Ali’s Notes from #Agile2019

Ali’s Notes from #Agile2019
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A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the #Agile2019 conference as a sponsor. One of the best elements of this conference is that the exhibit hall hours allow for us ‘booth people’ to actually attend the sessions. I learned a lot and want to share my notes and takeaways.

Leadership Lessons from Space Pirates with Derek W. Wade:

I’ll be honest: I chose this session because it sounded really cool.  It dealt with taking teams from small, cross-functional teams to distributed teams (maybe even across the galaxy!) with diverse skill sets and still deliver quality, valuable products.

Leading complex situations to success is difficult in itself, but if you don’t understand the interactions within your system, it’s practically impossible. Make visibility and transparency a priority. Have “just enough” hierarchy. Always Learning is key (that’s my added note as that’s our motto at Netmind)!! Leaders who are servant leaders and not command and control leaders will help create a culture of engagement and motivation.  

My favorite quote in this session was “direction is a noun, leadership is a verb”.

Laughing for Leadership with Mary Lemmer

This was by FAR my favorite session. I gained an understanding through improvisation of:

  • How my attitude (and words) affect those around me
  • Using improvisation can help you focus on your team and …..
  • Help you to listen better!

Injecting fun into work is also key. People are more motivated, engaged, relaxed. It helps make for a safe environment where failure is not disastrous. I am determined, after this session, to learn more about improvisation and its use in organizations that are struggling to figure out their leadership opportunities.

Business Agilty with Shane Hastie and Evan Leybourn

If you’ve never been to a fishbowl session, I recommend it! For this session, there were 5 chairs – Shane and Evan occupied 2 of them and the other 3 were left for the audience to join them for a conversation. I love listening to their insights, as well as our Lead Expert, Miquel’s:

https://twitter.com/i/status/1159110410932555778

By the way, if you haven’t gotten Shane and Evan’s book, #noprojects, yet – I highly recommend it!

HR goes Agile with Zuzana Sochova

Key takeaways in this session were that, in HR, we need to move toward:

  • Purpose-driven structures
  • Employee experience
  • Empowerment
  • Inspiration
  • Culture builders (as opposed to compliance-driven)

People want to work in organizations that have an environment of trust, that is safe, flexible, collaborative, fun, and purposeful. Don’t just do agile, grow agile!

Flow – Why Process Efficiency is a Key Metric for High Performing Agile Teams by Jeff Sutherland and Jessica Larsen

This was a great session to hear about what people ask about all the time:  how do we measure team performance?  Don’t use velocity to measure flow efficiency, obviously because you can’t compare between teams. Lean Manufacturing has measurements that use value-added time as a percentage of total time. How do we measure in non-manufacturing environments?  Process efficiency can be used in non-widget environments: 

I learned, besides this great new metric:

  1. “Ready” backlog impacts velocity.
  2. Swarming and focus will increase productivity and efficiency.
  3. Process efficiency measurement is key.
  4. You can measure across teams.
  5. Any Scrum tool can calculate it.
  6. You can gain hyperproductivity!

Prioritizing Portfolio Investments: A Lean Approach with Dean Leffingwell

Lessons I learned in this session (I was very starstruck at just being in the room with Dean, so I hope I captured the essence!):  there is not one right way to do portfolio management. We need a growth mindset.

If you are not building the right things in the right order for your organization, agility is not going to help you! We need a reliable and logical approach to building portfolios. And this should be based on the enterprise strategy.

Enterprise strategy answers 4 big questions:

  1. What customers/markets do we service?
  2. What products and solutions do we provide?
  3. What unique value and resources do we bring?
  4. How will we extend these into the future?

Keynote Videos + Other Presentations

I encourage to you to take a look at the resources that the Agile Alliance has posted on #Agile2019 – including the keynote presentation recordings and slide decks from the sessions!

Also, our Lead Expert, Miquel, documented his experience… take a look.

I hope to see you at #Agile2020!

– Ali

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