This is a recap of the Meetup Event “Agile Work meets Software Development”, which took place at tarent solutions in Bonn on May 16, 2019.
The event was divided into two tracks (Agile Work and Software Development), each of them consisting of three sessions running in parallel. A video about this event can be found here:
I attended the sessions on agile working. The first talk was called “Agile Leadership” and was given by Dr. Stefan Barth (tarent solutions). I found the talk to be very insightful, it also contained many real-life examples. According to the speaker, in order to work in agile way, a paradigm shift should take place at management level. Managers should be willing to co-work and share responsibility with their teams instead of commanding and delegating. Most importantly, they should be willing to admit their mistakes but also to accept that their subordinates can make mistakes as part of the learning process.
The second session was prepared by Corinna Voß (tarent solutions) and was about starting innovative projects using effectuation technique. I personally found this technique very well applicable in personal life, outside business projects. You can learn more about this technique on the website https://www.effectuation.org/.
Here I will briefly describe some elements of effectuation. The first one is bird in hand principle (it was called “refrigerator” principle in the talk). It states that an entrepreneur should plan with what is already there at the start of a project (such as available knowledge, immediately reachable contacts and financial means at hand). He/she should take one small step at a time instead of trying to “start big” and collect means to cover the whole project beforehand. Crazy quilt principle means that a project starter partners with people who show immediate interest into the project thus obtaining their commitment and reducing uncertainty. Lemonade principle means that an entrepreneur should see any unexpected changes in the course of the project as chances to re-orientate and maybe start something new and more promising. With affordable loss principle, one calculates from the start what resources (either time or financial) they will be willing to lose in case the project fails.
The last talk (by Moritz Vieth (ip.labs) und Martin Pelzer (tarent solutions)) was about working with people in agile environments and included some successful practices. For example, employees can get a day a month to work on something “meaningful”, possibly not connected to their current projects (e.g. learning a new skill, attending a seminar or working on a personal project). Another example was placing an idea whiteboard in the kitchen (the collected ideas are voted on and the top ones are implemented by the company). Some companies also run a buddy program for their employees (in addition to matrix and line manager, employees get a “people manager” who acts as a councilor case of any questions or problems).
In summary, the talks provided a lot of insights into the world of agile work and what challenges and opportunities one may face.