More ‘Open’, and my first online workshops

I’m getting ready for a busy couple of weeks mid May:

Partly in preparation and partly as housekeeping, I’ve updated the generic workshop description page Advanced Agendashift: Coaching and Leading Continuous Transformation as follows:

  1. Very much in the Open spirit of the Boston symposium, it now has a Creative Commons 4.0 CC-BY-SA license. That’s not quite the big deal that it might sound since the Overview pages that describe all Agendashift-based workshops have long had one, but it’s good to get that sorted.
  2. Its structure now tallies with recent improvements. Day 1 is Learning the language of outcomes. Day 2 is Organising for impact, and it reflects the “rejigging” described in last week’s Notes from the April 2019 Advanced Agendashift workshop, London. I’ve updated the abovementioned Overview pages also.

As a spinoff from Boston (there’ll be discounts for attendees), from June I’ll be offering an online workshop, also titled Learning the language of outcomes. Presented as two 2-hour sessions on consecutive days it will be a great way to get up to speed quickly with outcome-orientation and Clean Language, getting some real practice in applying the latter to the former. At a minimum we’ll cover:

Officially, we launch these at the Symposium, but for a sneak preview (and early bird prices):

In person or online, I hope to see you soon!


Upcoming workshops – Boston, Berlin, Oslo, and Stockholm

Watch this space for Greece, Turkey, London, and the Benelux region in the autumn.

workshop-2x1


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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based emergence of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

 

Notes from the April 2019 Advanced Agendashift workshop, London

Thursday and Friday last week was the 2-day Advanced Agendashift workshop in London. The quick version of my takeaways (all confirmed by the retro stickies):

  1. Mike Haber’s Celebration-5W template is a keeper
  2. The beta version of the 15-minute FOTO cue card passes muster
  3. My “Rule of Three” seems to resonate
  4. Some rejigging
  5. Excitement around “wholehearted

Also, details of the next four of these workshops – Boston, Berlin, Oslo, and Stockholm.

Mike Haber’s Celebration-5W template is a keeper

Announced only a couple of weeks ago, I would definitely recommend using Mike Haber’s template – it makes the exercise easier for everyone involved, and the output vastly more presentable. I’ve updated the Celebration-5W page to make it more prominent.

Celebration-5W-template-2019-03-v1

The beta version of the 15-minute FOTO cue card passes muster

Also announced recently but previously untested, a beta version of the 15-minute FOTO cue card is now made official:

No-one missed the old “Is there a relationship between X and Y?” question (a question that comes with health warnings) and according to the retro sticky, the new question “Where does X come from?” rocks!

My “Rule of Three” seems to resonate

I mentioned my “Rule of Three” in answer to an important question about who should be invited to internal workshops. I had already written it up for my forthcoming book Right to Left but I was encouraged to put together a page for it with an easy-to-remember url, agendashift.com/rule-of-three.

After a few iterations on the text (helped by feedback in the #right-to-left channel in Slack), here’s the key quote:

Clicking on the image or the link above you’ll find a condensed, bullet point version, and some notes that hint at what’s to come in the book.

Some rejigging

Consolidating experiments described in Stringing it together with Reverse Wardley, The Cynefin Four Points exercise moves from day 1 to day 2, the launchpad for Mapping rather than the conclusion to Exploration. It allowed me to run “my slowest ever Discovery” on day 1, and nobody minded one bit.

Update: The name “Reverse Wardley” is (as we say in the UK) “a bit Marmite”, meaning that some loved it and others hated it. Is it “way too geeky”? This was already suspected, but I still don’t have a better alternative.

Excitement around “wholehearted

Remember Towards the wholehearted organisation, outside in (May 2018)? For the evening of day 1, Steven Mackenzie (one of Right to Left‘s reviewers) suggested we held a “Lean Curry” around the topic. Here he is with his heart-shaped picture:

Before Right to Left is even published, perhaps a spinoff! Definitely one to watch.

