AYE 2012 Conference

Sunday, November 4-November 8, 2012, Albuquerque, NM

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Day  Time Events
Sunday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Registration
9:00 am – 5:00 pm Warmup Tutorial
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Buffet Dinner and greeting old and new friends
 Monday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Registration
Monday 9:00 am – 9:15 Session Introductions
Monday 9:15 -12:15 Teams That Thrive Diagramming a Problem Has Your Project Outgrown Its Training Wheels?
Monday 12:15-2:00 Lunch
 Monday 2:00-2:15 Session Introductions
 Monday 2:15-5:15 Power and Empowerment at Work Replacing Management Myths What Good Are Feelings?
Monday 5:15 – whenever Dinner on your own, Birds of a feather, …
Tuesday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Registration
Tuesday 9:00 am – 9:15 Session Introductions
Tuesday 9:15 am- 12:15 pm A Manager’s Role on Self-Organizing Teams What’s Your Number One Project? It Matters How You Say Things
Tuesday 12:15-2:00 pm Lunch
Tuesday 2:00-2:15 Session Introductions
Tuesday 2:15-5:15 Metaphors at Work Reprogramming Yourself How to Analyze Systems
Tuesday 5:15 – whenever Dinner on your own, Bofs, whatever…
Wednesday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Registration
Wednesday 9:00 – 9:15 Session Introductions
Wednesday 9:15 – 12:15 Decoding Management Practices Improve Your Social Networking Skills Tapping Organizational Currents
Wednesday 12:15 – 2:00 Lunch
Wednesday 2:00 – 2:15 Session Introductions
Wednesday 2:15 – 5:15 Reinventing Yourself Consulting Style Type Based Interactions at Work
Wednesday 6:30 – 9:00 Closing Dinner for those who are leaving on Wednesday night.
Thursday 9:00 am – 4:30 pm Thursday all day Tutorials Congruent Coaching: An Exploration People and Patterns: Exploring Large Scale Change

 Teams That Thrive, Esther Derby

Why do some teams thrive and other struggle? It’s not magic. It’s also not chemistry, getting the just the right people on the bus, creating a vision, or applying the right amount of pressure. Those tactics might work, but I wouldn’t count on it. We don’t have to leave success to chance. You can increase the odds by paying attention at the start.

Both managers and people on teams can stack the deck for success–when they know what factors are most likely to make a difference, and have tools to assess what’s missing.

In this session we’ll explore a handful of design principles for enabling teams.  We’ll look at the conditions that support team performance. And, we’ll look at how to create the conditions and increase the chances that your team will thrive.

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Diagramming A Problem, Don Gray

When problem solving, the parts dance and intertwine creating a Gordian knot. Where and how can we start unraveling the knot? When dealing with people problems simplified linear solutions don’t work well. People behave in complex ways, not in linear fashion. In an effort to find the “one right solution” we simplify and ignore relevant data. This means we build incomplete pictures of the problem we’re trying to solve.

In this session we’ll use three diagrams to reveal components, find connections, and show influences in problems we’re solving. Using these diagrams as our sword we’ll cut the knot and reveal new understandings.

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Has Your Project Outgrown Its Training Wheels?, Johanna Rothman

No matter what lifecycle or process your project uses, the participants on your project have some strongly-held beliefs. “The iteration must be two weeks long.” “No, the iteration must be three weeks long.” “You must ask these three questions at the standup.” “No, you must sit down at the standup.” “You must only measure velocity.” “No, you must only measure cumulative flow.” “You must never use waterfall.” “You must always use waterfall.”

How do you know the project management practices are working for you? When is it time to reexamine those beliefs? Such questions are hard. But, they are necessary to ask and answer, if you want to keep improving and keep innovating.

There are no best practices. There are practices that help projects. It’s good to know when your project or program has outgrown the practices it uses. In this session, we will seek the patterns that help us realize when a project has outgrown its training wheels.

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 Power and Empowerment at Work, Esther Derby

Managers want teams to be empowered….but don’t want to give up decision making authority.  Teams want empowerment, but may not know how to act on the power they already have. Executives want to drive engagement and action, but see only half-hearted compliance.

In all of these examples, power dynamics are at play. Words won’t matter until people acknowledge power. Once people acknowledge the fact of power, it’s possible to look at how it is affecting people and actions. When we see power, we can see how power can make it harder–not easier–to  achieve desired results.

In this session, we’ll explore different definitions of power, where power comes from, and how people respond to power.  We’ll generate ideas on how to move from “power over” to “power with” –increasing creativity, energy, and results.

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Replacing Management Myths, Johanna Rothman

We have all heard management myths about how to manage knowledge workers. We may have been told to rank the people to yank the bottom 10%. We may have been prevented from moving the cubicles to create a better workspace for a project team. We may have been told that the testers had to remain separate from the developers to retain the product’s integrity. These are all management myths.

In this session, we will explore the myths you see in your organization. We will identify alternative practices that allow you to manage effectively and humanely. At all times we will stay focused on the realities of your business.

