Over a month ago, we had the third LeSS Conference in New York. Also this year, we made it into a Team-Based Conference. For more information on that, better read the description of team-based conference from the previous conference.
This year Alexey Krivitsky facilitated the self-designing team workshop. This is the initial workshop to form the teams that you are in for the conference. The aim of this is to demonstrate techniques that can also be used in a normal LeSS adoption. Alexey did it in an interesting way. He first let everyone find a buddy and then combined the buddies into teams. For the teams, he tried to maximize the diversity by calculating a diversity index and then have multiple rounds of adjusting. This was an interesting approach as you have one person who you are familiar with and the rest not. I had not experienced this approach before.
I ended up with my buddy Viktor Grgic and in an interesting team which we named “The Team”. Unfortunately, it seems we didn’t make a photo of our team, so I’m not able to share that. However, there were some teams that photo-ed themselves, so some examples,
(If you are reading this and have a team photo that isn’t here, let me know, I’ll add it)
During the conference, the team meets up between the session. There they reflect on the session that they went to and share that information with the other team members. Therefore, you get to know something about all the sessions (your team went to). Also, our team would discuss the upcoming session.
Of course, in practice, the team reflection sessions end up to be a lot about not just sharing your conference experience, but about sharing your experience of LeSS adoptions in your company (or not yet). I personally enjoyed the team reflection sessions quite a lot although I missed quite some of them due to interruptions.
The conference ends with a Conference Review Bazaar. This is, of course, an instance of a Sprint Review Bazaar in LeSS and we attempt to use similar facilitation techniques to practice those. In the conference review bazaar, the teams first need to work together for an hour to create their conference experience. This could be anything. The most common ones are a flipchart with the summary of the sessions or quotes from the different sessions. Some teams, however, get much more creative and they create a game, a movie, let other people create movies, or whatever they can come up with.
My team, the team, decided to build a huge paper plane and we wrote our learning on post-it notes and put them on the plane. We threw the plane around and also tried to throw it off the balcony. Making the plane was fun but it didn’t turn out to be the best idea as it wasn’t very much showable to the other teams.
The session ended with the Bazaar where all the people visited all the groups to see their creations and learn about their experiences. To make it a bit fun, this is turned into a competition where people can ‘vote’ for the ones they like most. Clearly our plane didn’t win.
Some of the conference review bazaar output photos are below.
One team created the plank challenge where you have to do the plank exercise while answering questions. Some photos from that:
Several other teams created other games, such at the wheels of wisdom:
Some game to pick numbers and colors
Some contest to immitate people
And then this…
In the end, the votes were counted
All in all, I personally had a lot of learning and fun. It was great to see so much people sharing with each other in a beautiful space. I’m already looking forward to next year (Munich). Thanks to all the participants.