LAST Conferences 2017

This is a version of an email I recently sent out to all the people in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane who participated in a LAST Conference, in 2017.


Some favourite photos from LAST Conferences 2017.

Some favourite photos from LAST Conferences 2017.

I have recently returned from Brisbane, where I participated in the very first LAST Conference Brisbane. This marked the end of the extended tour of Australia for LAST Conferences in 2017. It started in Melbourne in June, headed to Sydney in July, and stopped off for the first time in Canberra, in September.

Along the way, it was really gratifying to see over a thousand professionals get together to share their knowledge and to learn from each other. It was also good to receive the highest rating we have ever had for LAST Melbourne, an excellent improvement on the rating in Sydney, and very high satisfaction from our colleagues in Canberra and Brisbane.

Great topics, excellent speakers, and great to see the local community. 10/10
— Brisbane participant

Thanks

The collegiate and community feel of LAST Conference, that we aim for, depends on the enthusiasm of the people who participate i.e You.

Kudos must go to the organising teams in each city, that include:

Melbourne - Gabor Devenyi, Wai Ling Ko, Steven Mitchell, Paul Dealy, Craig Brown
Sydney - Caoilte Dunne, Gareth Bowell
Canberra - John Connolly, Alex Sloley, Irene Zhen, Mia Horrigan , Matthew Hodgson
Brisbane - Dave Pryce, Ryan McKergow, Karen Jenkin, Bhavesh Sharma, Andrew Robinson

Each city also had extra content curators and helpers, who deserve a pat on the back.

In addition, the affordability of LAST Conferences depends on organisations who provide support, both in kind and financially.

The organisations who supported one or more LAST Conferences were:

MYOB, elabor8, REA Group, Dius, Reece Group,  Aconex, Swinburne University, UTS, AGL, Oakton, Zen Ex Machina, and Tatts Group.

Keep it going, Keep in touch

Don't forget to keep the spirit of LAST going throughout the year by supporting the Meetups in your city. Volunteer to share knowledge at a meetup, and consider submitting for a LAST Conference (or more than one) in 2018! 

These are the meetups that Tabar are closely associated with via organising content and venues and sponsoring. By the way, we always appreciate support for meetups from companies that can host and/or provide catering.

There's many ways you can keep in touch with us on social media:

Slack

We also recommend our Slack team. There's hundreds of people from all over Australia involved, with active discussions about all sorts of topics relevant to LAST concepts. If you're not a member, you can apply to join by emailing us. If you came to a LAST Conference in 2017, check your inbox for an invitation.

Photos

You can see a few of my favourite photos in the collage, above. You can add your own and see if you can spot yourself in the Flickr Pool or the Google Photos album.

2017 logo design by Bruce Taylor

2017 logo design by Bruce Taylor

Tshirts

This year's design was by Bruce Taylor. You can get one (or a design from other years) here.

We also have a bunch of stickers left over. Ask me for one, next time you see me!

Diversity/Gender Balance

LAST Conferences are signatories to the Diversity Charter, because we want to reflect the communities that we serve. Although diversity is not just about gender, something we aim to do is encourage a better gender balance to run sessions at LAST Conferences. I intend to write a separate post about how we have tried to do this and the results.

In summary

It feels like we have come a long way since Craig Brown and I ran the first edition of LAST Conference in 2012. I remember him high-fiving me, saying "We are awesome". This year, I'd like to give everyone who participated in a LAST Conference in 2017 a virtual high five, as we have most defintely continued the awesome-ness. Thanks!

The Harada Method: Trainer Interview - Steve Mitchell

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Earlier this year at LAST Conference, we were lucky enough to have the "Godfather of Lean" Norman Bodek, dial in at the beginning of the second morning and speak to all 650 of the attendees about his story, Agile, Harada and all things Lean. You can watch highlights of this here or at the bottom of this article.

Coming up on Saturday, 28th of October, Steve Mitchell will be running our inaugural Harada Method Training here in Melbourne, Australia. Norm will also be dialling in over video conference during the day to help facilitate a part of the learning.

The Harada method was developed by Takashi Harada, he spent years studying the worlds best sports coaches and eventually developed his own method. He has since started his own training company in Tokyo and trained over 70,000 people at over 300 companies.

