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    Entries in agile (16)


    How to have the best job ever

    I saw a speaker at a conference a week or two ago; she walked on stage with some Bollywood dancing music pumping out loud … and she danced and danced! She used this as a metaphor for loving the work you do.

    It was Diana Larsen, speaking at Agile 2014 in Orlando, Florida. Diana presented on how to have the Best Job Ever. Here are my visual notes to her wonderful and energetic keynote. I hope this gets you thinking about what you're doing and whether it's what you really want to be doing!

    Diana's advice is to:
    1. Do work you love to do (and you might need to think back to when you were doing work you loved)
    2. Work with purpose - work that inspires, focuses and motivates
    3. Care for your tribe - this is about collaborating. Working on working better together is the best team building!

    I'm just back from presenting at and attending some brilliant events in Berlin, the Florida and Sydney and will share some of the great learnings, insights and thinking from these events with you over the next few weeks. 

    For now, get thinking about how much of what you're doing is contributing to you having the best job ever. 


    Don't fight stupid - make more awesome  

    Ask any of the talented improvisers at Impro Melbourne and they'll tell you that 'yes' is an almost magic word. When they're on stage, making things up, for the entertainment of an audience, they live for hearing a 'yes' from their fellow performers.

    'Yes...' allows them to build on, add to and develop a story line, an idea, a thought.

    Whereas a 'no' hits them like a bat over the head! Thud! Momentum stopped.

    It's harder to be creative, innovative or do your best work if you keep bumping into 'no'.

    At the Agile India conference I attended and presented at this past week, keynote speaker Martin Fowler mentioned in his presentation on 'Software Design in the 21st Century' the sweet phrase of 'don't fight stupid; make more awesome'.

    Looking into the phrase more, I found that Jesse Robbins, from the same sort of technology field said this and uses it as somewhat of a philosophy. 

    Jesse said:
    “If you keep bumping into ‘no,’ and the organization makes it hard to get to ‘yes,’ you are going to have a long, slow, painful death. Get out of there!

    “Every time I tried to win over stupid, I regretted it. On the other hand, every time I’ve gotten people to swing around and build a movement, I remember all those moments and felt good every day, no matter how hard I worked.”

    If you're battling against some no's where you are at the moment:

    • Yield.
    • Shift.
    • Pivot.

    Head off over there, in that direction and make awesome things happen, using your expertise, your capabilities and your knowing that you are on to something brilliant. 

    Yes. Go for it. Make more awesome. We're waiting for it. 


    If you scare people you won't get started

    Last week I presented at the Agile Australia conference and also attended some brilliant sessions with people like Mary PoppendickDave Snowden of Cognitive Edge, and Bjarte Bogsnes author of 'Implementing Beyond Budgeting'.

    Bjarte's session, thinking and message was around helping organisations perform to their highest potential. My visualisation of his presentation is here as well as below.

    Bjarte Bogsnes - Beyond Budgeting

    Bjarte delivered some clear messages:

    • measurement alone changes nothing
    • businesses cut costs because they're not addressing culture and
    • if you scare people, you won't get started!

    I enjoyed his metaphors of traffic lights vs roundabouts. He asked 'Which is most efficient?,  'Who is in control?' and 'Where are values most important?'

    He doesn't want you to get rid of budgets; rather we need to change our mindsets around cost, KPIs and processes. Traditional leadership and management isn't working and the environments we work in are too complex. 

    There's a similiar style of presentation from Bjarte here from 2012 if you'd like to see more. 


    Memo to guest speakers: organise your thinking

    Yes, three cheers for a call to conference presenters to have a go at engaging the audience (participants!) and delivering their thinking without the use of PowerPoint.

    On Twitter today, I happily retweeted  and  when this was put out there, with a reference to agile conferences:

    RT @neil_killick I call on #agile conferences to ban PowerPoint and equivalent. Let's see presenters really present and lead discussion.

    Here's the next challenge then - given the Agile Australia conference is set for June, the sold out Scrum conference is next week, and the UX and LAST conferences are also bearing down in August, every speaker has the time to organise their thinking. 

    Start now speakers! Get your thinking sorted out now! 

    I believe visual agility skills are what's needed - visual skills where you can swiftly and clearly:


    1. capture your thinking
    2. convey information, and
    3. collaborate with others


    ... using visuals.

    What happens is that PowerPoint gets used to capture thinking. And then it's the tool that's used to convey information. (Not as good at collaboration is it?)

    A great communicator, leader and conference speaker/presenter can use all three: 


    1. Capture your own thinking about what your presentation and key message is;
    2. Convey information during the presentation; and
    3. Collaborate - get input from others in the session, engage and lead discussion. 


    It's not for artistic types or creative folks; it's for normal people and thinking people whose job it is to think, communicate and work well with others. 

    I'll be watching next week at the Scrum conference; and I'll be capturing using visuals on my ipad.

    I so hope a session I've proposed for the Agile Australia conference gets up; no surprise it's on visual agility - I want to help Agile folks get more visual so they can help people in their teams - and right across the businesses they work with and in - to "get" what they're on about quickly, clearly, and in an engaging and captivating way.

    The sooner you're understood, the sooner we can all get on with it. 




    Reflect, Tune, Adjust - that's Agile

    Several colleagues in my network are releasing manifestos - a declaration of their intentions or views or the philosophies behind their thinking and their business. 

    Some of them are lists of statements, others are beautifully designed slides or photo images perfect for Pinterest!

    My favourite manifesto is the Agile Manifesto and for those who work in the project or software development world, this may be well known to you. But for those who aren't living in project-land, Agile still has so much to offer.

    Here's why...


    • Reflect, tune and adjust
    • Build projects around motivated individuals
    • Changing requirements are welcome
    • Early and continuous delivery...


    These are the hallmarks of an innovative team, a capable leader and a collaborative group of folks who are open to what's going on. No matter what field you're in or what you're working on, whether it's your own business ideas, a new project or piece of work or a whole new career, adopting just some of the agile principles from the manifesto can give you a new take on some of your old, tired practices. 

    The key points of the manifesto are visualised here

    Look, think, let it marinate... how might you bring some of this agility to your current ways of working, thinking, collaborating and creating?