Agile Factors

  • Presenters: Rachel Davies & Steve Freeman
  • Type: Workshop
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Audience: This session will interest coaches, team leads and managers who want to set their project teams up for successful implementation of agile software development.
Objectives The goal of this workshop is to produce a set of questions that teams can use at the start of a software development project to help them get clear about how they plan to apply agile techniques


Teams setting out to apply agile software development on a project, soon discover there are a bunch of parameters and variables that need to be set in implementing agile practices. For example, What time will the team run daily status meetings? How long will the team’s development cycle be? Who needs to be invited to review meetings? Etc.

This workshop aims to provide a guide to teams on topics that they will need to develop working agreements on and help team get clear about how they want to apply agile techniques. In the workshop we will produce a set of questions that you can use to explore working agreements for your team.

We were inspired to put this workshop together after applying the practice of Project Chartering and learning that establishing working agreements with the team from the start of the project avoids a lot of churn and misunderstandings as the project progresses. Consensus on Working Agreements can be developed via Project Chartering workshops at the project kick-off and thereafter reviewed and refined via Retrospective workshops.

Benefits of participating

You will explore the variations and limiting factors around implementing several agile development practices. You will get a chance to hear the experiences of many other workshop participants and the opportunity to share your own stories too.

What will the organisers learn

More good questions to ask at the start of agile projects.

Session Outline

In this workshop, we offer participants practices for discussion and they work in groups to build a set of questions that are useful to answer before the team gets started with these practices.

With each practice, we invite groups to talk through different ways you have seen that practice implemented and to probe for parameters that can vary in employing the practice on different teams. Try asking “Who? What? Where? When?” questions about each practice. Each group is given two practices to discuss (on neon starburst cards) and asked to spend 5 minutes per practice writing questions on stickies and grouping them around the practice they related to.

Every 10 minutes participants disperse and choose a new table to discuss more practices.

About half way through the workshop the participants are encouraged to identify new practices - we provide blank starbursts for this.

The session ends with a debrief at each table to talk about the most useful questions they saw during the workshop and then a retrospective of the session (What to Keep/What to Change).


This workshop has been presented with David Hussman at XP2006 (Finland) and Agile2006 (USA). It will also be presented at Agile Business Conference with co-presenter SteveFreeman. What went well in previous runs was short iterations (5 mins per practice) and allowing people to move around to the practices they are interested in (we also encourage people to add new practices after the first few rounds) and what I would like to do differently is to allow longer time for the debrief.