Norman Bodek, had Mr. Harada's training material translated into English, co-authored a new book with Mr. Harada, and has taught over 1000 people in the West the Harada Method. He has taught the Harada Method at Portland State University and also certification workshops in Portland, Oregon.

Personally, I'm a big believer in taking a more holistic view at yourself and how to organise your life in a way that has you improving and growing each day. I think we all have an opportunity to advance our careers or personal lives by taking a more disciplined approach to what we do across all facets of our lives.

As always, if you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to reach out to me on ringo.thomas@tabar.com.au

You need to want “it”, whatever “it” is. You need to have the desire within yourself to improve and grow. You have to be honest with yourself about where you’re at and what you’re doing.
— Steve Mitchell

Ringo: What is this course about, what is the Harada Method?

Steve: The Harada Method is a system to get the most out of yourself. It provides you the tools to become self-reliant and achieve life goals instead of just dreaming about them. It's massive in Japan but barely known about in the West.

Ringo: How did you first come across it?

Steve: By accident, I read Norm Bodek's autobiography called Kaikaku. I loved the book so much that I read another book by Norman which happened to be The Harada Method. Subsequently, I went and trained with him for a week in Portland, Oregon.

Ringo: How was that as an experience?

Steve: Amazing. Norman is not just the "Godfather of Lean", he is a master teacher and a wonderful man. I learned so much from the other attendees too. With events like these it’s not just the content that provides value, it’s the people in the room.

Ringo: Is there a particular value set you think is important as an individual to get the most value out of this course?

Steve: You need to want "it", whatever "it" is. You need to have the desire within yourself to improve and grow. You have to be honest with yourself about where you’re at and what you’re doing. We do a level of introspection to understand your past and present to help shape your future.

Ringo: Tell me more about some of the things you’ll do across the day?

Steve: We’ll explore not only the tools contained in the method, but activities to provoke reflection on what’s important to you as an individual and what may bring more meaning in your life. This involves anything that you want to set a goal for -  whether it's in your current job, to create a new career, or to improve aspects of your private life.

Ringo: What are the key learnings of this one day course?

Steve: To get the most out of the method you have to use the method. The day is about learning this method and the principles and origins behind it, but also practicing the method in a supportive environment.

Ringo: How would an attendee know this was worthwhile for them?

Steve: Follow your intuition. If it feels like it’s right, it probably is. My intuition has never let me down.

Ringo: From a business or management perspective, why would you send your people?

Steve: The most important measure for agility and business success is employee engagement. By empowering people to set their own goals in alignment with company goals they will be more engaged, motivated and productive.

Ringo: Any final comments?

Steve: Life is what you make of it. Choose your own adventure and run with it.

Management 3.0 Workout: Trainer Interview - Craig Brown

Tabar pioneered Management 3.0 in Australia, first bringing its founder, Jurgen Appelo to Australia, in 2012.

For our upcoming Management 3.0 Workout course, we're taking the opportunity to speak with Craig Brown.  

Apart from expertise in the disciplines of management and project delivery, Craig has a deep understanding of the practical implementation of Agile and Lean methods. He is a leading thinker in the Agile community and as well as presenting to industry conferences in Australia and overseas, Craig organised the Melbourne LAST  (Lean, Agile, and Systems Thinking) conference in Melbourne.

Craig has delivered Enterprise Agile training programs to Tier 1 companies, and has trained numerous teams in Scrum basics as well as since 2012 delivered Management 3.0 training to clients in Australia and facilitated subsets of the training course into Australian Agile Conferences.

Business Analyst Masterclass: Trainer Interview - Craig Brown

It's as important as ever to keep your skills relevant and up-to-date and we've noticed that there's a real appetite out there for Business Analysts and Product Owners improve their ability to master requirements management.

That's why we asked Craig Brown to put together this Business Analyst Masterclass.

As you'll read on in the interview, Craig has been working in business analysis in one form or another since the late 90's, and he has applied this experience to this Masterclass. This class provides people working in the role of Business Analysis an understanding of the benefits of constant reflection and improvement, and anyone performing the work of business analysis an understanding of the benefits of discipline and rigour.

Apart from his added expertise in the disciplines of management and project delivery, Craig has a deep understanding of the practical implementation of Agile and Lean methods. He is a leading thinker in the Agile community and as well as presenting to industry conferences in Australia and overseas, Craig co-founded LAST  (Lean, Agile, and Systems Thinking) conference in Melbourne.

