Last week, I had the opportunity to attend OnAgile 2016 – the virtual conference organized by Agile Alliance. The experience was great and I share with you, my key takeaways in this post.
Initially, I was skeptic about a virtual conference. I wasn’t sure if it would offer a similar experience and benefit as a “real” conference. To my surprise, Agile Alliance has done an excellent job. The platform is excellent and enabled me to seamlessly attend the sessions. Though the networking lounge and the booth appeared a bit artificial – I am satisfied with the overall experience!
Here is the list of sessions I attended with the key takeaways covered in few bullet points!
#1 Organize for Complexity by Niels Pflaeging
- Command-and-control / Pyramid organization structures don’t work anymore (at least effectively)
- Doesn’t help with people gaining mastery
- What really works is a “peach” model
- It is a flat structure with a core (internal) and a periphery (external)
- This lead to organizations become radically decentralized
- Organizations typically transform from one of the following stages to the other
- There are case studies of massive organizations like Toyota, who are successfully decentralized
You can connect with Niels Pflaeging, the speaker, on Twitter!
#2 Six Rules for Changes by Esther Derby
- Esther had been a successful change agent in many organizations
- In this presentation, she shared 6 rules to bring about a successful change
- A key point is to nurture complex changes. Leaders must make it happen, not push the changes on the team
- #1 Work from a stance of Congruence – be convinced yourself on the changes
- #2 Honor what is valuable about the past and what is working now
- #3 Carefully assess the current situation and the system
- #4 Identify and activate an internal network to diffuse new ideas into the system
- #5 Guide the change by considering when global and local principles apply
- #6 Design experiments to facilitate learning and buy-in
#3 Innovation is 99% Iteration by Geoff Wilson
- Geoff Wilson from 352 Inc. started with examples from his own life about failures of “not being” agile
- By the time he converted a business idea to product, the market was overwhelming with competitors
- He used this failure to learn and applied the lessons successfully in the next venture
- Here is a recap…
- Invest as little as possible
- Build a fully dedicated and cross-functional team. Given them a vision and keep them motivated
- Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) which is “not” unpolished or half-baked
- Get it in the user’s hand within 90 days
- Let the user feedback drive the roadmap
- Quickly get the updated product based on this feedback
- Repeat, rinse and refine!
#4 Remote Teams doing Great Things by Lisette Sutherland
- Companies go remote for easy growth and cost effectiveness
- Why people go remote? – Freedom (mainly from commute)
- Work-life freedom contributes to happiness
- Remote workers can be very much present using video conferencing tools, telepresence robots etc.
- How is business changing? – Startups like StarterSquad is made of remote freelancers and voluntary entrepreneurs who bring business to the team
- 4 Secrets of Remote work success – Ensure good internet and equipment, turn video on, be deliberate about team building and start small then iterate
#5 Managing for Happiness by Jurgen Appelo
- Management 3.0 – Purpose of management is making organization valuable to people and the planet
- Here are 6 “smart” ways to reward people…
- Don’t promise rewards in advance
- Keep anticipated rewards small
- Reward continuously, not just once
- Reward publicly, not privately
- Reward behavior, not just outcomes
- Reward peers, not just subordinates
- Use techniques like Kudo cards, Kudo walls, CHAMPFROGS motivation model and Celebration Grids to bring happiness into the team
#6 Outsider Assessment of Spotify Culture by Jason Yip
- Main challenge of Spotify is to maintain quality amidst fast growth
- Scrum is legacy, not necessarily for all new people coming in
- Alignment is achieved through – shared intent and shared decision principles
- And, Alignment and Technical excellence leads to Autonomy
- Spotify tries to minimize the need for bigger projects. But when cannot be avoided, establish kick-off and integration milestones
- To level up technical excellence – get more people to talk about it and do fearless client development
Jason Yip is an Agile Coach at Spotify, a company well known for it Agile and Open Engineering culture.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience listnening to and interacting with wonderful folks from the Agile Community. I am already looking forward to the next conference!
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