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 What Good are Feelings?, Jerry Weinberg

Is your emotional system of any value, or are emotions just vestiges left over from your ancestors’ life in caves? If emotions do have value, why do they often complicate your ability to work effectively? Can you actually use your emotions to work more effectively, and live a happier, more productive life?

In this session, you’ll discover the functions of the emotional system, and why at times you have so much difficulty talking about your emotions. You’ll learn that each emotion has a shape, and how you can change that shape so as to master your numerous feelings.
You’ll learn which of your feelings disturb your thinking, then find a transformation from not thinking well to thinking better, even when you have that disturbing feeling. You’ll practice this transformation and learn to work with your feelings as the control panel of your thinking system.

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 A Manager’s Role on Self-Organizing Teams, Esther Derby

“Self-organizing team” may be the most over-used, mis-understood, vague, and mis-leading phrase of the decade. What is a self-organizing team? How are self-organizing teams different from other teams?  Do self-organizing teams need managers?

Self-organizing teams do need managers; however, they need a different kind of management in order to thrive. I have never met a manager who aimed to stymie people working to deliver valuable products and services. But many of the management practices that apply to manager-led teams won’t work with self-organizing teams.

We’ll look at traditional management practices and how they can inhibit a team’s ability to self-organize. We’ll learn and practice tools to help managers and teams re-negotiate their working relationships. We’ll share ways to create partnership and break down hierarchical barriers. By the end of the session, you’ll have techniques that will help you help teams self-organize.

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What’s Your Number One Project?, Johanna Rothman

You have plenty of potential #1 projects. How can you choose among them to so you can focus the efforts of the people in the organization?

Maybe if you knew the project’s cost you could decide. Are your predictions that good? Maybe if you knew about the Return on Investment of the project? But that requires knowing both the cost and the predicted return. Can two predictions be better than one? Maybe you are comparing projects that are like comparing apples, frogs, and trains—projects that are so dissimilar you don’t even know how to start comparing them.

What can you do?

In this session, you’ll start practicing collaboration to determine how to focus everyone’s effort wisely. Your first decision is to separate your projects to see if they are potentially transformative, normal growth, or keep-the-lights-on projects. You’ll practice options that allow you to use qualitative approaches that don’t require estimation or prediction.

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It Matters How You Say Things, Don Gray

People interact in many ways. Some people like to talk a lot; others, little. Some people see what you’re saying; others, hear it. People have different preferences on how to interact. Knowing these differences helps you understand the interaction itself and be purposeful in getting your message heard.

The way we communicate affects both perception and reception. To make it easier for people to take in our message we match the other person’s communication patterns. In this session we’ll identify common language patterns and practice using them.

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How Metaphors Shape Our Work, Esther Derby

I was educated to be logical, objective, “stick to the facts” and rely on reason. But that’s not the only way our brains work. Metaphors pervade our lives and thinking–so much so that we often don’t notice them. Metaphors “shape what we think,” what we see, and therefore affect our choices and options.

Consider the title “Agile Evangelist.” Evangelists are people who are imbued with The Truth–and want to convince everyone else of it. Sometimes evangelists succeed–through persuasion or harsher means. Would you welcome an evangel, come to tell you   how wrong you’ve been?  Death March is another common metaphor. Would you want to join a Death March? People die on death marches–that’s the obvious part. But death marches have commanders, some of whom are not troubled one whit about the loss of life. That says a lot about how non-commanders are valued in an organization.

Some times metaphors clarify, and sometimes they mislead. In this session we’ll “tease out” the metaphors that affect our organizations. We’ll look at how they “shape patterns of behavior.” We’ll raise our awareness of metaphor so that we can recognize when a metaphor is at work.

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Reprogramming Yourself, Jerry Weinberg

Each of us has a unique personal set of survival rules and rules about commenting. These rules were usually made early in life (often age four or earlier) as our first self-programmed ways to cope with surviving in a complex world. Even though they may be long obsolete, our four-year-old rules often remain central to the way we participate in interactions.

Rules are not to be thought of as bad. On the contrary, we should honor our rules for helping us survive in a difficult world. Perhaps some of our rules need to be updated to fit the changing world—what was good for us at age four may not fit perfectly at age forty. In this session, we’ll demonstrate the technique for transforming a rule into a guide, while giving each participant a chance to surface some rules to be transformed.
When we transform a rule into a guide, we still retain the old possibility—yet add a few new ones. For instance, consider the common rule, “I must always do a perfect job.” As adults, we can easily see that conforming to this perfection rule is impossible, but emotionally we may continue trying to be perfect all the time. Once the rule has been transformed, we can still try to be perfect some of the time, when appropriate, yet be free to settle for good enough when that goal is more fitting.

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How to Analyze Systems, Don Gray

Working with clients I often hear stories about people or project problems. When I notice any pattern in these stories, I know I can look to the system for areas of improvement. These patterns get created by organization structure, interactions and by work sequencing.

Analyzing systems involves locating what drives behavior. In this session we’ll use structures, differences and interactions to analyze system behavior. Any change in a system will affect the entire system. We’ll explore a model for evaluating and making additional changes if necessary.