Craig is currently the VP of Collaboration at Aconex, and is well embedded in the community as a speaker and thinker, and he sees the opportunity to share his knowledge with the broader workforce.

We hope that the interview will show you how the course will be valuable for you. Then click the button to register for the upcoming Business Analyst Masterclass.

In terms of ROI, if you spend a few hundred dollars for this day you should be seeing that value flow back to you in a few weeks, if not immediately.

It’s a cost effective way to be seen as better at your job, adopting new ideas, committing yourself to learning and this has an immediate return of investment on your career.

Ringo: How has this course come about?

Craig: When I talk to business analysts, I see people with intent to do great work who don’t seem coached, mentored and supported to do so.

I have a lot of experience in this area and I know how to do it, I want to give people the opportunity to be as impactful as they can be.

Ringo: So you have a lot of experience? Tell me more

Craig: In one form or another since the late 90’s I’ve been doing or contributing to BA work, I’ve been one, managed them, led teams, written and run BA training courses, been a consultant to business analyst practices, managed BA consultants, all dimensions of the role for around 20 years.

After recently spending time with a group of BA’s, it made me realise I’ve got a whole lot of experience that I can share and help others grow from it and that there is an appetite for this kind of support and assistance.

Ringo: How does someone know this is going to be valuable for them?

Craig: If you’re a business analyst, it’s going to be valuable.

In terms of the content, to some degree we’ll do a voting and prioritization of it at the beginning of the day, to make sure we’re addressing your issues and learning goals. Regardless of where you’ve come from, putting yourself in a new situation with peers from other organisations, giving feedback and ideas is always going to be valuable.

Ringo: What are the key items of value from the day?

Craig: How do we know whether we’re making an impact on customers or users we’re targeting? How literate are we in the way we influence and guide others through change? How strong are our collaboration skills? What techniques do we have in our toolkit and are they the best ones for the challenges ahead of us?

We will look at all these ideas and explore how we can level up our skills by broadening the knowledge we use to do our job, focusing on reflection and improvement and how important discipline is to making a real difference.

Ringo: Everyone talks about agile, does this relate, or doesn’t it?

Craig: The essence of the agile movement is ‘inspect and adapt, so what we will be doing is very aligned to that. And there are definitely ideas from the agile methods and frameworks that we can leverage, but this day is about business analysis, and doesn’t require prior knowledge of agile methods to be useful.

Ringo: Ok, so what about BA's and Product Owners on agile teams, what value could they get from this day?

Craig: In almost ten yours of working with and workshopping with hundreds of agile Business Analysts, I am aware of the patterns in agile teams that are now opportunities for improvement. I expect BAs, and probably Product Owners, to find a clear value proposition from the day. They should already have a strong appetite for reflection and improvement and this day presents a great opportunity for that.

Ringo: Why now, what is somebody's reason for doing it today?

Craig: Invest in yourself professionally today. Don’t put it off!

In terms of ROI, if you spend a few hundred dollars for this day you should be seeing that value flow back to you in a few weeks, if not immediately.

It’s a cost effective way to be seen as better at your job, adopting new ideas, committing yourself to learning and this has an immediate return on investment on your career.

It also has an ROI for your business, it helps you get better outcomes for your customers in the products you’re creating, aligns understanding across the team and helps to give you a clearer line of sight to your customer.

Lastly, if you’re a BA and going down the path of being a certified Business Analyst, you have to invest in training and this accredits towards it.

It’s a great value proposition for a minimal amount of effort, I guarantee a lot of value for one days investment.

Agile & Lean Change Management: Attendee Interview - Ty Newton

Previously, we wrote about how we built the Agile and Lean Change Masterclass by following the principles taught in the course. Here's Part 1, as well as Part 2.

For Part 3 of this series, we talk to Ty Newton - Manager, Planning and Service Development from the Department of Health and Human Services, who cam along to a recent Agile and Lean Change Masterclass.

It was interesting for us to work closely with someone from within Government, who is bound more tightly by regulation and policy than your everyday corporate. It was exciting to learn how ready Ty was to look at changing the way he was working, and add to his tool belt, by using the methods and principles from Jason Little's Lean Change Management.

Have a read of our interview with Ty from about a week after completing the course, benefit from his experience and learnings so far by applying the tools techniques in his current work environment.

