Following the lead of Brian Marick's post on the Agile 2005 conference in Denver next week, here's my list of what I want to accomplish.  Thankfully, I don't have to survive a keynote address like Brian does!

  • Continue to evolve my thinking on being Agile AND Plan Driven by attending several sessions from the Agile Project Management track.  Included will be sessions from some leading agile advocates and authors such as Jim Highsmith, Mary Poppendieck, and Mike Cohn.
  • Determine how a Software Test organization can best add value to an Agile process.  I am attending the conference with two testers from our team and I'm sure we will have lots of discussion on this topic.  I think we are on the right track with our approach to testing.  We have a strong suite of unit tests and a quality focused organization.  Our belief is that Software Test can best add value by focusing on customer scenarios.  But we're not where we want to be from an execution standpoint yet.
  • Learn about breaking large features into bite sized chunks.  My team has gone to releasing software every three months, but some of our work still is being done over a longer cycle with a target milestone to deliver in.  Are there ways to shorten the cycle and get out of a waterfall mentality?  I believe there is, but I haven't had much experience with a wide variety of situations.  I am attending a session called Stop supersizing your release plans that looks interesting.
  • Hang out with other agile advocates from Microsoft.  We have a pretty active set of believers in agile approaches within Microsoft and agile techniques are steadily gaining ground.  I created an internal distribution group for the attendees of this conference and we're up to 28 people on the list!  I don't know if this is everyone or not, but we'll have a strong presence at the conference.
  • Go see a Rockies game at Coors Field (hey, can't be all work!).

So those are my goals.  Hopefully I will have some time to post some entries from the conference to let you know what I'm learning.