Last month marked a momentous occasion as I had the privilege of presenting at Agile 2023. The experience brought forth a spectrum of reactions, underscoring the passion and diversity within our agile community. The crux of my discussion revolved around agile maturity, with a twist towards integrating evolution concepts into our practices.

A significant highlight of the talk focused on the distinction between a framework and a tool. Observing the varied reactions in the room was intriguing – a microcosm of our larger community. Some embraced the notion that implementing a framework is merely a step in the journey, while others appeared reluctant to embrace this perspective. The observation stirred thoughts: are we sometimes trapped by the allure of comfort in traditional practices? Are we so preoccupied with hitting predefined milestones that we inadvertently overlook the essence of agility?

An engaging activity further illuminated this thought process. Participants engaged in a drawing exercise, initially restricted from using their thumbs. Subsequent attempts allowed them to draw in their usual manner. The astonishing outcome unveiled a profound lesson – while the tools remained the same, the way they were wielded evolved, resulting in enhanced speed and quality. This analogy beautifully captured the essence of evolution within our agile journeys.

Another captivating activity challenged teams to guess movie titles via paraphrasing, sans the ability to communicate amongst themselves. While mirroring mature processes, this scenario highlights the need for evolution through effective collaboration and communication. The predicament reiterated that true agility lies in adhering to procedures and our collective capacity to evolve together.

A culminating exercise aimed to tie all these revelations together. Tables, functioning as self-organized teams, tackled a word cipher challenge, introducing the Corvette/Chevette paradox. However, the activity revealed some hurdles and frustrations, prompting introspection. Were these hurdles a reflection of our reliance on explicit rules over collaborative exploration? Could our focus on frameworks sometimes veil the broader goals of agility, inadvertently blocking out innovative approaches?

In response to these insights, I’m embarking on a series of experiments. The objective is to test the effectiveness of self-organized teams in uncharted waters, unveiling whether the fear of failure inhibits our creative problem-solving and learning journey.

The journey ahead is both exhilarating and transformative. As we embrace evolution and broaden our horizons, we remain united in our shared quest for agile excellence. Let’s challenge our paradigms, break free from the confines of convention, and open ourselves to new ways of achieving our goals.

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