workshops

Workshop chair: Vera Peeters

W01: Laurent Bossavit, Emmanuel Gaillot: The Coder’s Dojo

If I want to learn Judo, I will enroll at the nearest dojo, and show up for one hour every week for the next two years, at the end of which I may opt for a more assiduous course of study to progress in the art. Years of further training might be rewarded with a black belt, which is merely the sign of ascent to a different stage of learning. No master ever stops learning. If I want to learn object programming… my employer will pack me off to a three-day Java course picked from this year’s issue of a big training firm’s catalog. Nuts to that – acquiring coding skills is not an “instant gratification” process. This workshop proposes to discover a way of teaching and learning programming in a more appropriate manner, respecting the depth and subtlety of the craft. More Info…

W02: Alan Cameron Wills, Steven Kelly: Agile Development with Domain Specific Languages – Part 1
W03: Alan Cameron Wills, Steven Kelly: Agile Development with Domain Specific Languages – Part 2

This workshop will investigate the application of Domain Specific Languages within Agile development. A Domain Specific Language (DSL) is designed to express the requirements and solutions of a particular business or architectural domain. SQL, GUI designers, workflow languages and regular expressions are familiar examples. In recent years, Domain-Specific Modeling has yielded spectacular productivity improvements in domains such as telephony and embedded systems. By creating graphical or textual languages specific to the needs of an individual project or product line within one company, DSM offers maximum agility. With current tools, creating a language and related tool sup-port is fast enough to make DSM a realistic possibility for projects of all sizes. Workshop W02 and W03 are 2 parts of a 1-day workshop, it is best to follow both parts. More Info… See also the workshop website

W04: Pascal Van Cauwenberghe, Marc Evers: The Toyota Way of running IT projects

Toyota has pioneered “Lean Thinking” in the manufacturing world. The “Toyota Production System” has brought powerful tools like “Just In Time”, “Flow”, “Kaizen” into the world.
But the “Toyota Way” is more than a lean production system. It’s a whole philosophy and organisation that keeps learning and improving to keep ahead of the competition in production, product development, quality and sales.
What if Toyota applied their knowledge to IT projects? Are their manufacturing and product development lessons applicable to IT, or are we really that different? This session explores the 14 “Toyota Way” management principles, as described by Jeffrey Liker, to see if they are applicable and useful to the management of IT projects. Participants examine a number of principles in small groups and present their results. More Info…

W05: Laurent Bossavit, Emmanuel Gaillot: Lightning Writing Workshop

All software-related jobs also require writing about software as an ongoing duty, in one form or another – from writing articles evangelizing particular methods or technologies, to writing end user or technical documentation, to writing comments in code. Writing well increases your effectiveness in spreading crucial ideas, and focuses your own thinking as well. Writing is a complex technology in its own right, but it can be mastered through the diligent use of simple practices. This workshop focuses on one such practice, and invites discussion of other practices that develop writing skills. More Info…

W06: Lars Arne Skar, Jan-Erik Sandberg: How to sell the idea of XP to managers, customers and peers

This workshop aims to gather developers with XP experience, project managers and customers. We want this group to share and discuss experiences, thoughts and ideas on starting an XP project with the right foundation. The goal is to enable the participants to bring an understanding of the agile process and the values it gives back to their own organization and customers. In order to do so, we have to understand what is pressing the customer and what she cares about. The organizers have been through several successful processes in delivering the starting and ongoing values of an XP approach, both in their own organization and the customer side. Most of them were used to waterfall and similar approaches. After experiencing more control and confidence in their projects during the agile process, they report back to us with an eagerness to continue and further develop the process. In addition, they experienced a flexibility that they just could not get with their former habits. The most effective way of explaining the benefits of an agile process successfully is to communicate in a way that is meaningful for both the customer and your organization. More Info…

W07: Rachel Davies, Tim Bacon: Informative Workspace

Informative Workspace is one of the new XP practices launched in the second edition of XP Explained. The practice is to build feedback mechanisms around an agile team that support them in their daily work. These feedback mechanisms can take the form of visual displays (Information Radiators) that are manually updated by the team or electronic eXtreme Feedback Devices (XFD) such as lava lamps or audio signals linked to automated processes. It is vital to ensure that feedback mechanisms are easy to interpret, low maintenance and adapted to local practices. This workshop aims to answer how to implement this practice and explore ways to make workspaces more informative. More Info…

