Do you want to thrive and not just survive the crisis? A practical guide for business agility amidst uncertainty for leaders

We are living in an unprecedented time. Volatality in the stock market, record-high unemployment, unimaginable impact on small & large businesses, a complete shift to remote teams… the list is endless.

Leaders might feel helpless and without tools to deal with these seismic shifts. In this talk, I present a practical point of view that asks the leaders to be bold. It is not just about surviving the crisis but thriving. 

In 2009, after the 2008 financial crisis, EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) of resilient companies had risen by 10% while industry peers lost 15%.

  • Do you want your organization to be one of those resilient companies?
  • What are some of the concrete steps that you as a leader can take today to emerge stronger and better from the current COVID-19 crisis?
  • How can you adapt to these seismic shifts happening in the market?
  • How can your organization emerge stronger and better from this unprecedented situation?

The answer lies in creating an agile organization that can adapt seamlessly to the current as well as any future crises that may arise. Though agile principles have always been valuable they are even more pertinent in challenging times such as these.

In this talk, I discuss the principles and a practical approach that leaders can use to create a thriving organization.

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Talk

  • Overview - 5 min
    • How has COVID-19 transformed the world as we know?
    • Why is now the time to be bold?
    • What is business agility and how it helps to deal with uncertainty?
  • A practical framework to help you thrive - 20 min
    • Evaluate - Invest - Learn loop
    • Deep dive into each aspect of the loop
  • How can we apply this in our organizations? - 15 min
    • What are the key factors for success and lessons learned?

Learning Outcome

  1. Understanding of the principles of business agility and how it helps organizations thrive
  2. A framework for creating an agile organization that successfully adapts and thrives in a VUCA world
  3. Practical tips and examples from organizations that are making the transition

Target Audience

Leaders; Technology and Business Executives; Agile Coaches; Scrum Masters; Delivery Leaders; Product Managers

schedule Submitted 6 months ago

  • Erkan Kadir
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    Erkan Kadir / Brock Argue - Integrated Agile: How to gracefully manage the reality of agile mixed with waterfall in today's organizations

    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Agile mixed with Waterfall exists in every product development organization globally, yet current thinking teaches us to crusade for one approach at the expense of the other - an approach that creates unnecessary resistance and alienates people with different perspectives. The question is: How can we manage the reality of a mixed-methods environment while still receiving the intended benefits of both approaches? In this talk, Brock Argue and Erkan Kadir will introduce Integrated Agile, a groundbreaking and practical approach that leverages Polarity Thinking to manage the predictable dynamics between Agile and Waterfall while maximizing the upsides of both approaches.

  • Savita Pahuja
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    Savita Pahuja / Mariete Sequera Hernandez - Savita Pahuja / Mariete Sequera Hernandez - Creating Learning Organisations through NeuroAgility

    60 Mins
    Workshop
    Beginner

    Learning Organizations is a way to boost business outcomes. People learn new skills and contribute to products that are competitive and attract users.

    To provide continuous learning, organizations try to improve employees' performance and contribute to the upskilling. That's not enough. It's like treating the symptom, not the root cause. 

    Can you do learning if you are in stress, frustrated with the work environment or not having a good sleep? Are you trying to force yourself to remain motivated to grow in your career further? Now is the time to understand and learn human behaviour as defined by neuroscientists and help yourself and your colleagues.

  • Mark Levison
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    Mark Levison - Retrospectives Gone Bad

    40 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Do you dread going to work? Are interruptions from outside making progress difficult? Is improvement almost nil? Sprint Retrospectives are the tool to help with all of these issues, but what if they elicit frustrated groans and reluctance or, worse, resentment within your team? Mark will share tips on how to change all that. Sadly, the retrospective is often the most misunderstood and abused element of Scrum even though it's the perfect opportunity to get the results you want by improving team communication, collaboration, and morale, which eventually leads to building better products that, in turn, make customers happier.  Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the power (and fun!) of retrospectives, with activities and practical ideas of how to get out a boring rut and use them effectively.

  • 60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Do you have Scrum/Kanban teams frequently releasing high-value, quality product updates? Unfortunately, such agility usually doesn’t last, with features starting to take longer to build, changes becoming riskier to make, and quality getting more difficult to maintain. This common situation – high cost of change, low safety – is often the result of low Technical Agility. The common solution? Lean on the developers to upgrade their “technical practices.” However, this solution rarely makes a lasting, noticeable difference, because what matters is how developers approach work, and that depends heavily on how product and management engage with them. In this session we’ll explore Technical Agility from a mindset standpoint, identify its influence on product management’s choices, and determine how all parties should engage with each other to achieve a level of Technical Agility that enables actual product and business Agility.

