Calling All Coaches and Mentors

If you coach Agile teams, if you mentor your peers in better software development practices and processes, or if you are just learning to do these things, the Agile India Coaching and Mentoring stage needs your help.  Please propose sessions about your work and your experiences.

Home, again, from Agile 2011

It’s been a wonderful, busy week in Salt Lake City at the Agile 2011 Conference. It was great to see so many friends and to make new ones. I had an incredible number of fascinating conversations.

This weekend I was saddened, though not surprised, by the number of tweets with complaints about the conference, often tweeted by people who didn’t go. To paraphrase Yogi Berra

Nobody goes to the Agile Conference anymore. It’s too crowded. (Continued)

Looking back at Agile 2009

Another conference has come and gone.  I’m home.  I’m exhausted.  I’m glad to have good internet connectivity again, and time to sit alone with my thoughts.

I had a fabulous time.  Through conferences such as this one, I now have dozens of friends from around the world that I rarely get to see.  I really enjoy getting together face to face.  Missa vitussa se poro on. (I hope I’ve spelled that correctly.)  And I spent time with friends that I previously only knew from Twitter and email.  And I met new friends that I’d not known before.  All of that was thrilling.  (I also didn’t get a chance to talk with some friends whom I know attended. Life is like that.)

I attended some great sessions.  (Continued)

AYE 2008 – The Magic Chemistry of Teams

Wednesday afternoon, at the AYE Conference, I greatly enjoyed Esther Derby’s session, Magic Team Chemistry: Starting and Sustaining Teams.  We divided up into small groups, and each person drew a timeline of their career, marking high points and low points.   We then mined these timelines looking for the characteristics of the good times and the low points.  Each group built a list, but there were lots of similarities.

Cherrypicking from some of these lists: (Continued)

AYE 2008 – Making Better Use of Personality Resources

My Wednesday morning session at the 2008 Amplifying Your Effectiveness Conference was Don Gray‘s session, Building on Strengths: Making Better Use of Personality Resources.  This session was about recognizing our differences, and our strengths, based on our personalities. (Continued)

AYE 2008 – Moving Projects Forward: The Clinic Method

As I slowly work through my notebook from the Amplifying Your Effectiveness Conference (having blogged about sessions on Unearthing the Data You Need, Remembering Your Resources When Stressed, and Congruent Coaching), I come to Jerry Weinberg’s session of Tuesday afternoon, Moving Projects Forward: The Clinic Method.

As long as projects are staffed and led by people, we can be sure that they will sometimes get stuck, or headed in the wrong direction, or something.  This is true no matter what sort of methodology you follow.  Even if the methodology is perfect, the people following it are not.  They will make mistakes.  They will have blind spots, and not see what it is that they’re not seeing.  Projects will still get in trouble.  (Yes, even Agile projects.)

So, what do you do about this certainty? (Continued)

AYE 2008 – Congruent Coaching

Continuing with my recap of the AYE Conference sessions I attended, I come to Johanna Rothman‘s session, Choosing the Right Coaching Approach: Congruent Coaching. This was a time-slot where I wanted to attend every single session. I chose this session because coaching is a big part of what I do, and Johanna is one of the best people I know to learn to coach more effectively. (Continued)

AYE 2008 – Remembering Your Resources When Stressed

On last Monday afternoon, I attended the session, Remembering Your Resources When Stressed: The Self Esteem Toolkit led by Jerry Weinberg. This session dwelt on a idea Jerry borrowed from Virginia Satir. We have the capability to do the things we need to do, but we often forget our powers when we’re stressed. The toolkit is a set of reminders of the capabilities we have. Jerry has added to Virginia’s original list, and published them in More Secrets of Consulting. (Continued)

AYE 2008 – Unearthing the Data You Need

The AYE 2008 (Amplifying Your Effectiveness Conference) is now history. I never have time to blog about this conference during the conference–I’m always too busy. Besides, it’s so rich with learning that it takes me awhile to process it. This year (my fourth at AYE), I’m going to look back through my notes and blog a little about each session I attended.

The first session I attended was titled First Steps for Organizational Change: Unearthing the Data You Need and was presented by Johanna Rothman. I say presented, but like all the sessions at AYE, the word “presented” doesn’t convey the essence of the session. Johanna presented a lot of information, to be sure. (And you can find some of the same material on the AYE Wiki.) But the power of AYE lies in the fact that all the sessions are experiential. In this session, we took turns, in small groups, interviewing each other, and observing each other interviewing. And after each interview session, we examined the experience in a debrief. The debrief is the heart of the experience, for it’s where we make our actions explicit to ourselves. And it’s where we share our insights with others, and share theirs.

A few Johanna tidbits from my notes:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for quantitative data before starting an assessment, but don’t expect to get it.
  • I take notes [when interviewing people as part of an assessment], but everything is off the record.
  • Pay attention to differences between expectations and reality.

Thanks, Johanna, for a wonderful and rewarding session!

Simple Design and Testing Conference

It’s only a week away from the Simple Design and Testing Conference. This will be the third such conference organized by Naresh Jain, and the first that I’ve missed. I’m disappointed that I won’t be there, but I’ve been on the road almost continuously for almost five months….

Frankly, it puzzles me that these conferences aren’t more highly attended. Despite my suggestions to Naresh, he insists that there be no admission charge. The only cost is a weekend of your time and your travel expenses. Oh… and a desire to learn and share.