May 072013
Me presenting at KCDC 2013

Me presenting at KCDC 2013

Thirty-six hours before the first KCDC precompiler session began, I got a call from Kansas City’s premiere Lean/Agile expert asking if I could fill in for him at the Agile and Lean Workshop precompiler due to an emergency.  Twelve hours before the session began, the United States’ premiere Lean/Agile expert was delayed by snow and told me he couldn’t make it to the session until lunch.  That left me and this guy, or in other words, George and Ringo, and Ringo had a conference to run.

And it went great!  We had a really good group who gave us good questions to work with.  We played some games.  We talked about Scrum.  We talked about Kanban.  We talked about all the hot button Agile topics like estimation, bidding, and ongoing maintenance.  It was a good, energizing talk that reminded me how much I enjoy that sort of thing.

P.S. If you were at that workshop, please take a second and leave a rating for me at SpeakerRate.  Much appreciated.

Friday morning, Dan “Kan-Man” Vacanti gave a terrific keynote about how we serve our customers better with pull systems for doing our software development as opposed to push systems.  He also gave my own session a quick shout-out for which I am grateful, because without context, most people don’t get too fired up about a talk called “Lean Metrics.”

Next, I gave a talk called “Lean Metrics.”  Standing-room only with some people sitting in the aisles.  It was a huge fire hazard and OSHA violation, but it charged me up.

We talked about why estimation fails us and how keeping metrics can overcome some of the weaknesses of estimation, providing a better foundation for our planning and projections.  Then, I demonstrated control charts and cumulative flow diagrams, explaining how each one can help us in not only estimating, but also continuous improvement as well as challenging elements in the organizational culture that dampen agility.

Here are the slides for that presentation, and if you were there, it’d be cool if you left me a rating for that talk at SpeakerRate.

After this was over and I was carried out on the shoulders of screaming fans, I spent a little bit of time catching up with contacts from KCDC’s various sponsors.  This was an especially good KCDC for sponsors.  We had 850ish people there, which meant that, even between sessions, there was a continuous flow of activity to the various booths, unlike previous years where booth visits were pretty bursty in between sessions.

I attended an eye-opening talk on UX from John Alexander, a talk on the enterprise use of HTML5 and various JavaScript libraries from the Keyhole team, and a truly thought-provoking talk on what other languages have to teach us about object-oriented programming by Jessica Kerr.

That night, dinner and drinks with a huge crowd of people I usually only see once a year.  Also, Sugar Ray gave a concert nearby.  Nobody noticed.

I did not get to attend on Saturday, but I hear good things.

I think the venue worked out great, the crowd was numerous and diverse, and the variety of speakers and topics made sure there was at least something for everyone.  It may have been our most valuable KCDC yet in terms of investment.  If you didn’t go this year, dude, go next year.

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