AgileByExample 2016

AgileByExample 2016

Brian Marick

Brian Marick was a Lisp and C programmer in the 80’s, a testing consultant in the 90’s, an Agile consultant in the 00’s, and a Clojure and Ruby programmer until quite recently. Now he’s an Elixir and Elm programmer, seeing if it’s still possible for a one-person shop to serve a niche market. He was one of the authors of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and is the author of four books (/The Craft of Software Testing/, /Everyday Scripting with Ruby/, /Programming Cocoa with Ruby/, and /Functional Programming for the Object-Oriented Programmer/). He’s @marick on twitter, has a decade-plus blog archive at, and is establishing a new identity at

Keynote—Out From Under the Thumb of Silicon Valley, London, and New York

This talk is about the implications of two quotes. The first is from Steve Freeman, who's been involved in Agile since the very beginning: “In our day, we were fighting waterfall. I think they're fighting colouring-by-numbers Agile.”

The second is from billionaire, cofounder of PayPal, and not extremely tactful person Peter Thiel, who - in a talk given in Chicago - said: "If you are a very talented person, you have a choice: You either go to New York or you go to Silicon Valley." (As a provincial American, he doesn't understand there are other countries, or he probably would have included London.)

I plan to address three topics:

1. Colouring-by-numbers Agile is *better* than waterfall. But still... *why* has Agile-as-practiced so often failed to live up to its potential?
2. Is there any hope for people so untalented that they live in Chicago, Warsaw, or even worse pits of mediocrity?
3. What concrete techniques could help teams recapture the promise of Agile? And is it possible that working in a backwater is a positive *benefit* for capturing that promise?

Slides Video