Agile 2015: Awesome Super Conference!

 In Archive

How would you harness the energy of thousands, all inspired to build better products?

I spent last week at Agile Alliance’s annual conference. This was my first time attending, and simply: Wow. With over 200 sessions total, and more than a dozen tracks,  the energy was palpable all week long.  A few short paragraphs here will touch only some of the experiences and ideas that have been swimming around my head.

Luke Hohmann of Conteneo (a partner of Persistent Systems, my current employer) kicked off the week with his opening keynote, “Awesome Superproblems.” Luke showed us how the techniques we use in Agile to prioritize and trade off features and costs are being used to solve wicked social problems, like $100 M city budget deficits.  Luke also showed us how we can take frameworks and processes used to address wicked social problems like drought, obesity and school capacity and apply them to tackle wicked business problems like technical debt, low adoption of products and scaling Agile. He made real the opportunity we have with Agile to transform not just our enterprises, but perhaps our world. Wow. Check out Luke’s hour long keynote here.

This year’s conference of 2300 attendees sold out early, a tangible sign that interest in Agile is growing well beyond its base.  Themes across the conference ranged from applications in Government, for Leadership and in Enterprise Transformations. In any given time slot, there were more than a dozen simultaneous sessions running. With that much variety, even when a prime talk filled to capacity (first come, first seated), there were plenty of choice alternates.   And by going through slides for the sessions in the online schedule, I’ve been uncovering even more value all this week. I’ll be using ideas like Ellen Gottesdiener’s 7 dimensions of a product, and the concept of Influence Maps covered in talks by Matt Barcomb, Esther Derby and Mike Lowery to better serve and coach my teams and clients.

Personally, I had some great fan-boy moments. I got to meet and chat with people in Agile whom I’ve admired for years. Folks like Jeff Patton, Michael Sahota and Siraj Sirajuddin. I was honored to present two sessions.  And through the week, I was humbled when I met people who shared that my talk, “Create Influence, On Demand” (pictured above) was one of their favorites of the conference.  All week, I got a taste of what it was like to be amongst Super Heroes.

Wow. Super Conference. Created and attended by Super Heroes. Even better, we all started to recognize we’re equipped to harness the energy of thousands.  Not only can we do that for building better products, but even more, we can tackle Awesome Superproblems and are empowered to build a better world.

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