- Agile:MK April - It's all about the people
It's all about the people. I'm sure everyone knows this, but if you need reminding or if you'd like to find out more come along to Agile:MK April to discuss Agile software development and how people are the most important aspect. In this session we'll aim to discuss: - 20th century vs 21st century people & jobs - Creating an environment that supports your people - Working with difficult people - Some common pitfalls when trying to lead people This session will be a combination of a presenter-led talk and an open-session with both larger group and smaller group discussion.
- Agile:MK March - Open Discussion: Agile Metrics
It's a well known saying that "you can't manage what you can't measure" but using standard Agile metrics to measure a team can easily backfire. For example, to try improve productivity a company could set a target for to deliver more story points. They'll find more story points will be delivered but it won't actually indicate improved productivity, just story point inflation. Story points are supposed to be used to help teams plan sprints, but the inflation means this doesn't really work any more. So measuring teams using metrics can backfire. On the other hand, asking company stakeholders to "just trust" a team are performing is a tough idea to sell in most organisations. So what should we do? In this session we'll discuss our experiences of what we've seen work and not work, which metrics should be just for the team and which can be shared with management, and see if we can all go away with some good ideas to try.
- Agile:MK December - Jon Smart: Give People a VOICE
You want to increase organisational agility and flow across your large, traditional, organisation. Organisations are complex adaptive systems, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. This talk, which is based on lessons learnt from leading agility at scale across a 320+ year old organisation with 80,000 people in 40 countries, shares an approach to enterprise transformation which appeals to intrinsic motivation, is invitation over imposition, has a clear focus on outcomes and is context and framework agnostic. You will leave with an approach which you can try when you get back to the office. About Jon: Jon assists organisations across industries to deliver Better Value Sooner Safer Happier, leading on enterprise agility at Deloitte. Prior to this, Jon was leading better ways of working across Barclays Bank, which is 328 years old, with 80,000 colleagues in 40 countries. Jon has 25+ years experience of taking and leading an agile approach to change, starting out as a developer on an investment banking trading floor in the early 90’s. He and his team is the winner in the category of “Best Internal Agile Team” at the Agile Awards 2016. Jon is a member of the Programming Committee for the DevOps Enterprise Summit, is a board member of the SD Learning Consortium and is a member of the Business Agility Institute advisory council.
- Agile:MK June: Agile 101 - The Flying Introduction
Want to know about Agile but don’t know where to start? At this event regular Agile:MK hosts Rien, Milan and John will present a flying introduction to Agile software development. This will be designed to give you basic familiarity with the most important Agile concepts, and a base from which to start learning more. We won't have time to get into details, but we'll give a taste of some of the most important concepts in Agile: - Extremely brief history of Agile - Introduction to Scrum - Introduction to Kanban - Introduction to eXtreme Programming (XP) technical practices (no code tonight, just an overview!) This should be just enough to get you ready to ask more questions, so we'll finish with a group Q&A session. We'll then be happy to continue the conversation as we round off the evening with some pizza. This is a beginners event, but Agile:MK regulars are also very welcome to come along and share their experiences!
- Agile:MK May - Rob Brown: Success breeds success so… how do you get to that?
Measuring agile success is unexpectedly difficult for many organisations. Why, and what can we do pragmatically to ensure the returns are greater than the investments? Rob will present a quick overview of some of the approaches that are common, seem logical, and are even desirable to managers and leaders and different levels. We’ll pool our collective thoughts and experiences and personally try to make deeper sense of why this is so hard, and what we can all do about it. We will talk about some unconventional tips that work. The target audience is everyone involved currently, in the past or in the future, with an “agile transformation”. If you’ve “nailed this” please come and share, if you’ve ever been “stung” or been bewildered by this, please come and join us. I suspect ideas about success reach into any kind of major organisation transformation (lean, digital, productisation, TQM, etc). How do you stay focused, no matter your role, and achieve the success-breeds-success context? How do you stay sane, positive and enthusiastic to deliver the desired output and the desired transformation? How do you look after your self and your own stamina level? Success breeds success so … how do you achieve it? About Rob Brown: Rob Brown has led several agile transformations in small, medium and global FTSE250 organisations. Thus far he has invested 24 years being passionate about software, brainware and peopleware - doing the right thing and doing it the right way. Working smarter, not harder, has led to me exploring the multitude of practices available to all the SDLC roles and phases whilst delivering, helping others deliver, leading delivery, and various non-delivery roles. After the Object Active ‘99 conference, I started a personal mission to understand things I did not understand - this has led me into many interesting subjects as well as working with talented intelligent people on remarkable things! Since 2010, most of my time goes into helping organisations of any size adopt the agile mindset and suitable practices (technical, people and business) that are sensible to try in their context now, and facilitating the vision to achieve their future goals in their marketplace typically pressured by global changes.
- Jose Casal: Agility is not an option. It is a matter of business survival.
