This morning, I woke up still feeling incredibly grateful for the experiences at Agile2019. Normally, I do a retrospective style post following the conference. Yet, last year I focused on appreciations and I’m going to continue down that path…with this year’s #highlightMoments in no particular order.
- Majority of my stress going into the week was feeling David Hussman’s loss. His one year anniversary of his death is approaching and I’ve missed him enormously. How would I honor him in a way that he would be proud of? How much will his absence impact my experience? Etc. Now I don’t normally believe in this and I would normally not share this but I feel like this moment started the entire week and deserves to be a #highlightMoment. I got in my car to drive to the airport on Sat. Usually, I listen to talk radio but decided I needed music. Only I didn’t turn to my phone, I just turned over to FM radio. The song that started was “Blackbird” by the Beatles. This was one of the songs he chose for his celebration. Every part of me got chills. I’m who I am today from his influence and friendship – he’s always present. I am grateful for the stories from people about his impact. I am grateful for the references in slides. I am grateful to Brandon, Ray, Rhea for supporting each other as we navigated the week. #highlightMoments
- Volunteers, you get a ton of praise during the week and it doesn’t begin to touch the amount you deserve. You were not focused on the “I’m doing my 20 hours and done”, you were always finding ways to help. Purple shirts rock! Seeing the super capes this year absolutely made me love the spirit you bring each year. #highlightMoment
- Speakers, I wanted to see so many of you. I did get to attend more sessions this year vs the last 3 years – so I call that winning! My favorite session I attended was Chris Li and Brock Argue’s session “That’s Not Coaching”. I enjoyed the content, I enjoyed the delivery, but mostly I enjoyed that they gave a glimpse of what can happen outside of sessions (deep discussions) and can lead to sessions in the future. The session that I missed this year and heard was absolutely amazing was Thomas Perry’s “Business Thermodynamics”. This does not surprise me in the least bit considering I was a fan many years ago from his “Silo Busting” session. #highlightMoment #missedHighlightMoment
- Sponsors, Agile Alliance is a non profit that leverages this conference to help fund several initiatives throughout the year. We couldn’t be successful without your support and partnership in this event. Thank you so much! Special callout to ICAgile as that chair massage was wonderful! #highlightMoment
- Track Chairs, you have one of the hardest jobs at the conference (and before). Thank you for your dedication, engagement and the amazing program you delivered. I especially want to call out Tamsen Mitchell and Bernie Maloney, the learning track chairs. They went above and beyond to coordinate a meet and greet for the learning track speakers, reviewers (I was one of them) at the conference. Especially the love and support of Tamsen continuously shown at the conference. #highlightMoment
- Elastic crew: people often ask – how do we do this conference, my quick answer is you. This team works hard and plays hard. I was honored to be included in the ghost tour on Friday night to close out this week. Let’s just say I’m still super impressed! #highlightMoment
- Agile Alliance Board: Much effort went in to Agile Tonight and the results were promising. Then we demonstrated how hard this progress can be in the members meeting. This was an extremely valuable moment for me personally learning how I did respond, how I want to respond, why it was different and what can we do individually and collectively. I’m looking forward to the continue discussion and action of Agile Alliance. I chose to add this in the highlight reel because as a board member, I own that what happened was wrong. I own that we have way more work to do. I own that I have way more work to do. And I’m willing to listen, research, learn and do better. #lowMomentWithPotentialToBecomeHigh
- Maria Matarelli – you helped create a space for connection, inclusion, learning and laughter all week. Simply magical! #severalHighlightMoments
- Chris Li – for someone that I only met a couple of years ago, you have become one of my favorite people. I’m impressed by his knowledge, energy, commitment, thoughtfulness…well, I could go on and on. So when Doc List (thank you again) asked me to be a Stalwart speaker this year – I decided that I wanted Chris Li to be the facilitator. I knew what energy he could help create in a room, what I didn’t know was how he would make me feel like I was on top of the world. You continue to set the bar high my friend. #highlightMoment
- Brandon Carlson and Olav Maaassen – I’m not even sure I could express how much your friendship means to me. I want you both to be super proud of me for not posting my favorite photo of you both! There are just friendships that you don’t have to explain, that don’t seem like work, that give you support, that challenge you, that make you laugh even when you lose a bet, and mostly that make you feel like you are home even when away from home. #highlightMoments
- Christina Hartikainen – You shined in every possible way this week! No one could be near you and not feel the wonderful kind, thoughtful, energy that you bring. Even in your moment, you lifted up others (Tiny Tamsen is bringing delight to many) – which surprises absolutely no one. I am a better person because of you. Many in our community are now better people because of you. You bring your heart, soul and mind to everything – we are the lucky ones to be impacted. I love you so much! #highlightMoments
- Jake Calabrese – my teammate, my work partner, my friend. I could try to explain but I think someone else did it this week best… Someone approached me and asked “how do I get a Jake?” I didn’t even need her to explain. He’s brilliant. He’s passionate. He’s authentic. He’s funny. He’s supportive. He’s caring. He’s courageous. He’s thoughtful. He’s…everything. I don’t know how I was lucky to get a Jake but because of it I feel like I can do anything. #highlightMoments