Upcoming workshops – Boston, Berlin, Oslo, and Stockholm


Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based emergence of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

 

Agendashift roundup, March 2019

In this shorter edition (I’ve been on holiday): London workshop; Looking ahead – Boston, Berlin, Stockholm, and Oslo; Right to Left; Top posts

London workshop

Thursday and Friday next week is the London workshop. A couple of entirely unavoidable dropouts means that there is still space if you want to come, but be quick as there’s the Agendashift delivery assessment to complete as prework. There are generous discounts available for public, education, and non-profit sectors and also for repeat attendees (not uncommon) – ping me for a code if you need one.

New this time:

Looking ahead – Boston, Berlin, Stockholm, and Oslo

I can’t stress enough how much I’m looking forward to my trip to Boston in May – not just for the Agendashift masterclass (it’s called that to avoid confusion with shorter workshops held during the conference) but for the Open Leadership Symposium, which I believe will turn out to be a big deal.

On my return from Boston I’m off again to Berlin, for another 2-day workshop just 6 months since the last one. I’m grateful to my hosts Leanovate for their continued support! Looking ahead to early June, I’ll be doing Stockholm and Oslo with Agendashift partner Kjell Tore Guttormsen in one trip.

Right to Left

I have a well-reviewed and near-final draft now of Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile. Six chapters, 43,662 words, and I’m itching to get it out there! Behind the scenes I’m working on some spinoffs – more on those soon!

Top posts

  1. Why the Open Leadership Symposium is a big deal
  2. Stringing it together with Reverse Wardley (February)
  3. Testing some changes to the 15-minute FOTO cue card
  4. My favourite Clean Language question (January)
  5. A new template for Celebration-5W

workshop-2x1

Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Links: Home | About | Partners | Resources | Contact | Mike
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based emergence of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

A new template for Celebration-5W

Nicely following on from my post a few days ago on ‘Open‘, here’s a community-driven enhancement to our Creative Commons-licensed workshop kickoff exercise, Celebration-5W, in which participants capture the ‘Who, What, When, Where, and Why’ (the journalistic 5Ws) of a celebration that will take place some months from now. I use it to capture or create some shared context not just for classic Agendashift workshops, but also for my ‘outside-in’ strategy workshops (more on those coming soon in Right to Left), where a sense of timescale is very helpful.

Mike Haber took my “Clean sheet of A3, portrait mode, big bold headings down the page” and came up with something significantly better:

This is great, and not just because it looks good – it’s really clever!

The original guidance as described in the deck and in chapter 1 of the book suggests that you start with ‘When’ (How long will we need to achieve something meaningful?) and work backwards through the ‘What’ and the ‘Who’ before finishing up with the ‘Where’ (a venue that makes some kind of statement) and the ‘Why’ (the importance of not just the celebration but the whole endeavour). With Mike’s layout, this translates to “Start with the When (bottom right) and work anticlockwise” – much more elegant! For presentation purposes, it’s natural to start either top left with the ‘Who’ and work clockwise or left-right, or in the visually impactful middle with the ‘Why’.

The Celebration-5W Dropbox now includes an updated facilitation deck with instructions for both old and new layouts, also a printable template (I just bought myself an A3 printer with very much this kind of thing in mind). Request access here.

I will of course be using this new template in my upcoming workshops; Julia might too. Check out details of events in Seattle, London, Boston, Berlin, Stockholm, and Oslo below.


Upcoming Agendashift workshops

See also the recent blog post: Agendashift workshops in Seattle, London, Boston, and Berlin, which includes a detailed description of the 2-day workshop. Workshops facilitated by Mike Burrows (yours truly) unless otherwise indicated:


Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Links: Home | About | Partners | Resources | Contact | Mike
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based emergence of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

 

Why the Open Leadership Symposium is a big deal

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’ll be speaking and facilitating at the Open Leadership Symposium in Boston on May 14th-15th and leading a masterclass (a 2-day Agendashift workshop) afterwards. If you’re wondering what the fuss is all about, here’s my personal take on something very exciting that is still in the process of emerging, for which the conference represents an important milestone.

