I have had the great opportunity to speak at conferences over the past ten years. This year was different; this was the biggest conference I participated in, Agile 2023. I WAS OVER THE MOON when I got the email that I was selected to speak. That lasted about twenty minutes as I thought, “Oh boy, now I have to do the work.”

For months I worked on my presentation and different activities to pull my thoughts together. I wanted to make it a fun learning experience while talking about pivoting our thoughts when talking about agile maturity.

The activities were the most challenging part of the deck. Coming up with something that is not too hard or too easy was difficult. Testing these activities with friends and colleagues produced multiple iterations until I found the right mix of difficulty and provided the expected outcome to drive the point home.

The presentation day was here, and it was time to share my ideas. During the presentation, there was a lot of involvement from the audience, who were interested in the discussion. Then came the time to run the significant final activity to tie it all up Unfuortuanlty the expected outcome did not happen. It was quite the opposite.

Overall the presentation was well received and created additional conversations during the week. After some self-reflection, I took the failure of the activity as a positive. In true agile fashion, I started thinking about what caused the issue. Was the activity still too complicated? Were my test subjects understood what I was getting at because they were helping me longer than the one hour the attendees were in the room? Or was there something else?

Most individuals would brush it off as “it fell flat,” “they didn’t get it,” or “I messed up.” Don’t get me wrong; those thoughts ran through my head briefly. Presenting is stressful, and sometimes we are our own worst critic. It took me a short time to regroup and ask for feedback as soon as possible to see what was potentially the issue. There is a lot of potential for all of us to learn from.

For the next couple of months, with the help of some peers, there will be a few experiments taking some variables out of the equation along with some surveys to collect more data. There is something to look into further to see what is out there. Possibly a topic to discuss at Agile 2024.

If you want to help, please expand the experiment and participate in something good.

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