?

We touched a little on this when we talked about testing and agility. But let’s flesh it out.

Let’s start with “with great power comes great responsibility.” That (I think) is a quote from Spiderman – Peter Parker’s Uncle is giving him advice. And look how happy that makes our hero. He is weighed down by the burden.

So, while the quote may be true, I don’t necessarily believe it is a good thing.

In general, great power is a burden – people with power constantly need to be exercising it or they feel that they are wasting a gift. It is also a curse, because people become scared of losing that power, and as a result tend to stagnate rather than try risky things. It is true of people, and it is true of communities.

So I’m proud of the Ruby community for taking a middle road. In general, I think that are pretty responsible and mature (with certain glaring exceptions :). But I also think that they remember to have fun. They do take risks, they do explore, and they do exhibit whimsy.

6. Are you happy with how Ruby, as a language and as a community has evolved? Where would you like it go?

I think I answered the first part of this.

The second part – well, I don’t think I have a direct answer.

You see, I don’t think programming languages are special things. They don’t exist because someone came up with a syntax, or because someone published a book.

Programming languages are simply tools. They let developers like us solve problems. The better languages help us to feel good while we are doing it.

So we need to be careful to avoid the trap of becoming religious about one particular language. We need to have the breadth to choose tools that are appropriate to the task at hand. Ruby is a particular tool, with strengths and weaknesses.

Maybe you’re a carpenter. After many years of searching, you’ve found a great hammer. It fits your hand, it’s the right weight, it drives all kinds of nails. And then you come across a screw.

There are two reactions to this. One is to say “my hammer is a great tool. Let’s see if I can adapt it to drive screws, too.” Maybe you weld a blade to it, or maybe you grind a ridge into the top that fits the screw slot.

Or maybe you go out and find a screwdriver.

That’s how I feel about Ruby. It is a fantastic tool, and one I still use daily. But I don’t want it to become something where developers say “I am a Ruby programmer.” Instead, I want to hear “I am a programmer, and I use Ruby in many jobs because it means I can deliver stuff better.”

So, what do I want Ruby to become? Anything that helps people be better developers.

7. What is the key takeaway from your Advanced Ruby workshop?

Ruby often seems magic. That’s part of the fun. But, in reality, the magic comes from some simple but subtle underlying principles. Understand this, and you master Ruby. And that’s where the _real_ fun is.

This workshop has limited seats and only few are left. Book early to avoid disappointments: http://booking.agilefaqs.com/agile-india-2014#workshops

World’s First Agile Job Fair at Agile India 2014 Conference

Come, join the very FIRST Agile Job Fair in the World!

A platform dedicated for the Agile practitioners to meet their potential Agile employers.

Agile India Job Fair is being organised by Agile Software Community of India, a registered non-profit society. We have been running conference and other events in India since 2004. This job fair is on the very next day, after our international conference – Agile India 2014, which attracts about 1000 international participants.

Why a job fair?

Agile methods have become mainstream and they are here to stay. In India, many companies are having a hard time finding needles in the haystack .i.e. finding really good Agile practitioners from a whole lot of posers.

The few, really good practitioners out there, have a similar problem. Every company wants to hire Agile people, but are they ready? Do they really believe in Agile culture and even have an agile mindset?

Many practitioners want to talk to real people from the company to really understand the culture of the organisation and the nature of the work.

Browsing the classifieds or surfing the Internet or talking to headhunters (recruiting companies) can only get you so far.

To solve this problem, we are creating a first-of-its-kind, unique opportunity where job-seekers can meet several top Agile employers face-to-face under one roof, clarify their doubts, interview with potential companies and also socialise with other candidates.

Walk-In to explore a gamut of Agile career opportunities with the best Agile employers in India.

What kind of candidates would this event attract?

We have a database of 56,512 software professionals from top companies in India. We will market this event to all these folks. However, who will attend will largely depend on the kind of companies that will be participating to hire candidates. We would filter the companies, to make sure only top companies are part of this event and hence ensure that we would be able to attract really good practitioners.

What can a participating Company (Employer) do to attract participants?

Seeing is believing! So we would strongly suggest you give participants a glimpse of your work culture. May be, you can setup a pair-programming station and project the programming session on a large screen. May be, you can setup a story card wall. You can showcase the nature of hard problems your company is solving. Run a slideshow of pictures from your office. Just get creative!

What is the cost to participate?

This is a non-profit event. There are 2 major costs, the hall rental and the cost of setting up stalls. We would pass the actual cost to the companies. Our estimate is 35,000-50,000 INR per company. And we are planning to keep it free for Job Seekers (Agile Practitioners) to attend.

Exclusive Event: Get FREE agile career counseling and coaching from Naresh Jain, the founder of the Agile movement in India.

Sounds interesting? Fill the form to participate…Agile Job Fair