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Last month I had an excellent opportunity to attend the Agile 2022 from July 18th to 22nd in Nashville. I met several people practicing Agile from different backgrounds and experiences during the event. In addition, the conference had excellent speakers and panelists. Hearing the talks, best practices, and people experiences was a great learning/outcome for me.

Here are my top ten takeaways:

Engineering with Empathy

Google Cloud’s Principal Engineer, Kelsey Hightower, gave the opening keynote. The keynote describes the need for software engineers to empathize with end-users. This empathy can help build better software. It can also help solve potential issues like software passing the QA but failing in production. In addition, understanding a day in the life of an end-user can assist developers in understanding the bigger picture and help achieve greater customer satisfaction.

One Size Doesn’t fit all

In this session, David Wallace explains why it is essential to customize Agile frameworks. The presentation acknowledged that “Failure is the only opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” One of the main learnings was that off-the-shelf frameworks do not always work as intended, and an experiment mindset helps.

Diagramming

We can articulate more effectively through diagrams to communicate around complex topics. This session was about “Improving your Diagramming.” This speaker explains how a diagram helps make the process simpler. We worked on various activities, which helped us understand how with diagrams, we can easily relate things in different ways and solve complex problems.

How to have a hard conversation with anyone

This workshop gives tools that help while having tough conversations. The lessons from this workshop were to help people overcome the fear of engaging in conflict with their boss or team members and deliver successful results.

Agile is highly effective beyond software development

The “Agile Lessons from Antarctica” session shares how the Agile Manifesto’s value of responding to changes over following a plan helped the presenter’s group successfully handle the challenges they encountered during the trip. It was a tremendous non-software example reiterating Agile’s applicability beyond software development. It is a philosophy that can help all of us in our life.

Look outside for new product features/ideas

There was a keynote by Melissa Perri on “Product Thinking Secret of Scaling.” One of the main learnings was to look outside the organization to improve the product value and stay relevant. She shares her best practices and experiences around product thinking and how companies are scaling their product management organization to create greater value.

Team-driven momentum

In his session, “Supporting James Webb Space with an Agile Culture,” the speaker talks about Space Telescope Science Institute. She discusses the importance of Agile culture. It was a great session to learn more about James Webb Space Telescope, which is NASA’s most powerful telescope ever constructed. It was nice to see the first image published by James Webb Space Telescope. She also shares telescoping and the improvement it made over quick iterations achieving the precision which exceeded the original goal. The main takeaway was that achieving agility in organizations is a more significant investment. It has a team-driven momentum that mainly involves creating an environment of getting out of the way instead of pushing teams.

Power dynamics

There was a talk on “Energize without using Power over.” This session was about power dynamics. It is Formal, Influence, Dominant, and Unidentified. We were shown examples and asked to discuss in a group what power dynamic is involved.

Agile and our Planetary Challenges

One of my takeaways was understanding how planetary challenges can apply agile principles. In this, the panelists shared how they apply agility to address issues like climate change, poverty, and other issues. The real-time experiences of panel members from different areas demonstrated that we are probably at the beginning of agile exploration outside the agile community.

Six Mantras

In the closing note, Joshua Kerievsky shared Agile mantras. The first mantra was about “being quick does not mean hurrying, rushing or moving so fast that you are out of control.”

Here are the six mantras that Joshua shared:

  1. Be Quick – but Don’t Hurry
  2. Be Balanced and Graceful
  3. Be Poised to Adapt
  4. Start Minimal and evolve
  5. Drive Out Fear
  6. Be Readily Resourceful

There were other parallel ongoing sessions that I could not attend as I needed to choose one out of them. However, it was a refreshing experience with many new learnings from Agile 2022.

About the Author

Rohit Sinha, Director of Product Development

Rohit is the Director of Product Development at Excellarate. He has over 20 years of experience in Digital Consulting, Product Development, and Program Management. Rohit is an accomplished leader with a track record for driving business and product growth through technology in companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 organizations. He has deep experience in Digital Transformation, Automation, AI, and Cloud.