If you want to hear more about this course or get in touch with any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at ringo.thomas@tabar.com.au.


we were able to turn around a decision within days which just doesn’t normally happen.
— Ty Newton

So, before anything else, what's your current role?

My role is as the Manager of Planning and Service Development at the DHHS. In simplistic terms, this is about leading change, putting together quality assurance mechanisms and developing insights and metrics that inform the work that we do. I’m working with people both internal and external to the DHHS.

What was the problem you were looking to solve by coming along to the training course?

Given the accelerating pace of change that we face, we want to be able to respond more flexibly and effectively. It's important to be able to bring products and services online quicker, but they also need to be well informed and aligned to policy.

For me, it's all about having a suite of different tools you can use to approach different problems and opportunities. By developing different approaches to managing small and large change, it allows you to be prepared for new circumstances as they come along.

Do you feel like this gave you the knowledge to look at how you approach this problem?

"Yes" is the short answer. The test for me will be actually applying the tools, techniques and approaches. There's no one way to approach anything, but given the content that we traversed I was able to shift my thinking and I’ve already applied the learning.

 I like to be challenged; I’m constantly seeking ways to grow as an individual and broaden my awareness and understanding of new and better ways to deliver outcomes.

Ok, that's good that you've applied the learning already. Can you tell me more?

I had a workshop where I was looking to gather some key insights with a group.

Traditionally, I'd use a business excellence model, but I decided I'd use the sail boat exercise because I thought it would be a good way to help people feel the value of getting their points of view across.

People loved it! It was a design piece for one of the builds to do with our capital portfolio, by using the sail boat we were able to turn around a decision within days which just doesn't normally happen.

Last question, were there any concepts or ideas you felt were particularly powerful?

For me personally, the overall approach around starting with Insights, exploring Options and how it’s set out, what’s the impact and what’s the value, then moving onto Experiments, it nests everything really well. 

I also liked the blast radius, to be able to think from a stakeholder point of view, and then another layer in terms of analysis is really powerful, it's just another tool on the toolbelt that you can pull out when you need it. Importantly, it’s these types of tools and processes that remind me to be people focused rather than plan focused.

Visual Management & Kanban Kickstarter: Trainer Interview - Ben Hogan

With our upcoming course "Visual Management & Kanban Kickstarter" it was time to take the opportunity to speak with the trainer and Agile industry veteran - Ben Hogan.

About Ben

Ben has been helping teams grow agile, and collaborate using visual management, since 2002, way before it was hip. Ben has an enduring passion for awesome stationery and 3M products and is a veteran of introducing visualisation to many projects from product development to business operations. 

Ben has a deep technical background combined with experience in finance, marketing, HR, and customer service. Ben has used Lean, Design Thinking and Systems Thinking to create enterprise backed startups from concept to launch.

He was one of the first people to teach Kanban in Australia, and is a participant in the Kanban Leadership Retreat. Ben has spoken on Visual Management at the Scrum Australia and Agile Australia conferences, and was an invited speaker at the Agile Encore conference. 

Upcoming course

All this means Ben is a fantastic person to learn from, so take the opportunity of this interview to learn what the course is about!

You can learn more about the training and register for the course here:

If you're interested to talk more about the benefits of this course or have any questions you want answered please reach out to me on Ringo.Thomas@tabar.com.au.

We love feedback, let me know what you think of this article!


Ringo: So what is this course? Tell me a bit about it?

Ben: This course works to help you understand what Visual Management means in terms of managing your workload as an individual or in a team. It’s also to give you a kick start in understanding Kanban.

It’s origins came from seeing a gap in the market, people from the business - HR, Finance and Marketing - were too busy to spend two days in a course to do a deep dive into Kanban approaches. People wanted a condensed introduction, so I’ve shaped this course around learning some of the key tools, techniques and ideas and giving people the ability to get a good handle on some of the challenges they face.

Ringo: Who is the suitable audience? What are the sort of challenges someone may be facing to know this would be right for them?

Ben: This training is popular with two main groups: teams looking to quickly adopt visual management practices and change agents looking to support teams to use Kanban

Teams want to learn the fundamentals. Typically coming as a group or sending some people from the team, with the purpose of learning how you visualise work, visualise problems and measure performance.

Change Agents are typically Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches or Delivery leads. They normally come along because they want to widen their toolkit beyond just Scrum and they want to learn more about Kanban, which is a more evolutionary approach and more truly agile in nature.

