OOPSLA 2007 Workshop
"Agility Unlimited?"
Wednesday, October 24th 2007, 8:30 - 17:00

Jens Coldewey

Coldewey Consulting

Toni-Schmid-Str. 10 b

D-81825 München


Tel: +49 (700) 26533939

Fax: +49 (89) 74995703



Johannes Link

Software Activist

Römerstr. 17 b

69115 Heidelberg



Klaus Marquardt

Dräger Medical AG

Moislinger Allee 53-55

D-23542 Lübeck


Tel: +49 (451) 882-3314



Next Deadline: August 31st: Position Papers due (see How to Attend)

When agile methods arose, they were tried in small, collocated teams developing medium critical client or server software mostly with internal teams or effort-based contracts. Even today many proponents and skeptics of agile development believe that these parameters limit its use. Others have tried to cross these boundaries and have applied the agile value system to large teams, distributed development, highly critical or embedded systems or in an environment that doesn’t support decision-making. Some of them have succeeded, others have failed. Most of them had to adapt agile techniques to their specific context.

This workshop tries to deepen the understanding of agile values, principles and techniques by exploring these experiences. We invite practitioners and academics who have experience with testing the boundaries of agility or are interested in their findings.

Contents and Objectives

One of the best ways to learn about a system is taking it to its extremes. While the agile values may be applied in any software project or product environment, most agile methods present a finely balanced set of principles and techniques that help the teams to succeed. High-end development environments, such as Eclipse, also provide good tool support for agile development. However, out-of-the-box these methodologies and tools give little support for large teams, embedded software, highly critical systems and usage in decision-adverse environments. The Crystal methodology family makes this explicit by defining team size and critical as the two major parameters for selecting their member (its “color”) but the most elaborate member is again “Crystal Clear” for the traditional agile setting of small teams and low-to-medium criticality.

Proponents of traditional methods often claim, that these “limits of agility” are fundamental barriers resulting from the lightweight design, the informal communication structures and the lack of upfront work in agile methodologies. However, recent research (still to be published) shows that agility has taken roots even in extremely critical systems and in large teams.

Violating the boundaries of agile methods means to put the system under stress set up by these methodologies. Examining how the system behaves under stress and how it had to be adopted to hold – or how it broke – gives valuable insight into the mechanics of agile development. 

This workshop aims at deepening the understanding of agile techniques and principles from this kind of experiences. This can result in more safety when testing the limits of agile in subsequent endeavors or in a better understanding of how the principles and techniques work together.


Every interested practitioner, consultant, teacher, academic, or otherwise interested person is invited to apply for attendance. We primarily seek submissions from people who have practical experience in using agile under “unfriendly” circumstances or have researched one of these issues. 

How to Attend

Applicants (and Organizers!) need to submit a position statement no later than August 31st via email to: jens_coldewey@acm.org. The position statement should be no longer than one page discussing an aspect relevant to the workshop topic or summarizing relevant research results. The authors will be notified about acceptance by September 11th. The workshop will be limited to 20 persons.

watch the submissions grow here...
Workshop Format

The workshop is highly interactive, so the format will be an issue of the entire group. The following list is the suggestion of the organizers on how to proceed:

Final Report

The workshop attendees are supposed to agree on a format for the final report. Possible choices are e.g. a web page, a pattern collection, experience reports, or stories.

About the Organizers

Jens Coldewey (jens_coldewey@acm.org) is an independent consultant from Munich, Germany, specialized in deploying agile development in large organizations. He was program chair of the EuroPLoP ’98 conference, member of the program committee of the PLoP ’98, PLoP ’99, EuroPLoP ’99, XP 2002 - 2003, Agile Development Conferece 2003, Agile 2005, OOPSLA 2003, 2004 and 2006 conferences. He was co-organizer of a series of workshops in past OOPSLAs, including  the workshops “Human Issues of Agile Processes“ (2001), “Commonalities of Agile Methodologies“ (2002), “Are Agile Methods Really Different” (2003), “Customer Role in Agile Projects” (2004), and “Beyond the Project Myth” (2205). He was board member of the Agile Alliance Non-Profit Organization and is member of the Agile Project Management Practice of the Cutter Consortium, Cambridge, MA. Jens is Guest Editor of the May 2007 issue of the Cutter IT Journal on “Exploring the Frontier of Agility” that also deals with the topic of this workshop.

Johannes Link (business@johanneslink.net) is an independent coach for agile software development. For well over a decade he has practiced object-oriented programming, managed projects, trained developers and lead teams into Agility and Extreme Programming. He has published many technical articles, is a regular speaker on conferences and author of "Unit Testing in Java - How Tests Drive the Code" (Morgan Kaufmann, 2003). 

Klaus Marquardt (marquardt@acm.org) is a technical manager and system architect with Dräger Medical in Lübeck, Germany. His experiences include life supporting systems, and large international projects. Klaus is particularly interested in the relations between technology, organization, people, and process. He has contributed numerous patterns and sessions at various conferences including OOP, JAOO, ACCU, SPA, and OOPSLA.