The return of Clarke Ching to Agile Yorkshire for the first time since 2007 was eagerly awaited with the event fully subscribed ahead of the day. A lot has happened in the world of software development since the days of his last visit. As well as a name change for the group and a move from the back room of a pub to more salubrious surroundings there has been a widespread acceptance of the principles espoused by the agile manifesto. In those early days the focus of the meet-ups, with their underground, revolutionary zeal, was often on engineering practices while Clarke was, rightly, demanding "show me the money".
Tuesdays session was again about building a compelling case to put to the business for the adoption of more frequent delivery prioritised by cost of delay where the scale of the figure, rather than it's actual value, is of more importance. Clarke's assertion is that software development has yet to come up with an measure equivalent to James Watt's Horsepower to provide hard figures that the business can relate to and use to inform the decisions which drive the business. Clarke finished with the importance of the introduction, describing the importance of a Lede in journalism, and how that might translate to agile projects in setting the direction of a project. He encouraged the participants to come up with a Twomise* - a high level view, in 140 characters, of the most important business goals of a project.
Lee Jackson the consummate professional, stepping up in the supporting speaker slot. Lee Jackson delivered an entertaining and informative presentation on presenting (and geeks certainly love recursion and self referencing in a presentation). The subject matter was entirely within keeping of the Agile Yorkshire aims of providing a platform for software delivery professionals to become more effective communicators. I got the impression that Lee was surprised at how unlike the stereotype of software geeks the members of the group were. There we many useful tips to take away and apply to speaking at anything from international conferences to small pitches to your team including preparation, understanding what you want your audience to get from your talk, the importance of the narrative of your talk and, of course, the effectiveness of pauses.
The evening finished with the regular prize draw. Thanks to our sponsors NewRedo, O'Reilly, JetBRAINS and Manning once again for generously providing the prizes.
Finally, thanks to all those who help make the monthly meet-ups run smoothly - it wouldn't be possible to run such events without this help.