The typical challenges attendees are facing include:

  • When the hiring freezes but the work doesn’t stop.
  • When you have too much work and not enough people.
  • When you or your team multiple competing priorities and there’s a lack of prioritisation in your pipeline of work
  • Problems prioritising between stakeholders
  • Low staff engagement or a non-collaborative culture 

Ringo: What will an attendee will come out with?

Ben: The view is to give the attendees all the foundational stuff.

  • They will have some very practical tips including a template for visualising work, problems, blockers and how to measure performance.
  • An understanding of how & when to use a stand up vs retrospective. 
  • Dealing with too much work and priorities of work.
  • Quick introduction to some of the terminology that surrounds visual management, and basic intros to concepts like Lean, Agile, Scrum and Kanban.
  • Pointers on next steps
  • Access to a community slack channel for support and discussion 
  • All students get a license to the book by Jimmy Janlen, 96 visualisation examples - included in the course fee
  • Reference and resources for further reading/learning including checklists.

Ringo: Can you tell me a bit about the structure of the half-day?

Ben: The day is split up as follows:

  • We start off understanding any specific pain points that the attendees want to address.
  • Context of why do we care about visual management
  • Maturity model & adoption
  • 1) getting clarity over the work (where/position, problems, performance & measuring it)
  • 2) Introducing controls (capacity & commitment management, next steps/role of a facilitator)
  • Materials and resources available and uses 

Simple as that!
 

Advanced Agile Masterclass: Attendee Interview - Andrew Dodgshun

Later in the week Alistair Cockburn leaves Australia until his next visit. In the time that he has been here, we've had him involved in a number of things. 1st Conference this year was a highlight, training courses Advanced Agile, Use Cases and User Stories and his Heart of Agile/CSM Training as well as taking him along to different organisations to speak about Agility.

Recently Alistair completed his 3 day Advanced Agile Masterclass here in Melbourne. We've taken the opportunity to speak with and interview one of the attendees, so that you can understand more about the course and the overall experience being taught by one of the creators of Agile himself!

Andrew Dodgshun comes from a wealth of experience. (In his words) he spent almost 10 years on projects that were running overtime and overbudget, writing requirements/technical/testing/user documentation for up to 75% (or more) of the time before writing one line of code and releasing quarterly, if they were lucky!

Around 10 years ago, he had the major ‘light bulb’ moment and spent the next 10 years working with Agile delivery teams as a developer/scrum master and eventually full time Agile Coach.

Andrew had a stint in the US, working for companies like Amazon, Kodak, OpenText and Nordstrom. He is now a bigger believer than ever that the benefit of Agile can come from the ways that you work, but also the simplicity of what it offers in terms of uplift to people, teams and work environments.

Andrew presents a good opportunity to learn about this course from someone with strong experience in some of the more progressive tech companies in the world.

If you're interested to talk more about the benefits of this course or have any questions you want answered please reach out to me on Ringo.Thomas@tabar.com.au.

To learn more about the courses, click this link. Alistair is expected to return later in the year!

We love feedback, let me know what you think of this article!

Alistair gives everyone a voice but is fiercely determined that people learn not just what he is delivering but to consider the content from multiple viewpoints and on multiple levels of complexity.

Ringo: How did you first come across the Advanced Agile Masterclass?
 
Andrew: After working in Seattle for 4 years I returned to Melbourne (about a year ago) and I really wanted to take some time out for professional development. Having done plenty of certifications and conferences I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the Masterclass through the vibrant network of agilists I discovered on my return to Melbourne

Ringo: What do you feel like you got out of the three days?
 
Andrew: Attending an event like this is like soul food for an Agile Coach. Most of those attending have been involved in and have been working with Agile for some time, so bringing these minds together to be challenged, pushed and cajoled by the sometimes twisted (in a good way!) mind of Alistair Cockburn is a special type of goodness that goes beyond just sucking up information. Specifically, I gained insights into levels of practice that only the likes of Dr Cockburn has the time and inclination to investigate and the unique capability for passing on such learnings. I found the discussions and workshops both engaging and ultimately extremely simple and practical in purpose giving me new directions to explore both personally and professionally.

Ringo: Are there any key learnings you took out of the training you’d want to share?
 
