Once again we had another stellar Agile Alliance conference. Keynotes were great, the best sessions had lines of people waiting to get in; we couldn’t have asked for more. We really loved introducing SAM the Yeti to everyone. People were so excited to meet SAM and he loved hanging out with the people. We look forward to this show each year because it is a chance to not only collaborate with the best companies and thought leaders but also a chance to have some fun and poke a little fun at ourselves. We were a little hesitant on how a seven-foot Yeti named SAM and our tradition of designing edgy / humorous shirts and swag would be received. Based on the 100’s of pictures people took and shared and the fact each featured shirt was gone within 10 minutes; I think we did ok. We even have a backlog of nearly a thousand requests for more AgileCraft swag. For the record, SAM is an acronym for Scaled Agile Management and his specialty is scaling with speed and accuracy. If you are going on an epic trip to the highest peak, having a yeti watch your back just makes sense.
I am always inspired after spending time with people from our space. I spent most of my time this year in meetings with prospects, customers and partners but I also found time to check in with other thought leaders who are pushing the industry forward. By the time it was all said and done I lost my voice, logged a solid 8 hours of sleep (for the entire week) and found myself laughing until I cried two times which is amazingly healthy for the soul.
Upon reflection after the show I can report that our community is as strong as ever and the tipping point to the mainstream is firmly in the rear view mirror. We met many new companies at the event which have just started their transformation and were looking to the experts to help guide their way but the question of should we go agile was now a given. This isn’t just unique to commercial business either. I spent a good portion of my time meeting with federal agencies that are progressing in their transformations and are ready to take the next step to scale even further into their enterprise. I heard from companies that were years into their agile journey and some of the amazing ROI they have achieved from their investment in agile. Some followed SAFe, some did not, but in the end, they all were working towards a common goal of becoming an agile organization at scale to improve customer satisfaction, increase revenue and profit, increase their competitiveness and more.
The other common theme we heard about during the event was the concept of bi-modal. We had many people share how they thought bi-modal was wrong or that agile was about transformation and bi-modal is anti-transformational. However, once we shared a little more of on our position, a light bulb went off for many. We all know Bimodal IT is a concept Gartner introduced a few years ago, whereby Traditional and Agile teams coexist in an agile organization. I understand why this is a scary thought for some who fear that it could take the steam out of agile transformations that are underway, but bi-modal presents an opening for companies who want to become agile but aren’t ready for a big bang approach just yet. Bi-modal can be leveraged as an opportunity to break down barriers to agile transformation, giving executives and the business side more safety, which can help them transform faster. You can listen to the interview I did on bi-modal as part of AgileAmped here. http://bit.ly/2arPrD7
So, all in all this was a great week for myself and the AgileCraft team. Each year our community grows, our interactions grow, our team grows and I am flat out excited to be a part of it.