Stress and anxiety are widespread in our industry and you may have already noticed that it’s really hard to coach someone who is highly stressed or anxious. It’s also really hard for you to personally perform at your best when you’re in that state.

In this workshop, you’ll learn (and practice) a collection of specific techniques to immediately release those feelings of stress or anxiety. Techniques include bi-lateral stimulation through movement to rebalance brain activity and several techniques that will lower anxiety by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system: From relaxing the jaw to switching your eyes into peripheral vision. In all cases, we’ll talk about some of the neuroscience and then practice the technique as a group.

Is conflict the key to a high performing team?

What if I told you without conflict your ability to improve through Agile & Lean will be severely limited. What role does conflict play in developing a high-performance team? When you encounter conflict do you shy away or move towards it?

It is natural to feel anxious around conflict and want to escape it. However, high-performance teams embrace conflict for the sake of improving and growing. In this session, we will explore how conflict is a normal and healthy part of any team environment. We will explore what causes conflict, and how to work with the conflict for the sake of landing in a better place. Believe it or not, you’ll even learn to provoke conflict for the sake of your team’s growth.

“Agile has become overly decorated. Let’s scrape away those decorations for a minute, and get back to the center of agile.”

The Heart of Agile is a fresh look at Agile that strips away a lot of the cruft that has built up over recent years. Collaborate, Deliver, Reflect, Improve. This talk goes over the addition of kokoro onto the shu-ha-ri sequence, and it’s implications for agile. A fun, light talk with heavy implications.

Following the heart of agile talk, Alistair answered questions from the audience using the unusual form of answering with stories. They are more fun to listen to, and often more illuminating.


Agile practices are great, however as a coach and consultant it is becoming increasingly apparent that it is incredibly challenging to coach teams to use many agile practices in a correct way that is sustainable over time.

During this talk I’ll go get vet my experience s over the last two year with a large number of teams and coaches trying to improve their maturity. I have been observing the same teams going through a repetitive boom and bust agile maturity cycle as coaches come and go from teams. I’ve seen it take an incredible amount of effort to get teams to work with relatively simple agile practices with precision and skill. Once a coach leaves a team, I have witnessed back sliding in terms of adoption.

In this session Ill ask how can we help teams to increase their ability to self organize and collaborate without constant input and protection from an agile coach? How can we encourage teams to adopt amazing agile practices with enthusiasm and in a thoughtful way. How can we help team sustain their maturity and not abandon agile once the coach leaves?

Over the last six months I have been experimenting with a “Naked Kanban” approach that fully immerses the entire team, their management, and customers into a flow oriented mindset. This approach emphasizes bringing flow of work, and the lack of flow of work front and center to the entire team, and empowering the team to truly fix their flow. Coaches have been instructed not teach new practices, and in fact to resist introducing new practices even when asked, until teams can demonstrate the impact new practices will have on their flow of work.

The early results are encouraging, teams are adopting slower, but in a far more sustainable way. The collective intelligence of teams are improving. So is collaboration and respect. I’ll go through these results in detail, as well as the challenges still to come, of which many remain.

About Jeff:
My mission in life is to help technology knowledge workers be awesome at what they do. Having been in the market since 1994, I have transitioned my initial passion for agile software engineering to provide advisory services to clients that want to thrive in a world of uncertainty and learning.

Over the last several years I have been running an Agile/Lean transformation service to help clients move from command and control towards feedback and self organization.

Our team has a solid track record coaching teams on foundational agile practices, guiding end to end organizational transformation to embrace a more agile mindset, and focused coaching of product and operations teams on how to embrace design thinking and validated learning.

I admit to an unbridled enthusiasm for any method or practice that bring creativity and joy to the value creation process, and get a kick out of turning leading edge thinking into contextualized, practical tools.

I also love to supercharge complex workshops through a combination of crowd awareness, passion, and above all humour. I’ll often iterate over a vast array of models/workshops in real time to adapt to the crowd’s thinking and evolving goal of the session.

My most important skill is growing the talent around me. I continue to provide passionate, motivated people with a suite of leading edge skills that take their leadership to the next level.