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Posts Tagged ‘Pollyanna Pixton

Agile Roots

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How very gratifying it is to experience the evolution of the Agile Roots conference. This is a true bottom-up conference. I only know some of the organizers, but my hunch is that the open source philosophy is at the roots of Agile Roots. There is freshness and genuineness to this conference that clearly come across even before the conference started.

At this point in time, the following speakers have been confirmed:


  • Alistair Cockburn
  • Sue McKinney
  • Jeff Patton
  • James Shore
  • Diana Larsen
  • Pollyanna Pixton
  • Myself

    I will be delivering a keynote presentation entitled Four Principles, Four Cultures, One Mirror. Click here for the full abstract. The short version is as follows:

    The path an Agile roll-out should follow depends on the core culture of the corporation: control, competence, collaboration or cultivation. Irrespective of the specific culture, the Agile roll-out invariably tests cultural integration, wholeness and balance. In particular, it exposes inconsistencies between approach with customers versus approach toward other constituents of the corporation such as partners and employees. Consequently, corporate reactions to Agile often express the disappointment of an organization when it is forced to take a good look in the mirror.

    I have been known to quip I feel like “one foot in cold water, one foot in hot water” with respect to Agile. So much has been achieved, yet so much is still to be accomplished. I have no doubt the conference will addrress this dissonance, integrating Agile past, present and future in a very insightful manner.

    Written by israelgat

    May 6, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    2020 Leadership

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    Colleague and friend Pollyanna Pixton has started a 2020 Leadership group. To quote Pollyanna:

    These economic times have surfaced new leadership challenges and we have become aware of the need for new tools to lead. Many of us are operating from our experiences, intuition, and wisdom. I would like to create a forum and community to share what we are finding that works and where we are stumbling. Perhaps we can learn together and develop some new tools for these uncertain and future times.

    As a starting point, questions we might address are:
    – How do we lead innovation and unleash the talent in our organizations?
    – How can leaders give ownership (and not take it back) while delivering competitive products to tight market windows and changing marketplaces?
    – What works for making better business decisions?
    – How do we lead business agility and business transformation?

    As appropriate, I will report on the deliberations of the 2020 Leadership group in this blog.

    Written by israelgat

    May 3, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Posted in The Agile Leader

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    How to Viral-Spread Agile on a Large Scale

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    In last week’s Agile Austin Distinguished Speaker Series, Sue Mckinney and Pollyanna Pixton presented the Agile/Lean work they carry out at IBM. Their approach to making Agile of interest to 25,000 employees in IBM’s Software Group stands in nice contrast to the classic quip “I am from Corporate; I am here to help you.” As a matter of fact, during her presentation Sue recounted how as a developer she disliked edicts that came from above when they did not suit context and reality in the trenches.

    Sue’s presentation is available here. It deserves thorough reading by anyone who is concerned with scale and scope issues in Agile roll-outs. Here are some of the more interesting points:

    • The initial  impetus to go Agile was time-to-market imperatives
    • The Development Transformation program which Sue drives at IBM provides a menu of thirteen Agile/Lean best practices a development team can choose from.
    • The program puts an emphasis on adaptive planning
    • The program stresses the importance of sharing both code and best practices
    • An expanded community of 40,000 IBM’ers and >100 customers are part of the program
    • Geographically distributed teams are considered the norm at IBM (given the company’s M&A strategy); Agile practices must take this reality into account

    Interestingly, in the series of workshops she delivered at IBM, Pollyanna did not even speak about Agile! Instead, she talked about the various aspects of collaboration and team dynamics. You can get a good sense of the themes Pollyanna covered at IBM  in her presentation on Collaboration and Collaborative Leadership in the Experience section of the Accelinnova web site.  See Jean Tabaka’s note and Michael Cote’s note for complementary opinions  on collaboration, organizational dysfunction and Agile.

     Sue and Pollyanna are continuing their Agile roll-out work at IBM. Stay tuned….

    Written by israelgat

    February 15, 2009 at 4:38 pm