  • Nico Gonzalez
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    Nico Gonzalez / Ashley Beattie - The AI Learning Flow: using agile & design thinking to develop human-centric AI solutions

    40 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    As Artificial Intelligence takes on a foundational role in tackling complex prediction problems, organizations are increasingly investing to adopt this technology hoping to obtain extraordinary results. However, less than 7% of AI initiatives ever reach production. Part of the challenge is that organizations drastically underestimate the inherent challenges in developing effective AI products.  While AI is often seen as a threat to replace us all, the most valuable implementations of AI within the workplace take a human-centric approach and focus on augmentation, not replacement.  

    In this talk we introduce the “AI Learning Flow”, an agile and design thinking-inspired, human-centric perspective to help teams understand and navigate the challenges inherent to AI product development.  This will help you:

    • Deeply immerse yourself into the user's context and derive insights into the prediction problems they face
    • Co-create value models with your users and stakeholders, taking accuracy economics, training data governance, prediction ethics, and judgment enhancement into consideration.
    • Continuously identify, prioritize and validate assumptions through thinly sliced experiments to minimize risk and/or uncertainty.
  • Savita Pahuja
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    Savita Pahuja / Mark Kilby - Scrum Master's Super Power of Observation in Virtual Teams

    40 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    Scrum Masters rely on observational skills, but does that mean we only use vision?  What happens when we are all remote?  Can we leverage other senses to “observe” how teams are surviving (or thriving)?  We may not be able to sit together with our team for a long time and it may never be the same due to the long-term effects of the coronavirus.  What skills might we adapt or create for virtual teams? And, how can we still reflect back on the observations so the team can decide how to improve?

    First, listening becomes a primary observation skill with online teams.  Understanding the words used, tone of voice, and what may not be spoken can tell the skillful Scrum Master other ways to assist their team. Reflective coaching questions help to mirror back the observation. For eg: 

    • At what point did you notice…..??
    • Describe what happened when….??
    • Tell me more about...

    Second, we may need to make observations about the context surrounding a change to determine how team members are processing the change.  Do they have a good balance when they live at work and work at home?  Are they in a place to accept help when a change has been forced upon them (e.g., coronavirus forced many out of the office with little warning.)  This is where a tool like the Satir Change Model is helpful to explain to the team and then ask each team member to anonymously indicate where they are on the change curve.  Rarely will everyone be at the same point on the curve during the change process? It becomes important for the team to be aware of where individuals are with the last change when proposing other changes.

    Third, when people learn to reflect back, they may use this new tool too often. Scrum Masters should learn when and how they can create the space for self-learning for the team. Sometimes a Scrum Master consciously taking a step back helps the team to take their own actions in the improvement journey. An observation log becomes another tool for the Scrum Master to notice observations about the team and share it with the team at an appropriate time.

    Amplifying our listening, using frameworks like the Satir Change Model, and capturing and sharing observations in a log help remote Scrum Master use the superpower of observation in building high performing team.

  • Steve Pereira
    Steve Pereira
    Founder
    Visible
    schedule 6 months ago
    Sold Out!
    40 Mins
    Experience Report
    Intermediate

    This experience report details my 2019 involvement with 3 organizations of 3 different sizes (small startup, small-to-medium enterprise, and giant enterprise) to illustrate how I've used a form of Value Stream Mapping to help them define their current state and leverage data collected in the process to confidently identify (often surprising) risks and opportunities.

  • Mariete Sequera Hernandez
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    Mariete Sequera Hernandez / Savita Pahuja - Coaching Agreement: A powerful artifact to set a clear start and a healthy relationship

    60 Mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    As a Scrum MasterCoach or Leader have you found yourself overwhelmed by how to secure a nice start and continuity of your engagements?

    And talking about engagements... What about situations where you get involved in critical and sometimes awkward conversations? You wondered what you thought or understood was required from an engagement apparently was not the same as people were expecting from you.

    In this session, learn from two experienced coaches how they used the power of Coaching Agreement with their clients, and how this living artifact can help you set the expectations upfront. Furthermore, you will discover that an up to date Coaching Agreement, can become your best friend by helping you to reduce the chance to be exposed to misunderstandings while going through the coaching process.

    This session will not be just theory, you will learn through a live demo and also get a chance to practice! Join us !!

     

  • Ashley Beattie
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    Ashley Beattie / Fayyaz Hemani - Gamifying your Agile "AHA" moments (in times of COVID) - How we're using games to introduce Agile Fundamentals in a remote context

    40 Mins
    Experience Report
    Intermediate

    For years the Agile community has leveraged games to playfully introduce and reinforce Agile learnings.  Whether it's the coin game, the ball-point game, getKanban or another of the myriad of Agile gaming options, the immediately relatable AHA! moments give us new perspectives and insights to apply to our day-to-day lives.

