Keynote speaker: The keynote was the amazing Thiagi, of The Thiagi Group. The format was very free form, with a display of post-its on the screen containing topic suggestions, and Thiagi picking people at random out of the audience to choose a topic off the board or one of their own. There were a lot of nuggets of wisdom, including "It's failure only if you fail to learn from it." Prior to Thiagi's keynote, he sat at our table and we were able to share some jokes.
Agile Training: From Mundane to Mindblowing: This was the session I did with my cohort, Maggie. We have been working on this for a while, and it all came together so well. We had 57 people (standing room only) and everyone was engaged. We started off with a round of Ultimate Rock-Paper-Scissors, told our Monsanto training story, answered a whole bunch of questions, played Maggie's draw-guess game, and answered more questions. During the rock-paper-scissors, we were warned about the noise - everyone was having such a great time. It went extremely well, and we are basking in the memory of every moment!
Taming the Chaos: Bringing Agile to the Business with Little or No Process: I went to this one because, to me, "business" means customers. I wanted to know how to bring agile to customers. It was, in reality, "business" meaning a small business, probably IT. I was about ready to leave when Tom pulled out the Modern Agile wheel, and started talking about each section...however, he did it in an old PowerPoint, bullet point, lecture format which wasn't very modern. If we want people to understand something new, we have to present it in a new way. Everyone was excited about it and took photos and wrote down the initial info, but after a fashion, many left the room and I don't think they did so with a mind full of Modern Agile. I do think that Tom is an experienced and knowledgeable coach, and he believes in Modern Agile. The only feedback I have is to look at how you are presenting material, and see if it matches the material itself.
Truth, Transparency and Trust: John Sextro is a likable guy, and I can't think of anyone who wouldn't trust him, and feel comfortable around him to be open and transparent. So, he already had the audience on board. Many were still skeptical about how they could instill trust in their organization, but I hope they found a few things to help them bridge the gap just a little bit. John also went headlong into Modern Agile, but by helping the audience to understand the concepts first, and then giving them the link to find out more, which was a much more effective way to communicate that message.
Zombie Kanban Game:: I am not sure I learned anything new about Kanban, but I had a heck of a good time. I collaborated with three people that I didn't know, and we had about 30 story cards with tasks ranging from doing a Rubik's Cube to getting the team names of all of the other teams. We blew up balloons, then popped them, used yard to establish trade routes, and built a tower with marshmallows and skewers. It was a great way to show some Kanban-like collaboration and dependencies. Awesome game - very clever!
Closing Keynote & Remarks: Mike Cottemeyer, CEO & Founder, Leading Agile LLC spoke to me directly, or at least it seemed like it, about organizational transformation.. It was so applicable to my current job that I was mesmerized. He made very good points about being transparent to executives about what an agile transformation really is -- and that alone was worth the price of admission.
Overall: Great time, awesome networking, good food, well run. Can't wait for next year!