J I McFadyen Engineering

Supporting Collaboration

CALM Alpha – some thoughts

There are a few blog posts already out there about CALM Alpha, but if you haven’t come across it yet then the details are here and here.

Keep Calm and Carry OnFor many people I talked to during the event it hadn’t lived up to their expectations. Not many were clear about what those expectations were though.

For me it was a different kettle of fish.

I went into the conference with no real expectations. I hoped to have good discussions on using complexity theory to inform the techniques and practices I use as a coach. Also, it would’ve been nice to talk to other people about how they merged complexity science and whatever they did.

The disappointing truth

On the second day we were all confronted with a harsh truth: we’re not a very grown-up profession.

During the goldfish bowl, or was if a Kanban Konversation?, the topic drifted towards what Kanban/Scrum were best used for. Was Kanban for complex and Scrum for complicated or vice versa?

To me, it all came across as points scoring. My method is better than yours.

I understand that people have taken positions on the various methods for commercial reasons. I just don’t expect to hear those positions attacked and defended at a community event. If we can’t act like a profession, how can we expect others┬áto treat us as one?

As someone said: it is a non-war.

Periodic tables and techniques

One take away for me was when Joseph Pelrine was talking. He briefly mentioned a “periodic table” of tools, techniques and practices. Something to help practitioners, but informed by theory.

This linked up with an idea I’ve toyed with for nearly two years now.

Could we introduce the software world to narrative analysis and see if we can find context where techniques are useful? Or more importantly, contexts in which the data suggests a technique is harmful to the final outcome.

This is something that I’m starting to look into further.