Behind the scenes, the conference organisers and some like-minded contributors have been going back to basics, challenging even what we mean by “Open”, let alone the “Open Leadership” after which the conference is named. Along the way, Niels Pflaeging dropped in the the term “Open Social Technologies” and it got me wondering:

  1. What that might term mean for Agendashift and similar frameworks, and
  2. How that differentiates us from the less open (and non-open) incumbents

So, with inspiration from Niels, Heidi Araya, Daniel Mezick, and others, here’s my take, very lightly adapted from a passage I’ve already included in the draft of my forthcoming book [1]:

[Relative to the branded Agile process frameworks, the term] Open Social Technologies represents a much broader, more diverse, and still complementary array of frameworks that address a range of organisational concerns in ways that the process frameworks simply cannot.

They’re open in multiple ways:

  1. Not only are they well documented, they share substantial parts through open source, Creative Commons, and similar mechanisms (including release into the public domain), to the extent that a suitably-experienced practitioner could with effort reproduce and even improve on it, without necessarily licencing whatever conveniences might be available to them on a commercial basis.
  2. They’re open not just to extension (a natural property of any framework) but also to modification and replacement, something that many branded frameworks actively discourage. To be truly open, there must be no mandated practices; instead an attitude of “core or better” [2] prevails, enabling both local adaptation and community-driven innovation.
  3. They are non-exclusive; they combine in multiple, interesting, and exciting ways, the composition often greater than the sum of the parts
  4. They are highly sensitive to context, portable from one social or organisational context to another, producing perhaps radically different outputs according to the situation. To achieve this, they’re generative, such that outputs are generated, organised, prioritised, and developed by participants – predetermined neither by the framework nor the facilitator.

As social tools, they help people to work together, empowering them with decision-making authority, building social capital up, down, and across the organisation and beyond its four walls. This describes both how they work when they’re being used deliberately and the kind of organisational legacy they tend to leave behind. For the engagement models in particular, this internal consistency is an explicit design goal, one that contrasts sharply with the dissonance and disengagement too easily triggered by traditional approaches to change.

A small selection of relevant frameworks that demonstrate all of these properties:

  • The engagement models [3] Agendashift [4] and OpenSpace Agility [5]
  • Clean Language [6], which via Agendashift or on its own is valued by parts of the Lean-Agile community as a coaching protocol. Its heritage however is in psychotherapy – a powerful demonstration of the portability and sensitivity to context described in point 3 above!
  • The large-scale collaboration framework Open Space Technology [7]

The conference brings representatives of these frameworks (and more) under one roof for the first time, and that is surely cause for excitement. We have a programme not just of talks but hands-on workshops also, not to mention the pre- and post-conference masterclasses of which mine is just one. Who knows what might happen? To be honest, I don’t think anyone can be sure, which makes it an event not to be missed.

Further information about the conference can be found here; sign up to the masterclasses here. See you there!

References

[1] Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile (due by midsummer 2019)
[2] See the blog post “Core or better”
[3] See agendashift.com/engagement-model
[4] See the site agendashift.com and the book Agendashift: Outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation (New Generation Press, 2018)
engagement model
[5] See the site openspaceagility.com and the The OpenSpace Agility Handbook, Daniel Mezick, Mark Sheffield, Deborah Pontes, Harold Shinsato, Louise Kold-Taylor, and Mark Sheffield (Freestanding Press, edition 2.2, 2015)
[6] See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_Language and for Agendashift’s application of it, the coaching game 15-minute FOTO
[7] Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide, Harrison Owen (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 3rd edition, 2008)

open_leadership_symposium_speaker_burrows


Upcoming Agendashift workshops

See also the recent blog post: Agendashift workshops in Seattle, London, Boston, and Berlin, which includes a detailed description of the 2-day workshop. Workshops facilitated by Mike Burrows (yours truly) unless otherwise indicated:


Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Links: Home | About | Partners | Resources | Contact | Mike
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based emergence of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

Testing some changes to the 15-minute FOTO cue card

Subscribers to the 15-minute FOTO Dropbox may have noticed a new ‘ v12 BETA’ version of the cue card. 15-minute FOTO is our Clean Language-inspired coaching game, the name being short for “From Obstacles to Outcomes in just 15 minutes”. We’ll be testing this updated version – twice! – at the London workshop early next month (and while we’re here, note that early bird pricing expires tomorrow).

