What if the spirit of Agile was one of exploration ? To explore is to be curious. Explorers relish stepping out of their comfort zone and finding new ways to do old and new things. Its about living with change and relishing finding our how to sustain exceptional performance – and isn’t that exactly what Agile promises ? If we look at Agile from the eyes of an explorer or in my case, the view of my Guinness World Record Journey to become the Deepest woman on Scuba, then what would we learn and how could that change how we use agile ? What are the anti-patterns to be aware of and what are the skills and practices to strengthen ?

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Presentation

I hold the Guinness World Record for the Deepest Dive on Scuba by a Woman. I am also an active Agile Coach focusing on leading the agile change and how the process of doing agile isn’t enough to get the benefit of Agile – it takes a shift in how people show up and use Agile. Surprisingly the journey I took to become deepest has strong parallels to the journey leaders, individuals and teams take when adopting Agile.

By taking a step out of Agile as a process or a method I invite the audience to reframe their own Agile experience and get back to basics, the spirit of Agile is embedded in exploration.

  1. Introduction : Who I am, my World Record and why I see Agile as being a new way of exploring – our potential and the potential of teams and organisations (7 minutes)

This explores the world of VUCA which we live in and how we aren’t shifting out of manufacturing as a mindset (repeatable, stable) and into exploration as a mindset, we aren’t comfortable with change.

  1. A quick 5 minute dive into diving (forgive the pun) to ensure we all have the same language

BODY OF THE TALK - 6 @ 5 minute segments that introduce

(1) LEARNING as an essential skill. The two types of learning (skills and pathfinding) and how uniqueness is built in. How do you become Deepest ? You don’t start at the end, you start with where you are at. Yet in Agile we seem to have it the other way round – we want to become experts within weeks of starting – why can’t we be Spotify if we just repeat what Spotify did ?

DIVING PARALLEL

    • learning how to dive sub 150-meters where there are no courses but there are some experts. S
    • 15 years as Deepest and the 2 attempts that failed – what happens when you rely on an expert and don’t own your uniqueness
    • Finding my own way – you can’t follow. This is the power of the Woman’s World Record and why I couldn’t copy the men who had been before and how I broke the ‘rules’ to adapt to my uniqueness

(2) AUTONOMY What Autonomy really is, what it looks like and what it feels like. The step out of following that takes Courage into owning everything that happens with no-one to blame

DIVING PARALLEL

  • 1 Funeral and 3 New Years Resolutions. How to unstick from years of social patterning and stop following and instead start exploring.

(3) FLOW as a LEADERSHIP STYLE. What does it take to pull 8 experts together to achieve one 6 hour dive ? How both my world record attempt trips almost failed without the ability to harness autonomy.

DIVING PARALLEL

  • 186-meter dive and the problems with the team
  • Supporting Dave Shaw on his fatal dive as surface marshall

(4) FLOW CENTRIC – if we focus on process and ceremonies we loose site of flow and Agile is about getting value to flow. Flow requires a particular kind of focus, it also requires space. The delivery mindset doesn’t create that space and doesn’t allow us to see when things change.

DIVING PARALLEL

  • Getting stuck in a cave at 152 meters, 10 minutes away from support

(5) SERVANT LEADERSHIP UNDER CRISIS. What happens when it goes wrong ? How do you lead without unilateral control so that you enable each team member to respond and bring their expertise into play ?

DIVING PARALLEL

  • Supporting Dave Shaw on his fatal dive as surface marshal

Conclusion including exploration anti-patterns

Learning Outcome

    1. Reframing agile as exploration. Why learning is a critical element of curiosity and the two types of learning an explorer uses (skills vs pathfinding)
    2. The Power of Uniqueness and Path Finding Processes
    3. Reviving Curiosity and Creativity and stepping out of Delivery Created Anxiety
    4. The essence of Autonomy and finding the Courage to Do Differently
    5. Flow as a Leadership Style.
    6. Servant Leading as a critical tool in a crisis
    7. Harnessing the nature of Exceptional Performing, Autonomous Teams
    8. Being Flow centric
    9. Exploration Anti-patterns

Target Audience

Practiioners who have experience with Agile and want to find more effective ways of being effective

schedule Submitted 11 months ago

Public Feedback

comment Suggest improvements to the Speaker
  • Madhavi Ledalla
    By Madhavi Ledalla  ~  11 months ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Verna, your proposal is indeed an inspiring story around agile and exploration! Thank you for submitting to RSGI 2019. Looking at the outline, you have a lot to cover in 45 min, I hope you would be able to go through your complete journey since I am sure the participants would'nt want to miss any peice from your guinness world record story! Thanks..

    • Verna van Schaik
      By Verna van Schaik  ~  11 months ago
      reply Reply

      Thanks for the feedback. It is a tight squeeze for 45 minutes however a lot of the aspects link into one of 3 stories, which means I don't have to go into too much extra elaboration.

      Having said that, I take your point and will definitely ensure that I don't skimp on the diving side