Agile Tour London 2016

Whenever I attend a conference, I always intend to write blog posts about everything I found interesting. This usually results in two or three draft posts which in all likelihood never see the light of day. What a waste.

So, having attended Agile Tour London on Friday, I wanted to write a quick summary of the talks I found most valuable - it's better than nothing.

Coaching Tired Teams

Talk: Fragile Agile: Coaching a tired team – Anna Obukhova
Key takeaway: Agile/Lean is a high risk area for your team experiencing clinical burnout. If miss-sold as a panacea, it sets up a huge expectation/reality gap, setting the team on a course for stages 1. and 2. of burnout.

The stages of burnout are:

  1. Idealism and overtaxing
  2. Emotional and physical exhaustion
  3. Losing a goal/cynicism
  4. Terminal phase: loathing syndrome

If you go beyond 2.5, you're endangering your mental health.

Proper Pair Programming

Talk: Never Develop Alone : always with a partner – Fakih Houssam
Key takeaway: It's possible to pair program all the things, but pairing is something that requires discipline and compromise - you can't just expect people to do it well without preparation and support.

  1. Stop being selfish - pairing isn't an opportunity to show somebody else how clever you are, it's a collaboration. The success of that collaboration is the responsibility of both pairs, and requires work.
  2. You can always ask your pair to:
    1. Slow down
    2. Take a break
    3. Concentrate
    4. Provide/receive feedback
  3. Retro at the end of the day.

Punishment Driven Development

Talk: Punishment Driven Development – Louise Elliott
Key takeaway: It's natural to want to punish people, but consider the value of that punishment against other objectives you want to achieve.

Motivating Teams

Talk: How motivated is your team? Going beyond the traditional performance management (workshop) – Jose Casal
Key takeaway: Consider a 'kudos board'. Consider tracking motivational state with a niko-niko board.

Praise should be timely, relevant, unique and emotional.