Remarks and Answers to the Questions for the #ale2011 Talk Proposals

by sebsonconferences

I proposed talks for the Ale2011 Unconference in Berlin, September 2011 and there where some questions raised. I will post my proposals here and try to answer the questions upfront. Maybe this will create a little new momentum to get people to rate them, improve the proposal and answer open questions.

The Agile Meme, far beyond survival of the fittest

Agile Software development has changed the way we work and is still doing so.

The ever changing and evolving forms of “New ways we work” could be seen as memes or “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”.

Looking into the theory behind memes can help us understand how to develop and spread versions of agile methodology at workplaces and ease the adoption of Scrum/XP in our environments.


What is a meme and why is Agile one.

The 7 forms of meme replication and how they appear in agile development environments

  • Quantity of parenthood
  • Efficiency of parenthood
  • Proselytic
  • Preservational
  • Cognitive
  • Motivational

We will have a look into the appearance of these meme replication forms in your organization and how you can use this angle to review your own actions as a person changing an organization.


Q: Memes are a really important topic. I love the work of Julian Everett in this space. Would be useful if you could list the seven forms of meme replication.

A: This was my main point from the beginning on. I now state the forms of replication in the Abstract.

Q: I am not sure whether this will give me new insights that can be really useful for me.

A: As soon as you know how exactly the spreading of such a cultural message or idea affects the persons/teams who are confronted with it you could use the contents of this talk to “debug” your interactions with them to be more effective.

History of Agile

The methodologists seem to rise and I suppose they are somewhat right. From the early days when we used things like the V-Model or the Waterfall a lot of things happened in Development Space that tried to:

  • grow the rate of success in projects
  • use wisdom of the crowds
  • simply result in more enjoyable jobs
  • get stuff delivered bug free

But all that started way before we even thought about software development as it is concluded today. We will have a look into the timeline from 1950 to now and checkout who and what influenced the ideas and beliefs of people that tried to do things better, built and changed the software development space.


Q: I don’t see how this can be viewed as a practical experience. Maybe if you could provide more information on how this talk can provide practical insights that can be used on our current situations I’d be more interested.

A: For years I had the wrong impression that Agile/Iterative Development was kind of a modern response to heavily engineering influenced methods (aka waterfall) that where not applicable to software development. Oh boy, was I wrong. So I started to do some research and a totally different image unfolded in front of me. This contents really helped me to explain to people why iterations, pull and small dedicated teams work without always starting by citing the agile manifesto. The basics are going far beyond the manifesto and the early approaches to XP at Chrysler. If agile-critical people do not trust the content and creators of the agile manifesto, they might trust the guys who flew to the moon. Right?

I will now send a mail to all the persons who asked questions, maybe I can add some of the question/answer stuff to the conf. tool which seem not to be made for such conversations.

If you want to support my proposals: Everyone can register at and help me to get a speaker spot at this conference. Either by giving me an Idea how the proposals can be improved or just by liking it. I would really love to be there and exchange thoughts with the European lean/agile community.