The inaugural Business Agility conference in Manhattan was a jet stream of knowledge and concepts on expanding Agile to the rest of the organization.  From Paul Cobban’s success story at DBS of rocketing from the bottom to the top (queue Drake song) of Customer Satisfaction index in Asia as a result of an Agile transformative effort to David Grabel’s story of translating mob programming to mob design at Vista Print, there were plenty of fascinating stories that you wouldn’t necessarily catch at an IT focused Agile Conference.

Chip and I were ecstatic to be presenting to a captive audience of 335 (they actually weren’t allowed to leave).  We even got a chance to give a short podcast courtesy of SolutionsIQ on our talk: Sustaining Happiness Once you Have it.

Quick hitters that left lasting impressions:

Deepest Thought: You won’t SEE it until you BELIEVE it. – Pat Reed

Most Bizarre stat: There was only 1 more New Yorker (10) than there was Australians (9) at this New York based conference.


Slickest & Most Emotionally Gripping Presentation: Renee Troughton’s entirely animated presentation chronicling her difficult experience under a decide-first-ask-for-inputs-later style leader.

Coolest Executive Management Concept: DBS’s switch from sending Executives to business school to sending them to Hackathon’s to learn how to lead products in the modern era.

Best Take Away Concept: Amber King & Jesse Huth’s Self Selection model for giving structure to “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.”

Best Take Away Concept most people probably missed: Ron Quartel’s FASTAgile TM.  uses Open Space to run 2 day iterations, allowing for self-organization to persist after initial formation. Note: This was discussed in Saturday’s Open Space session.

Worst Murphy’s Law Moment: 30 Minutes before our presentation we find out..once again…Powerpoint on Mac is not the same as a Powerpoint on a PC. So Jason takes off like the wind to the room. No big deal just grab grab the Mac! Then – Boom it happens Jason is locked out. Runs to the front desk get’s a second key…still locked out, has a maid help him, still locked out, security comes, still locked out and then the call comes over the radio “Get the GOD Key we have a complete Lock Out.” 4 levels later he gets the materials and we are set – a little stressed and flustered but we have what we need. Oh yeah, we also fixed the powerpoint on the PC in like 30 seconds. First comment when we are all back together again: “I am not sure they have a lean system for getting people into their rooms”

Best Compliments:

“Your talk just justified this entire conference for me!” heard right after we got off stage.

Doug Kirkpatrick quoting us in a Tweet “Transparency does not equal awareness.”

Experiment I’m most excited to Replicate:

Ron Quartel’s blink estimate theory using jars of jelly beans.

Finding an organization that is really ready to allow the people to self-organize based off Amber and Jesse’s work!

Thanks to Evan Leybourn and all those who helped make this a hopefully first of many Business focused Agile conferences.  Special thanks to Christina Hartikainen our most amazing and wonderful track sponsor who put up with a lot of last minute changes from us!

We’re hosting our own conference in May! This year’s Lean+Agile DC conference hosts a job fair right on the conference floor that you won’t want to miss – Super Early Bird prices end March 10th! Register for Lean+Agile DC now!