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Whilst we evolve our Agile practices- don't forget to look back - why innovation!

Daryl Chan 2 min
Whilst we evolve our Agile practices- don't forget to look back
I'll soon be headed back home to Melbourne, Australia to the attend Scrum Australia conference - the biggest one yet in its five years of existence. 
Looking at the schedule for Scrum Australia, it's great to see a lot of topics from other disciplines that aren't just about Agile or Scrum. To name just a few: psychological safety, inclusive culture, gamification, and even accounting – that should make for an interesting conference. 
That triggered a thought that I had after attending YOW! Conference Hong Kong a fortnight ago and attending most of the Agile related talks there. Whilst it's great that we explore and expand the possibilities of how Agile can improve the way we collaborate together - we musn't forget to ground these novel concepts in context and reality. 
One talk which stood out was Nigel Dalton's reflections on his journey from Agile consultant to Chief Invention Officer at REA Group, titled 'Agile is the last thing you need'. The presentation didn't exactly advocate abandoning Agile, but rather highlighted it as just one approach of a cycle which can contribute to creating the 'holy grail' - an innovative organisation which can embrace true agility.  
Overall it was a well structured and reasoned presentation and highlighted what was missing for me from a lot of other similar presentations I've seen on the subject at other conferences, blog posts and (sigh) in Twitter threads. Whilst I agree that these types of topics are necessary to advance Agile and Scrum, it made me think that: 
  1. for some people, Agile and Scrum are still 'new', and we (as practitioners) have a responsibility to show lead by example and be willing to guide them some more 'introductory' methods and concepts where relevant.
    This is something which I’m grateful for the Agile community in Australia helping me with during my ‘early days’ – I certainly needed more help with understanding Scrum, backlogs, engaging stakeholders etc. instead of starting with topics like sociocracy, scaling Agile and psychological safety.

  2. that for Agile and Scrum practitioners, whilst we look for novel ideas to enhance our current practices, we also need to reflect on the authenticity of our own practice, and do so regularly.
Something I'd like to see more at conferences and also in the community in general (Australia and elsewhere) is the scaffolding of topics and sharing in a manner which helps others learn link back to why something is Agile, is practical and also coherent with the spirit of Agile (and Scrum, of course).  
It's sometimes difficult when 140-characters and hash-tagging is now basically the norm (you've heard of that Trump guy, right?), but less of the 'pontification', frameworks, click-bait and other vagaries and more of a focus on the authentic, researched and the empirical might just help with adoption of better Agile and Scrum practices across the board.  
In fact, I believe a lot of the answers we need are already within the Agile manifesto and the Scrum Guide- but to find them requires a slightly deeper level of understanding than any certification and a handful of LinkedIn posts is going to give you. 
Thus, I'm really looking forward to seeing what comes out at the Scrum Australia conference, and am already stretching my thumbs in anticipation of having some killer tweets to share with you.  
I'll be running some coaching clinics on Friday morning, and then running a workshop with Martin Kearns on a novel approach to Agile coaching which aims to put the "Agile" and "coaching" back into "Agile coaching" - grounded in experience,  reality and context of course. 
Please do come say hello, I'd love to have a chat - especially if you're looking to find out more about what Australia’s ‘neighbours’ are doing in the Agile and Scrum field - and of course if you're good at what you do and interested in a job in this field outside of Australia, let's definitely chat ? 

(Photo thanks to Flickr: nasamarshall)
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