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Agile Cambridge 2018 – Day One, our impressions

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Maria Dorogokupez
Posted by Maria Dorogokupez
September 26, 2018

This is our first time in Cambridge, so as we rushed to Churchill College early in the morning, even crispy autumn air smelled like excitement. We were intending not to waste even a second of our time here, attending every session we find interesting, so our agenda is and will be for the next 2 days fully packed. Nevertheless, I managed to find half an hour to write down our impressions from the Day One.

Churchill College – Agile Cambridge location 

Obviously, we couldn’t miss the keynote speech by wonderful Heidi Helfand on dynamic reteaming at fast-growing companies. Personally our team doesn’t plan great expansion (yet who knows), but still we considered this knowledge might come of use at our consulting work – and we were right. What we loved about this session is that the information didn’t concern technical or organizational aspects – for we’re quite knowledgeable in them ourselves, but it was mostly of psychological and humanistic nature. We could have never suspected the significance of these intangible aspects, but now we do and are going to incorporate them in our further work.

Eco cycle of team change by Heidi Helfand

11 am session was a hard choice; just imagine – 8 wonderfully enlightening sessions, and you can attend only one! At the end, we opted for the case study by Jenny Martin “Knowing me, knowing you – ahaaaaaa!” and didn’t regret it. The conundrum over homogeneous vs. diverse roles in Agile team have always been on our mind and in each case we made this decision over roles distribution anew. Jenny Martin’s arguments about cherishing flairs, talents and abilities of every person really spoke to us and her personal stories won us over. I believe, that after this session we’ll become a more vocal advocates of team roles differentiation.

Our favorite outtake from Jenny Martin’s speech

After a scrumptious lunch we dived into the workshop by Dr Andy Carmichael on feedback and cadence for Agile management. Here at Polontech, we love education on practice, and this session lived up to our expectations. We learned how to detect feedback loops and determine the right feedback cadence, and we’re looking forward to trying out the feedback model in the scale of our team first and later for our clients.

Opening slide of Andy Carmichael’s presentation

Establishing business agility at the bank by Dee Wauchope and Julian Holmes session became our final dollop of knowledge for today. This session was a must for us to visit because recently the number of financial institutions among our clients increased and we wanted to catch up on some peculiarities of Agile in this sphere. As a result, J. Holmes and D Wauchope delivered an insightful case study where they described and explained everything to the tiniest detail: approaches and challenges, policies and goals.

So this was our first day of Agile Cambridge and it turned out as great as it could be. It’s nearly impossible to imagine that the following two days will be better, but I know they will be.

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