W08: Mary Poppendieck, Tom Poppendieck: Agile Contracts; How to develop contracts that support agile software development

Agile Development sounds great, but it depends on the ability to determine the details of scope as the system is developed, driven by feedback from customers and users. Much software development is done under contract, where there is often a requirement to determine the details of the system early in the development process. More Info…

W09: Tim Bacon, Dave Hoover: When Teamwork Isn’t Working

XP is a team game. It relies on teamwork to be successful. But sometimes our teams don’t work as well as we would like. This workshop examines real projects from different angles to explore answers to three powerful questions: – How can we tell that our team isn’t working? – Which are the root causes of our problems? – What actions can we take to improve our teams effectiveness? More Info…

W10: David Putman, David Hussman: The Origin of Value

Many authors have presented techniques for using business value to measure and prioritise requirements. Unfortunately, although there is much written about using value in this way, there is very little written about how to measure value itself. This workshop is intended to help the participants answer questions such as: Where does value come from? How do we know what is valuable and what is not? Who determines value? Are there different types of value and, if so, how can we compare them? More Info…

W11: Geoff Bache, Rick Mugridge, Brian Swan: Hands-on Domain-Driven Acceptance Testing

A recent phenomenon in the world of acceptance testing is tools that emphasize the creation of a domain language in which to express tests. The benefits of this are twofold: customers and testers are more likely to get involved in tests expressed in a language they understand. Also, tests that express intentions rather than mechanics tend to be much easier to maintain in the long run as they do not break when circumstantial things change. The aim of this workshop is to see how tools that support this work in practice. The presenters have each been involved in the development of such a tool, TextTest+xUseCase, Fit+FitLibrary and Exactor, respectively, and there is room for attendees to bring their own tools along too. We aim to learn enough about these tools to compare and contrast them with each other, as well as with agile approaches that are less focussed on the creation of a domain language. More Info…

W12: Pascal Van Cauwenberghe, Marc Evers: I’m not a bottleneck, I’m a free man!

Eliyahu Goldratt’s “Theory of Constraints” is a continuous process improvement method that was developed in the manufacturing world and is now being applied to other industries, among others in IT. In this respect, its history is similar to that of “Lean Thinking”. Where Lean tells you HOW to optimize a system, ToC tells you WHAT to optimize.
The basic insight of ToC is this: every system has ONE constraint (or “bottleneck”) that determines the throughput of the system. If you want to improve the system, you have to find and work on the constraint. The same way you need to strengthen the weakest link if you want to make a chain stronger.
From this idea, ToC derives a program of continuous process improvement steps to increase throughput, by attacking the system’s constraint. These ideas have been developed for manufacturing plants, but, like “Lean Thinking”, they can be applied suprisingly well to software development. ToC? principles have been applied to planning (the “Critical Chain” planning method), to accounting/management decision support (“Throughput Accounting”) and to Systems Thinking (the “Thinking Processes”).
The Theory of Constraints provides a useful model that can be used to measure and predict the costs and return on investment of different processes, including agile methods.
The goal of this workshop is to explore the ideas behind the ToC? method and discover how they can be applied to process improvement, planning and measuring of IT projects. The session contains a mixture of presentation/discussion and small games/simulations that allow the participants to try out the different concepts in small groups. More Info…

W13: Geoff Bache, Rick Mugridge, Brian Swan: Exploring Best Practice for XP Acceptance Testing

A few years ago, Acceptance Testing was one of the more poorly understood concepts of XP, with both tools and advice thin on the ground. This has meant that different people have gone different ways with it and an overview of knowledge gathered in the process has been lacking. The presenters are three such people, each of whom has developed a different tool for acceptance testing: TextTest+xUseCase, Fit+FitLibrary and Exactor, respectively. We are aware that there are lots of other tools around, both within the XP community and outside it. The aim of this workshop is to gather together all this disparate knowledge and start to work towards a common understanding of “best practice”. More Info…