Well another Gatineau-Ottawa Agile Tour conference #GOAT14 is over, and once again it was a resounding success. This year, the founding fathers who started GOAT and led it for the first two years decided to pass the torch to Agile Ottawa. So this year’s organizing committee was made up largely of self-employed Agile coaches, consultants and trainers. These are crazy busy people, most of them traveling four days out of five. It was not at all clear to me how we would fare.
Just fine, as it turns out. One of the things I love about helping organize GOAT is that I get to work with people better than myself. That’s one of the best ways to learn new things. Here are some learnings that stand out:
Trust and the Self-Organizing Team
Effectiveness was absolutely key to our success. People were already overworked before adding conference organizing to their agendas. We met by Skype for one hour a week and kept a Trello kanban board to manage our tasks. The first time we met in person was the night before the conference. Wow! We were a high-performing team that was fun to be on. But why? What made the team work so well?
- Trust Trust makes everything so much more productive and reliable. This means having confidence in people’s competence as well as their character. And it means only agreeing to do things you are sure you can do. It means keeping your commitments. And it means asking for help.
- Respecting Differences Our team was made up of a wide range of personalities, with differing opinions and ways of doing things. While we did not always agree, we never let disagreements slow us down or distract us from the goal of running a high quality conference. We made our differences a strength.
- Volunteering People volunteered to take ownership of items on the Trello board. People volunteered to help others as needed. Somehow, the work always got covered.
- Using Tools Both technological, and ways of working. Trello, Skype, Google Drive, Doodle to arrange meeting times, “voting” tools…. We had a huge advantage in that experienced Lean/Agile coaches have large, proven toolboxes to draw from. This year we are making heavy use of Slack and its working out really well.