It was great to be back at university and learning last week alongside 150 participants at the second edition of the annual Turku Agile conference, jampacked with interesting workshops and presentations.
The conference was divided into 2 days of events. Day 1 began with workshops followed by a more classic format on Day 2 featuring presentations sandwiched between an opening keynote and a closing keynote.
Pinocchio – On Becoming a Leader
This was the first time we’d showcased an Agile Fairytale as a keynote with a twist. Pascal and I transformed the usual passive lecture keynote into an interactive session with our signature style. The session was an unusual combination of fairy storytelling, action replay and 5 exercises. We got everyone moving and chatting, learning from one another and learning together.
One participant said, ‘You’ve got the interactive keynote downpat! You can scale it up to 500 people if you wanted. It was fantastic!’ Another participant described the keynote as ‘gentle yet deep and meaningful’. We got everyone thinking about and practising goal-setting, committing their goals and moving towards them. We did this by using Marshall Goldsmith‘s Feedforward Exercise combined with Test-Driven Living. We also asked participants to begin with the end in mind: ‘Imagine. You’re 95 years old. You’re surrounded by friends and loved ones. What are the things you’re most proud of having achieved?’
Based on the checking off of acceptance criteria for the keynote with a show of hands, more than 90% of the participants had fun during the session while around 70% of participants learned something meaningful about themselves. Now that’s what I call a job well done – one with clear goals and acceptance criteria.
What’s more, Thank You! for all your feedback. You’ve given us great ideas for improving the session and turning it into even more of a show! You can learn more about the Agile Fairytales community here.
Timeboxed Thinking – How to Make More of Your Time
Timeboxed Thinking is a simple way of structuring our thought process and getting things done. It combines timeboxing, an iterative scheduling process, with the Modal Thinking Model, to turn jumbled up thinking into a discipline. The result: clarity of thought, things getting done and being in control of your time.
Just when everyone thought they couldn’t have more fun in one day, Staffan Nöteberg and I got our afternoon audience of around 100 people to sing along to the all time classic of ‘Heads-Shoulders-Knees-And-Toes’ with motions to match. Oh yes. The sing-along-and-stretch-it-out was designed to illustrate ‘Free Play’, one of the 5 modes in the Modal Thinking Model. It was a well-earned break after the various teams had all built old Tom McDonald a brand new farm (are you humming the tune yet?).
Staffan helpfully pointed out afterwards that I got the melody wrong for the first two verses. Fortunately, that didn’t stop everyone joining in and singing along. *PHEW* I’ll be sure to practice some more before the next group performance!
Firstly, a BIG Thank You! goes to all the student volunteers who’s professionalism, hospitality and collaboration helped to produce an exceptional conference.
Secondly, a BIG Thank You! to Aki Salmi, the conference leader, for being the epitome of servant leadership, consideration and thoughtfulness. I look forward to exchanging more innovative and fun conference ideas with Aki at XP Day Benelux 2010! And, of course, Thank You! for inviting us to present the keynote and a session to boot.
Thirdly, a BIG Thank You! to the folks at BrainTrain London where a bunch of enthusiasts get together to trial new sessions and improve existing ones.
Where can I see all the action?
The keynote was filmed by the very talented ICT-film students at Turku University. The video should be available soon. The Timeboxed Thinking session was voice-recorded, so we look forward to hearing the podcast soon, too!
I’ll be blogging more about the key morals from Pinocchio an Agile Fairytale and the theory and practice of Timeboxed Thinking shortly. Watch this space!