Earlier in the week, I posted about an introduction to agile development that I gave at work. Afterwards, I talked to several of those that attended and figured out that I left a lot of things out of the presentation. This was partly due to some inadequate preparation on my part and a pretty narrow time constraint. As a result, I presented a lot of information without a sufficient amount of supporting information. I also failed to provide enough clarity as to how these new methods would integrate with our existing processes.
To address the issue, I scheduled a Fish Bowl to have an open discussion about agile development methods. We arranged the group into an outer perimeter and set up four chairs in the center of the room. I took a chair and two other volunteers joined me and I started the discussion. I opened with some general conversation about the items presented in Monday meeting. The participation from that point forward was wonderful – everyone took a seat in the fish bowl and shared their concerns, asked questions, and proposed solutions.
The end result was a greater understanding by the group of:
why we are looking at using agile methods in our organization
how these methods can address some of our problems
what we expect to achieve by adapting agile processes
Based on my original experience with the Fish Bowl at ALT.NET in Austin compounded by another great experience this week, I highly recommend the format for group discussions in any organization.