Agile 2011 Learning Reflection

The sessions and conversations gave me tremendous insight into future improvements for my own life and team. Agile 2011 in Salt Lake City was a ridiculous amount of fun and learning, two things that should always be synonymous.

Agile 2011 Notes

Session Takeaways:

  • James Goebel helped me understand that my team is experiencing an emotional distance, not the geographic distance that I assumed due to the fact that we are all remote.
  • Liz Keogh and Pat Maddox’s Deliberate Discovery workshop helped me see that there are always items that we cannot see in the initial analysis, regardless of how much I try to foresee the future; however, the key is to address that ignorance up front as the ignorance is the team’s biggest constraint. They also explained that you can pay to keep your options open, and explained the decision of acceptance to cut six trophies for each nominated individual for there to be time to have them made properly, but utilize the two trophies once the decision was made closer to the date. Four trophies were tossed, but the options remained open until the last possible moment. Liz focused on the point that we should either target the ignorance or pay to keep the options open, and do both if possible. Pat made a great statement that put discovery in context: “deliberate discovery is collaboration between stakeholders”.
  • Liz explained that we first observe data, then filter data, generate assumptions, subsequently draw conclusions, and then build our beliefs; but that we often filter the data based on our beliefs that come later raised my awareness to be more objective. The final major insight I received was to keep my options as truly options instead of perceived commitments by others. “Signal intent carefully” was her description to ensure that a mere option analysis does not become an accidental commitment as it’s the commitments that burden us.
  • Portia Tung and Jen Jenson gave an interesting Agile fairy tale of The Emperor’s Clothes to signify congruence, which is an authentic balance between self, other, and the context. The ability to take into account all three of these components requires flexibility, ability to trust, vulnerability, and belief in choices.

Conversation & Observation Takeaways:

  • Working as pairs in any industry on strategic projects are absolutely essential for not only checks and balances, but simply for a constant infusion of creativity and differing perspective.
  • Language hunting and “where are your keys” (WAYK) is something that I need to investigate, thanks to Henrick’s recommendation for fluency in a skill(s).
  • The Coaches Corner, specifically Mark Levison and a fellow named Colin (I apologise for not catching the last name) helped me very much understand the histories of agile and lean system, in that Agile is a conceptual method that is actually a mindset of values, learning, and improving for the industry practices that you use.

I certainly cannot provide enough positive feedback for the two keynotes. Dr. Fredrickson kicked off the conference with a great connection of positivism into how experience life. Having positive emotions help us see more possibilities and are naturally creative, aligning well with the agile mindset. Those emotions expands our awareness and transforms us. However, masking negativity with the cliché “be positive” smiley emoticons is simply toxic insincerity, as noted by Dr. Fredrickson. Rather, we should create a mindset of positivity through being open, authentic, appreciative, and kind. This was anchored with (I assume Dr.) Linda Rising who pulled Dweck’s mindset research into the sphere of agile terminology, comparing fixed and agile mindsets. She pointed out that our mindsets determine goals, failure reactions, belief about effort and attitude towards others’ success. She gives a wonderful door of hope that mindsets are simply beliefs that can be changed through brain exercise and the desire for learning and challenge.

Thank you everybody, for your inspiration to me in my continual journey of lifelong learning and effort to be a change agent!

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About Marian

My passion is centered around ensuring effective learning experiences that improve people's lives. Developing a learning mindset is my ultimate goal whether working with academic programs or corporate training; formal or informal learning practices. It is my belief that our potential for agility is limited only by our capacity for learning.