Last week I spent a day at the APLN Leadership Summit and 2 days at the Agile Business Conference . It was the first time I’ve been to the conference and, on the whole, I’d have to say that I was disappointed. However, conferences always have some gold nuggets, and this one was no different. I’ll talk about these in the coming posts.
APLN Leadership Summit
Now my agility depends on an open and trusting environment with empowerment, self-organisation and leadership, and I wanted to hear and talk more about these. The presentation, tutorial and think-tank topics tried to achieve this but the sessions were often hijacked because the majority in the audience were fixated on scientific management and contractual obligations rather than on leadership and collaboration. This, in my opinion, devalued most of the sessions.
I think it was a mistake of the APLN to partner with the Agile Business Conference (operated by the DSDM Consortium ) to host their first UK Summit. Perhaps if they’d have done it independently it would have attracted a broader cross-section of people from the Agile community. I believe the APLN is still trying to find it’s place in the Agile community but I do think it’s focus is an important one. Maybe I should attend the US Summit next year?
Agile Business Conference
I thought the Agile Business Conference delivered a confusing message about agility. And those people that I spoke to who came to the conference to find out how they could achieve agility felt the same way too. There was too much focus on tactics and practices. And these can vary significantly across the various styles of agile methods. But I can’t help wonder if this comes from the bias towards DSDM, which still strikes me as process-oriented and not people and purpose-oriented. With the exception of Sean Hanly ’s and Kent Beck ’s keynote speeches, there wasn’t enough focus on common underlying values and guiding principles for my liking. This is where my coaching focuses. The word ‘agile’ is being used to mean so many different things that it is becoming meaningless.
One benefit of the conference was the productive networking, although I think the credit really needs to go to the Moo cards . These proved to be a big hit with people, with recipients showing them to other people who would then come and ask for one.
A view from the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre :
View from Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre
Originally uploaded by sjb140470 .