15-minute FOTO 2019 03 v12 BETA

Changes:

  1. Dropped the question “Is there a relationship between X and Y”. Quite simply, this question was more trouble than it was worth. That it needed health warnings was already a strong indication that it should go, and learning that this question seems to have few defenders among expert Clean Language users clinched it for me.
  2. Added “Where does X come from?” as an alternative to “What happens before X?”. I’m taking advantage of the space relinquished by the first change to add a question that I find useful. You can use it to follow system flows upstream (from Right to Left, so to speak), and also to explore abstract outcomes – “Where does that collaboration come from?”, for example (see also My favourite Clean Language question).
  3. The two questions “What would you like to have happen?” and “And when X, then what happens” are highlighted more clearly than before. In the game, when presented with (respectively) an obstacle or an outcome, these are the default questions to use, the former to ‘flip’ obstacles to outcomes and the latter to generate more outcomes, going deeper into outcome space.
  4. Additional visual cues: a boundary between the obstacle and outcome ‘spaces’, along with a reminder (the curved arrow) to use the WWYLTHH question in the event that the conversations lingers unproductively inside obstacle space.

For the time being, you can download a PDF here. For the source pptx file, the facilitator’s deck, and for continued updates, subscribe here. You’ll find a video there too.

Questions or ideas for improvements? #cleanlanguage in the Agendashift Slack. And see chapters 1 and 2 of the Agendashift book, where the exercise is described in depth and in context (twice).


Upcoming Agendashift workshops

See also the recent blog post: Agendashift workshops in Seattle, London, Boston, and Berlin, which includes a detailed description of the 2-day workshop. Workshops facilitated by Mike Burrows (yours truly) unless otherwise indicated:


Agendashift-cover-thumbBlog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Links: Home | About | Partners | Resources | Contact | Mike
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based emergence of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

Agendashift roundup, February 2019

In this edition: Right to Left; Reverse Wardley; Coaching Agile Journeys; The Open Leadership Symposium; Top posts; Upcoming Agendashift workshops

Right to Left

Exciting news: as of last night I have a complete draft of my third book, Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile. Not that “complete” means “finished” – as the old joke goes it’s more like 95% complete with only the remaining 50% left to do. For the record, it comes out at 40,685 words – just a tiny bit longer than Agendashift and way less than KFTI.

I’m not giving publication dates yet (in fact I’m still exploring publication options) but my original target of midsummer still looks very doable. Also, I’ve consciously written it with the possibility of releasing it as an audiobook, which would be a first for me.

Reverse Wardley

An amazing response to this month’s top post, Stringing it together with Reverse Wardleypushing My favourite Clean Language question into second place for the year.

For the 2-day workshop, introducing the new exercise as part of a “string” of exercises – one feeding quickly into the next – has caused me to push one exercise from day 1 to day 2, improving the balance of the two days overall. To experience that for yourself, check out the calendar later in this post.

Coaching Agile Journeys

Check out episode CAJ 032 of the Coaching Agile Journeys webinar. You’ll find there a YouTube video hosted by Heidi Araya and Cristin Hernandez, and then me:

  1. Introducing the topic of outcome orientation
  2. Facilitating an online exercise
  3. Mentioning some of the tools we use to turn outcomes into concrete action
  4. Describing how needs-based and outcome-oriented approaches work in both change and delivery (the connection between Agendashift and Right to Left)
  5. Answering some questions!

The Open Leadership Symposium

At the end of that webinar there’s a plug for the Open Leadership Symposium event happening in Boston in May (my Boston workshop follows immediately afterwards). I’m very excited about this event, a lot of streams coming together. More on that soon no doubt!

open_leadership_symposium_speaker_burrows

Top posts

  1. Stringing it together with Reverse Wardley
  2. My favourite Clean Language question (January)
  3. On the quality and nature of backlogs
  4. How the Leader-Leader model turns Commander’s Intent upside down (June 2018)
  5. ‘Right to Left’ works for Scrum too (July 2018)

Upcoming Agendashift workshops

See also the recent blog post: Agendashift workshops in Seattle, London, Boston, and Berlin, which includes a detailed description of the 2-day workshop. Workshops facilitated by Mike Burrows (yours truly) unless otherwise indicated:


Agendashift-cover-thumbBlog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Links: Home | About | Partners | Resources | Contact | Mike
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based emergence of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…