Andrew: Many learnings but the key one really was the theme of the workshop which is” The Heart of Agile”. Stripping away all the decorations and padding often associated with methodologies and frameworks we are left with the simplicity of just 4 concepts – Collaborate, Deliver, Reflect and Improve.

Ringo: How would you describe Alistair’s teaching style?
 
Andrew: Alistair’s teaching style is relaxed, eclectic and at times feels like you are in some sort of anthropological experiment. He gives everyone voice but is fiercely determined that people learn not just what he is delivering but to consider the content from multiple viewpoints and on multiple levels of complexity. It can be exhausting but is also a lot of fun and energizing!

Ringo: How would someone know they were ready to complete the training?
 
A hard question as I think there is something there for everyone but to get the most value a good grasp of both Agile principles and the common methodologies and frameworks under the Agile “umbrella” is recommended. This is not a course to teach Agile so coming to the course with a good history of practical work experience around the principles of  Agile as well as the theory would be a good indicator you are ready to take it to the next level.

Ringo: How would an organisation know it was valuable to put their staff through the training?

Andrew: Any organisation that has realised they need to move beyond merely implementing frameworks and methodologies and aspire to seriously embracing the principles and values of the Agile Manifesto would have to consider putting their staff on such a stimulating journey with Dr Cockburn for a few days as a very special opportunity. 
 

Things you might not know about 1st Conference 2017

We started 1st Conference in 2015, after running LAST Conference for a few years. A little while back, I described LAST as a meetup on steroids, and that it was originally designed "for people who have a bit of experience with agile". Since then it's gone from strength to strength, debuting in Sydney in 2016, with Brisbane joining the party in 2017, too.

We decided to launch 1st Conference as a somewhat more conventionally structured event for people with less experience. The way we thought about it, there are more and more businesses that are declaring themselves to be "Agile", which means that  there a bunch of people who are trying to figure out how to make this happen. 2015 and 2016 was about the first 2 years on an agile "journey". For the 2017 iteration, there has been an evolution in the intent and design of the conference that I wanted to emphasise. 

Here are some things that you might not have realised about 1st Conference 2017

Not just for newbies

With the upcoming edition, people who are starting out are still an important audience of the event. However, with the adoption of the Heart of Agile framework for the theming of the event, we think that the focus on the most important areas that really are at the heart of agile will be useful to people who have been working with agile for a while. We are hoping that 1st can be a first agile learning event for some, and that it can also be the first learning event of the year for others.

As Alistair Cockburn, co-creator of the Agile Manifesto and the creator of the Heart of Agile says:


Agile has become overly decorated. Let’s scrape away those decorations for a minute, and get back to the center of agile
— Alistair Cockburn

We hope that stepping back, remembering the central, most powerful principles of agile, will help experienced people, especially those working with less experienced colleagues.

Not just about IT

The principles described by the Agile Manifesto for Software Development predate it by many years. Much was borrowed from the car industry and Toyota, in particular.  Now, car companies are realising the need to be more agile (CIO.com), and almost all companies are recognising the need to be able to change course more rapidly (fortune.com). Indeed, we have been hearing much more about "Business Agility" in recent times.

At 1st Conference this year, we will be hearing from Jurgen Appelo, who talks about agile management techniques that can work in many different departments. We also will hear from Eduardo Nofuentes, with a practical example how a company that runs shopping centres are using agile and lean techniques. I'm also very keen to hear Lilly Ryan's talk about what we can learn from a spectacular failure on a project in the 1850s.

Above: Interview with Jurgen Appelo about his keynote talk at 1st Conference, Melbourne on 2 March 2017.

Gender balance

We are very aware of the issue of lack of women on conference lineups. Last year, we signed up to the Diversity Charter, as a statement of intent that we are actively seeking to improve the balance. We have got plans in place for the 2017 Melbourne edition of LAST and we actively sought to fill the 1st Conference lineup with talented women. We're really pleased that both the speaker and workshop facilitator balance is almost exactly 50:50 (it was 20:80 in 2016).

Ideas AND practical tools

The first two editions of 1st were single day. In 2017, we extended the event to two days, with a lineup of talks on day 1, and a series of 90 minute workshops on day 2. The plan is to get an overview and understanding of the ideas through the talks, and then to do some practical things on day 2, to take back to work on Monday. For those who can only spare one day, there is a single day registration available to day 1 only.