• What we'll do By now, we all know that software is at the core of most businesses. The world of business continues to accelerate at a pace that appears to be increasing. The key competitive advantage appears to have moved from product innovation and development to business model innovation. Yet, most companies are still trying to run with antiquated business and management models that worked in the early 20th century and are ill-suited for the 21st century and the knowledge economy. Why does this matter? In the past few years, the Agile world has been evolving at a lightning speed and incorporating lots of exciting ideas. Many borrowed and adapted from other fields. Trying to transform development teams to use any of the agile frameworks is not enough. To survive, companies must enhance the entire Business Agility. Thankfully, we have been influencing more and more other layers of the business and with that, we have (re)discovered the power of things like Business Agility, Flow Management, Lean, Kanban, Complexity Theory, Theory of Constraints, Liquidity, Business Mapping, and so on. Business Agility continues to emerge, mature and evolve. In this talk, Jose will attempt to share what is exciting him (and what is scaring him, too). As an emerging talk, he does not promise to hit this objective, but he will do his best! About Jose Casal Jose is a business improvement professional and coach with extensive experience in senior roles. He is dedicated to helping organisations and individuals to embrace modern management methodologies including Lean Kanban, Agile and strengths-based leadership. Strongly motivated towards self-development, Jose ensures that he continues to learn and research, so that he is best able to help organisations achieve success in the introduction, or improvement, of Agile practices. His goal is to help create thriving and engaged Agile organisations. He has a strong belief in the effectiveness of modern management methodologies focusing primarily on Lean Kanban, Agile and strengths-based leadership. He has worked with large private and public-sector organisations such as The Scottish Government, Credit Suisse, Capita, Student Loans Company, NHS Choices, University of Kent and P&O Ferries. Jose is the Founder and Chair of the BCS Agile Methods Specialist Group and the lead creator of the BCS Agile Foundation Certificate (contributing the official syllabus, exam questions and training materials). He is also the chair of the London Lean Kanban Day (LLKD) and Playcamp UK conferences. As an experienced Agile coach and trainer Jose has accreditations and certifications covering the full breadth of Agile approaches. He is an Accredited Kanban Trainer (AKT), certified AgilePM® Trainer, Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), DSDM Advanced Practitioner, BCS Agile Trainer and Innovation Games Collaboration Architect. He's a co-founder of Actineo (http://www.actineo.xyz) • What to bring • Important to know
- Practising Mindfulness in an Agile Environment with Muhammad Meghji
Mindfulness is a natural capacity present in all of us to some extent, and involves paying purposeful attention to our daily experiences. When mindfulness becomes a shared social practice in an organisation, and permeates routines, processes and practices between people and across teams, then the organisation as a whole becomes more resilient and performs more sustainably. In this talk, Muhammad will discuss what mindfulness is, the benefits of it. He will also dig deeper into the concept of "doing" vs "being" agile and tightly link some of the key principles of the Agile Manifesto to the practice of mindfulness in an agile environment. If time allows, and the group is up for it, we will spend some time doing a 5-10 mindfulness meditation. Muhammad is a people centred Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Coach who is passionate and self-motivated with over 9 years of experience working with teams delivering high value software using Agile principles. With in-depth knowledge of various flavours of Agile, including Scrum, Kanban, Lean and XP, he promotes and encourages relevant best practices from each methodology leading teams towards small and incremental improvements whilst building high performance teams. Muhammad also hosts the Agile Northants user group. Its core purpose bring like-minded individuals together to share their wealth of knowledge and experience within the software industry on all things Agile. The group aims to deliver "value" on a monthly basis by providing thought provoking talks, workshops and group discussions by renowned speakers, authors and think tanks in the field of Agile Software Development. Agile Northants user group boasts approximately 500 members and attracts over 35 Agile enthusiasts monthly. Twitter: @mameghji
- Agile Gaming Night - Don Ewart
Games and Play are an important medium for building relationships, learning and collaboration for everyone, and especially for Agile teams. At this meeting of Agile:MK, Don Ewart will introduce and explore some different kinds of games that cover these areas. And, most importantly, it will be Fun!
- Agile:MK December: Introduction to Cynefin with Liz Keogh
Whenever we do anything new, we make discoveries. Sometimes those discoveries speed us up, but more often than not they slow us down. The more innovative we are, the we discover, and the higher the risk and uncertainty - so how can we lead, manage and work in a way which embraces that uncertainty and lets us make discoveries early and safely? In this talk, Liz introduces the latest, "liminal" version of the Cynefin framework to help make sense of different types of situations and how to approach them: the obvious ones, the complicated ones which require expertise, the complex ones in which outcomes emerge, and the chaotic ones that we're usually trying to avoid. Find out how the simple concepts can help us counter our innate human desire for predictability, enabling change and innovation; not just in software development, but in every aspect of our lives. About Liz Liz Keogh is a Lean and Agile consultant based in London. She is a well-known blogger and international speaker, a core member of the BDD community and a contributor to a number of open-source projects including JBehave. She has a strong technical background with 20 years’ experience in delivering value and coaching others to deliver, from small start-ups to global enterprises. Most of her work now focuses on Lean, Agile and organizational transformations, and the use of transparency, positive language, well-formed outcomes and safe-to-fail experiments in making change innovative, easy and fun.
- Agile:MK November - Open Space – Why is change so hard?
We all know that the world changes rapidly, with new things becoming completely obsolete in a few short years, new methods being discovered, new competitors entering many markets. To succeed, teams and organisations need to be able to respond to and benefit from all these changes. Agility is all about change: from the fourth point of the Agile manifesto “responding to change over following a plan” to the final principle requiring regular retrospectives where the team changes their process. And we meet at Agile:MK out of a desire to change and improve ourselves and our working lives. Change is both constant and necessary for survival and growth, both personally and for our companies. And yet we also all know that change can be agonisingly slow when we’re trying to introduce it. Change can be scary and unwelcome when it’s inflicted on us, even if we agree with the need. At the November Agile:MK meetup we’ll discuss this paradox, try see if we can understand why change is hard, and what we might do to make it easier. We hope to share practical experiences, approaches and practices and explore how to lead change successfully.