Agile Austria 2018 in Graz

A personal review and some (speaker’s) impressions

As part of the review team I was already being involved for quite some time with Agile Austria. Now in May 2018 the time to actually travel to Graz had finally come.

After some days of holiday in Vienna I arrived in the beautiful city of Graz – in fact one day before the conference to attend a LeSS Basics course with Wolfgang Richter. This was already amazing and eye-opening at the same time: amazing as I finally learned (for me) new things from Wolfgang as a professional trainer with a huge amount of LeSS experience. Eye-opening as ‘the LeSS world’ fit so nicely with my Scrum knowledge and integrate with my professional experiences.

On being a participant

Besides meeting many new people, making some new connections and deepening relations with old friends I gained a lot of new impressions and insights. Here are (just) five of my personal highlights from Agile Austria to share with you:

  1. Meeting Zuzi Sochova in person at the speaker’s dinner: I already heard a lot about her mainly as the person behind Agile Prague. When we talked about agile and modern leadership, conferences and public speaking, my key take-away for my speaker-me was: you don’t need to have necessarily a new message, it needs to be strong and concise. Of course I attended her talk about Agile Leadership and I loved it.
  2. The workshop on gamification by Karin Groissenberger and Robert Herzig: Besides having fun while trying out a collaborative game with all the participants, I learned that gamification is much more than “just games” from them. And it was the first time I heard about the Octalysis framework which made me curious to learn more about gamification.
  3. The keynote of Jurgen Appelo on Agility Scales: Jurgens keynote surprised me in a super positive way; I loved his mental picture of Shapeshifting. Organisations and with that also people need to become shapeshifters in order to thrieve and leverage the ideas behind agility to the fullest. Furthermore gamification and the Octalysis framework came up again. Also I learned about a difference I was unaware of before: Gamification is about getting actual work done but with more fun whereas Serious Games are there to understand something ‘serious’ using games as a means of experiencing and learning.
  4. Meeting Iain Mc Kenna, hearing about his views on agility and seeing once more the connection to the Scrum pattern community (PLoP). My first connection to Scrum PLoP happended last year in autumn when I met James Coplien at Scrum Coaching Retreat Copenhagen #SCRCPH. Besides getting to know Iain it was great to see how again pieces in business and life fit together – and how it is all about connections.
  5. Meeting Katharina Seke in person and being able to join her workshop on agile games for a while. There I finally had the chance to experience Henrik Kniberg’s multitasking name game myself which was wonderfully facilitated by Agile Drill Sarge (whose real name is Robert Finan :-)).

On being a speaker

Another (and yet though) different highlight was delivering once again my Multiple Selves?! session on leadership, language and mindfulness. It was my fourth time in Graz. And I just unable (and unwilling :-)) to deliver it each time in a similar way. Actually I need to:

  1. adjust it to the people in the audience (which I always did)
  2. work in the internal and external feedback I get during each single iteration
  3. consider that I learn and experience so much new stuff on mindfulness, leadership and language that it is always a fine line between adding too much new content and spicing it up with some valuable new nuggets for the audience

Speaker’s internals

This time my speaking experience also felt quite tough for me. I just had a few days between the last delivery of my session in Budapest and the one at Agile Austria. Also I struggled a bit with my energy level as more than one week of conferencing and travelling emptied my introvert batteries. Awareness is always the first vital step. And it made me conclude on two quite personal speaker’s learnings:

  1. Taking a proper rest before my session on any conference is kind of mandatory and above all: it is perfectly okay to do so! Especially if my talk is scheduled at the very end of a conference. And I am the only person responsible and able to care for that.
  2. I keep on working on my ‘positive bias’ stance so that I am able to keep it also during my talk and also towards myself.

Session content

And here are three (content-wise) resources around my ‘Multiple Selves?!’ talk at Agile Austria:

  1. the official graphical recording plus the link to my slides
  2. Juliane’s awesome conference summary sketchnote which touched me deeply that my session made it there
  3. more background on #DayParenting an improv game approach to up your mindful capacities like witnessing awareness

What else?

I tweeted quite a lot, created some sketchnotes and shared other visual impressions of the conference and Graz itself. Also I compiled a twitter moment with some content also from other conference folks.

Enjoy! As always I am happy to hear what resonates with you or if you want to get in touch for any other reasons.