Have you ever seen an agile team that is "just going through the motions" and wondered how many more of those teams are out there in the world? There have been numerous articles in the past year about how agile doesn't work. The examples those articles give are all teams looking like they are doing various agile practices, mostly Scrum, yet for some reason no one is happy, productivity is down and agile gets flushed down the toilet. Agile is NOT easy, but it is also not just a set of practices to be executed. Agile was created to make the lives of software developers and their customers better. There is clearly something missing when that isn't happening.

So what is the answer? A lot of expensive research studies have been done, and the answer is the same regardless of industry or methodology. Employee engagement is ALWAYS the number one reason for success or failure. According to Gartner, only 32% of the workforce in the United States is considered "engaged" at work. Worse yet, 17% are actively disengaged! Think about that for a moment. 1 of every 6 people in the average company are actively disengaged from their work. The average Scrum Team has 6 people plus a ScrumMaster and a Product Owner. This means the average team has at least one member that is actively disengaged. Oh, and to make this worse, one disengaged person will dramatically reduce the effectiveness of an entire team!

This interactive presentation is all about exploring the mysterious topic of engagement. We'll explore primarily in 3 areas:

  1. What is meant by employee engagement?
  2. How does engagement magnify the results achieved with agility?
  3. What can we do to increase engagement on our agile teams?

You will learn through interacting with others in exercises designed to help us all see the nuances of engagement in practice. You will be challenged to explore your own mindset about work and both how that is holding you back and how it is enabling your success. Finally, you will take home valuable insights about how the interaction between play, purpose, potential, small wins and connection increase engagement, while emotional pressure, economic pressure and inertia kill engagement. Those insights will also include specific actionable things you can do to help increase positive engagement factors and reduce negative engagement factors.

Agility by itself is insufficient. Let's explore how to combine agility with engagement and really change the world!

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Talk

The presentation follows the abstract in having 3 main sections:

  1. What is meant by employee engagement?
  2. How does engagement magnify the results achieved with agility?
  3. What can we do to increase engagement on our agile teams?

Section 1 will be exploratory with the audience about their feelings/knowledge of the topic of employee engagement and will end with giving them statistics and learnings from various studies. This section will take approximately 10 minutes

Section 2 will use several exercises to demonstrate the difference of effectiveness when people are engaged and when they aren't. Each table will be an "agile team" and assigned various forms of work. Each table will be given a scenario to play out, including some with highly engaged workers, others with workers told exactly what to do, others with some people actively not engaging, etc. The results will be measured and discussed to see the direct relationship between effectiveness and engagement. This section should take about 15 minutes

Section 3 will show the "engagement equation" I use in all leadership training: Play + Purpose + Potential + Frequent Small Wins + Meaningful Connection - Emotional Pressure - Economic Pressure - Inertia = Overall Engagement. Each area will be defined and explored, including some examples of ways to increase (or decrease for the negatives). This section will take about 30 minutes.

This should leave 5 minutes at the end for Q&A.

If it makes sense, because of the structure of this presentation, it could easily be expanded to 120 minutes and dive much deeper into the subject.

The link given is not to slides, but to workbook pages that I have used in leadership courses for the past 18 months. These have been very effective at helping people see engagement in a different light. I am giving these as an example only.

Lastly, I don't have any video of me talking about this topic. However, I have spoken at dozens of conferences and in fact have been the highest rated speaker at Mile High Agile on several occasions. I haven't spoken at Mile High Agile in a few years in order to give opportunities to others. This topic has been really helping companies and I want to share it with our Denver community. The video link I'm giving you is me giving the keynote at Agile Serbia. The audio of the audience is a bit muted, but it shows me in action. The presentation I'm proposing would NOT be a talk like this one is (hard to make a keynote too interactive). It is based on things I do in actual workshops.

Learning Outcome

At the end of this session attendees will be able to:

  • define the relationship between engagement and success
  • define the 5 positive engagement factors of play, purpose, potential, small wins and connection as well as the 3 negative factors of emotional pressure, economic pressure and inertia
  • analyze current situations and find the relationship between the positive and negative engagement factors
  • influence their work environment to increase engagement

Target Audience

Anyone who can influence team culture (that means you!)

schedule Submitted 9 months ago

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