- Leadership Panel: When Christopher Avery and Michael Sahota approached me to join their leadership panel, I was immediately honored and very excitedly say yes. What I didn’t realize was that I would be getting an opportunity to meet two talented women: Angela Tucci and Soo Kim. Panels are notorious for being slightly boring even with good content. Michael and Christopher asked Jake to facilitate and we met several times to prepare. I haven’t seen the feedback yet, but based on comments received during the week and how I felt up there on stage, I believe we accomplished our goal. All while I learned while on stage, I gained even more respect for the panel members and I felt like we paid forward the lessons we have been learning. Thank you for the invite. Thank you for sharing the stage. Thank you for a wonderful experience! #highlightMoment
- Stalwarts session: A stalwarts session is essentially a “come ask this person any question you want” session. After having attended this conference for the past 12 years, I never really thought I would be a Stalwarts. I have led the track but to be one? I found my imposter syndrome kicking in before the session…would anyone come? Do I have anything to say that would be of value? Will it be boring? etc. Then the room started filling 30 minutes beforehand and full before start time. There were people I knew Pavel Dabrytski, Heidi Musser, Mike Cary, Riot Games peeps, Excelon Peeps and a ton of people I didn’t know at all. When I was up there, I tried to focus intensely on the person and their question. I tried to insert laughter. I tried to be as raw and honest as possible. I tried to provide actually tips and content. I tried to be me. It felt good but when you are in a center stage and can’t see everyone’s faces, I wasn’t quite sure if I had succeeded. Then the session ended and people stood up but not to leave to clap. In that moment, I had to finally accept that I am making a difference. That the impact is valuable. That my stories and experiences can help. That I can connect by saying the hard truth and laughing through to the other side. Doc List opened by making me blush. Chris Li continued the trend and then worked the room while providing me opportunities to take a drink and collect myself after moments such as acknowledging key pivotal moments in my career. Peter Green kicked off the amazing questions and they just kept coming. The audience energy was infectious – serious, comforting and yet playful. I tend to feel pretty positive about most of my sessions. This one has put me on cloud nine still days later. #TheHighlightMoment
- Bonus little moments of delight:
- Self Care Track was a success. Super proud of Sam Laing and all the speakers.
- The whiskey night crew of amazing people. I might not like Whiskey but the space that this night always provides is perfect. A chance to truly reconnect with Bonnie Aumann, Arlo Belshee, Eric Willeke, Lywellyn Falco, Ronica Roth, Melissa Perry and so many many more wonderful people present. I was happy to save the party with bringing cups. Only I just wish I hadn’t missed Ronica becoming Yoda later in the evening.
- Teaching Alistair Cockburn what good tequila is!
- Women In Agile Keynote and New Voices sections of the program were completely knocked out of the park! Special shout to Nazee Hajebi!
- Chris Edwards pushing all the buttons on the elevator on Emma Armstrong, Becky Hartman and myself…only there was someone else in the elevator. So embarrassed as she said “that’s your friend?” with Emma just repeating “so sorry”. So so many laughs and moments with these four throughout the week!!!
- Dancing the night away with Diana Larsen and later Lyssa Adkins. I love that each year this is a moment that I get to look forward to happening.
- Michele Sliger dropping bombs of wisdom on how to pet a cat, the best icebreaker opening and packing attire necessities. Thank you for coordinating happy hour Tuesday – the laughs and connections were perfect!
- Meeting Malikah Peart and her teammates from Jamaica (picture above near Stalwarts highlight). She called me a shero!! I don’t know if I deserve that but incredibly honored!
- Reese Schmit helping me get into the Karaoke swing of things by her amazing voice. Also great photo bombing skills!
- Chris Murman and Marie Dingess: Your ability to be present and yet create a space for laughter is astounding. You both are kind of a superhero to me now! Don’t let it go to your head!
- Although Cottmeyer, couldn’t be present for the whole week…being able to find time to simply chat and catch up is one of the things I appreciate each year.
- What is turning into an annual tradition, a 1-1 lunch with Rachel Howard. Aside from all the memories from the week, every time we are together – seems like no time as passed since the last time.
- Mad respect to both April Jefferson and Zach Bonaker for both of their genuine souls, caring hearts, thoughtful minds and determination to include others…all shining through the entire week.
- Getting do to presentation karaoke with Jessie Shternshus on our parenting skills (or lack of) was such an honor to be asked and followed by a delight to feed off such a wonderful mind/talent.
- Lastly but not in any way least, Peter Green making me feel so honored and respected as his teammate and friend by brainstorming on how to collaborate on making a difference for leaders.
If you couldn’t tell, I really really enjoyed this week. As with anything there were low moments too (Jenn Dyni…so so missed this year!!!), moments that I wasn’t sure if it was good or bad (maybe ORSC is sinking in), and moments that gave me hope for the future. Yet, when I think of this entire week, I just feel centered. I feel connected. I feel energized. I feel grateful. I feel like me.
I shared all of this to give thanks. Also to give a glimpse into this conference, which is so much more than conference sessions. So thank you Agile2019 – learning, laughter, and connections will be cherished…ALWAYS.
Do you have any Agile2019 thoughts to share?
P.S. Some bonus picture #highlights as well…