After a long flight and some sightseeing in the Big Apple, yesterday was finally the day! Day 1 of the Business Agility 2017 Conference, organized by ICAgile. Time to listen to great stories about Business Agility, meet a lot of Agilists from around the world and get inspired!

The opening part of the conference was about ‘Introducing Business Agility’. Steve Denning answered the question: what is Business Agility? He talked about the three laws of the Agile mindset. These are the law of the small team, the law of the customer and the law of the network. In their journey to become Agile, these laws require from organisations to change focus from internal to external. The next speaker, Phil Abernathy, added to that statement that it is important to form teams, distribute the work to them and measure what matters. In this way, teams are empowered to add as much value as possible. And with the right data, organisations are able to validate if they are doing the right things to continuously satisfy and surpirse the customer.

Agile Organisation Design

The second part of the conference focused on ‘Agile Organisation Design’. The fundamental lesson I learned from this subject is that organisations should be organized in such a way, that employees are empowered to reach their own and the organisational goals. In his talk, Doug Kirkpatrick advices to create organisations where every single individual has a voice. There is no need for bureaucracy, there is work and there are people to do the work, it is as simple as that. Next to that, Stephen Parry stated that Agile and Lean have a common goal: create adaptability. In an adaptive business, it is important to chose and not make decisions, because this enhances the ability to change when new insights arise.

Governance & Strategy

The afternoon started off with the subject ‘Governance & Strategy’. Scott Ambler explains why it is important to transform towards Agile not only within teams, but also as a department or organisation as a whole. He makes the analogy with a racing car. One team responsible for developing the motor could make the best motor of the world, but only with the best motor you will not win the race. It is inevitable to collaborate very closely with other teams, in order to create the best racing car and win that race. I very much like this analogy! Dan Montgomery put the challenge in his talk to create a minimal viable strategy, to reach organisational goals. By thinking in Objectives and Key Results (OKR), there is focus towards alligning the goals of the organisation, teams and individuals.

Leadership & Empowerment

The last part of the first day of the conference was about ‘Leadership & Empowerment’. The main message of this subject is that to enhance self-management and trust within an organisation, management should evolve towards leadership. Amber King and Jesse Huth told an amazing story about forming self-selected teams. They successfully facilitated the process of forming new teams by the people themselves within one department of their organisation. Finally, Renee Throughton stated that flow and metrics are at the heart of Business Agility. The combination of both ensures that the focus is on maximizing value at all times, that there is data to validate assumptions and that it is possible to pivot if necessary.

Concluding, day 1 of the Business Agility 2017 Conference was very good! There was a wide variety of interesting topics. It was great to listen to all the great talks, and share ideas, knowledge and experiences with the other participants. I am looking forward to day 2!!

Business Agility 2017 Conference – Day 1

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