Agile @ Universities

Don’t you love it, when you’re sitting in a talk with a “this sounds vaguely interesting”-attitude and it turns out to be really inspiring? Happened to me at ALE 2011 with Bruce Scharlau‘s talk about “Agile at the University”. He presented the various ways, he teaches agile at Aberdeen and how all of us in attendance could help spread the word about agile methods.

Thinking back, I don’t recall ever having heard anything about agile development during university.* But it would be much easier to instill people with an agile mindset during their education than to have them unlearn “big design up front”-thinking when they start working. And agile study assignments would probably be more fun, too.

Bruce convinced me and I’ve already written to two universities offering a talk or guest lecture. Christoph will contact a third one.

If you’d also like to take action, record your efforts in this wiki. Who knows, in a few years time, we might all enjoy colleagues fresh from university that are already familiar with agile development 🙂

*For me the saving grace were several courses in human computer interaction, which contained the “Design – Implement – Analyze”-cycle. So when I left my alma mater I already thought that short iterations are a pretty neat idea.

Software Craftsmanship

A couple of days ago we talked about the Software Craftsmanship movement at work. I thought of the movement as an extension to the agile movement, that goes full circle to agile’s roots in software development, and focuses on practising coding skills.

This is the Software Craftsmanship Manifesto:

As aspiring Software Craftsmen we are raising the bar of professional software development by practicing it and helping others learn the craft. Through this work we have come to value:

Not only working software,
but also well-crafted software
Not only responding to change,
but also steadily adding value
Not only individuals and interactions,
but also a community of professionals
Not only customer collaboration,
but also productive partnerships

That is, in pursuit of the items on the left we have found the items on the right to be indispensable.


Some colleagues were irritated that it’s called “craftsmanship”, after all they spent years at university becoming software engineers. But today (the first day of ALE 2011) it made perfect sense, when Markus Gärtner explained the second important aspect of Software Craftsmanship: How new developers are taught and mentored – The ideas include apprenticeship and traveling the world afterwards, the same way journeymen to do, learning from different masters of the craft in each location. There’s even a map showing where software journeymen and -women are welcome.

Thanks, Markus, for a very interesting talk!