As another Agile conference comes to an end (Agile2015) we are left with a wealth of knowledge to process and share with our companies and teams. If you weren’t able to attend, never fear! We have you covered. Here are some conference highlights from the Davisbase team members who attended. Also, be sure to visit our Twitter feed @Davisbase for even more #Agile2015 info!
Check back next week for insights from Leslie Morse!
An Overview of Agile Passionfruit: Growing Agile Champion capability through a Learning Culture by Troy Plant
One of my main goals for the Agile 2015 conference was to attend sessions that talked about how to create a learning organization. Cultivating a learning organization is critical for building a sustainability plan so that after coaches leave organizations can continue on their Agile journey. One session that fit this requirement was by Renee Troughton, an Agile Coach from Unbound DNA in Sydney, Australia.
The focus of Renee’s talk was how to build a model for growing Agile Champions internally and how to educate and support team members to make the transition to an internal Agile Coach. Renee has created a 10-week program for Agile Champions to participate in. Through the course of Renee’s session, I took away some key points:
- Five individuals are identified as a team and they go through the program together for accountability and support. We are always better when we do things as teams!
- The program is a pull process – people decide if they want to go through the program, no one is forced.
- The program spans ten weeks and supports the idea that becoming an Agile Champion is part of a learning journey! Unlike a 1- or 2-day class, the 10-week program includes self-study, hands on activities, and reflection on personal progress throughout the program.
- Weekly time commitment was approximately 2 hours per week in meetings, and 4 to 8 hours of self-study/work.
- At the end of the program, some participants would become Internal Agile coaches, while others would continue to be Agile|Lean leaders, albeit better equipped after participating in the program.
If you would like to learn more about this session by Renee Troughton, you can download the presenter slides or view the session: http://sched.co/36TT
Agile is About the People by Bonnie Bennion
I found a common theme to many of the Agile2015 sessions I attended. Agile is about the people. In Jake Calabrese’s session about Building Antifragile Relationships, he pointed out that the Agile Manifesto reinforces the importance of people: “We are uncovering better ways of doing complex stuff by doing it and helping others (slightly modified and emphasis added).”
Through the course of Agile2015, I collected a number of thoughts on how to support people during their Agile transformation and as they continue their Agile journey. Here are my Top Five:
Bill Wake introduced the Helium Balloon of Productivity analogy: People want to be accomplished and they want to succeed. They will rise (think: helium balloon) until someone or something stops them. When obstacles are removed, productivity continues to rise. If you want to increase productivity, remove the barriers.
Think outside the box with games
Infuse learning with FUN. In her keynote, Jessie Shternshus taught the similarities between Improvisation (have you seen Whose Line Is It Anyway?) and Agile. Interacting with your teams using FUN games similar to improvisation activities will help people learn in creative and motivating ways. Teach your team to better support others’ ideas (Good Times), respond to change (Super Hero & Sidekick), set others up for success (Last Letter Conversation), celebrate failures (Failure High Five), and understand the importance of constant iteration (Telephone Pictionary). You can watch the session HERE.
Coach the person
Lyssa Adkins taught about the difference between Coaching and Mentoring. My main take-away: Don’t coach the problem, coach the person and they will find an answer to the problem.
Nurture people through change
In Esther Derby’s session about the Six Rules of Change she put it simply: “You can’t just install change. It’s not plug-and-play.” Change is difficult. It will be uncomfortable, scary, challenging, exciting, and through all these situations and emotions, we need to support the people going through the change. Working from a stance of congruence or empathy (Rule #1) will help us uncover ways to best support these people.
Reduce the chatter
Finally, returning back to Lyssa Adkin’s Coaching vs Mentoring session, Lyssa provided many tips to professional coaching but the one that stuck out to me is to really and truly focus on the person you are in the coaching. The “chatter” in our minds needs to subside while coaching. Focusing on coaching conversations will catapult further than the chatter.
Agile 2015 = People by Barry Gavril
A few buzzwords that were floating around the Agile 2015 Conference were SAFe, EQ, Portfolio Inventory, Value Streams, Influence Map, Lean, Continuous Improvement, Story Map, Dev Ops, Anti-Patterns, Risk, Testing, MVP, and the list goes on.
While these topics are great, I learned that above all…
Agile 2015 = People
I went to many 75-minute sessions that discussed the topics I listed above, but it turns out that talking to people during and in between the sessions was what Agile 2015 was all about. This collaboration with other Agilists was where I could really dig deeper into the topics I was passionate about. We shared stories, experiences, what-worked-what-didn’t-work, and above all, we shared inspiration. As great as the sessions were, this inspirational collaboration can only come from direct interaction. Individuals and interactions are most valued, right? Agile 2015 once again proved this to be true.
Below I have listed the top five speakers and topics that I found most interesting for you to research. They are in no specific order but all offer great insights into agility.
Esther Derby – Six Rules for Change
Elliot Susel – A (Story Map) is worth a thousand words
Lyssa Adkins – Mentoring vs Coaching: Show Me the Difference
Sarah Baca – Rewire Your Brain: Practices to Use Brain Plasticity to Become a Better Coach
Em Campbell-Pretty – Thawing the “Frozen Middle”