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Can Agility Change the World?

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Can Agility Change the World?

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Keynote address for #SGZA 2015 "Unlikely Heroes"
Can Agility Change the World? Bridging the Digital Divide with Agile Training

At codeX we’re developing a breakthrough education model to address the skills shortage and the digital divide, using our experience training agile teams.

We believe in changing the future, and this is a story about what we’ve learnt about agility, diversity and making real change.

Keynote address for #SGZA 2015 "Unlikely Heroes"
Can Agility Change the World? Bridging the Digital Divide with Agile Training

At codeX we’re developing a breakthrough education model to address the skills shortage and the digital divide, using our experience training agile teams.

We believe in changing the future, and this is a story about what we’ve learnt about agility, diversity and making real change.

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Can Agility Change the World?

  1. 1. Can agility change the world? Bridging The Digital Divide #BeUnlikely Cara Turner South Africa COO Agile Coach | Disruptive Educator | Community Builder
  2. 2. What makes a hero?
  3. 3. What makes a hero?
  4. 4. But we’re too busy… With the problems in front of us
  5. 5. Scarcity Science Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir Never Enough time, money, trust, security No Slack Constant Anxiety Poorer decisions Greater cost of mistakes No ‘stop & think’ time Failure demand Tunneling More problems to solve Tradeoffs “The bandwidth tax”
  6. 6. The Scarcity Trap Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir “When people have very little, they undertake behaviors that maintain or reinforce their future disadvantage. If you have very little, you often behave in such a way so that you'll have little in the future.”
  7. 7. Effect of Design
  8. 8. Cockpit Design
  9. 9. One Small Change
  10. 10. One Small Change feedback Supports decision making easy to adopt
  11. 11. Agility & Scarcity Tools & practices that: - improve feedback - support decision-making - easy to adopt
  12. 12. Change Superpowers
  13. 13. The Network Effect
  14. 14. The Network Effect
  15. 15. Downward Spiral
  16. 16. Positive Influences
  17. 17. Upward Spiral
  18. 18. Upward Spiral
  19. 19. The Network Effect clients electricity transport learning resources commercial environment Improvement cycle family responsibilities attention team security skills healthy economy premises prioritization product owner contract backlog release schedule organization objectives
  20. 20. The Network Effect clients electricity transport learning resources commercial environment Improvement cycle family responsibilities attention team security skills healthy economy premises prioritization product owner contract backlog release schedule organization objectives
  21. 21. Continual Improvements “We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.” - The Agile Manifesto (2001)
  22. 22. Emerging Tools User Stories Behaviour Driven Development Jobs to Be Done The right thing Double Loop Learning facilitation CollaborationScrum Motivation Back of Room TrainingCynefin Impact Mapping Deliberate Discovery making sense Relative Estimates Story Mapping Continuous Delivery No Estimates releases MVP Lean StartUp Test Driven Development Pair Programming coding Continuous Integration
  23. 23. “We” are uncovering… Esther Derby, Diana Larson Ken Schwaeber & Jeff Sutherland Daniel Pink Dave Snowden Gojko Adzic Dan North making sense Mike Cohn Jeff Patton Vasco Duarte releases Frank Robinson coding Collaboration Ron Jeffries Alan Klement The right thing Liz KeoghEric Ries Kent Beck Ward Cunningham Martin Fowler Jez Humble Jean Tabaka Sharon Bowman
  24. 24. So what’s next?
  25. 25. Yours to Discover
  26. 26. All Kinds of Heroes The problem in front of you
  27. 27. All Kinds of Heroes Challenge: One demographic holds most skills
  28. 28. Equality Scarcity and Privilege Justice
  29. 29. Equality
  30. 30. Privilege “Tall people are just better” System designed for tall people See advantages as innate, not designed
  31. 31. Justice “Help short people to be like tall people” System designed for tall people (Workaround)
  32. 32. Equality “Everyone’s perspective counts” System designed for people
  33. 33. Change the System? Why do we need this?
  34. 34. Innovation is Social
  35. 35. Diversity Dividend more likely to report financial returns above their national industry median The Diversity Dividend - McKinsey 2013 15% Gender Diversity 35% Ethnic Diversity
  36. 36. Diversity Dividend Diversity + inclusion = improved business performance. Gender and racial diversity are often lead indicators of a healthy organization that is fishing from a deeper pool of talent, accessing a deeper knowledge bank, and leveraging those resources throughout the business value chain. – Deloitte “A Global Diversity Dividend” Resetting horizons: Global human capital trends 2013
  37. 37. But change is hard “Gestures cost money: to achieve benefits and avoid costs, businesses need to see diversity as a strategic resource.” The Business Case for Equality and Diversity Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, UK Gov
  38. 38. Sound familiar? We have a culture of Transformation We’ve built a community of skills, excellence, expertise
  39. 39. Start the conversation Change routines: - Mentorship - Change way we recruit - Extend invitations Use agile skills: - Create a safe space - Talk about the issues
  40. 40. Scarcity & Diversity Why is it so hard to create a diverse workplace? Too few appropriately skilled people (currently)
  41. 41. Poverty & Opportunity Employed: 15,6 m Not actively seeking work: 15,1m 43% 42% 15% Work seekers: 5,2m Workforce: 35,9m Stats SA Q2 2015
  42. 42. Work-seeker Skill Levels 73% 10% 17% Do not qualify: 14,7m Work Seekers: 2,1m Not actively seeking work: 3,5m Broad Unemployment: 20,3m Qualify for Tertiary Education: 5,6m Stats SA Q2 2015
  43. 43. Poverty & Opportunity Employed: 17,7 m Not actively seeking work: 15,1m Work seekers: 3,1m Workforce: 35,9m 49% 42% 9% Possible Stats 201?
  44. 44. Scarcity: Jobs vs Skills
  45. 45. Agile Education Software developers Untapped talent
  46. 46. Agile Education
  47. 47. The Network Effect learning resourceseducation commercial environment career growthfinancial stability healthy economy employment security social support childcare healthcare transport food waterfamily responsibilities sanitationprivacy sleep personal safety electricity study time attention teaching skillsnutrition
  48. 48. The Digital Divide childcare healthcare food electricity waterfamily responsibilities sanitationprivacy sleep personal safety learning resources career growth financial stability healthy economy security employment social support education commercial environment study time attention teaching skills transport nutrition
  49. 49. Bridging childcare healthcare food waterfamily responsibilities sanitationprivacy sleep personal safety learning resources commercial environment career growth financial stability healthy economy security employment social support education electricity study time attention teaching skills transport nutrition
  50. 50. Agile Education
  51. 51. Pull-based Education
  52. 52. Achievement Unlocked
  53. 53. Conquer Digital Divide
  54. 54. (Our)next challenge: Scaling Agile Training
  55. 55. What’s yours?
  56. 56. Creating Change
  57. 57. Let’s tackle the Wicked Problems … and find out. Can Agility Change the World?
  58. 58. #BeUnlikely Be yourself Rise to challenges
  59. 59. Cara Turner Cape Town, South Africa Get in Touch projectcodeX.co sugsa.org.za twitter: @cara_faye slideshare.net/carafaye The best way to predict the future is to invent it. - Alan Kay