    But... we played them in person...  Which, as we all know, has become increasingly difficult in 2020.

    In this talk we will take you along with us on our journey at a large (familiar, yet un-named) financial institution where we have been developing new and innovative ways to deliver interactive, fun Agile Fundamentals training in a remote setting.

    During the talk we will interactively take trainers and learners through:
    - what we used to do vs. what we have been doing for the past 7 months
    - which games we've developed and/or modified to suit the remote setting
    - which principles flow seamlessly and which can be challenging to translate into the remote context
    - what we've learned to date and where we're still challenged

    We might even play a game or two ;)

  • 90 Mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    Ever notice how you feel when you enter a company's doors? Is there excitement in the air? A buzz? Does it feel like innovation is oozing from the walls? Or does it feel as exciting as a tax man's trousers? What makes you feel these things? And how can you start creating a better cultural experience for your employees and customers?

    Culture is hard to change. And every time I hear there is a "mindset problem" or, "we need to change our culture", it becomes painfully clear that focusing on process and tooling changes alone won't cut it. Thankfully, there are effective techniques to help you hack your culture.

    In this workshop, you will learn how to identify the attributes of your existing culture. You will build a culture map, starting with the visible signs of culture and then delve into norms, values, and finally, the core of culture--the underlying assumptions we don't even think about. Understanding where you are, culturally, is the first step.

    From there, you will run through facilitated activities to build a culture hack. Simply put, a hack allows you to test a culture change and if it works, you can stabilize that change and start adding new hacks. Each hack moves you down that all important path to a new, vibrant culture, step by step.

    My team has been experimenting with these techniques with several organizations. You'll hear about some real-world hacks and how they helped organizations improve. Our approach is not built on a single culture framework or a change management system. It is built on the work of many; the Cynefin framework, complex adaptive systems thinking, lean change, supported by culture walks, interviewing, and impact mapping to name a few of the tools you'll learn to use.

    As a leader in your organization, one of your most important roles is as the steward and curator of your culture. This workshop will help you make culture change real, practical, and measurable. With these tools, you can have a positive impact on your people and customers.

    Here are some common cultural challenges:

    • Excessive command and control
    • A belief that employees need detailed processes because they are incapable of making decisions on their own
    • Fear of making a mistake
    • Long and excessive approval processes - again, because employees cannot make good decisions
    • No or little focus on customers
    • Value statements like "We value our people" but with no supporting evidence
    • Lack of employee engagement
  • Raj Mudhar
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    Raj Mudhar - The Five Habits of Highly Effective Agile Organizations - Updated for 2020

    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    It's the classic leader's lament. Driving organizational performance in a way that delivers on business outcomes while engaging employees. Two years after presenting this at TAC 2018 it is more relevant than ever. New updates and experiences.

    Organizations have been deploying Scrum, SAFe, DAD, and a host of other practices in the hope of achieving better business outcomes. We all know that practices alone don't generate the kind of powerful results you need to succeed. The missing ingredient? We hear the word culture a lot. But it is really about operating norms, or habits and behaviors. What I've observed through dozens of transformations within my company and clients are 5 habits that the leading organizations all possess. When these 5 habits are ingrained, the practices fall into place, and performance starts to rocket.

    In this session you'll learn the habits, and why they drive performance. You' also learn about the key questions you can start asking to encourage the habits to take hold in your team, or more broadly, in your organization. The path to performance is paved by changes in behaviors that are reinforced daily. Asking the right questions at the right time can be a powerful way to nudge behaviors in the right direction.

    Having said that, it's not enough to create the conditions for new habits to form. Countless studies, including famous ones by Wolfram Schultz, neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge, have shown that a cue and reward on their own aren't enough to create a lasting habit. Only when your brain starts to anticipate a reward will the habit become automatic.

  • Tanvir Ahmed
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    Tanvir Ahmed - Agile Product Development in the Tech Giants

    60 Mins
    Talk
    Advanced

    Do you wonder how Big Tech companies build and deliver Digital products? What framework, if any do companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Uber use to build highly scalable products? Do they have the same challenges with Product Owner role, Scrum Master vs Project Manager role, Kanban vs Scrum debate, user story slicing and infamous story point estimates? Or they have figured it all out and that is why they are at an advanced stage of their agility journey? If you are interested to know more about their flavour of agile SDLC, please join me in this learning journey on what we can extract from their core practices.

    The Core theme of their framework is built on 3 disciplines

    1. Software Engineering
    2. Product Management
    3. Technical Program Management

    We will deep dive on each discipline and highlight some of the principles and differentiating factors so that we can understand and apply them for our businesses.

