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AGILE 2018

Rosaleen Ward

A part of National Techweek, five of our team attended the Agile Conference learning about being agile and adaptive in business and how that translates to being a key driver of success.

We heard from 4 of New Zealand’s best agile practitioners, sharing their insights and experiences with us. The morning was packed with speakers sharing insights in to their uses of agile and how that has impacted their businesses.

First up was Shane Hastie, Director of Agile Learning Programmes, ICAgile. He shared insights about being agile in a remote team, the challenges and the myths. The main takeaway was the implementation of agility in the business world. The cycle of Plan → Do → Check → Act is a constant flow that will help any business function seamlessly.

Next up was Ant Boobier, BNZ Digital and Nomad8. He is a Lean Agile member and implements these principles within businesses he works with. Ant talked about dual track delivery where he and his team focus on the everyday aspects of businesses. Being an agile team has improved the outcomes of large scale projects so that everyone is involved rather than waiting for individual stages for people to get involved.

The third speaker of the day was Clarke Ching, Author, Keynote Speaker, and Theory of Constraints Consultant. Clarke shared his insights, and knowledge in everyday business solutions. Clarke presented two theories, one being the bottleneck theory where businesses may have a bottleneck in their work space without knowing it. The bottleneck being a place within your flow of work, that is restricted and not delivering the capacity needed. The Buffalo Theory outlines that your team is only as fast as your slowest buffalo, the idea that if you spend time and resources up-skilling your slowest team member, they can only get better ensuring that your whole herd will run faster and smoother.

The last speaker of the day was Samantha Laing, Datacom Agile Consultant, Author and International Speaker. Sam talked about creating a collaborative, self-organising team that works to achieve goals. She noted that to create success you need to find the ‘hack’ in your business (the trick, shortcut, skill or method) that increases productivity & efficiency. Uncovering impediments is a quick way to reduce lost time, anything that may get in the way of getting the project completed on time. In your work day statements such as “we are waiting on…” or “I will hopefully try get that done today if I am not to busy” is a sure sign of an impediment. Sam’s takeaway point was “No Beauty Queen Statements” - No statements like “I want to change the world through our digital presence”. That's fine if you do but you need to have an action plan behind it to get there.

The afternoon was set aside for 45 minute speed talks in open space sessions that were facilitated by guest speakers. The topics of the talks were based on what people (attendees) were passionate about or the challenges they face within their business. No session was the same so it gave us a chance to meet new people and hear of the challenges or triumphs within their business.

To explore more about these topics and what it takes to be an agile team, head to www.agilealliance.org.