Last week I participated in SDEC’14, put on by the Agile Community in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Winnipeg is a city located closer to the east side of Canada’s prairie provinces. The terrain there is relatively flat unlike the conference which is anything but flat.

To start with the quality of program at this conference is outstanding in my opinion. Given I was speaking you could argue I’m just biased but hear me out… For me the Keynote talks set the tone for the whole conference. Linda Rising talked about The Power of the Agile Mindset in which she talked about the fixed vs. Agile Mindset.  Michael ‘Doc’ Norton took this a step further and talked about the Experimentation mindset. These two keynotes flowed together and highlighted the tone of the whole conference!

Fixed Mindset

This is a very common mindset we can run across where there is no openness to new ideas or growth. In the fixed mindset very little (if any) learning & growing is happening.

Agile Mindset 

I would describe the Agile mindset as one where a person is open to learning new ideas. To be in this mindset a person understands we’re not always going to get it right, and through some hard work and perseverance success is within reach. Lots of learning and growing is happening here.

Experimentation Mindset

In this mindset a person approaches everything as an experiment. In an experimentation mindset we stop debating whether or not something will work, and run an experiment to validate whether or not it will. This means decisions are based on fact rather than guessing.

What I liked about the SDEC conference is you don’t see Fixed Mindsets. At some of the big conferences you see turf wars break out between the different camps; “SAFe is evil and must be crushed”, “OMG here comes those Agile folks to ruin our conference”, “If you’re not doing Scrum you’re not Agile”, and so many more. When those turf wars start I just turn around and go find someone else to chat with.

It was refreshing to see so many Agile & Experimentation minds at this conference;

  • People working in waterfall environments open to suggestion about different ways to do it.
  • People already doing some Agile practices looking for more ideas.
  • Presenters not being narrow minded and saying “if you’re not doing this you’re wrong”.
  • Organizers providing opportunities for new speakers to present their thoughts.
  • And so many more.

This is a great conference and I highly recommend everyone check out SDEC’15 when the time comes!

Organizers … please keep doing what you’re doing.

ps… I would talk about the good sessions I went to but this would be a very long blog post. So for those who saw me in the room … nice job!

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