Continuation of the Agilia Conference 2015 Impressions.
Next day after coup of finest coffee the full auditorium waited for a kick off the day. It started by János Kocsány from Hungary who presented ideas around Graphisoft Park. One have to walk the park to fully understand uniqueness of this working ecosystem. To my knowledge, there is nothing similar in Europe. The core essence was about vision, to “change the world” by providing something special and have impact on country and society around. Ecosystem was tailored the way to attract talent – value. We in Aguarra have customers in Graphisoft Park and I learned from their people they sacrifice inconvenience of travelling across the town – equally bad like in Prague – for the privilege to work in this area. For any product owner could be interesting the business model behind and rationale of its logic. Model, which does not sell product (structure) but value (attract talent). Model, that build features step by step (incrementally), in close collaboration with customers to tailor to needs, and to adapt learning from previous structures (feedback). Graphisoft Park is therefore great example of agile company, even if it was not meant so and people behind do not knew what Agile is. And all this without grants from EU and associated corruption (transparency). Other than my explanation there in nice blogpost by Pawel Pustelnik here (in Polish).
I was glad to introduce Zsolt Kulcsár, one of most resistant speakers to come and I am glad I convinced him in the end. Zsolt is psychologist by profession and he experiments with cultural aspects while building his company. They focus among others on flow. I did like in his presentation definition of cultural types of organizations and how they fit for various types of business. It is important, when company has more than one characteristics because it may determine preconditions for success.
Alexey Savkin specializes on Balance Scorecard. It has also rather complex idea behind, which makes it very beneficial tool for managers, if implemented correctly. And it can be “lethal weapon” if implementation is wrong. When something is complex, it is mostly implemented wrong. It became buzzword in its word, the same as words Agile and Scrum are becoming buzzwords in agile world. This technique is not so commonly used in agile world. However, it brings a lot of ideas, which in my opinion can be used for tracking progress of your agile adoption. For agile adoption Alex recommends clear strategy that is created within a team (team collaboration). Strategy might be broken down into layers according to areas of interest for improvement. Then ideas should be stressed. Maybe I missed something, but I haven’t seen how to integrate repetitive process (feedback) into maintaining scorecard to insert learning about objectives.
I have to mention again excellent lunch by Radek Prihonsky, which was fantastic again, as well as networking coffee afterwards.
Knut Fahlén presented his point on Beyond Budgeting – management innovation. While abandoning budgets seems to be radical idea, there are good arguments for it – Uncertainty, Economy, Technology and Demography. I like his comparison “Beyond Budgeting is about creating AGILE&VALUE BASED Organizations“, which reminds me my idea of Value Based Remuneration. In order to achieve Value Based organization, two aspects much be achieved – 1) Management Control Systems and Measurements and 2) Leadership. While organization focus on first, and are often successful in it to some extent, they fail in later one and in capability to link both together.
Another guy from Sweden, Arne Ahlander, did excellent presentation of quite simple topic “Becoming a Successful Product Owner”. Simple but still encompassing wide portfolio of tools for Product Owner toolkit. Nice for anyone, who starts and want to design his product. And also experienced may find some new tools or ideas here.
Day ended with Angel Medinilla, or crazy Spaniard at the end. His presentation was designed on my request about Change Management, and presented at Agilia for the first time. Angel has a sort of humor, which makes everyone laugh even about serious topic. 20 + 1 ideas for culture hacking and change management. And the kitty. Guaranteed.
And finally, Raffle and Closing. It is common habit at all conferences to have closing few words by the organizers. And belongs to a good manner to wait. Apparently not at Agilia. I have noticed, that people start leaving the event two presentations before end. It was sad to see mass escape from most presentations with as soon as slide “Wrapping up” or “Summary” appeared on the screen. However, rules are clear, delegate must be in the room when his name is said. We have had nice prices from our sponsors and first price – Ferrari Enzo scale radio controlled model this year won Aleš Kubík.
Thank you all for great atmosphere of the event. For five years we try to make one of best Agile events in Europe in terms of learning quality. And after this year I am be sure, we have achieved top 5. This is binding, and I afraid it will be challenging to keep current quality. Many people probably did not noticed, but most of the content is written particularly for Agilia, so it is not possible to see it before the event elsewhere, some presentations can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. And particular attention is paid to verification of achievements. It is common trend in the world to present fake achievements. We have had similar problem in one of very first Agilia’s and addressing this problem makes our event unique.
My biggest learning from the event and feedback we have received is that there is big gap in understanding what Agile is and how it is perceived. Particularly business implications, those which are key underlying reason for changes, and which resulted in entire Agile movement. After so many years of popularization, it is quite shocking to learn that for many still Agile = Scrum. It seems there is more work in front of us rather than behind.
Thank you also for suggestions. We will take them into consideration next year. One of them was asking to share, how much work and what particular problems we have had while organizing Agilia. I am interested to do so. I want to write few blogposts on the topic in the future, and perhaps share with you some ideas, because we would like to do significant reorganization.
I have found several blogposts about Agilia Conference, describing the event from various perspectives. Enjoy reading.
Jakub Szcziepanik – Agilia15 – podsumowanie pierwsego dnia (in Polish)
Pawel Pustelnik – Co zapamiętam z tegorocznej Agilii (in Polish)
Vojtech Barta – Agilia Conference 2015 (in English)
Michal Vallo – Agilia Conference 2015 Impressions (in English)
Thank you to you all again.
About author: Michal Vallo helps managers to understand agile techniques, benefit from its adoption to their organizations and consequently radically improve organizational overall performance. He is principal, agile trainer, coach and manager at Aguarra, founding member of Agilia community and organizer of Agilia Conference in Brno and Agilia Budapest Conference.