why I am resigning from ASP

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D.André Dhondt

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Jun 8, 2010, 3:30:21 PM6/8/10
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Hi all--

This is a hard note for me to write, but I want to be clear on what I'm thinking and doing, so here it is:

On Tue, May 4, 2010 at 2:06 PM, D.André Dhondt <d.andre...@gmail.com> wrote:
I'm giving myself until June 1 to increase the perceived value of this project, measured by increasing community involvement (traffic on the wiki or this list), or I'm pulling out.

Throughout May, our numbers went from around 1,000 new visitors a week to 300.  The fire is dwindling here, and I don't think I'm the right person to stoke the coals.  I took advantage of XP 2010 to talk about the project, to ask people what they think it should be doing, where it should be going, etc., etc., and we came to a consensus that the project isn't helping practitioners learn.  I don't know how to fix this--maybe you can.  Please do.

As you know, I've poured my heart into this project because I wanted an alternative to certification.  Recently I was talking to another practitioner, asking what he does to stay current--and his response was that he'd recently gotten certified as a CSM.  Does he read any books on the subject?  No.  Attend any user groups? No. Yet he thinks this shows his commitment to lifelong learning.

You, my loyal readers, are not the folk who think they're going to "stay current" by taking just one class.  You don't really even need help staying current--you're already a part of the community, finding out what is new by joining list serves and going to face-to-face events.  However, many people don't participate in the community because it's easier to just pay for a course and add it to their resume.  I think we can offer something of value for resumes, while still sustaining our community--but apparently the Agile Skills Project is not the way to do that.

All this is to say that I think I've got the wrong audience for what I want to do next... to provide an alternative introduction for newcomers to the Agile community.

On Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 3:07 PM, D.André Dhondt <d.andre...@gmail.com> wrote:
There are 3 ways to be part of this project:
Passive: read (at least some) of the notes here and on the wiki
Active: read and comment, talk about this with your colleagues, participate in quests
Creative: compose new text, and submit it for comment

I'm going passive.  I still care about this project, but need to try something else.

So, I'm breaking out from being a "first follower" for ADS.  I'm creating the Agile Welcoming Circle, whose purpose is to provide a "Certificate of Completion" to newcomers as soon as a moderator can verify that they've started participating in the face-to-face or online community.  This circle would provide select services to members for $100/€100 per year, and would have a mixed paid/volunteer staff (starting with me).  I don't think anyone will make full-time wages out of this project, but it will help me devote more time to the initiative, and allow newcomers to have a cheap alternative to certification schemes, and maybe even start feeding sponsor money into free, local conferences.  If you'd like to talk more about this idea, please join agile-welcoming-...@googlegroups.com

--
D. André Dhondt
mobile: 011 33 671 034 984
twitter: adhondt   http://dhondtsayitsagile.blogspot.com/

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If you're in the area, join Agile Philly http://www.AgilePhilly.com

Brian Marick

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Jun 8, 2010, 7:23:11 PM6/8/10
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On Jun 8, 2010, at 2:30 PM, D.André Dhondt wrote:
> All this is to say that I think I've got the wrong audience for what I want to do next... to provide an alternative introduction for newcomers to the Agile community.

Don't feel too bad. As a veteran of all kinds of "we must fix this!" efforts, I know that the failure rate is high, and that failure doesn't reflect on the ambitious person. (That is: I've failed at a zillion things, succeeded at a few - yet I am the same person. So there must be more to it than just my virtues or failings.)

-----
Brian Marick, independent consultant
Mostly on agile methods with a testing slant
Author of /Programming Cocoa with Ruby/
www.exampler.com, www.exampler.com/blog, www.twitter.com/marick

D.André Dhondt

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Jun 9, 2010, 3:07:40 AM6/9/10
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On Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 1:23 AM, Brian Marick <mar...@exampler.com> wrote:
Don't feel too bad. As a veteran of all kinds of "we must fix this!" efforts, I know that the failure rate is high, and that failure doesn't reflect on the ambitious person.

Thank you for the kind words--yet I disagree.  I do feel bad (hurt/helpless), and am justified in feeling so, because it didn't work out as I had imagined.  I am also scared that by stepping out it will hurt the project--I tried to build something that was bigger than me, and could go on without me.  I hope I achieved that.  Only time will tell.

