On Thursday, May 16, NYC Large Scale Scrum hosted a meetup with LeSS co-creator Craig Larman. The event was held at Morgan Stanley — where I learned Extreme Programming and got my first taste of software development coaching — so it was a pleasure to be back in a speaking capacity. I served as Craig’s opening act, keeping folks warmed up and tuned in with a mix of presentation and discussion until he arrived.

The discussion portion was stoked by Agile in 3 Minutes, specifically Effect and Wrong. One of my favorite things to hear about the podcast is when it helps conversations get going, so one of my favorite things about sharing the material in person is watching that happen. I can still hear the roar of 450 people talking first thing in the morning as I opened AgileIndy 2016.

Photo by Gene Gendel

The presentation portion was me telling stories of growing my Morgan Stanley team’s circles of trust, collaboration, feedback, and impact by improving our technical capabilities in our code. By a show of hands in the room, about half the audience had worked for Morgan Stanley or still does, and least half of those were familiar with the system I had been responsible for. I didn’t know how much time I’d have, so I ordered the stories chronologically and worked my way through two of them — just enough to establish Test-Driven Development as a keystone of our team’s development, and tee up technical excellence as a keystone of the LeSS framework. (To find out how our development continued, read the stories.)

When I handed off the show to Craig, he took a seat up front between the two flipcharts, fielded questions, and held the room for an hour and a half with his expertise and manner. It was my first time hearing him speak, and memorable from the outset. He said things that are often hard to hear in a way that I’m guessing may have been relatively easy for this audience to hear. It was occasion to reflect on how my consulting skills have grown since my time at Morgan Stanley and how I might grow them further. And then it was occasion to go out for tacos with John, with whom I’d spent many a Friday night delivering new code to production. Looking forward to seeing more of my former colleagues soon.