Yesterday I attended XPDay 2015, an event organized by the people of the eXtreme Tuesday club. It was the first time I was there and it was great to share a day with such a bunch of talented people like Allan Kelly, Nat Pryce, Steve Freeman, Giovanni Asproni or Liz Keogh among others.
In this time where a lot of people talk about agile hangover and say that agile doesn't work it's good to return to the origins and talk about eXtreme Programming.
The event started on Monday where they started to configure the agenda (I couldn't be there). Hopefuly they reserved some time on Tuesday to propose more talks. The format of the event was an Open Space.
I started the day attending a talk about UX and agile. We started defining what is UX and the difference between UX, Design and Usability. Then, people exposed how they work with UX people, how are they integrated in their teams and how they decide the next feature to develop. Jasper (the host) ended drawing an interesting funnel describing the different artifacts using in UX.
I continued with a session called "Strategies on identifying domain models on legacy databases", proposed by Sabrina. Sabrina explained the current situation in her company, where, after merging with another company, they've inherited a legacy codebase which must be maintained and evolved, and they struggle on identifying a domain model from a bunch of databases not very well designed. We ended up with a list of things they can do to soften this (probably painful) process, that contains items like: identify the seams, use test environments, define characterization tests, look at changes on the outputs when introducing an input (and invest in tooling to automate it), monitoring usage, make a complete rewrite.
I've explained briefly my last work at Skills Funding Agency, where we are replacing an old system with a new one, how we keep the data on both systems synchronised and how both systems were alive at the same time for some months.
This is the kind of sessions I love to see in an Open Space where the host, instead of trying to explain a topic, asks for help. I hope Sabrina took some useful ideas from the session.
My third session was about thinking out of the box talking about how the product manager and the delivery team can work together. We started defining what is and what isn't a product, and we talked about how can collaborate to make a successful product. I didn't get too much from this session, but probably it was because the session was just after lunch. :-)
After that I attended a session proposed by Monika Turska about unhealthy products and how can we get rid of them. It was an interesting session where we talked about what we think what an unhealthy product is, things to consider when deciding if we have to abandon that project, and how can we do that. It's an interesting topic because as a company developing a portfolio of products you can lose a lot of money extending the live of some of them.
And finally I attended a session proposed by Giovanni Asproni called "Where has design gone?". Giovanni explained that some years ago people talked so much about architecture and design (upfront design, yes) and now people are not talking too much about design, and a lot of applications and codebases suffers from a lack of it. Some people mentioned that we are too focused on deliver features and we are going too fast to be able to think on design. Some people mentioned that we are skipping the refactoring part of TDD and that we've forgotten the meaning of the last two Ds. And some people mentioned that some frameworks like Rails maked those kind of decisions for us and we only have to fill in the gaps. Finally a couple of talks were mentioned: Simple made easy, and Java the unix way.
I had a great time at the conference, I'll try to attend some of the eXtreme Tuesday meetups and I hope I can be part of XP Day 2016.
Author Vicenç García