Archives for the ‘Events’ Category

Rising to the Challenge of 2011

Be Your Own Champion

One of the life-changing moments for me back in 2010 was hearing Sally Gunnell speak at a great networking event organised by Women in Technology, hosted by BP.

The subject of Sally’s talk was ‘Rising to the Challenge – How to achieve a gold medal career‘. Sally shared numerous heartfelt stories from her 12-year long career in athletics and, most importantly, shared her insights on success.

Who’s Sally?

Sally is a former Olympic British Champion in the 400m hurdles. She’s the only woman to have held the European, World, Commonwealth and Olympic 400 metre hurdles titles at the same time. (Read more about Sally on wikipedia.)

Sally Says

Think big. Have dream goals. Define your goals. Know what you want in life. Have a role model. Work out what you’re bad at. Focus on what you’re good at. Remember that your comfort zone gets smaller every day.

Understand yourself. Learn how to deal with setbacks. Work hard. Make sacrifices. Believe in yourself. Develop a positive mental attitude. Don’t let people who put you down influence your whole life.

Put yourself under pressure. Live your dream.

Key Ingredients for Success

Nutrition. Your body isn’t so much a temple as the engine that enables you to realise your dreams. Watch what others eat and work out what works best for your mind and body.

Proper preparation. Build training into your schedule. Train lots.

Be professional. Take what you do seriously. Make everything count.

Respect your coach. Listen with an open-mind. Give things a go.

Don’t worry about things outside of your control. Believe in yourself.

Take regular physical exercise. At least 3 – 4 times a week. It’s the quickest way to feel good about yourself.

Plan for you. Define your goals. Take small steps to get you going and get you that gold medal.

The Difference Between a Champion and a Loser

Winners define what success means for themselves. You decide what constitutes a gold medal for you.

Winners know how to shut up that obnoxious voice in one’s head that says, ‘You’re rubbish. You won’t make it, so why bother?’

Winners know what they’ve got to do. They do the best they can. Once they achieve one goal, they set themselves another.

Being a champion is about sustaining excellence. Being a champion is about ever greater expectations of oneself.

Over to You

All this may sound simple, but it’s anything but easy. What are your goals for 2011 and beyond? And what’s your plan?

Make this year a great one. Because we’re worth it.

UK IIBA Chapter Event – 14 October 2010 Event Summary

An open mind works like a parachute

Last Thursday saw yet another successful event organised by the IIBA UK Chapter. Based on personal experience, I knew the events to be well-attended. What I wasn’t expecting was a turnout of more than 200 people, coming from domains as varied as midwifery to investment banking.

Building BA Communities

The evening began with a warm welcome by Gill Reed, Frontline Support Manager from Barclays Bank. Gill was followed by David Avis, Senior BA at Barclays Bank, who gave a heartwarming presentation on ‘Building BA Communities’. David recounted the tale of ‘Incredible Edible Todmorden‘ (scroll to the bottom of the home page for their vision and goals), the story of a small town in England who took it upon themselves to grow vegetables to share with everyone. The “Incredibles” are those who give a bit of their land (such as a patch of in their front garden) for public vegetable growing as well as those who give their time to do the gardening. The “Edibles” are the tasty vegetables of their labour. Wow – what a great idea! And it works!

Tips for Building BA Communities

David’s tips include:

  • Just start
  • Facilitate, listen, synthesize
  • Raise awareness
  • Set momentum
  • Co-ordinate
  • Empower others
  • Make some time
  • Work on the most important thing to you
  • Collaborate
  • Look for synergies
  • Volunteer and share
  • Encourage others.

The essence of David’s talk is this: To build a community, you need a bunch of people enthused about the same thing and who want to do something about it. Amplify David’s tips by using them to build any community you wish. Download David’s presentation here.

Agile in a Nutshell

I was next up to present ‘Agile in a Nutshell‘, an interactive presentation designed to transform an audience into participants. A number of people had told me beforehand that they were intrigued by how I was going to fit Agile into a nutshell. Based on the positive feedback of the session (and the acceptance testing at the end of the session), we’d managed to do this – thanks to the help of an enthusiastic and attentive audience.

I distilled what I knew about Agile based on my knowledge and experience into 5 principles + 5 values.

The 5 Agile Principles

#1 Deliver Value – Be value-driven! Both business value and personal values.
#2 Respect for People – People are at the heart of any process. People make things happen. The quality of deliverables is a product of the team.
#3 Eliminate Waste – Beware! If you’re not adding value, you’re most likely producing waste.
#4 Continuous Learning – Be open-minded. Reflect often to keep learning.
#5 Continuous Improvement – Be better than you were yesterday every day. Identify actions from your learnings. Take baby steps.

The 5 Agile Values

These are the 5 XP Values of: Communication, Simplicity, Feedback, Courage, Respect. Put your own agility to the test by doing this short exercise.

Agile is much more than a methodology. It’s a mindset shift. Most important of all, Agile’s a party and everyone’s invited. Share Agile with colleagues, friends and family!

Download ‘Agile in a Nutshell’ here. Watch the presentation on YouTube: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3. Thanks to Simon Ward for producing the video!

If you liked my presentation, you’ll love this…

If you liked the style and spirit of ‘Agile in a Nutshell’, you’ll love XP Days Benelux 2010 (25 – 26 November) in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. It’s a conference jam-packed with highly interactive and experiential sessions. Get one quick, while there are still a few tickets remaining! And bring your friends!

The Grand Finale

James Archer, IIBA UK Events Organiser, concluded the evening by emphasising the importance of keeping an open mind and keep learning. Last, but not least, he showed us a moving video on behalf of Cancer Research to help us decide whether or not to donate as part of our appreciation for this free event. Barclays Bank promised to double the first £1,500 donated by the attendees so I hope we raised lots of a money for a great cause!

Upcoming IIBA UK Chapter events

I’m looking forward to the next event already. Visit IIBA’s website for information of upcoming events. Better still, show your support by becoming a member!

IIBA UK Chapter Event – 14 October 2010

A great opportunity to learn and network 

I’ve been invited to present a 45-minute introduction to Agile titled ‘Agile in a Nutshell’ at the next IIBA UK Chapter Event on 14 October 2010. Join me in an introductory interactive session to the core concepts of Agile and identify ways in which you can try out Agile concepts in the way you work.

Also speaking at the event is David Avis from Barclays Bank PLC who will be talking about the importance of building BA communities.

The event will be hosted by Barclays Bank at their Global Head Quarters in Canary Wharf. It is free of charge to all, however the opportunity to make a voluntary contribution to benefit Cancer Research UK will be available. I hope to see you there!