List of talks at Agile in a Bag 2016

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June 10, 2016

Wicked Problems in Organisational Design

Session Category :  Talk 
09:00  -  09:45

Talk 45min

Balancing deep specialism in individuals and teams against being able to prioritise effectively, balancing commitment based short term goals against feature team and open source code base, and balancing cost of delay against retraining staff to be more T-Shaped, are just a few of the trade-offs that organisation design professionals face during the reshaping of an organisation due to an Agile rollout.

Often these are the hard cultural problems that we face and without making decisions consciously, organisations will optimise around things like keeping people busy, maintaining the status quo, management empire building, and other organisational dysfunctions. Sadly, many organisations simply don’t have the skill or training to even see that these problems exist, let alone know what to do with them.

Scaling frameworks often have some of these trade-offs baked in, and the decisions have already been made for us. This is why often they are hard to implement or don’t seem to work. Only in uncovering the real trade-offs can we learn how to make it work in our context.

This presentation gives an introduction into the real-life choices from real-world experience that almost always need to be made in large scale Agile and Lean transformations.

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I told you what now tell me when…

Session Category :  Workshop 
09:00 - 09:45, 10:00 - 10:45

Workshop 115min

First, the good news: Your project sponsor has a load of great ideas, you understand why they want them and it’s even possible to discern what features they’d like first. The bad news: Your project sponsor wants to know exactly WHEN you’ll be getting all this good stuff out to their customers.

In this session, we will explore some ways we can stop this bad news from being bad at all. We will explore how to turn big ideas into executable work items, how to estimate these “user stories”, and how to confidently predict the team’s velocity. Understanding and practising these concepts and techniques helps us get to a place where we no longer need to dread the question of When.

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Open Space Discussions

Session Category :  Workshop 
09:00 - 09:45, 11:00 - 11:45

Workshop 45min

Do you have any questions, challenges around agility that you are looking to solve? Come to this group mentoring session to get ideas on how to approach your problem. We will use a semi-open space format and brainstorm questions around the following categories:

Getting started with agility, Kanban, Enterprise scaled agile, Beyond agility

We will open tables of 5 and as a group at the table, we will discuss each question for 7 minutes, hopefully generating some insight. Places are limited to 30 participants so come early!

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Coaching the Agile organisation

Session Category :  Talk 
10:00  -  10:45

Talk 50min

There’s been a great deal of focus on coaching Agile teams in recent years. But what about the rest of the organisation? How can we lead positive change both upwards and outwards? Who coaches the product managers, project managers, business owners, Scrum Masters, and indeed the Agile coaches themselves?

This session will show you how, by taking a coaching approach, anyone (and especially an Agile coach) can communicate, inspire, lead, and manage positive systemic change. We will also look at how we can develop and support each other as coaches, how we can navigate difficult conversations, and how we can deal with the complexity of the environments that we find ourselves in. Mentoring and supervision are terms that are well known in the coaching profession at large. Isn’t it time for Agile Coaching to grow up and reach its full potential?

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Kanban is more than a board, let’s discuss deep Kanban

Session Category :  Workshop 
10:00 - 10:45, 11:00 - 11:45

Workshop 115min

In this interactive workshop we will explore the Kanban Method, the principles that underpin it and the practices that make up deep Kanban.

Through lecture and interactive exercises, we will gain an appreciation of what Kanban is and how it can help your teams and organisation. We will understand the principles of the Kanban method and explore each of the 6 practices that make up deep Kanban so that you can take away insights into why we use them, why they work and how they can help you.

Kanban really is so much more than a board.

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When conventional Agile coaching doesn’t work: dealing with tired team

Session Category :  Talk 
11:00  -  11:45

Talk 50min

Virtually all Agile coaching techniques assume that people and teams are in normal physical and mental conditions. And even in such cases introducing the change is difficult and people tend to be resistant to change innovations. And what happens if the team you plan to coach or manage is tired, exhausted or even burned-out? Yes, this might happen because of ineffective process and you expect that your suggestions will help, but in this this state people are not able to hear and follow new ideas.

General Agile coaching and facilitation techniques will not work on the tired team or even make things worse. There is a need develop a special set of actions, tailored to work with exhausted people. This includes approaches to project management and people motivation, choosing facilitation techniques that accommodate the level of team overwork.

In this talk I will describe what changes when you team is tired, how to estimate the stage of exhaustion. We will discuss what needs to be modified in the coaching and facilitation techniques and in the Agile process that you as a coach or a scrum master can help your worn out team to transition into a better process and produce steady results.

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Avoiding ‘mini-waterfalls’ in agile environments

Session Category :  Talk 
13:15  -  14:00

Talk 50min

Although we all think our teams are highly Agile, and don’t do that nasty old-fashioned ‘Waterfall’ stuff, many teams do, in fact, have mini-waterfalls in their development processes, and these cause a multitude of problems.

The waterfall is very much an Agile anti-pattern, and needs to be avoided at all costs as it causes inefficiencies, lack of common ownership and knowledge silos.

This talk identifies the waterfalls (e.g. PO -> Analyst -> Developer -> QA, etc.), explores how they come about (e.g. recruitment policies, role entrenchment) and suggest strategies for avoiding them.

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Leadership on Stage – Become the agile leader you want to be

Session Category :  Workshop 
13:15 - 14:00, 14:15 - 15:00

Workshop 115min

Practice leading knowledge workers effectively, without throwing them of a cliff or suffocating them. Practice responding to your manager in a way that gains you more autonomy to do the most valuable job.