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Decoding Management Practices, Esther Derby

A company’s values and beliefs aren’t contained in the vision statements created by senior managers during an offsite at a swanky resort. Nor are they revealed by posters or catchy slogans. The values and beliefs that hold sway in a company show up in the management practices the pervade the organization.

Most of the time, companies adopt management practices by default.  “We’re growing now, so we need a management structure,” or “We have too many employees to coach individually, so we need a performance management system.”  Well-intentioned people apply practices that have worked in another company, choose a vendor who promises great results with a pre-defined process, or implement a system they’ve read in a book. But without a conscious examination the values behind the practices, management will send undesirable ripple effects through the organization.

In this session, we’ll deconstruct some of the management practices in the companies you work in. We’ll look at the problems these practices attempt to solve, and the values behind them. Then, we’ll see if there are other ways to accomplish the same goals while holding a different set of values.

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Improve Your Social Networking Skills, Johanna Rothman

You don’t have to be a social butterfly to succeed with social networking. Whether you are searching for a new job, marketing your business, or recruiting for a candidate, you need to know how to network. But as a professional, you want to network with authenticity. Authentic networking means making a warm connection–having a reason to connect. You need to build your reputation to network.

You start to build your reputation at work. You extend your reputation on social networking sites, mailing lists, and with online participation.

During this session, you will analyze your current online network and your current online participation. You will focus on using social networking sites, mailing lists, and other online email and writing to build your reputation. You’ll leave with an action plan and a budding network to help you with that action plan.

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Tapping Organizational Currents, Don Gray

When you look beyond the company chart, you’ll find movement. People get promoted, team membership changes, some people leave and other people join the company. Some projects start and other projects finish. Power shifts between departments. These changes create currents in your company. Taking advantage of these currents involves finesse not brute force.

How do you identify where the currents go? Which currents help you? What can you do to use them effectively?

In this session we’ll identify the currents important to the participants. We’ll introduce a tool to chart the currents. We’ll work in groups to discover how to take advantage of the currents.

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Reinventing Yourself, Johanna Rothman

When you move to a different organization, do you seem to find yourself in the same situation that you just left? Would you like the new situation to be fresh? Would you like a little guidance on how to reinvent yourself?

You can learn about yourself from seeing your historical career patterns. In this session, you will develop a picture of your career patterns, exploring what you have particularly enjoyed and what you haven’t. You will use that new information to create an action plan to move from where you are to where you’d like to be.

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Consulting Style, Jerry Weinberg

As consultants, our ultimate objective is to be helpful to our clients.  “Process consultation” is a consulting style that puts the major emphasis on “helping others to help themselves, not on solving their problems for them or giving them expert advice.”  (Schein 1987 – Process Consultation, vol.II)

In order to be effective, process consultants must be skilled at understanding differences—so as to establish rapport, enhance communication, and insure that we are clear about who is the helper and who the helpee. Process consultants must also be skilled at gathering different kinds of information as well as giving information the client needs at the proper time. Finally, consultants must know how to follow up, continuing to be helpful while gathering feedback for improving their own consulting skills

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Type Based Interactions at Work, Don Gray

Have you ever sat in a meeting wishing the blowhard would shut up? What did you think when the twit asked for data supporting the database upgrade you just proposed? Why does Steve keep worrying about how Joe feels? Aren’t we here to get a job done? How about the time no one else on the team could come to the obvious decision?

If you’ve had these or similar experiences, you’ve been exposed to different personality types. With improperly handled differences, the team slowly grinds to a halt just prior to imploding. Handled constructively, these can create the bed rock for positive collaboration.

We’ll explore different personality types. We’ll experience their strengths and limits. Perhaps we’ll find there isn’t anything wrong with the other person, they’re just different, and the difference creates a better team.

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Congruent Coaching: An Exploration, Johanna Rothman

We have opportunities to coach people all the time. Much of what I see other people claim to be coaching is actually under-cover training. But real coaching is offering support with options, and that can be tricky.

So how do you coach without teaching? What are the techniques when you manage others? Are they different when you are part of an agile team, or an agile coach? Or, when you are a project manager, consultant, or coach? What happens when you see opportunities for coaching where you work, but you haven’t been asked to coach at that level—whether that level is for the managers or the technical people?

Coaching can take many stances, and in this tutorial, we will explore them. We will observe what happens when you see opportunities for coaching but you haven’t been asked to coach there. Bring your coaching concerns, whether you are coaching onsite, or coaching at a distance, coaching one-on-one, or coaching teams. Let’s learn and build our coaching skills together.

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People and Patterns: Exploring Large Scale Change, Esther Derby and Don Gray

Change happens one person at a time. Large scale change happens when the system reaches a tipping point.

Both are true. Change does happen one person at a time, and the tipping point happens when networks of people and ideas converge in a “perfect storm.” If we only pay attention to one side of change, we miss opportunities to connect people and influence patterns.

In this session we’ll explore the network theory of change.  We’ll analyze how forces come together, how to track the forces, and fan small flares of light. We’ll examine the networks in our organizations,  look for ways to connect people who are changing themselves and can–together–change the system.

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