I also think that failure does reflect on the person--but not in the way you suggest.  We're not being ambitious if we don't fail often.  We're not learning if we don't actively seek out the real options, which implies we're pushing our limits, and failing often.  I'd even argue that highly successful people simply fail early and fail often.  Take, for example, my running.  I often go out in the mornings with a specific training goal... and I often fail to meet the goal.  That means I'm trying hard enough that I'm reaching, striving, growing, getting stronger.  If I didn't accept multiple failures, I'd not be able to profit from the few long-shots that are phenomenal successes.

Kurt Häusler

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Jun 9, 2010, 3:26:42 AM6/9/10
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On Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 9:30 PM, D.André Dhondt <d.andre...@gmail.com> wrote:

> As you know, I've poured my heart into this project because I wanted an
> alternative to certification.  Recently I was talking to another
> practitioner, asking what he does to stay current--and his response was that
> he'd recently gotten certified as a CSM.  Does he read any books on the
> subject?  No.  Attend any user groups? No. Yet he thinks this shows
> his commitment to lifelong learning.

Oh well. Different people have different situations, different needs,
different ways of learning, and end up finding different ways to met
whatever needs they may have.

A CSM might be a necessary first step towards demonstrating to the
decision makers where he works that he has something to say that is
worth listening to, or may be deserving of some responsibility.
Employers don't care about what books you read, or what user groups
you go to, and to be honest if all you are doing is plumbing some .net
libraries together or implementing some specifications that have been
thrown over the wall then you will just end up more frustrated than
anything as a more engaged developer.

> You, my loyal readers, are not the folk who think they're going to "stay
> current" by taking just one class.  You don't really even need help staying
> current--you're already a part of the community, finding out what is new by
> joining list serves and going to face-to-face events.  However, many people
> don't participate in the community because it's easier to just pay for a
> course and add it to their resume.  I think we can offer something of value
> for resumes, while still sustaining our community--but apparently the Agile
> Skills Project is not the way to do that.

I think the ASP wiki is a good central place for people to find
information that is available elsewhere on the web. I don't think it
is an effective alternative to certification.

> I'm going passive.  I still care about this project, but need to try
> something else.
> So, I'm breaking out from being a "first follower" for ADS.  I'm creating
> the Agile Welcoming Circle, whose purpose is to provide a "Certificate of
> Completion" to newcomers as soon as a moderator can verify that they've
> started participating in the face-to-face or online community.  This circle
> would provide select services to members for $100/€100 per year, and would
> have a mixed paid/volunteer staff (starting with me).  I don't think anyone
> will make full-time wages out of this project, but it will help me devote
> more time to the initiative, and allow newcomers to have a cheap alternative
> to certification schemes, and maybe even start feeding sponsor money into
> free, local conferences.  If you'd like to talk more about this idea, please
> join agile-welcoming-...@googlegroups.com

Sounds interesting. You don't see this as an evil certification?
Curiosity has inspired me to join the mailing list.

Peter Stevens (cal)

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Jun 9, 2010, 3:39:37 AM6/9/10
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Hi D.André

I was pretty surprised by your statement. I have seen your comments before, but judging by the number of emails on this list, I thought you had an active group with a sustainable pace. You have had some significant successes (an excellent repository of information, a self-assessment, the attention from info-q, to name just a few).

OK, the world is not (yet) beating a path to your door. That happens. The blip of attention from info-q was just that. Every great idea has its setbacks and some take a while before they really flower. Jeff Sutherland invented Scrum but Ken Schwaber made it famous. Jeff was not involved in Scrum for a long time. Ken wrote about it and published about it and kept working on it, even when not many people were paying attention. Thirteen years after inventing Scrum, Jeff reclaims his invention. Why? Well, the importance of Scrum had acquired over thirteen years probably played a role in his decision...

What is called for? Determination. Perspective. Inspect and Adapt. Move forward. Want to smooth the surface of a rock? Invest a lot of effort with a file or just put it in a river for 30 years.

What is that developer (who was happy to take a CSM course) telling you about what developers really need? I don't see him in your personae. What does this project need to do to reach developers like him?

If you feel you are short on contributors, what do they need? Maybe the number of contributors you have is just right for your stage of growth. Maybe everybody is getting what they need and the project has the support which is right at this point in time.

