Agile Sweden 2015

Last week I attended a two day conference called ”Agila Sverige 2015” (that is Swedish for ”Agile Sweden 2015”). The concept is that the time before lunch is spent on short speeches (maximum 10 minutes, to get a short introduction to a topic) and the afternoons are spend on Open space, 45 minutes each, for deeper discussions. This way I attended 29 different short speeches and five open space sessions. I really like this format for a conference by the way! Enough said about that, this blog post will be about some trends the me and others spotted during the conference. One more thing before we continue, this conference is a national conference without international speakers, therefore all communication are in Swedish. So you Scandinavians might be able to understand, the rest of you, you simply have to trust me in my trend spotting 🙂

””7A

(Picture taken from http://www.7a.se)

#NoEstimates

There was a huge interest both for the short speech and the following open space about the #NoEstimates movement. Since I’ve written some blog posts myself in the topic this felt really inspiring! The short speech told us about a journey from Scrum to Kanban applying the #NoEstimates thinking, very similar to what I have experienced. Three directions have emerged:

1. Continous discovery

  • Tasks break-down
  • Develop the most valuable first
  • Deliver
  • Get feedback, plan, improve and iterate again

2. Kanban/Lean

  • Measure throughput

3. People against #NoEstimates

  • The customer demand estimates!
  • How to know when things are done?
  • How to make a budget?

Needless to say, I’m all for the second alternative!

Jim Lundgren from Transmode talks more about it in this video.

No meetings?

Some companies (particularly large companies?) have a culture with a lot of meetings! It seems that the importance of a person is measured by the number of meetings they attend. The speaker told us about an example where he should meet two other colleagues for a short meeting (30 minutes), and the next occasion when they all where available at the same time was three weeks away.

An idea of ”pull meetings” was discussed on the open space. That you instead of booking persons to a meeting, you ”broadcast” to all; at this time we will talk about that subject, all persons that are interested are welcome to the meeting. Today many persons are invited to a meeting ”just in case” they are needed, or they are there for awareness (like CC in a email).

Martin Bäcklund from Ericsson talks more about it in this video.

No projects?

Projects as a way of controlling work is questioned more and more. No one held a short speech about it, but it was mentioned as a statement ”no projects” during several other discussions. I know for a fact that some companies no longer have the role of project managers. If you have a continuous work flow (preferably controlled by using Kanban) there is limited need to use projects.

No coaches?

Someone at the conference mentioned that the effect you can get on a team using coaching is limited. I take that an unexperienced team needs more coaching (or even teaching), but the more mature the team gets, less effect coaching ”from the outside” will have. Instead continuous improvements (kaizen) have to be owned and driven from within the team. At Spotify they have reached this conclusion and are now using something called ”Effective Squads Circle”. The teams (or squads as Spotify call them) selects their own members to participate in the continuous improvement work together with the agile coaches.

Joakim Sundén from Spotify talks more about it in this video.

Summary

Which of the following two statements are true then?

#NoEstimates + no meetings + no projects + no coaches  = No problems

or

#NoEstimates + no meetings + no projects + no coaches = No work

I have no idea, but I really like to follow the discussions. That we, as the agile community, are challenging the catch-22. We can’t solve the problems of tomorrow using the tools of today!

All the best,
 Tomas from TheAgileist

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