One of the main themes of Agile 06 was “crossing the gap”. The question as to whether Agile has crossed into the mainstream was at the forefront of many minds and features in several presentations. This year the focus was on existing in the mainstream with talks on using agile in government projects and highly regulated environments (e.g. aerospace). There was also much debate about how, if at all, to certify Agile practicioners. Several talks debated the value of blindly following (certifiable) practices over embracing the core agile values.
Many talks focused on scaling agile to larger projects and organizations. This included a well attended talk by Ken Schwaber on Enterprise Scrum and a scaling experience reports session with presentations by BMC Software and Microsoft among others. Many of the vendor talks also discussed the challenges of scaling to larger projects.
The conference overall seemed to be somewhat light on developer focused content. Much of the content being project management and coaching, or as one developer put it “fluff”. The main developer focus was the RailsFest and discussion related topics such as Ruby and Watir. Much of the developer track was very beginner orientated with introductory sessions on pairing and TDD. One emerging trend did seem to be acceptance or story-test driven development.