How do you lead knowledge workers in today’s fast changing world? How do you get them to be pro-active, to think and take action themselves. As a creative networker, how do you want to be led and how do you influence that?

In this workshop we’ll explore how to allow for self-organisation without throwing subordinates of a cliff and your organisation into chaos, and how to respond to a manager you experience as patronizing or suffocating. We’ll introduce you to the Ladder of Leadership, a practical tool for changing leadership one step at a time, and use improvisational theatre to practice applying it to your situation.

Learn how to gradually change leadership style to allow people to act more responsibly and pro-actively and to give your manager the confidence he can leave it to you.

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We are not IT. Can we use SCRUM?

Session Category :  Workshop 
13:15 - 14:00, 14:15 - 15:00

Workshop 115min

The SCRUM process has been developed for the software industry to cope with frequently changing, complex customer needs.

Over the years, agile methods like SCRUM have found applications in other areas where complexity and change is frequent – from designing new car models to marketing campaigns.

Do you wonder if you could use SCRUM to solve your personal and business problems?

In this workshop we will lead you through a process to check what you can use from SCRUM and get you started on applying it to your own non-software projects.

(slides)

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From Rust to Robust-From Iron To Agile Triangle

Session Category :  Talk 
14:15  -  15:00

Talk 50min

The traditional success criteria for project management is how well the ‘Iron’ Triangle i.e. the constraints of scope, time and cost are managed-if you satisfy 2 of the 3 constraints, the project is deemed a success. However, in an environment where the business is clamoring for Value, merely managing the constraints cannot be the sole criteria for the successful outcome of the project.

The Agile Triangle, on the other hand, not only recognizes the Constraints but also explicitly recognizes Value and Quality as additional criteria to be satisfied.

The Speaker will highlight the challenges and limitations of the Iron Triangle, explain how the Agile Triangle is a better alternative in terms of not only mastering the Constraints, but also delivering highest Value without compromising on Quality. The Speaker will demonstrate the concept of ‘Speed to Value’ by having few participants perform the ‘Coin Exercise’.

 
(slides)
 
 

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Of Dogfights and Developers: John Boyd, Agile and the OODA Loop

Session Category :  Talk 
15:30  -  16:15

Talk 50min

As the best military thinker of the post-war generation, John Boyd devised his own version of the Deming/Shewart Plan/Do/Check/Act cycle – the OODA Loop.

In the OODA loop, a group, be it a product team or a military deployment, observe a problem; orient themselves towards potential solution; decide on a course of action; act and then repeat the cycle. Boyd claimed that any team that could cycle through the OODA loop more quickly than their opponents would be more successful than their enemies or opponents. Boyd also claimed that the quality of culture and education available to the team in the orient phase was the critically important influence on the quality of decisions that were made. He genuinely believed that in a conflict situation, the side with the ‘best’ culture available to it in the orient phase would win.

In this talk I investigate these two idea of ‘speed around the loop’ and ‘quality of culture’ and explore the powerful impact an understand of these ideas might have on the effectiveness of software development teams – even those that are already following a methodology such as Scrum.

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Cynefin A&E Simulation Game

Session Category :  Workshop 
15:30 - 16:15, 16:30 - 17:15

Workshop 115min

I’m in the early stages of designing a roleplaying-style game to help teams understand how they can apply the Cynefin framework.

The game is based in a fictitious Accident & Emergency ward. The players are presented with different scenarios where patients arrive in different medical conditions and states of distress. The players need to know which Cynefin domain to place the patients; this is challenging because of their limited medical team. Their decisions could change the condition and state of the patient, and therefore players may need to move them into a different domain.

The idea is that players need to work together and use the Cynefin framework to manage various scenarios in an unpredictable environment. The game is designed to test concepts similar to those of a typical development team.

(slides)

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I have questions…

Session Category :  Workshop 
15:30 - 16:15, 16:30 - 17:15

Workshop 115min

Main statement: Questions are a powerful tool, and good questioning skills are extremely important.

Abstract: Questions are a powerful tool, and good questioning skills are extremely important.

Through effective use, we can
•Save ourselves time and effort.
•Encourage participation and teamwork.
•Create outside-the-box thinking.
•Engage in more effective learning.
•Start decision making conversations.
•Improve our inquiry skills.

During this practical interactive session we will explore the power of questions and their ability to make us and others think.

We will do this with exercises and evaluating as we go.estions can help create and negate, learn and teach, and stop and start projects, connections andrelationships. Participants will walk away with ideas on how to sharpen their questioning skills to afine tool which can be used to transform their every conversation and to increase their testing thinking.

I use open questions daily to gather more information, open questions give people no other choicebut to churn things over in their head before they respond.I also use open questions when I collaborate as it helps defocus for a minute while they think abouttheir answer and helps them realise what is going wrong as their sub-conscious churns away. I havetone questions used on me, tone can have a huge impact, a one word question and change of tonecan change anything. Would you like to sharpen your questions? Then come along.

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I’m new here … tips to help new team members become a productive part of the team

Session Category :  Talk 
16:30  -  17:15

Talk 50min

We have all joined a new team, it’s scary right? You feel under productivity, stressed, uncertain, to name but a few. A great team does everything to make that person comfortable and productive. The last thing you want is to lose the person you just spent months recruiting!

This talk walks through a number of tips that you can use to help a new starter settle in. Perfect for Scrum Masters and Managers alike. You can use these tips so that the next new starter quickly and smoothly becomes a productive member of the team.

(slides)

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