Cheers,
Peter
--
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Tom Harrison

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Jun 9, 2010, 4:29:51 AM6/9/10
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On Jun 9, 8:07 am, D.André Dhondt <d.andre.dho...@gmail.com> wrote:
> ...
> I also think that failure does reflect on the person--but not in the way you
> suggest.  We're not being ambitious if we don't fail often...

To quote: "I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't
work."

I respect your decision and the way in which you have come to it.
However, as someone passionate about your field, you must not walk
away from this without learning from it.

> All this is to say that I think I've got the wrong audience for what I want
> to do next... to provide an alternative introduction for newcomers to the
> Agile community.

To judge a project's degree of success, you have to measure it against
what was intended - is this a community to help beginners learn (and
become accredited), or a community for experts to discuss how to help
beginners learn (and how to accredit them)? I joined thinking it was
the former, and have come to think that it is perhaps the latter.
Both of value; different audience.

Is agile-welcoming-...@googlegroups.com going to be the
former or the latter?


D.André Dhondt

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Jun 9, 2010, 5:17:24 AM6/9/10
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On Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 9:39 AM, Peter Stevens (cal) <pete...@gmail.com> wrote:
OK, the world is not (yet) beating a path to your door. That happens.

True true.  I was willing to spend 30 years to grow this project if necessary.  However, I think the charter of this project no longer matches my interest.  Maybe later I'll come back.  But I have to go try something else now. 

D.André Dhondt

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Jun 9, 2010, 5:22:45 AM6/9/10
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On Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 10:29 AM, Tom Harrison <tahar...@gmail.com> wrote:
is this a community to help beginners learn... or a community for experts to discuss how to help
beginners learn
 
Or is it a community for trainers to compare teaching notes?  Or for practitioners to earn merit badges?  Or a resource to learn about agile skills?

I don't know.  Too many questions for me.  I'm going to focus on just one for now:  Can we use an online forum to build a credible list of people that are committed to learning about agile development?
 

D.André Dhondt

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Jun 9, 2010, 5:30:15 AM6/9/10
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On Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 9:39 AM, Peter Stevens (cal) <pete...@gmail.com> wrote:
I was pretty surprised by your statement.... judging by the number of emails on this list, I thought you had an active group with a sustainable pace.

I was afraid of surprising people, and of hurting supporters of the project by leaving... but I also thought it was equally inappropriate to leave without saying anything.   The amount of traffic and discussion is interesting--but I think it's misleading.  People come, then go.   There are only half a dozen people that have posted messages over a period greater than 6 months.  To me that says there's something wrong.  What is it? I don't know.  Maybe by shutting my mouth, others will have more room to speak, and a new vision will emerge that is more self-organizing.

Dave Rooney

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Jun 9, 2010, 6:46:44 AM6/9/10
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Hello Andr�,

Your efforts are certainly appreciated!

I can empathize with your plight - I started advocating for Agile methods in my local area a few months after the term was coined in 2001.� Only now, 9 years later, is there real momentum building.� There were plenty of times that I was ready to give up, especially when the local Agile User Group dwindled to meetings with a single person on one occasion when I was out of town.� It took a '2nd generation' of advocates to independently start down the same path as me, and for us to coincidentally meet, for things to really take off.

I suspect that this isn't a unique story, and is probably common among early adopters.� Be prepared for it to require a 2nd generation of people who understand the value of this movement for any significant adoption to occur.� That isn't good news in the short term, but it will happen eventually if you really believe in it.
--
Dave Rooney
Westboro Systems
Web: http://www.WestboroSystems.com
Blog: http://practicalagility.blogspot.com
Twitter: daverooneyca


On 08/06/2010 3:30 PM, D.Andr� Dhondt wrote:
Hi all--

This is a hard note for me to write, but I want to be clear on what I'm thinking and doing, so here it is:

On Tue, May 4, 2010 at 2:06 PM, D.Andr� Dhondt�<d.andre...@gmail.com>�wrote:
I'm giving myself until June 1 to increase the perceived value of this project, measured by increasing community involvement (traffic on the wiki or this list), or I'm pulling out.

Throughout May, our numbers went from around 1,000 new visitors a week to 300. �The fire is dwindling here, and I don't think I'm the right person to stoke the coals. �I took advantage of XP 2010 to talk about the project, to ask people what they think it should be doing, where it should be going, etc., etc., and we came to a consensus that the project isn't helping practitioners learn. �I don't know how to fix this--maybe you can. �Please do.

