Yesterday it was my privilege and honor to give the keynote speech at the 6th Italian Agile Day. 400 Agilists gathered at the Savoia in Bologna to share their experiences. And there were even curious skeptics from company management, who wanted to find out about about Agile and whether it could help their problems. Lots of energy.
I also found some surprising obstacles. I was very surprised about the class warfare tones I heard in the discussions. Much of Italy's best talent goes looking for work in London or Munich where their work is more appreciated: the pay is substantially higher than in Italy. One of the cornerstones of Agile is the idea of building trust, e.g. between the developers who build the product and the managers who request it. I wonder how well this culture will do in an atmosphere of contention over pay, benefits and respect.
My favorite quote from the Coaching Workshop: "My name is Luca and I am a Waterfall-aholic". "Hello Luka" everyone replied. Reminded me of the sharks in Finding Nemo.
My talk was about doing fix priced projects with Agile. I believe that Agile is the only way to go for a fixed price project. (I believe there are better approaches than fixed price projects, but that is another story.). It's very simple. Under Agile, a project is 50% complete when 50% of the features have been completed. With non iterative processes that don't regularly produce a product in a stable state, you just don't know how complete it is.
Completing fixed price projects is a lot about risk management, so in the presentation, I talk about how to identify and minimize the risk in the bidding, planning & execution stages of a fixed-price, fixed-scope software development project.