Skip to main content
Start of main content.

Agile leadership: Four ways to engage, inspire and innovate

by ana.beltran /

Share this post on social media

Discover my favourite sessions from AgileAus, covering leadership, management in a digital age, AI, and how to simplify complex ideas visually.

Once a year, people working with ‘all flavours of agile’, gather together at AgileAus to listen to new ideas, discover new tools and discuss better ways of working. This year, I joined them, eager to exchange knowledge and insights with people from a diverse range of industries.

Reflecting back on the conference, I found the following four sessions resonated with me the most. These sessions not only challenged me to think differently but also got me thinking about how I can implement these newly acquired insights and knowledge into my projects. I’m currently working on a plan but for now, here is what I’ve learnt.  

Erin Soo Kee presenting her session at AgileAus

1. Passionate Leadership - Erin Soo Kee

Erin Soo Kee took us through her experience of adopting Guy Kawasaki’s “evangelism” in leading and engaging with teams. She identified three top tips:

  • When you are driven by passion and a focus on ‘making it great,’ you constantly challenge your team to produce the best possible outcome. 
  • Seek to position the product you’re selling as a ‘cause’. This approach makes the work you do meaningful for your teams. 
  • Never lie. Instead, always be authentic. 

2. Re-inventing management for the digital age - Steve Danning

Steve Daninng's session outlined the evolution of Agile from the industrial to the digital age and explained how it’s reshaping the way companies are managed. Rather than focusing on internal processes, businesses are now concentrating on customer value. This shift enables teams to stop zeroing in on productivity measures and instead start maximising customer value. 

In other words, companies are adopting agile thinking to create more value and generate innovative ideas at a faster pace. It’s an approach that energises and encourages a wider and more positive perspective. 

3. Augmented Agile - Rashina Hoda

People are the central component of Agile. Rashina Hoda rationalised this beautifully in her talk about Augmented Agile. Following her research into the topic, she proposes integrating AI technology into Agile practices to support software development teams. With this model, she aims to support teams to be more effective and enhance productivity.     

Rashina Hoda presenting her session at AgileAus

She also emphasised the importance of embedding the human element, “the heart,” into this model to allow it to succeed. With new technologies constantly emerging, it’s important to understand how we can adapt to and apply these advancements to our own practices. 

4. Sketchnoting - Fay Burthem and Dale Towner

During an interesting conversation, Fay took us through the art of Sketchnoting and how it helps simplify complex concepts. I’ve been trying to implement this model, but I still have a long way to go! 

Examples of her work include illustrating how to leverage the power of pause: aka ponder for perspective, align for purpose, unwind for peace, sense for insight, and engage with focus. She has also developed her own creative symbols for elements of the Agile approach, such as backlog, waterfall and common understanding communication.

Fay Burthem and Dale Towner's examples of Agile Symbols in Sketchnoting at AgileAus 2023

Overall, the sessions at AgileAus gave me valuable insights into leadership, and how to embrace change and enhance productivity with technology. Adding creative tools such as Sketchnoting will be invaluable in improving team communication. I'm excited to apply all of these learnings to my projects, improving the process for both my colleagues and my clients.

Related Articles

How much does a polar bear weigh?

Check out my video for the polar punchline! Icebreakers are an invaluable tool for building and strengthening relationships, but people sometimes dread them. I’m going to change your mind and show you their true potential.