Conferences can be mundane especially if you atte

first_imgConferences can be mundane, especially if you attend one alone. Attendees fall into patterns of waking up, eating at a set time, sitting in set classes with a set schedule of things to talk about, and having a lot of set conversations. But the keynote that took place earlier this morning at Agile2015 tried to disrupt the conference mold of the same old routines and break attendees out of their comfort zone.Jessie Shternshus, who founded the communication-focused training company The Improv Effect, took to the stage to talk about individuals, interactions and improvisation in agile, and she not only brought fun into the conference, she also brought fun into the methodology and proved that you can find agile in the most unexpected places.(Related: Other best practices for agile teams)Coming from a career in teaching, and a background in improvisation, you wouldn’t expect that she would have a firm grasp of agile software development and applying it to work. But she quickly debunked those notions. “Improv is the practice of reacting, and making and creating something in the moment, and because of this, we invent new thought patterns, new ways of thinking, [and] new products,” said Shternhus. According to her, those foundations of improvisation are much like agile. “It is like two creative types of minds mashed together to make something really cool.”In agile, the focus is on stories and case studies, moving forward, responding to change, honoring the vision over the plan, failing fast, collaborating with customers, and doing retrospectives to learn. Similarly, in improv, exercises train participants to be present and reactive, operate unscripted, use mistakes as opportunities, use the audience’s perspective to gain feedback, and do troupe retrospectives, Shternshus explained.To go even further, Shternshus had the audience do a number of improv exercises to show how they could be applied to agile.“If you are open to not forcing an agenda on people, you will usually be delighted and surprised, and you will see a whole new perspective,” she said. “The idea is that you know [that] by saying no, the response [gets] people on the defensive, or they just shut down completely.”last_img

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