This forum's Project Managers Meeting focused on Agile development and was put together and moderated by Sarah Shreeves from Illinois and Sheridan Libraries' own David Reynolds. Emily Lynema, Associate Head of Information Technology at North Carolina State University, gave a presentation on NCSU's experiences and thoughts around Agile Development and led a discussion in the first part of this meeting. That was followed by a couple of short presentations with lots of discussions. My big take-away is that while Agile proposes a set of parameters, seemingly successful projects have managed to stretch these in different ways. In my view, it's important to be agile about Agile: We have to adapt the approach to our own particular needs and environment.
The group then had lunch with attendees of the Taiga Forum and heard a presentation by and participated in an exercise led by Kristine Shannon, an expert on Agile methods.
A good overview of the Agile approach is available on this Wikipedia page.
The meeting was well-organized with a good mix of sessions. My only complaint is that there were several time blocks that had multiple tracks that were of interest to me. One of the stand-out sessions was a workshop-style discussion of preservation/curation microservices, small, focused services that implement a particular task or operation. These are similar in concept to the micro-services in iRods. These atomistic services can be linked together in different ways to perform a variety of more complex tasks.
In the closing session of the main part of the meeting, Rachel Frick, the Executive Director of the DLF, and members of the meeting's program planning committee led us in a exercise to brainstorm and vote on ideas for future roles of DLF as an organization. Attendees made and supported suggestions for these roles in 30-second synopses. Each of these were transcribed onto a flipchart sheet and attached around the walls of the meeting room. Attendees then gathered at ideas of interest, fleshed them out, and indicated their primary interest by hanging around at a particular sheet.
This approach might be useful for us to try within the Sheridan Libraries in future brainstorming and direction-setting exercises.