Kicking up dust for the Agile Finland 2011-2012 season

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A big moment for the Agile Finland community is approaching. On May 25th we’ll get together and select the new Agile Finland Board for the 2011-2012 season.

There are many reasons why it is a big moment. In my opinion it is a big point in our history as a community. Agile Finland was started when Agile was still the ghetto, now Agile is not only out of the ghetto, but it is becoming the dominant software development approach in Finland. Sure, many companies are still going old-skool with their software projects, massively outsourcing the testing function or trying to get huge changes in before releasing a single version, etc. But Agile Software Development is, unmistakably the dominant approach in software development in Finland today.

This leads to an important point for our community. We started Agile Finland as a way to spread knowledge of Agile and support the learning journey that we’ve all been through since 2000. That phase is over. Although we do need to continue to support the spreading of the knowledge about Agile to other communities (like in this example), I feel that this does not need to be our main focus anymore. So I’d like to propose a new focus, a new phase for our growing community.

Concrete proposals for the next Agile Finland Board season

I propose that the next Agile Finland board should focus on helping the community share, expand and develop new knowledge in the field of Software Development and Product Development with focus on some key areas of practice. For this I propose the following structure in the Agile Finland activities for the next year:

  • Agile Finland must define what areas of focus it will have (see suggestion below) and arrange specific activities that emphasize those areas of focus. For that I propose the following areas:
  • Programming and testing in an Agile Software Development environment. This area of focus would cover the technical development of our community in programming and testing tasks. The Software Craftsmanship movement is a good source of inspiration for the content to be shared and developed in this area, but we also need to create an atmosphere of cooperation and sharing with the excellent testing professionals we have in Finland and in the AF community. The technical area of focus is an area where there is clearly a need for a better offering in our community, and Agile Finland has the network and expertise to start that work.
  • Project Management in an Agile Software Development environment. This area of focus would cover the Project concept, it’s applicability to different types of work and product development environments. We know that the traditional Project Management is not compatible with many Software Development environments, but we need to explore alternatives, share and expand our knowledge on what has worked in the past as well as the experiments that are going on right now. In this area of focus, I believe we must build a bridge with the already active Project Management communities(PMI, PRY). We have a lot to learn from each other.
  • Leadership and Management. This area of focus was already in the activities started during last year (see ACLA), but we need to continue to develop those activities. Many of the challenges we face today are because the traditional leadership and management models have failed in the era of knowledge work (like software and other areas). We need to share what is being tested in the world, bring in some world-class thought leaders in this area to enlarge the pool of knowledge for managers and leaders in our local community.

Conclusion

By focusing on these three areas (Programming and Testing, Project Management, Leadership and Management) I am suggesting that Agile Finland should also focus on specific activities for it’s major interest groups. It is not enough to arrange one to three generic networking events during the year, we need to start taking concrete actions for the development of our community. I hope that this post contributes to a discussion around how we could do that.

Photo credit: Patrick Keogh @ flickr

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