Saturday, August 09, 2014

Agile 2014 - Final Thoughts

A number of themes surfaced during Agile2014. One of the big themes was scaling agile. There were a number of presentations on the SAFe model, Discipled Agile (DAD) and the new framework by Jeff Sutherland. There was also a lot of discussion on how Spotify scaled agile (be sure to download the paper).  

I appreciated the opportunity to hear about DAD from the creators, Scott Ambler and Mark Lines. Mark gave a presentation on how this framework was implemented at Panera Bread. The next day, Scott provided more details on their framework. 

One common opinion professed by many of the presenters was that there is no one size fits all with agile. There are no best practices. Everything has to be taken in the context of the organization where agile is being implemented. Experiment. Fail fast. Try again. Don’t copy what Spotify did just because it was so effective for them. You can start with a framework, but don't just follow a framework.

The topic of delivering value came up as well. Pat Reed/Walt Wyckoff from iHoriz did a good presentation on a value based framework for portfolio management. Pat stated that even now, 60-90% of features don’t deliver the value that was desired. Another presenter said we shouldn’t focus on shippable code but consumable code. It doesn't matter if it ships, it matters if it gets used. Only then is it bringing value.

There were other topics getting attention, including DevOps and #NoEstimates. The Coaches Clinic and Open Jam added to the value of the conference as well. I'm also sure there were topics I missed. With well over 200 presentations, it's hard to catch everything.

I think a conference like this is a great way to spark some new ideas and maybe help you get out of a rut with your day-to-day routine. Keep in mind that agile is all about inspect and adapt. If you successfully implement agile but then don't try to improve from their, you're doing agile but not being agile. 

If you missed the conference and want to get a flavor for it, here are some resources:

Friday, August 01, 2014

Agile2014 - Soft Skill Presentations

Three of my favorite presentations at Agile2014 were on soft skills; Diana Larsen’s Best Job Ever, Lyssa Adkin’s Facilitating Intense Conversations, and Jean Tabaka/Em Campbell-Pretty’s Creating Agile Tribes

Diana Larsen was the keynote presenter on Wednesday. After a bit of dancing, she got to the presentation. She had three main points

  • Do Work you Love to Do
  • Work With Purpose
  • Take Care of you Tribe

The message was that we don’t have to do a job we hate. Hard work can be rewarding, but there has to be a purpose behind it. 

Lyssa Adkins presentation was about facilitation when there is conflict. Her talk started out more like a discussion on Buddhist practices; things like meditation and mindfulness. Her discussion was based on the facilitation techniques of Diane Musho Hamilton. As part of the presentation, she brought 6 people up on stage and facilitated a discussion among them and demonstrated a number of facilitation techniques such as creating safety, reframing, and listening fully. 

The third presentation was based on the book Tribal Leadership by David Logan and both presenters talked about work environment built around some of the ideas in the book and the positive impact that had on the workers. The presentation wrapped up with the attendees making t-shirts of our tribe.