Editor's Notes

  • codeX trains people with little or no coding experience to be agile software developers, using agile principles at every level of our program.
    Talk is about our path, and some difficult concepts, Diversity, scarcity and poverty, and how our experience implementing agile practices helps to make meaningful change in the world.
  • Being an Unlikely Hero needs ordinary people, faced with an external trigger (threat or opportunity) to stop their normal routines, respond to adopt and accommodate change to create a future we want to participate in.
  • Being an Unlikely Hero needs ordinary people, faced with an external trigger (threat or opportunity) to stop their normal routines, respond to adopt and accommodate change to create a future we want to participate in.
  • The single greatest barrier to change is routine. We need routine because it reduces load on our prefrontal cortex, makes it easier to get through the work we need to do, but stops us from responding differently. Hard to take a routine from background processing to foreground to act on it & make change – especially when we’re under pressure, which is why we tend to slip into old habits when going gets tough.
  • Agilists are familiar with this experience; not not alone in looking at the problem – Scarcity Science a new science specifically looking at brain function under conditions of scarcity - Bandwidth tax
  • Trap – lack keeps us trapped in lack.
  • How systems are designed can enhance or detract from our productivity – airline cockpit story http://harvardmagazine.com/2015/05/the-science-of-scarcity
  • How systems are designed can enhance or detract from our productivity – airline cockpit story http://harvardmagazine.com/2015/05/the-science-of-scarcity
  • Change: Small meaningful changes
  • The change enabled immediate feedback, supports decision making, was easy to adopt
  • Does this sound familiar? What rubber bands does agile introduce?
  • Continuous improvement means we have the chance to make small changes, look at what impact they make; decide what next to improve; and carry on doing this until we’re more better and more awesomer.
    It gives us all the ability to be heroes.
  • Change doesn’t happen in isolation
    A healthy system needs multiple parts to function. What is the effect if one is missing or weak? If one improves? If you keep improving?
  • A healthy system needs multiple parts to function. What is the effect if one is missing or weak? If one improves? If you keep improving?
  • Vicious cycle example: Downward turn in the commercial environment prompts clients to reduce their contracts, which makes decisionmaking harder (scarcity tradeoffs), reduce flexibility and delay making improvements.
  • Virtuous cycle example: Product owner decides to change way she works with her clients, focusing on openness & collaboration. This makes it easier to pull stories from the backlog at the right time to implement improvements. Trust evolves so that client relaxes constraints of the contract, and word gets out that this process results in better delivery, creating a healthier commercial environment.
  • Opening line of the Agile Manifesto (and my favourite part). Agility did not stop with the manifesto.
  • As we work with others, more tools & practices evolve to suit new problems – from 1994 & before (TDD) to #NoEstimates (2013) & Jobs to be Done (2015)
    Agilists, like artists, have a long history of copying, adapting & making things their own.
  • Developed over time by coaches and practitioners, members of the agile community, working to solve business challenges.
  • What opportunity / challenge are you facing? What one small change can you make? Formulate an experiment, but don’t wait to know everything before you start. Educate yourself along the way, keep inspecting & adapting to combine experiential learning with new knowledge, bringing both into your processes & practices, for continuous improvement. Share your story, one of the best way to learn, to develop new superpowers for more agile teams.
  • We need all kinds of people to be involved in creating solutions.
    Integrated transport solution(s) – 1.
    Travis might look at the problems of personal transport & invent Uber; 2. Justin solving problem of unpredictable public transport schedule information [GoMetro]; Lindani might create an app that solves an informal taxi problem.
  • All people solve different problems: we see the benefit that diversity brings – common problem – integrated transport solution(s)
    Global problem in software is that one demographic has most of the skills, so first world problems have accelerated solutions – Why is that?
  • Cartoon recently doing the rounds: Equality: people treated the same, but only some see over the wall; Justice: everyone can see over the wall
  • This is not equality.
  • This is Privilege. System designed by dominant culture with conscious & unconscious bias – blind to advantages; seen as innate; easy access to benefits seem incidental, not causal. Disadvantages: tends to be homogenous, can be overconfident, hard to shift perspectives, can’t see own shortcomings.
