The Next Agile Dialogs

Towards the end of the day, we explored other possible topics and then gathered input on what may be good candidates for the next Agile Dialogs unconference. The call for people to join us may not exactly reflect the way these are worded. the number behind each is the number of votes it received. (Those with no numbers received no votes.)

Imposed vs Invitational Agile (Transformation) – 5

Pairing/Sharing Work/Swarming – 4

Leader as Servant, Facilitator, Controller, or Overseer? – 3

Does Colocation Matter? Is it feasible? – 3

Agile Assessments and Maturity – 3

Kill the Performance Review – 2

Approaches to Scaling Agile – 2

Hierarchies vs Other Organizational Structures (or are Hierarchies of Humans Natural?) – 2

What is “After” Agile? – 1

Games? Gasification? Good or Bad for Work? – 1

Dangers of Having Experts – 1

Titles Matter: “Master”, “Owner”, “Resources” – 1

Promise & Peril of the Various “DDs” – TDD, ATDD, BDD

Certification vs Learning; Which Certifications (if any) Are Ideal?

Introverts/Extroverts – Does it Matter?

Organizational Culture/Structures That Enables Dysfunction to Thrive

Change Agents vs Change Resistants

Agile: Strategy or End-Game?

Assume Agile or Understand Agile?

Managers: Hindrance or Enablers?

Release Planning – Necessary?



Additional 15.0 Background

footbridge_into_fogBy now, you have hopefully read through the site’s background on what Agile Dialogs itself is about.

If you haven’t looked over it, our Agenda is posted below the schedule on that page. The proceedings will follow that structure.

Our theme as you may have noted was:

“Agile Predictions: Exploring the tools for making sound business decisions with & without estimates”

Who Attended

We had a good mix of folk from various sectors and roles. We had reached out to a variety of folk on both sides of the debate.  We didn’t really wind up with anyone at either end of the spectrum. (i.e. We didn’t have anyone that not willing to have their assumptions challenged if they were proestimates and we didn’t have anyone that tried to avoid estimates at all cost.) We did have people that had never not estimated and we had some folk that had dropped at least certain kinds of estimates. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the attendees:

  • We had private and public sector (Government) representation both as contractors and at least a former GS type.
  • We had folk that had worked all different sizes of projects/prduct development activities.
  • We had people that served as coaches both internally and externally (i.e. hired coaching consultants).
  • We had Scrum Masters/agile team leaders.
  • Our private sector representation were from the finance, insurance, embedded system, broadcast media, and large-scale website development.
  • Our farthest attendee came from Saint Louis.

One interesting thing to note about participants: all those that had experimented with #noestimates had come from a background of using estimates.

Why We Structured Like We Did

When you look at our agenda, you may ask why didn’t we take an Open Space approach? When Trent and I discussed whether that would work, we included that the self-organization aspect of OST would get us there most likely, but it may take longer than the day we had set apart.  Not knowing the attendees ahead of time, if we had people that had been arguing over Twitter or via their blogs, people that had never before suspended their assumptions about the other side, then it may take too long to actually have fruitful discussion.

Additionally, while some polling to both sides indicated some wanted data to argue, we knew that data could be used to prove either side. We felt that would take away from the story-telling we wanted to use at the start.  Experiences are different than data.  I could be totally on target with accurate estimates, yet the experience may yield something that we called a failure if the business wanted IT to get started and the estimation process was frustrating them. The same could be in reverse… (estimates aren’t needed, but the experience produces what we would consider a failure).

So we settled on a set of structured questions, again you can see these on the Agenda/Schedule page.


At the beginning we provided references (people, blogs, and books) on both sides that we felt were thoughtful in how they approached their side (and the other). We did not try to be exhaustive, so here is what was put on our lists:

Want to get better at estimation? Follow these people!

Other resources:

  • Agile for Humans podcast @AgileforHumans by @RyanRipley (covered both sides)
  • Agile Estimation and Planning by Mike Cohn

Want to learn more about #noestimates? Follow these people!

Other resources:

  • Agile for Humans podcast @AgileforHumans by @RyanRipley
  • Engineering Culture at Spotify (2 part video)
  • This Agile Life podcast @ThisAgileLife
What We Estimate

Throughout the day, we asked people to post what they estimate. Here’s what made the list –

  • Swag in time looking at a UX mock-up understanding the tech stack
  • Throughput
  • Value to Customer
  • Impact to mission
  • Trips to Home Depot
  • Complexity of Story
  • Cost
  • Time to Complete Release
  • Level of Effort (LOE) to implement/complete a change request
  • Revenue


15.0 1st Agile Dialogs Unconference focused on Agile Predictions


The Theme for our First Agile Dialogs Unconference is —

“Agile Predictions: Exploring the tools for making sound business decisions with & without estimates”

So whether you are proestimate, noestimate, or somewhere in the middle, if you have a passionate position, please join us 13 November 2015 in the Washington, DC metro area at the Navy League Building; 2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA.

Below is a link to the survey for you take; you can revisit it and update your answers. We’re keeping this open for people to express their interest and opinions regardless of their attendance. We’ll probably put this in a packet (without names/emails) for attendees to have.

Register your Agile Dialogs Interest on Predicting Value with and without Estimation.

Be sure to check out the planned unconference agenda to see how we hope to promote dialog!

Sponsored by –


Space provided by –