As you know, I've poured my heart into this project because I wanted an alternative to certification. �Recently I was talking to another practitioner, asking what he does to stay current--and his response was that he'd recently gotten certified as a CSM. �Does he read any books on the subject? �No. �Attend any user groups? No. Yet he thinks this shows his�commitment�to lifelong learning.

You, my loyal readers, are not the folk who think they're going to "stay current" by taking just one class. �You don't really even need help staying current--you're already a part of the community, finding out what is new by joining list serves and going to face-to-face events. �However, many people don't participate in the community because it's easier to just pay for a course and add it to their resume. �I think we can offer something of value for resumes, while still sustaining�our community--but apparently the Agile Skills Project is not the way to do that.

All this is to say that I think I've got the wrong audience for what I want to do next... to provide an alternative introduction for newcomers to the Agile community.

On Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 3:07 PM, D.Andr� Dhondt�<d.andre...@gmail.com>�wrote:
There are 3 ways to be part of this project:
Passive: read (at least some) of the notes here and on the wiki
Active: read and comment, talk about this with your colleagues, participate in quests
Creative: compose new text, and submit it for comment

I'm going passive. �I still care about this project, but need to try something else.

So, I'm breaking out from being a "first follower" for ADS. �I'm creating the�Agile Welcoming Circle, whose purpose is to provide a "Certificate of Completion" to newcomers as soon as a moderator can verify that they've started participating in the face-to-face or online community. �This circle would provide select services to members for $100/�100 per year, and would have a mixed paid/volunteer staff (starting with me). �I don't think anyone will make full-time wages out of this project, but it will help me devote more time to the initiative, and allow newcomers to have a cheap alternative to certification schemes, and maybe even start feeding sponsor money into free, local conferences. �If you'd like to talk more about this idea, please join�agile-welcoming-...@googlegroups.com

--
D. Andr� Dhondt

mobile: 011 33 671 034 984


Support low-cost conferences -- http://AgileTour.org/
If you're in the area, join Agile Philly http://www.AgilePhilly.com
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________________________________________________________________
�

Much of the discussion in the group is predicated on several resources summarized on the wiki at http://www.agileskillsproject.org Please review this regularly. To request editing permissions for the wiki, send an email to either of these gmail addresses: d.andre.dhondt or redhotglass .
�

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George Dinwiddie

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Jun 9, 2010, 7:15:34 AM6/9/10
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Andre,

I don't think you've failed at all. I /do/ think you chose an
impossible goal, and I'm amazed at the progress made toward it under
your leadership. The catalog of skills is an amazing thing, and I
thought /that/ was too big and too hard to approach.

I don't think that catalog can do much, by itself, to replace
certification programs. It can provide a measure of what areas a
certification program covers. And it will likely be useful as signposts
in your new endeavor.

You're doing well. Feel good about your accomplishments.

- George

> <mailto:agile-welcoming-...@googlegroups.com>


>
> --
> D. André Dhondt
> mobile: 011 33 671 034 984
> twitter: adhondt http://dhondtsayitsagile.blogspot.com/
>
> Support low-cost conferences -- http://AgileTour.org/
> If you're in the area, join Agile Philly http://www.AgilePhilly.com
>

> --
> ________________________________________________________________


>
> Much of the discussion in the group is predicated on several resources
> summarized on the wiki at http://www.agileskillsproject.org Please
> review this regularly. To request editing permissions for the wiki, send
> an email to either of these gmail addresses: d.andre.dhondt or redhotglass .
>

> ________________________________________________________________
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Richard J Foster

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Jun 9, 2010, 8:15:05 AM6/9/10
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Andre,

Even though this project didn't go where you had hoped (or as fast as
you had hoped), I would certainly not consider it a failure - for one
thing it introduced me to various people (including yourself) that I
would not have corresponded with otherwise. Hopefully those who have
joined will continue to contribute to the group (when they have time),
and continue to build it. I hope that your plans for the "Agile
Welcoming Circle" go better.

Thank you for the time and energy you put into the ADS group. I look
forward to seeing your future projects. Who knows... perhaps some day
I may even get the chance to attend a conference where you are also
present. When I do, I owe you a beer (at least) for what you've
accomplished here.

