Snake oil is an ointment made from the fat extracted from a Chinese water snake. It’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
This is something I never knew. I never had the need before to look it up. Just like a billion other things, I’ll only know about in the most superficial way, and that’s ok.
But I got there by thinking about all the scams in the Agile community, the management consultancy industry and the health industry. Snake Oil is a famous health industry scam so much so that it’s now known mostly as a way to describe a scam. “You’re nothing but another Snake Oil salesmen”
Snake Oil aside, I tried to find some real Agile scams on the internet. But alas I gave up. I could not get past the mountains of articles about Agile being a scam. People have been blogging about Agile and Scrum being a scam with such passion and vigor that it’s now 10 feet deep. Strangely the blogging has slowed down significantly in the past few years and was much more popular a few years ago. And now that the Agile community is looking into the real Agile Scams going on. Perpurtrated by Agile Salesmen, with the same understanding of it the original Snake Oil salesmen had of traditional Chinese medicine, all will be blinded by the opinions of angry blogger.
But for now, I would say that if it sounds too good to be true then most likely it’s not.
Let the buyer beware
Agile Dunedin will be the fourth conference Agile Alliance New Zealand will be involved with this year.
We had been looking for someone to run one in the South Island since we started with the project of getting three conferences started up in underserved locations.
When we started we thought that we would phone up a local, get them to organize the event and we would bring the speakers.
Sounded so easy, and like many things that sound easy in the beginning, the more you get into it the more you truly get to know the problem. That is not to say that sometimes all we did was to phone a local and brought the speakers. That did happen most of the time. The pain points that you usually hit, are the things you never expected. These pain points are what makes things more complex and take up 80% of your time to overcome.
Like just finding someone to call in Dunedin if you don’t know anyone there. For me, the biggest unexpected issue was to get people to the websites. By the time you got them where they could make an informed decision about going to the conference your job was done.
I myself finally relented and just bought some ads on Google and LinkedIn. And the biggest thing I found was that they work. And you can see the correlation between Google and LinkedIn marketing and sales.
But if someone does by accident read this article before the 25 of May 2018 and lives in Dunedin, make sure you go to http://www.agiledunedin.co.nz.
Hamilton New Zealand has a character all it’s own. Much like many places in New Zealand like Palmerston North that is famous for a quote by John Cleese.
“If you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick. We stayed in a little motel, the weather was grotty, the theatre was a nasty shape and the audience was very strange to play to. We had a thoroughly, bloody miserable time there and we were so happy to get out.”
Hamilton is most known for V8 engines and farming activity. It is relatively the same size as Christchurch and Wellington. However, the IT communities in the other two are far bigger than the one in Hamilton.
Both Wellington and Christchurch have both benefitted from Government programmes that were set up specifically to help grow the tech sectors in those regions. Wellington as the capital supports the local tech sector directly as a customer. Christchurch has had multitudes of programmes to assist its Tech sector. From special immigration points granted to people willing to migrate to the area to special government growth programmes.
So it was great to see the local community leaders step up and not only start Agile Hamilton but also run a great full day event. With the support of Agile Alliance New Zealand, there was 4 speakers and an OpenEvent in the afternoon.
The event had great attendance and everyone involved felt it was a great start to bigger things to come.
This now leaves us with our last Agile Alliance New Zealand sponsored event, which is to happen on 23 February 2018 in Christchurch.
Which makes you wonder how much potential there is in these smaller communities that aren’t being taken full advantage of.
It’s great to see a group organize and then take off. That is what has been happening in Tauranga with their agile community.
It hasn’t been that long that the meetup group got started and now only and few short months later they have had their first successful conference. I was fortunate to be asked to speak at the event and did a talk on the need to relabel “Technical Debt” to “Technical health”. The talk was well received but what got me even more excited was the interest in agile and agile adoption.
I think it is important to go to events great and small to see people who are new to agile and see the excitement in them for it. It makes me look back and rekindles the passion for agile.
The first thing is a big thank you to the Agile Alliance. Both for helping Agile Alliance New Zealand startup, but, also all the ongoing support.
Then a big thank you for doing this every year. Big thank you to all the organizers.
I think you only understand the work that goes into an event like this if you have had a peek behind the curtains or have done it yourself.
My take on the event I believe is slightly rose-tinted because it seems everyone first Agile event was amazing. Everyone, I have every spoken to after their first Agile Alliance conference are always amazed at the content the venue and think it was the best conference they have ever been on.
A few things I didn’t expect was probably the newest things about conferences I have now come to know or it could be just the Agile conference.
Firstly it’s the community behind the event. From day one everyone is busy catching up with friends they haven’t seen for the last year. Saying hello, getting together for beers or dinner. Usually, the only social interaction is between the colleagues that go together or it’s about making sales. Here it was all about meeting friends form years past.
The second surprise was the volunteers. Not only were the volunteers front and center but they were also highly respected by everyone. The volunteers must have a great time because they keep returning over and over to volunteer again. Usually, the volunteers are less of a volunteer and more of a voluntold. Go the purple shirts.
I think my thoughts on the speakers will require a blog post all its own.
So I’ll end with – Yes, this was the Best conference I have ever attended and I hope to go again and meet up with friends from years past.
Agile in government. Sounds easy at first glance but then you find so little or none of it in reality. Why is this?
If you were to ask Barack Obama, he would say that it is due to the structure of government being stuck in its current form for the last 70 years. With the IT trouble both in the VA and with his flagship medical insurance policy. As a president, he has suffered more than those before him. The next one I am sure will suffer more than he has if he can’t resolve this problem. The simple reason is that IT has become more and more ingrained in business both public and private.
This same question has been worked through in the UK. With a constant going forward and backward on the issue. It has been stated that yes Agile works, but we don’t think it will work for the UK government? Without management “buy in” it won’t. Will there be management buy-in for the champions of what came before? I think not.
Which brings us back to structure and the speed with which it can change. Well from what I have seen, the structure and the champions that maintain it would take two generations to work out of the system naturally. Now, this is only limited to government structure and the IT management structure in particular. 50-60 years, a blink of an eye for the earth, a long time for IT and governments and the average taxpayer.
But it is becoming very clear that governments will go through Agile adoptions sooner than that and that there will be lots of pain for those involved.
If you are in IT or have some knowledge in the Agile field, it would be great if you could help your government see the light in every possible way you can. The sooner we start the better. 50 years is too long so you can’t leave it up to them.
The world is changing, and becoming more digital. Terms like digital native and internet of things are filling the news. But what does it all mean and is there anything you could do to prepare for it.
It’s an internet Superpower.
And with the internet of things – Phone, fridges, lights, heat pumps and clothes are all being plugged into the internet. Without some way of talking to them, you may soon not be able to understand your jeans.
To help start the journey and follow these links: