Last week was somewhat packed with events – why do things always work out like that?

I will write about Lego Serious Play and the EQ Summit later, this post is about Aginext Conference (  Not heard of it before?  That’s not surprising, as it was the very first one held.

Being the first ever conference, it was relatively small, but don’t let that fool you.  It had many brilliant people I had never met before, and just as many brilliant people whom it is my pleasure to already know.
This conference was much more about the agile mindset than about the mechanics or tool sets.  How our brains work, why they work that way, was very  much the order of the day. Portia’s keynote about how everything that motivates us comes from a place of hope, set the tone perfectly.  Her presentation style was as relaxed, and friendly as ever.  She almost disguised the science she was sharing – not quite, but then, I was looking for it!  
In no particular order, here are some of the talks I enjoyed.

Successful Remote Working

I attended an amazing talk about successful remote working.
Lisette’s talk was like I’d found my peeps! It felt like coming home.  All I have learned about successful remote working was covered succinctly, plus some stuff I’d never thought about.  Remote working cards anyone?  How about best remote working tool recommendation? I learned what worked by trial and error – if I’d just met Lisette sooner, I could have shortcut that learning from years to months!

Agile in a Marketing Environment

I also attended Gez Smith’s talk about agile working in a marketing environment.  This is something I am deeply interested in personally, and yet Gez’s talk gave me so much to think about. I’ve bought the book, literally!  
Gez also interviewed me over lunch for his very successful podcast series.  He is talking to all sorts of people about why agile transformations fail.  I’ll post a link as soon as he publishes it.

Physically Agile

Due to a last minute change of speaker, Tobias Mayer, whom I had not had the pleasure of meeting before, stepped in and ran a ‘physically agile’ workshop.  Whilst this was largely a fun experiment, there was a serious side.  We are all practicing agilists, and frankly, its a dark day when we can’t find any learnings in an experience!  
I am not totally at ease when meeting new people – I love it when I have been introduced, but the initial introduction is a uncomfortable for me.  This discomfort is what drew me to Tobias’ workshop.  I do believe in doing things I find difficult.  Nothing is ever as bad as you imagine, so the sooner you find that fact out, the better.  Tobias’ fun approach meant I got to meet 10 new people!

Coaching Vertical Slicing of Micro Services

Another talk which was great was by Rickard Jones and Chris Nikitas.  They talked (and demonstrated) how to coach technical people even if you aren’t technical yourself using micros services as an example.  This was music to my ears!  So often I hear people insist a person need technical knowledge to be able to coach technical people.  Whilst this is very occasionally true, most of the time the coachee doesn’t need the help of an expert in their field. More often than not, they need someone to help them unblock their thinking.  My friends, that is a people problem, NOT a technical one.  Please, tell the world!
As always, I had some wonderful conversations between the sessions (well planned David and the aginext team, I like a lot of breaks to chat in!).  I did sadly miss an entire talk because I got caught up in a conversation.  Whilst I did have a great chat, I am sure the talk I missed was great too!  Luckily the aginext team have video’d all the talks, so I’ll be able to catch the one I missed soon.

Playing the Chaos Lottery (aka Death Sims)

My session went well I think.  It was a little more experimental than usual. I made some tweaks at the last minute to shorten it so that I could leave more time for questions and discussions.  You’ll be able to see how it came out here, as soon as they post the video.
If you are a regular reader you’ll know I’m all about simplicity at the moment, and there was a real elegance and simplicity to the event.  As with many things that appear this way, its almost certainly the result of the experience of the aginext crew hosting other events.  Simplicity, as I have said before, takes discipline.  If something appears effortless, it almost always is the product of some serious effort put in in the past!
Its the same with agile and business coaching too – lots of experience from which to learn can give the impression that its easy.  I always say that the better you are as a coach, the less you look like you are doing something!  It’s a tough sell to an exec. that one, but it’s no less true for that.