Archives for the Month of March, 2010

XP Day Suisse 2010: Edition Francophone

Dorothy in a Spot of Trouble

Salut le monde! After a most enjoyable experience with the participants at XP Day Suisse 2009, Pascal and I are back  in Geneva to co-present at XP Day Suisse 2010 this Monday.

We’ll be co-presenting “The Yellow Brick Road – Agile Adoption Through Peer Coaching” (“Apprenez les techniques de coaching avec le magicien d’Oz”) for the first time en français followed by “Agile Project Management in Practice” (“La gestion de projet agile en pratique”) a brand new presentation on the fundamentals of Agile Project Management based on our experience.

Apprenez les techniques de coaching avec le magicien d’Oz

Pour pouvoir aider les autres (et soi-même) avec du co-coaching il faut mettre en pratique quatre activités : Poser les bonnes questions Écouter ce qui est vraiment dit Observer ce qui se passe vraiment Donner le bon feedback au bon moment Le coaching est simple, mais pas facile. Quelque soit votre rôle dans l’équipe, ces techniques seront utiles pour améliorer chaque jour. Apprenez quelques techniques de coaching et mettez-les en pratique. Les personnages du Magicien d’Oz vous aideront sur la longue route de brique jaune vers la Cité d’Émeraude.

Redécouvrir les leçons que nous avons apprises pendant l’enfance mais avons oubliées depuis longtemps avec Agile Fairytales (les conte de fées agiles) dès demain. La limite est 30 personnes pour cette session. Venez un peu un avance pour garder votre place!

Mettez le co-coaching en oeuvre avec l'aide des agilistes!

La gestion de projet agile en pratique

Est-ce qu’il y a des chefs de projet dans un projet agile ? Qu’est-ce qu’ils font ? Quelle est la différence avec un Scrum Master ? Quelle est la différence entre la gestion de projet « agile » et la gestion de projet « normale » ? A travers des présentations, jeux et exercices nous vous proposons un ensemble d’outils et techniques que vous pourrez appliquer dès demain pour améliorer le déroulement et les résultats de vos projets.

A demain sur la Route de Brique Jaune!

Turku Agile Day 2010 – A Retrospective

Make the Most of this Very Journey of Yours

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!

The Cargo We Carry

The Winking Bridge
As I boarded the plane this morning, I notice a small cargo vehicle trailing what looks like two silver metal closed-top skips. What with all the sunshine, my imagination cartwheels away before I can stop myself. What if the cargo was some precious pooch going on a posh holiday? Or perhaps it’s the latest life-saving drug as part of a clinical trial? Or, more amazing still, may be it’s an organ for a loved one being transported under careful climate control?

The sight of the vehicle and its cargo reminds me of the mental baggage we all carry. The habit-forming kind with which we’ve grown comfortable and by which we navigate our daily lives both at work and at home.

What if…

Let’s play a game. What if some of the things you believe in are simply not true?

Postpone decisions until the last responsible moment
Most of us are desperate to decide things early. This may be motivated by a multitude of reasons, such as a desire to please, be helpful towards others and/or the simple need to feel in control, even when we’re not. By embracing the discomfort of not knowing and using Real Options Thinking, you can keep options open for as long as is valuable. After all, why decide now when you don’t have to? The secret to making informed decisions is to wait until the last responsible moment, by which we mean the point in time when the necessary criteria and/or constraints determine when a decision needs to be made.

Think ‘AND’ instead of ‘EITHER OR’
I’ve noticed that the most successful and satisfied people have an open mind and postpone judgment. They recognise breakthrough ideas are those that combine ‘a AND b’ as opposed to forcing both parties to resign to an ‘EITHER a OR b’ solution. Remember, you can always have your cake and eat it AND you’ll need to exercise to work it off. Apply the Logical Thinking Process such as the Intermediate Objectives Map and Conflict Resolution Diagram to create a WIN-WIN solution for everyone involved.

Focus on value first then value/cost and retain that focus
It’s tempting to do everything at once. Especially when there’s a deadline and too much to do. To prevent your endeavours from wheel-spinning to a standstill, prioritise by value/cost, level the workload and minimise the work-in-progress. Pop quiz: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time! Better still, opt for elephant carpaccio, delivering end-to-end solutions that add value as thin slices. This ‘thin slice’ approach also minimises risks and surfaces issues earlier by testing integration points early. (Note: No elephants were harmed in the making of this analogy.)

Think Different

How will you change the way you think and behave today?

Turku Agile Day Conference 2010

Let the Conference Season Begin!

2010 looks set to be another year of learning and fun! I’ll be in beautiful Turku, Finland on 17 – 18 March to present at the academic conference of Turku Agile Day.

A Series of Firsts

Pascal Van Cauwenberghe and I will be presenting our first ever Agile Fairytale keynote. It’s significant because 1) it’ll be my first ever keynote; 2) it’ll be our first ever keynote together; and 3) it’ll be the first ever Agile Fairytale to be presented as a keynote; 4) we’ll be presenting a brand new Agile Fairytale – “Pinocchio: On Becoming a Leader“. Exciting times indeed.

Warning: Too much candy turns toy boys into donkeys!

And There’s More!

Another first is that Staffan Nöteberg and I will be pair presenting for the first time on a brand session based on a topic close to my heart: “Timeboxed Thinking – How to Make More of Your Time“.

Timeboxed Thinking to make more of your thinking!

We’ve taken special care to make both the keynote and session highly interactive and full of fun. We hope you can join us. See you then!