Rough sketch of examples track at Agile2008

Adam Geras and I will be “producers” for this “stage” at Agile2008. Here are some notes.

I’m imagining a single room for the duration of the conference. We won’t have a huge number of sessions. (Problem: This stage has a specialized topic and few sessions. It is not the Testing Stage, though it’s a natural home for many types of testing sessions. Where do all the other worthy testing submissions go?)

Only the first half of the stage will have prescheduled sessions. The second half will be devoted to “repeat and request”.

Repeat: Since there will be many simultaneous events at the conference, some people will hear about a great Example session after it’s too late to go. Within our room, we’ll have flipcharts upon which people can write “Please repeat session X!” and “Yeah, please!” If there’s enough interest and a willing session organizer, the session will be repeated.

Request: We’ll have quite a few people floating around the conference who can show examples of technique X (not necessarily a testing technique). We’ll have more whiteboards where people can request sessions built around examples of techniques. This is somewhat like Open Space, but oriented toward showing rather than telling. For example, I’d be happy to show my graphical workflow tests in action—if people want to see it.

Take that a step further: I had been thinking of two types of submission: one that comes into the submission system while we passively wait, and one where we actively invite specific people to enter something into the system (or, possibly, simply invite them to come and do their thing). But why should our paying audience wait to see what other people want to push at them. I want our audience to pull by proposing sessions they’d like someone else to perform. Then it’s the producers’ job to find people who can satisfy the demand.

For example, suppose some people think a session on improv would be good, and they make that argument <somewhere>. Then it becomes my task to contact the three or four people I know who’ve done improv and get them to work up a proposal. (In fact, I’m going to do this without prompting.)

Another idea is “Reality Theatre.” As I’ve mentioned before, many groups can’t envision what a good standup or planning meeting is like, not just by reading descriptions in books. Similarly, the buzz and activity inside a good Agile team is palpable but hard to describe in print or by waving your hands around as you talk. So I would like the Example room to hold the world premieres of short documentaries of actual teams doing actual things. (Real video, edited, with expert commentary.) We may be able to provide some production assistance. Maybe we can get a company to donate prizes.

So that’s what I’m looking for: nothing that’s a safe bet. Watch this space for more.

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