  • Sandeep Joshi
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    Sandeep Joshi - Shift from Project to Product Approach using a pragmatic framework

    Sandeep Joshi
    Sandeep Joshi
    Enterprise Transformation Coach
    IBM
    schedule 7 months ago
    Sold Out!
    40 Mins
    Talk
    Advanced

    Whilst the shift from project to product intrigues many agile practitioners and leaders, broader acceptance of this concept into practice is challenged with various constraints. The higher adoption barrier to this shift is due to the complexity and magnitude of changes required to the organizational dynamics. Let us explore together a structured framework that can help accelerate your project to product journey. 

  • Susan Almon
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    Susan Almon - Recovering from Burnout - What to Expect

    Susan Almon
    Susan Almon
    Senior Consultant
    Deloitte
    schedule 6 months ago
    Sold Out!
    40 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    Burnout is a popular topic, even before the COVID-19 impacts to our lives. There is confusion because people use the word to describe everything from being tired after a tough week to a condition so severe that you need to leave your job, at least for a while. 

    A shared understanding of what burnout is, how to prevent it and how to recover lets us work together to make our workplaces safer and keep people healthier.

    This talk will briefly explain the environments where burnout happens and the personal traits that may make you more susceptible, to set context, then talk about the impacts of burnout and how to recover or support someone who's recovering. Focus will be on topics that don't get talked about as much:  cognitive and physical impacts, rehab (how to get your brain back in shape), what help you may need.

    I diagnosed my own burnout while watching a DevOps conference talk. This is a "Yes, and..." continuation of the topic, to inform people of what to expect during recovery. Most advice stops after advising rest and possibly leaving your job. That may not be enough to get you ready to go back to work. Burnout can affect your brain like an injury and understanding this will equip you to seek the help you need.

  • Anik R Somani
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    Anik R Somani - From projects to products - how product thinking can deliver better outcomes, save lives and disrupt the future of mining

    40 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    Many organizations we admire around us today have embarked on a journey to productize their org structure - by assembling people around a common mission, getting them to own their "product", and setting realistic objectives / outcomes to work towards. But what about when your customer is a miner, who is risking their life every single day, in the middle of a global pandemic, to drive value for their organization? How do you productize that?

    This story is about how one of the world's largest Mining and Metals organizations, sparked a shift to a product oriented way of working to:

    • Move from agile projects to products
    • Deepen customer centricity and user insights
    • Boost end-to-end ownership over problems & solutions
    • Enhance speed to market and quality of delivery
    • Integrate Business and Technology stakeholders

    Working alongside our client team, we were tasked with transforming two strategic investment areas for their organization:

    1. Digital Geotechnical Program – “Leveraging technology to improve the safety and efficiency of our key assets”
    2. Railroad Production Management – “Building the railroad of the future to deliver goods and services to the world”

    For the two areas outlined above, this task became immensely challenging, as we aimed to take a fairly technology-focused concept (i.e. product-based teams) and take it out of the office and into the real world. Within each program we sought to validate a key hypothesis for each of the areas we explored:

    1. Within the Digital Geotechnical Program, we sought to understand "how do we build a product team that can effectively inspect/measure/analyze the health of our assets, to improve safety?"
    2. Within the Railroad Production Management Program, we looked to understand "how do we build a product team who can manage one of the most complex industrial railroads in the world, to boost efficiency and safety?"

    As we embarked on this journey, we were faced with a number of key challenges, including:

    • How do you productize an offering that delivers value to both business and technical users?
    • How do you strategically rollout such a wide impacting change to the org in a middle of a pandemic, across languages, time zones and differing levels of maturity?
    • How do we influence the business to see the value in shifting to this new way of working?
    • How do you shift to this new way of working in a heavily vendor supplied environment?

    If any of the above challenges resonate with you or your organization, join us for an engaging talk on some on our lessons learned from our adventure in embarking on a journey to productize the world of mining!

  • Linda Gallus
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    Linda Gallus / Aritra Dhar - Fun & Games (virtual games to add to your toolkit)

    Linda Gallus
    Linda Gallus
    Agile Coach
    TD
    Aritra Dhar
    Aritra Dhar
    -
    -
    schedule 7 months ago
    Sold Out!
    90 Mins
    Workshop
    Beginner

    Games and simulations are a good way to let teams learn in a safe environment.  We'll play a number of popular online agile games and add them to your virtual toolkit.  Games include coin game, core scrum, virtual Lego (sprinting).  After playing we'll talk about the learning objectives that can be obtained from each game.  Or, just come have a break and meet some agile 'gamers'!  

  • Gini Wong
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    Gini Wong - Enterprise Agile - how to bring agility beyond IT?

    Gini Wong
    Gini Wong
    Director of IT
    InvestorCOM
    schedule 6 months ago
    Sold Out!
    40 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    Your team have adopted agile and running great. While seeing a lot of benefits with agile, what are the tips and tricks to implement Agile beyond IT?

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