Agile Forest

Find your path to agility with Renee Troughton

I had a great meal last week. It was more like a feast really. It started lunchtime on Wednesday the 20th and went all the way through to just past lunchtime on Saturday the 23rd. I am referring to the mystically labelled #klrat or Kanban Leadership Retreat held in Mayrhofen, Austria.

Going into the event I am not quite sure exactly what I was going to expect and get out of attending. I knew that I would greatly appreciate the networking and socialisation with similar practisioners, trainers and transformationalists (and I was in no way disappointed, all expectations here were well and truly exceeded), but aside from that I went into the event thinking that there was little that I wouldn’t be aware of or know.

Boy was I wrong. The amount of talk specifically on Kanban was probably only about 30% (subjective). Agile took up about the other 30% and the other 40% were models and concepts – some of which I knew but many that I had heard of and were re-inforced (eg Cynefin, Right-Shifting, Situational Leadership, etc) but a lot I had only briefly ever touched on or never heard of.

So what I primarily wanted to do with this post – is tell you about everything that I either heard about and want to investigate/read further or resonated significantly with me. These were my takeaways:

“Kanban is like Buddhism. You are quite welcome to keep your other religions when you become a Buddhist.” David J Anderson.

Facilitated by Liz Keogh @lunivore

In addition to having a lot to look over I also wanted to go into the experience with an open mind that some of my beliefs are wrong and should be fundamentally challenged. These are the quotes from people that made me ponder for many hours after where I could have it wrong:

  • “If you start with a presumption of innocence you will get further” (with regards to change). Liz Keogh eg. “I observed you doing x, does that match your recollection of events?”
  • “How can we get <this> outcome for you?” Liz Keogh
  • “We assume as change agents that everyone wants quick results” Torbjörn (@drunkcod)
  • “One of the worst things we can do (as coaches) is make walls for teams” (either @drunkcod or @jaspersonnevelt, both of these gentlemen were letting the quotes fly freely)
  • Companies are shifting more and more away from jobs for life. Loyalty doesn’t exist anymore (sound familiar?). We can expect a dramatic shift to more community based loyalty and involvement within. “A lot of people I would call colleagues aren’t in the same organisation, they are in this community”. This will lead to a framework of 70:20:10 shifting even further into the social area of learning (eg to 65:30:5), twitter (and even the unconference itself) is a classic example of this growing.
  • People have to want to change.
  • Instead of ‘Minimum Viable Product’ think of it as a ‘Minimum Viable Experiment’
  • and the many amazing conversations with Lowell Lindstrom @lowelllindstrom who enlightened me to why Scrum is a rulebook again and why Agile should never be all encompassing or swallow up general professional capability.

I want to take this opportunity to thank David Anderson, Katrin Dietze (@thisismui) and Sigi for all of your hard work in making this such a successful event.

7 thoughts on “Kanban Leadership Retreat Takeaways

  1. Craig Smith says:

    Great post. Thanks for increasing my reading list…

  2. Nice list. Glad to see you especially likes Ian Carroll’s stuff.

    Link for “Keep identity apart”:

  3. PS No “tweet this” button?

    1. Hmm will work on this tonight after work. Thank-you for the suggestion.

  4. Jordan says:

    Great writeup

    Re: Commitment — why not have more of a focus in the community for companies to commit to their employees, instead of such a focus on employes commiting to features….

    I think a lot of things that agilists do (being against specialists, going for a team of moderates) makes people easily replaceable cogs. This seems to reinforce the lack of commitment that companies have for their employees.


  5. henriklarsson says:

    Thanks for this great list of pointers to interesting reading about Kanban, Lean startup, and and Agile!

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