ACE! 2016

My findings from the 7th ACE! conference (Krakow, Poland).

They say that “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” So maybe I was ready, and ACE! appeared in the right moment to teach me a gazillion of things. Frankly, I can’t remember any other event that I finished with so many new pointers, new ideas, new things on my TODO list or inspiring quotes. I can’t possibly list them all here, but at least I will share some of them with you.

The order is pretty random. The quotes are not really quotes but close to it. 🙂 Some things were never mentioned directly, but I read them (imagined them?) somewhere “between the lines”.

  • Naomi Ceder – Antipatterns for Diversity
    • Impossible to see a problem when you belong to the privileged group.
    • If you are privileged you find ways to justify that you belong there
    • Compliments are often nicely wrapped up stereotypes.
  • Shu Ha Ri – mentioned all over the place
  • Experiments – yes, you should
    • be really crazy about it: Popcorn Flow by Claudio Perrone 
    • you experiment more, you learn more, you learn faster, you outsmart your competition etc.
    • reminds me of Mngmt 3.0 Celebration Grid (silly name, BTW)
    • You should know what you expect, how you decide whether it was a victory or a failure.
    • If you are not ashamed with your first release, it means you waited too long. Claudio Perrone
  • You and your team are parts of the system. Complaining about the system is stupid, you are part of it, you can affect it, so work towards changing it.
  • Causal Loop Diagram,  Current Reality Tree, Cynefin
  • You can copy solution, but not the context (AKA, “we are not Spotify!”). Yeah, read what others do, be inspired, but find your own solutions. Your context is different.
  • Mary Poppendieck is awesome. Can’t get enough of her lectures. 🙂
    • on a downside, her workshop wasn’t a workshop but the continuation of keynote lecture
  • The process often stands in the way of a passionate team. Forget the process. Let them work independently. They will do great.
  • The art of scrum mastering / agile coach is to disappear.
  • A team should have a mission. Easy to say when you work for NASA Moon program. But what about a team that works for normal business? How to create an exiting motto for such a team? Maybe start small, with something different. Try to find (together) some working principles, identify team values, list things the team won’t tolerate.
  • Sketchnoting is not for me. Yes, I learned that I can draw a happy guy and a tired lady, and even a grandpa with mustache, but how on earth could I use it to make notes? You gotta be kidding me! (But I will show my new skills to my kids, and I bet they will appreciate!)
  • Thing is really done when:
  • Real options – delay the commitment
  • Do not start working on a story until you know how to measure its impact.
  • Creators should be immediately connected with what they create.
  • Put your money where your mouth is. E.g. do you promote kanban boards? Fine, so where is yours?
    • …ouch! where is mine?
  • Teams should solve problems, not deliver features.
  • PO – build a hypothesis, team – build and experiment ASAP.
  • Deploy (technical) and release (marketing) are different things. Feature toggles help.
  • Constraints can be pretty helpful, they help you to do only important work. (That is why I limited the time to write this blog post.)
  • Peer coaching (peer-feedback, peer-to-peer review) should be separated from promotions, salaries etc.
  • Do’s and don’ts when you attend a conference
    • Coaching sessions are a must.
      • BTW. There were coaching sessions with some great coaches and not all were taken. I don’t understand it. You prefer to see a presentation when you can have a 1on1 conversation about your issues/problems/situation with some Guru?!
    • Open Space discussions are great. Especially when the owner is prepared.
    • Don’t take a laptop with you. Don’t bother with tweets. Be there, listen, talk. Pen & paper will be enough.
    • The food at ACE! is delicious. Prepare a box next time, take some cookies home. 😉
    • Talk with people. Talk with the speakers. Talk. They won’t bite you.
    • Write a blog post right after the event is finished. Otherwise you will never do it. (Yeah, I did it!)

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