Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Talk at Agile2013

After several months participating in Agile2013 with an experience report about refactoring legacy code, I find it very useful to write down things that I have learned, and my plans to benefit from this experience.

My talk at Nashville was very good al7amdulillah. the audience were very interested in the experiences that we've gone through. The first thing I've learned is that when you deliver a talk, you get better understanding about what you are talking about! There is a tradition which says: "المال تنقصه النفقة، والعلم يزكو بالإنفاق", or "expending money would decrease it, but expending knowledge would only increase it!"

The second thing I found is that teams really need a way out of the mazes of poor legacy code. I got two verbal and one written comment telling me that they are having so many problems with their code, and they felt that this roadmap of refactoring would be very applicable in their case. This was an indicator that I should continue working on more experiments and enhancing the roadmap more and more.

The results of the session evaluation was as follows:

Attendees: 50
  • 40 green (would recommend to other)
  • 6 yellow
  • 4 red
I had some interesting written testimonials as well:
  • "Amazing story of ingenuity and success! Excellent presentation"
  • "Very interesting talk. It gives me hope we can tackle our own mountain"
  • "Very good. Learned something we can apply"

One of the attendees gave me an interesting note that she missed half of the talk because of my english accent. This was an excellent feedback. In later sessions, I made a disclaimer that I'm talking "Egyptian English", which is similar to English but you need to concentrate more to translate as you hear :)

Another note is that data makes a difference with some audience. It just ticks with them when they see data. In a later talk about process increments, I got similar notes from other attendees. What I felt is that there are some types of attendees whom they start believe in what you say once they see some data!

Next Steps:
  1. I should continue the ongoing experiments and collect more data to correlate refactoring with business metrics to indicate real return on investment
  2. Conduct more experiments to collect more data. 
  3. Package the roadmap (along with rules or the game, the guidelines, tips and tricks, notes about tools), and give it a name.
  4. Enhance the tools, really don't know how, but I'm sure this will emerge in time. 

For your reference. This is the PowerPoint presentation of my talk, and this is the full published paper.

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