Don't miss out…

…on hearing from an inventor of agile and a top international thought leader in agile management, plus all the Australian content on the schedule. Everyone involved is really excited for this event and we really hope that you'll see fit to join us on 2-3 March. Early Bird registrations are available until midnight on Monday 6 February, so don't wait!

How I used the Lean Change Cycle to help launch and refine our training course (on Lean Change) Part 2

This is Part 2 of a 3 Part series about how we used the Lean Change Cycle to bring the Agile and Lean Change training course to market. In Part 1 we covered a couple of our initial experiments, and in Part 2 I’ll share our experience moving forward and speaking with our customers.

Why we did what we did

At the end of Part 1 you’ll remember that we’d just made a new set of hypotheses and launched 3 further courses. Success looked like a full room of participants and customer feedback indicating that we were addressing their needs.

  • “We believe there is a market for more regular Agile and Lean Change Management training.”

  • “We believe that by identifying and speaking with our customers to understand their problem statements, we will be able to create a course that better suits their needs, messaging that speaks to their requirements and build a captive audience for future engagement.”

The purpose of speaking with the market was to validate the product/market fit. By further identifying the “why” of the requirement for this training course it enabled us to continuously improve on our customer offering and meet our customers needs.

What it told us

To begin with I mapped out 6 key customer types and spent over an hour individually with around 20 customers. I simply wanted to understand “what is the problem statement that you would be looking to solve by attending this course”. The 6 customer types and their responses are below.

  • People Managers - want to help their team's effectiveness in the business.

  • Change Practitioners - want to understand how change management works in an agile environment.

  • Project and Program Managers - want to remove blockers to help them deliver and have a consistent change approach to engage their teams.

  • Agile Practitioners - want to have a broader influence outside of their team and gather new tools and techniques.

  • HR Professionals and Trainers - want to ensure that Change Management is effective and engages the wider business in a state of change.

  • Business Architects - want to understand the root cause of business issues and how to put the power of change into the hands of the people.

These insights were valuable and helped us shape our messaging and pitch for the next round of courses.

Fast forward through the next 3 courses, and in terms of attendance numbers and engagement, we were successful and we were excited.

Throughout the journey we’d been gathering post course feedback. Always looking to improve, we noticed a consistent insight that made us reflect on a few specific areas.

Our data illustrated that our course was most important to Change Practitioners, as the percentage of Change professionals attending was high. However their feedback told us they felt that with a broad group of customer segments in the room, the content was too broad to fully satisfy their needs.

So what were our options? We could continue with no change knowing people would continue to attend. We could decide that the wider market outside of Change Practitioners were quite happy with the course and tailor it to them. We could talk to the Change Community and understand more deeply what they were looking for.

The experiment we chose was to talk to the Change Community. We identified them as the early adopters who were actively trying to solve the problem we had a course for. We spoke to ten Change practitioners to validate Product/Market fit.

Our insights are summarised here:

  • They wanted to learn about ‘Agile’, and what ‘good agile’ looked like.

  • They wanted to hear about and share stories with other Change Managers to further their understanding of where Change Management is going/ needs to go, and how it fits into Agile Delivery environments.

  • They wanted to understand the linkages between the Lean Change approach and their current Change Management methodology so they are able to work in a more Agile way.

Furthermore, Change Practitioners are seeing changes in their industry, they want discussions about what’s happening and tools and skills to help them improve and remain relevant.

Where we took it

Based on this insight, we made the decision to review and amend our content. Our latest hypotheses says “we believe that by aligning the marketing, content and learning to the Change Practitioners identified requirements we will have a higher satisfaction and sale rate on future courses”.

It’s important to note that our other customer segments will still get value from this course. We’re evolving it to address the problem statements of a Change Practitioner, however the target audience remains Change people, Agile people who understand that Change is an intrinsic part of their role and people tapped on the shoulder to “make change work”.

We’re about to launch our 2017 calendar with 10 courses in Melbourne and Sydney and we’re excited to be better able to align to this key customer segment. We’ll keep you up to date with our new insights as we gather them.

Part 3 of this series explores the experience of a participant in the course, and insights about their problem statement.

If you're interested to hear more, please email me on Ringo.Thomas@tabar.com.au


Find out more about the Agile and Lean Change Masterclass, including scheduled courses in Melbourne and Sydney.