The Agile Ironman: how moving from Waterfall to Agile in Triathlons cut 4 hours off my time, and how you can do the same at work

* Many Agile practitioners don't have 100% free rein at work to practise Agile.

* After "failing" at Ironman with a Waterfall approach (multiple times), I experimented with Agile principles over several years, where I had 100% free rein to iterate, continuously improve and adapt. Ultimately, cutting 4 hours off my time and finishing 3rd in Ironman Australia 2017 in my age group.

* This is significant because at 5'2" and without any physical advantages, it was Agile principles (working smarter, not harder) that made the difference.

* You'll learn which principles had the biggest effects, and how you can apply these at work (or in other areas of your life).

 
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Outline/Structure of the Case Study

Each bullet point approximately 5 minutes

* Introduction to the problem: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again (in this case, Waterfall) and expecting a different result. My problem was that I was investing significant money + time into Ironman but not achieving a good ROI (like many projects!).

* Identifying what you have a fixed mindset about, and how to change this, is half the battle. Once I changed my mindset, I started to see solutions to my problems and achieve significantly better results.

Mini activity: work with the person beside you to identify something you have (or had) a fixed mindset about that is holding you back

* Principle 1: Collaboration and cognitive diversity: get different points-of-view on your problem(s) and you'll identify solutions that you never would have thought of, and better results. Once I stopped working as a "silo of one" and had a cross-functional team involved in my "problem" I started getting faster and more efficient.

Mini activity: work with the person beside you to identify a problem you currently have (can be a work or non-work problem) and who you could speak to with cognitive diversity to see the problem (and potential solutions) through a different lens

* Principle 2: Instead of "doing work," instead "run experiments." Encourage a PDCA approach and a learning mindset. Use reflection-in-action and critical thinking to harness feedback and continuous improvement. I ran every training session as an experiment with a goal and reviewed my performance to inform the next training session. This meant I improved much more quickly than athletes who treat training sessions as a "tick the box" activity.

Mini activity: work with the person beside you to think of a situation (work or non-work) where you can change your approach to "running experiments" instead of just "doing work."

* Principle 3: It's all about working at the right pace. "The winner is not the fastest athlete but the person who slows down the least." Work smarter, not harder by removing "friction" from the process / situation. Instead of focusing on increasing my power or strength, I identified things that were slowing me down and tried to remove/reduce these to gain "free speed."

Mini activity: work with the person beside you to identify something you can stop doing (or remove from a process) that could help a situation run more smoothly or efficiently.

* My results - 7 years after finishing second-to-last in my age group and nearly missing the cut-off time for finishing Ironman France, I used all of the above principles and finished third in my age group in Ironman Australia 2017, and cut 4 hours off my time. If you apply these principles at work / home you can also significantly improve your results.

Learning Outcome

People who attend this session will learn:

* how significant the benefits of applying Agile principles can be to a process / outcome

* that Agile works well beyond the stereotype of IT software development (i.e. in triathlon)

* that simple changes can have profound results over time

* that Agile principles can take an average or underperforming situation / process (or person, in my case!) and deliver a significantly better results

* that it's not rocket science and does not require a large budget.

Target Audience

People who want to see Agile working outside the workplace, people who are seeking to be change leaders

Prerequisites for Attendees

No prior knowledge of Agile (or triathlon) required.

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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