Agile Keynote Speaker – I am delighted to be speaking in the opening session at SEACON this November on being agile in open banking.

Opening Sessions : Belinda Waldock – Agile Business, Lean Enterprise

Slides : Download Slides PDF

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Agile Keynote

Running and growing a business today requires an attitude and approach that enables teams to turn new opportunities into valuable products. Products that capture and sustain the markets attention in a faster, smarter and more effective way.

Agile and Lean models provide the mindset and methods to enable organisations to navigate the constantly shifting business and technology horizons. They provide models for developing new products and services that gain significant competitive advantage despite the markets constantly shifting forces.

We will explore why and how agile works, and the attitudes and approaches that teams adopt to help to improve their agility.

Q & A WITH BELINDA WALDOCK – Agile Keynote Speaker at SEACON

With 5 weeks to go to the Study of Enterprise Agility Conference (SEACON) on 12th November at HereEast in London, I caught up with Belinda Waldock, author of “Being Agile in Business”, and asked her a few questions.

At SEACON, Belinda will be presenting a talk on “Agile Business, Lean Enterprise” in the opening session.

Here’s what she had to say..

How would you describe what you do?

I help teams and organisations to create an agile culture to enhance their well-being, growth and productivity. I work with a wide array of organisations from tech start ups in Cornwall to museums in Qatar. The #beingagile approach is highly adaptable so it doesn’t matter if you are a financial enterprise or a fashion designer, or brewery, the aim is to help teams to be more agile to help them improve and innovate within their organisation.

You wrote your highly regarded book “Being Agile in Business” a few years ago now, what outcomes have you seen it have?

Being agile in Business aimed to be a book to introduce the basics of agile working in a simple and practical way to people looking to utilise the mindset and methods for their own personal use and within their organisations. The aim of the book was to help to extend the reach of agile beyond code and technology and give an insight into the methods and tools used, without getting technical or using too much jargon.

The outcomes of the book have been amazing, I’ve received so much positive feedback, and stories about how others have used it to help them to understand and adapt agile for their own adoption. From large financial enterprises giving it to their new managers as essential reading, to small business owners using agile for their own growth and improvement projects.

Every story I hear is more validation that agile is not simply a tool used by techies, but a business management methodology that is enabling organisations large and small to enhance their agility and respond to fast paced environments.

Recently you’ve carried out some workshops on the “Sailboat” approach to Agile retrospectives. For the uninitiated what is it and what do you like about it compared to other approaches?

Retrospective sailing is a game for teams to play to help them to run retrospectives individually, as teams and with their clients and suppliers. It’s a great way to gain clarity of the mission a team are working towards, and identify what’s going well, what’s putting the wind in their sails, and, what could be better, the anchors holding them back. What sets this game apart from other retrospective games is it also helps teams to identify actionable improvements to raise their sails and anchors so that they can make their boat go forward in a smarter, faster way.

Often teams run a retrospective and get a clear picture of what’s going well, what could be better, and what next, but miss the identification of the ‘how’. The game helps teams to scale their sails and anchors and identify actions for improvement that can be added to their backlogs for future sprints as change and improvement activity. There is a full guide to playing retrospective sailing on my website

Like a number of other places in the UK, the tech scene in Cornwall seems to be thriving. Assuming this involves some collaboration with colleagues in different locations, have you seen any new/different ways of working which improves interactions and collaboration?

We’ve taken an agile approach to building our community in Cornwall and continue to do so, this really helps to improve interaction and collaboration between organisations. Here in Cornwall we have a strong heritage of engineering and our community is dedicated to helping to establish a strong software engineering sector that will provide our future generations with the opportunities and jobs that our communities need.

Diversity in the workplace is important to most people, what do you think can be done to improve it?

I strongly believe that an agile organisation will naturally improve its diversity by adopting and adapting itself to agile ways of working. An agile approach is more attractive than traditional approaches to a wider range of people. The emphasis on collaboration, openness, empowerment of teams and strong collaborative values helps to build a working environment that is more inclusive and accessible. Agile also encourages teams to develop their Emotional Intelligence, to consider thinking and feeling, and to treat others with kindness and respect.

Historically, especially in the tech sector, the use of intuition, emotion and expression of feelings have been actively managed out, I believe that agile is helping organisations and individuals to build a culture that is safe, comfortable and welcoming to all, and encourages a much more humanistic way of working in comparison to the command and control and directive cultures we have previously seen in the industry.

Finally, what are you most looking forward to about SEACON?

The conference has a great line up so im really looking forward to hearing from others about the opportunities and impact of agile, especially within the finance sector and how agile approaches can help us to take advantage of the opportunities that open banking will bring.

I am really looking forward to learning and networking with others and the opportunities to talk to others about their experiences and thoughts, and sharing my own.