Agile Alliance 2018 - Day 2 recap

Post-It notes arranged on surface to form Kanban board

Tom Lynam at Agile Alliance 2018With Day 2 of Agile 2018 come and gone, as promised here are my top thoughts from the day. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’d highly recommend my recap of the first day.

Today has had a common theme running throughout (bar one exception) of how to scale agile across an organization or at the very least to a significant part of one. Sessions have included speakers such as Dean Leffingwell from Scaled Agile, a practitioner’s experience of their approach and a consultant’s take on how to achieve success when undergoing an agile transformation.

So, here are my top three thoughts from today:

  1. Can you ever over-communicate? It is something I have seen posed here and at the recent Product Festival conference I attended in London. The consensus I am starting to hear is that when it comes to any kind of internal message that you want to convey across an organization, is that it’s better to over communicate than risk your message being lost. Perhaps in an age where we are communicated to so much, in order to heard you need to be the loudest and most frequent voice. In sessions both here and in London there has been push back at the idea, and the fear of “spamming” inboxesfrom audiences. To me this highlights perhaps the bigger problem, communication does not equal email. As someone with a marketing background we run multichannel campaigns for a reason, everyone has preferred channels they interact with and ways in which to absorb information. For me, the important point here, is the need to reinforce whatever message you want to convey through multiple channels (and that includes face-to-face interaction!)

  2. Focus is key: last year when attending Lean Agile Scotland one of the things which resonated with me the most was how one speaker described agile as the ability to focus. It’s simplicity has stuck with me since, especially given the broad range of answers you receive when asking people “What is agile?” That was reinforced in today’s sessions which talked about how best to scale agile. Whether it was focusing on smaller batches or just prioritizing your to do list, the benefits to me are indisputable. Yet why when you speak to most people and teams they are struggling with workload and juggling too many things at once? When we talk about scaling agile, being able to focus and prioritize your workload is something which can be applied to everything we do. It does not need to be saved for the realm of the sprint backlog.

  3. When was the last time you tried something new? I want to finish today’s post with where Day 2 started for me (and the exception that I mentioned earlier in the post). I had the pleasure of hearing the inspiring Artur Margonari talk about his use of accelerated learning using agile techniques. The talk itself was interesting and had some nice nuggets to take away but at the core of the talk was the message that we should all ensure that we continue to push ourselves to constantly learn and try new things. It’s particularly important in the context of the changing ways in which we are working. I’ve already heard this week from another session that the half-life for a skill is now just 5 years. If we don’t force ourselves to embrace change, learn new skills, techniques or ways of working, we may be left behind by those who do.  

So, that’s it for day 2, keep on the lookout for tomorrow’s post and let me know if there are any topics in particular that you would be interested in hearing about.

Read other posts in this series

Agile Alliance - Day 1 recap

Agile Alliance - Day 3 recap

The last hurrah - final thoughts from Agile 2018

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