Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Agility


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Jason Tice

The preamble of the agile manifesto directs focus to “individuals and interactions over processes and tools”. Reflecting on my experiences in the agile community, we do a great job focusing on interactions as teams, improving our processes, and adopting or creating tools and frameworks to guide success and perhaps even figure out how to scale. Given these successes, sometimes we forget about the first word of this inspiring preamble statement, which is perhaps the most important component of achieving and sustaining success – “individuals” – yes, that means YOU as a person. Although it sounds selfish, arrogant and contradictory to some, it is difficult to sustain a high performance culture of agility unless there is some deliberate focus on what is most important to YOU and sometimes putting YOURSELF first compared to team or organization goals.

Understanding yourself is the foundation to develop trusting relationships with colleagues so as to enable organizational health. In today’s day of the “agile industrial complex” (yes, it is a thing – go google it), it is unfortunately possible to be a member of a well performing team that is delivering business value, yet as an individual member of such as team you struggle to sustain motivation and fully trust those you collaborate with. Without a strong understanding of your personal aspirations, it’s possible to feel threatened or distrusted by others (aka Imposter Syndrome) as you aren’t able to be “whole” in what you do. As the agile community has matured with the creation of more disciplined and understood teaming models, processes, frameworks, and tools – in some instances, we have lost track of being mindful and having the simple conversations that foster the necessary trust to enable you to fully engage and feel valued as a member of a team. When was the last time you reflected to yourself: what inspires YOU, what do YOU stand for, what desires do YOU have, and what enables YOU to trust others? And in this instance, these reflections are focused on YOU as a human being (not you as a team member) so responses exclusively based on the corporate mumbo-jumbo at work for your team’s core values, business model canvas, team charter, team health score, or working agreements do NOT count.

During this interactive keynote, a series of stories and hands-on activities will guide all to reflect on what really motivates and inspires them as people (#peopleworkhere), so as to enable high performing and sustainable agile teams. All will learn about and explore simple practices and activities to build trust while working with others to support increasing organizational health and enabling team members to be “whole” at work. Those attending will have multiple opportunities to share their aspirations and perhaps connect with others to coach and/or advocate for their personal learning, achievement and success.