Regards,
Richard

Ron Jeffries

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Jun 9, 2010, 9:54:24 AM6/9/10
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Hello, D.Andr�.

I'm sorry to hear that you've decided to pull away from ADS, and I
can see why you might do that. As I expressed to you privately, I
believe that we should do the things that appeal to us, where we
have the passion to dig in, not the things that we "should" do. So
good luck in whatever you try next, and thanks for your efforts
here. I hope that the project can continue and I'll address that
separately.

Again, thanks!

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
www.xprogramming.com/blog
Learn the principle, abide by the principle, and dissolve the principle.
-- Bruce Lee

Ron Jeffries

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Jun 9, 2010, 10:36:00 AM6/9/10
to Brian Marick, agile-devel...@googlegroups.com
Hello, Brian. On Tuesday, June 8, 2010, at 7:23:11 PM, you wrote:

> Don't feel too bad. As a veteran of all kinds of "we must fix
> this!" efforts, I know that the failure rate is high, and that
> failure doesn't reflect on the ambitious person. (That is: I've
> failed at a zillion things, succeeded at a few - yet I am the same
> person. So there must be more to it than just my virtues or failings.)

I'm not even sure it is failure. The group is large. We don't know
what will happen. If it goes forward from here, Andre will deserve a
big chunk of the credit. Even if it doesn't, the minds of a lot of
people have been opened a little bit.

You can't swallow the ocean. That's not failure, it's just the way
the world is. Ocean big, person small.

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
www.xprogramming.com/blog
If you're not throwing some gravel once in a while,
you're not using the whole road.

Jussi Mononen

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Jun 9, 2010, 1:53:03 PM6/9/10
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Ditto.

I have seen things and met people that I would have missed otherwise.
Thank you for that :-)

ASP was (is) an important milestone in my 'enlightment'.

--
- Agile Poodle
- http://www.jussimononen.info/
- http://www.twitter.com/agilepoodle

Ron Jeffries

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Jun 9, 2010, 2:36:55 PM6/9/10
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Hello, Jussi. On Wednesday, June 9, 2010, at 1:53:03 PM, you
wrote:

> I have seen things and met people that I would have missed otherwise.
> Thank you for that :-)

> ASP was (is) an important milestone in my 'enlightment'.

As far as I know, none of us are dead ...

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
www.xprogramming.com/blog
Inigo Montoya: You are wonderful!
Man in Black: Thank you. I have worked hard to become so.

Erik

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Jun 9, 2010, 5:21:12 PM6/9/10
to Agile Developer Skills
I want to add that Andre's effort was not wasted. I found the
exercise of working on this site to be beneficial and instructive, and
I don't doubt that he learned considerably more than I did due to his
much greater effort.

So to Andre and many others: Thanks for all of your work on this
project!

D.André Dhondt

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Jun 10, 2010, 4:05:27 AM6/10/10
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On Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 11:21 PM, Erik <erik.p...@gmail.com> wrote:
I don't doubt that he learned

True, true, and thank you to everyone who has given me useful feedback.  For those who now carry the torch, I've summarized a bit more of the workshop on the project at XP 2010: the most important learning I'd like to convey is that newcomers give the site 90 seconds.  If they don't see what it's about by then, they don't come back.  So simplify, focus, clarify!

Who wants the weekly analytics report?  Currently it only comes to my mailbox.

Ron Jeffries

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Jun 10, 2010, 7:50:04 AM6/10/10
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Hello, D.Andr�. On Wednesday, June 9, 2010, at 3:07:40 AM, you
wrote:

> I also think that failure does reflect on the person--but not in the way you
> suggest. We're not being ambitious if we don't fail often. We're not
> learning if we don't actively seek out the real options, which implies we're
> pushing our limits, and failing often. I'd even argue that highly
> successful people simply fail early and fail often.

Failure doesn't reflect on the person. The wise person reflects on
failure.

Jussi Mononen

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Jun 10, 2010, 11:55:14 AM6/10/10
to agile-devel...@googlegroups.com, Ron Jeffries
>> ASP was (is) an important milestone in my 'enlightment'.
>
> As far as I know, none of us are dead ...
>
> Ron Jeffries

True. I hope that ASP gets revved up now that we are facing substantial
change in the leading forces.

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