I write this on my return journey home from Buenos Aires, Argentina and speaking at the  Agiles 2011. This is the fourth annual Agiles Conference. The organizers should be commended. The conference has improved each year according to attendees, including Katia Sullivan, who has attended since the first instance and was the advocate within VersionOne that landed sponsorship for the conference from VersionOne.

I had just come from speaking at Agile Cambridge and attending the LSSC Lean /Kanban in Antwerp. IMO the Organizers of Agiles 2011 did as good of a job in most areas as these other two conferences and in some areas, they did better.

Jeff Patton - Product Discovery Using Story Mapping

My favorite talks were Jeff Patton’s  keynote and his workshop on Product Discovery using story mapping. Agiles 2011 started off with a keynote address from Jeff Patton on the topic, “Us, them, and the problem with common agile practice“, which was very well received.  Jeff’s workshops on the use of story mapping were very popular. There were probably 3 to 4 times more folks that wanted to attend than could. Due to the room size the workshop attendance was limited to 30 for each session. This was like deja vu from Agile 2011 in Salt Lake where there was a much larger room, but standing room only.

My talk was attended to capacity and seemed well received. My talk was entitled”Establishing and Maintaining Collaboration and Transparency – The Foundation of Effective Teams”.  In my session I introduced the attendees to a non-technical tool, Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI), that allows for self-discovery about one’s Motivational Value System and Valued Relating Style.  This knowledge when applied and practiced gives members of a team an understanding of not only how to best relate to those with different relating styles than their own, but also why they communicate and behave.

SDI looks at behavior from 2 perspectives, when things are going good and when in conflict or facing opposition. It also provides a fairly simple 3 stage conflict resolution model which is an excellent tool for team members to utilize to recognize the type of conflict they are engaged in and how best to handle it given the style of their opposition and their ‘conflict sequence’.

During my workshop we only scratched the surface of how SDI can be leveraged to help foster openness and trust, which are the keys to realizing collaboration and transparency. If you’d like to find out more about SDI, visit the website http://www.personalstrengths.com/.

The conference ended with a party at a club that had been reserved for the event. The party started with a conference retrospective with all who attended the party. This not only demonstrates commitment to Agile, walking the talk, but also to continuous improvement.  Kudos!

I hope to have the chance to attend and speak at the conference next year.

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