Another Great Agile Conference

We had a fantastic time at this year’s Agile2015 event in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Agile Alliance, meeting with fellow agile enthusiasts representing a wide variety of industries that all seek solutions for a common challenge: enhancing team productivity and efficiency through humane, sustainable tools and processes that continuously deliver long-term value. This conference was a great fit for us, as our solutions aim to deliver simplified agile planning, budgeting, and reporting solutions to teams and organizations seamlessly within JIRA and JIRA Agile.

agile2015

We’ve come to realize — and especially after Agile2015 — that agile has evolved to mean a lot of different things over the years, growing to influence a variety of industries that span beyond software development teams. Merely calling it “Agile2015,” for example, perhaps does not do the conference justice. It could be called “Doing Complex Stuff 2015”, for example, or even “People & Organizations 2015” instead.

In the conference’s opening keynote, titled “Awesome Superproblems”, Luke Hohmann talked about how using agile games and organization can help solve problems that span larger than the business context. He spoke about how agile can help to solve what he called “wicked problems” within society — how encouraging collaboration within and among small groups can result in good solutions to difficult problems. For instance, he has helped to organize and run several rounds of crowdsourced budget prioritization games within the city of San José, where citizens were invited to work in small teams and provide their feedback on how the city’s issues should be managed. This was but one example of how agile is extending beyond the software domain, leading to some interesting and worthwhile results.

We especially enjoyed the closing keynote, titled “Want better collaboration? Don’t be so defensive!”, given by James Tamm. Tamm has spent a large chunk of his career working as a judge, presiding over more than 1500 cases involving labor disputes. In the latter part of his career, he has built on that experience to help train teams to collaborate better. In his talk, he referenced several studies that demonstrate that collaboration — not competitiveness — drives better financial results and results in happier employees. He identified our defensive tendencies as a key hindrance to collaboration, and lead the audience in an exercise that helped us to identify our own defensive behaviors, showing how our feelings can get in the way of fulfilling our goals.

There were a lot of key takeaways surrounding the themes of collaboration, decentralization, and self-organization that opened our eyes to new tools and processes that we’ve taken back with us to try out at Tempo.

Thanks so much to those who stopped by and met with us at this year’s event — see you next time!

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Jessie
Jessie is a New York transplant living in Reykjavík. Her motto is #ABL—always be learning— and having some fun along the way. As the head of marketing, communications & legal initiatives at Tempo, Jessie thinking about storytelling, building a strong brand, growth, teamwork, and grit.

2 Responses

  1. Luke Hohmann says:

    Jessie –
    Thank you for the kind comments regarding my Agile 2015 keynote. Just a small correction: we have worked with San José, CA, not San Diego, CA in the Budget Games. Of course, we hope to add San Diego, CA — and a lot of other cities! — to Budget Games process.

    Best Regards,

    Luke

    • Bjarki Bjarki says:

      Hi Luke,

      Sure thing! Sorry about that, I’ve made the correction to the text.

      Best of luck in the future!

      Kind regards,
      Bjarki

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