Agile Management Course (beta): Epilogue

I’m writing this in the plane back home from Helsinki, feeling tired and satisfied. The 30 attendees of Ericsson Finland rated my Agile Management course 8+ (out of 10) on average. For a first 2-day test I couldn’t be happier.

For me, as a trainer and courseware developer, the purpose of this workshop was to learn how to be better. And this is what I learned…

Eat my own dog food

I noticed that sometimes people can think of nothing to discuss, while at other times they have far too much to share with others. I realized I must try and find better ways to facilitate discussions, so I can lead the group to the sweet spot between silence and noise, between order and chaos, where systems thrive with creativity, collaboration and learning.

IMG_20110124_102048 I also learned that the most complicated game (which was about competence development) was the least favorite. Despite the improvements I already made to this game, it’s performance was still below expectations. I have argued that complicatedness should be simplified and sometimes you need radical change instead of gradual improvements. Thus it is likely I will follow my own advice here, and replace the game with another.

One key thing I took away from these 2 days was that I have to get the logistics under control. I was struggling with plastic bags, cameras, papers, cards, tape, and sticky notes. Several attendees mentioned the course was “well structured”, with a good balance of theory vs. practice, and slides vs. games. That’s nice. But even though they didn’t say it, I know there’s ample room for management improvement of the course itself!

It appears that, as the Agile manager of my own workshops, I have to eat my own dog food.

Highlights of the course

IMG_20110125_110134 What I find quite pleasing is that the highlights seemed to be different for everyone. Some mentioned authority & delegation as the best part of the course, while others mentioned systems thinking and system theories. Some thought the leadership suggestions were the most useful, while others said it was the part about organizational structure that made them wish for more. It is great to know the topics were diverse enough to inspire everyone.

A big surprise to me was that my recurring theme of “common sense” and “it depends” were highly valued. Quite often dogmatic and simplistic clarity (or politics) sells much easier than honest fuzziness (or science). But it appeared this audience was pleased to discuss “context-dependent practices” and they were eager to apply complexity thinking instead of religious thinking.

IMG_20110125_125420 But possibly the most thrilling part for me was to see a few dozen copies of my book being carried around, leafed through during exercises, marked with sticky notes, discussed with colleagues, personalized with my signature, and recommended to others.

I can think of no better compliment than that. 🙂

I want to thank to Henri and Jannu for helping me organize this course. And many thanks to the other 28 people of Ericsson Finland (and several other countries). I had a great time!

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