I missed Monday morning's keynote to attend the Executive Forum. In hindsight, the Executive Forum was not the best use of my time and hence I decided to spend the remainder of my day checking out sessions from the main conference.
The Keynote, "Coding for America: How Agile and Lean are disrupting government -- and why they need to", was videoed and can be viewed online here.
This session was definitely my highlight from Day 1. Building on a theme touched on by Mary Poppendieck and Torbjörn Gyllebring at Agile Australia, Linda explored the fixed versus agile (growth) mindset. This session was a sequel to her Agile 2011 Keynote, 'The Power of an Agile Mindset' which I can also recommend.
Linda's message was clear: mindset is not fixed, we are born agile and research has shown we can develop either a fixed or agile mindset. Stereotyping is dangerous, as those being labelled become believers in the stereotype (as illustrated by the "blue eye/brown eye" exercise). To foster an agile mindset, praise effort not talent eg. You worked hard on that! vs. You're so smart!". Failure is essential to learning.
Creating Great Businesses Requires Great Empathy by Jean Tabaka and Robyn Mourning
Jean and Robyn's workshop focused on teaching techniques for using empathy practices to shape better solutions. They showed a powerful video of George Kembel from the d.school at Stanford talking about how using design thinking resulted in a more child-friendly MRI machine. (While not the video shown by Jean and Robyn, this footage of George Kembel telling the story can be found here - start from 4m45s.). The workshop provided an overview of the design thinking process used at Rally Software: Empathise, Circumstance, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test, based on the d.school process. The session left me with no doubt that "Guessing is easy. Empathy requires discipline".
For those interested in learning more Jean recommends the Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking by the d.school at Stanford
Mandi helps companies implement DevOps but finds the problems that generally need to be addressed are less about technology and more about people and process dysfunction. She pointed to specialisation, prioritisation and conflicting incentives as the origins of this dysfunction. Tools she recommends to combat this include: goal setting, communication, self-awareness and training.
My original plan for Monday evening was to check out The Time Jumpers with Lynn Winterboer, Erin Beierwaltes and Ken Collier. Unfortunately, jet lag got the better of me and I ended up taking an unscheduled nap instead! Waking up around 8 pm, I wandered down to the Ice Breaker Reception, only to find myself embroiled in another round of "Six degrees of Jean Tabaka"! In this round, I was lucky enough to meet Gino Marckx, Brian Adkins, Jabe Bloom (@cyetain) and Abby Fichtner (@hackerchick). I really think there is a future in this game if I could only work out a way to monetise it - perhaps a certification would work! 😉