    Advantages: not held back > rapid skills acquisition, improvements
  • System designed for dominant culture; scaffolding in place to assist “disadvantaged” > tall people are still “naturally” better; short people need help to succeed, still no value to their perspective.
  • Equality requires a change in the system, to respect & value everyone’s perspectives; harness insights across the spectrum.
  • Which is really idealistic, right?
  • First off, innovation relies on us interacting, sharing ideas, combining skills.
  • But also, if management consultants think it matters, you know it’s hitting the bottom line.
  • Can’t just hire for diversity stats: need to change routines to ensure that we have inclusion – communication channels & practices accommodate needs of all groups. Then benefits accrue.
    (and we know it’s a management consultant report because they’re still calling people ‘resources’).
  • Can’t just pay lip service; must change routines & processes in order to see the benefit. Requires investment to generate the dividend.
    Again very similar to agile history – as an agile advocate in a company: presents fundamental challenge to way of thinking.
  • Diversity is now where Agility has been over time:
    Initially the threat to the status quo (villain), then anti-hero / unwelcome guest, able to establish conversation at executive level about benefits to organizational health; then succeeding and transforming – instill superpowers that generate results. Culture of transformation – have become experienced change agents.
  • So we can use those skills right now to start the conversation, and change routines.
  • But we still are faced with the problem that there aren’t enough people with the skills for software / complex technical roles. But this is changeable.
  • Stats for South Africa: Particular opportunity for those actively seeking work in last 4 weeks (narrow definition of unemployment); 42%(NEA) have not sought work in the last 4 weeks
  • Of the 20,3m unemployed, 5,6million have completed secondary education, and of those 0,9m have tertiary education. Even if we focus only on active workseekers, 2,1m people qualify for tertiary education.
  • Potential to make change
  • Scarcity of skills -> Education <- Scarcity of opportunities (in the middle of two scarcities)
    The gap between skills shortage in tech and opportunities for active workseekers is the right level of education.
  • This is the thinking driving the launch of codeX – reach a new pool of talent, increase the pool of software developers.
  • Concept for the program: teach all the agile things – scrum, pair programming, conscious experiments to inspect & adapt; feedback tools, quick releases -> web developers
    Then also recent practices & concepts – story mapping, sense-making, prototyping – give high quality feedback, support decision-making, easy to adopt – replace bad ‘habits’ in software big up front requirements, long development cycles etc. And that we’d do this all in a three month full time bootcamp. Turns out we were wrong about 3 months!
  • Assumptions: We see education as the foundation of a career; if we provide quality education, the rest will take care of itself.
  • Reality: education is at the top of another ecosystem – heavily reliant on social support. Privileged groups can be blind to this – if food, water, healthcare, childcare etc. are seamlessly taken care of, easier to access education, and create time and attention for studying. Under scarcity conditions, where social support aspects are missing, very hard to access quality education, and even harder to stick through years of tertiary ed when need to provide basic income for family in survival mode. Vicious cycle keeps talented people out of the educated work force.
  • Bridge digital divide requires cockpit design changes: incorporate much more into codeX program: more time (1 year) intense but paced-out curriculum; include aspect to alleviate some of the social support issues, and extend focus into the commercial environment, supporting coders into industry. Bigger bridge.
  • Provide much more scaffolding to build true foundations off a thin education base
  • Pull based curriculum; self paced; intro routines to support learning; high-value feedback tools; ability to handle unexpected; build web apps, interacting with clients, run own experiments; and be placed in as developers industry.
  • Coders at codeX – retrospecting, building prototypes; teamwork; even on hardware.
  • Interacting with tech community – events + hackathon (this one with Uber South Africa)– remote problem discussion; demoing deployed apps built in two days.
    We now know that we have a way to conquer the digital divide.
  • Look at the problems in front of you. Decide on a small change & run experiments. Share your learnings with the agile community … and beyond!
  • Can Agility change the world? Yes. So let’s tackle the Wicked problems (network effect, lots of moving parts, unpredictable). Agilists already have the skills!
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