Sept 13 -14 | 3rd Global LeSS Conference | NYC

Unforgettable 2 days at the 3rd Global LeSS Conference, at Angel Orensanz Foundation – the historical landmark in NYC.

Conference Space and Our People
Experience Report by Guest-Blogger Ram Srinivasan

Though I have been associated with the Large Scale scrum (LeSS) community for about five years (though the “community” did not exist,  I can think of my association with like minded folks) this is my first LeSS conference. While I used to attend a lot of conferences in the past, I have started focusing more on deep learning (by attending focused workshops) than focusing on conferences. But this year, I had to make an exception for the LeSS conference Why (a) it was the first LeSS conference in North America  (b) It was not very far and (c) I was thinking that I might meet some of the smartest people in the LeSS community whom I may not meet otherwise and (d) I have heard that it is a “team based” conference (unlike other conferences where you are on your own) and I wanted to find out what the heck it was. I was not disappointed.

The venue itself was very different from the conventional Agile conferences  – not a hotel. That definitely caught my attention !! I was pleasantly suprirsed to see both Howard Sublet (the new Chief Product Owner from Scrum Alliance) and Eric Engelmann  (the Chairman of the Board of Director of Scrum Alliance ).  Howard and I had good discussions on LeSS, Scrum Alliance, the marketplace, and scaling
Some sessions that I attended and major takeaways:
  • Day 1 morning keynote –  Nokia LTE  implementation  – Takeaway – Yes, you can do Scrum with more than 5000 engineers
  • Day 2 keynote  by Craig Larman. I always find Craig’s thinking fascinating and learnt quite a few interesting facts about cognitive biases (and strategies to overcome them).
  • LeSS Games – component team and feature team simulation lead by Pierluigi Pugliese – very interesting simulation – I used a variation of this in my CSM class past weekend and people liked it. I hope to write about sometime, in the coming days
  • LeSS roles exercise by Michael James –  I have always been a fan of MJ. Very interesting exercise which reinforces the concept of LeSS roles
  • TDD in a flip chart – Guess I was there again, with MJ. Well, just learned that you do not need a computer to learn about TDD.
  • An open space session with Howard Sublett on LeSS and Scrum Alliance partnership (yours truly was the scribe) – Lot of interesting discussions on market, strategy, and positioning of the LeSS brand.  I personally got some insights from Rafael Sabbagh and Viktor Grgic.
Two days was short !! Time flew away.  It was a great experience !! And  I wish we could have a North American LeSS conference every year !!

Experience Report by Guest-Blogger Mark Uijen de Kleijn

I’ve attended the 2018 LeSS Conference- my first – in the Angela Orensanz Center in New York. I was really inspired by the many great speakers, experiments and experiences and was glad I could help Jurgen de Smet by his workshop on Management 3.0 practices that can complement LeSS with experiments.

A couple of notes on the Conference; it has been the first Conference I attended in years where I actually learned a lot, either from the many speakers, experiments and experiences, but from my ‘team’ as well. As the LeSS Conference is a team-based conference, we reflected on the content and our insights during the Conference, which accelerated my learnings.

As I use many games and practices in organizations or courses, I’ve seen several great new games that I can use myself. The ‘building agile structures’ game of Tomasz Wykowski and Justyna Wykowska was the most outstanding game for me, because it makes the differences between component and feature teams very clear when scaling work, and I will use this for sure in the future. The experiences at Nokia by Tero Peltola were very inspiring and especially the focus on the competences (of everybody) and technical excellence I will take with me.Thoughts that will stick with me the most after the conference: the focus on technical excellence (including e.g. automation, code quality, engineering practices etc.) and the importance of the structure of the organization, following Larman’s fifth law ‘Culture follows structure’. The latter I’m already familiar with, but needs to be reprioritized in my mind again. The former will be my main learning goal the coming period and I will need to dust off my former experiences.

Interesting quote to think about, by Bas Vodde: ‘we should maximize dependencies between teams’ (to increase collaboration between teams).

Games and Team Activities

LeSS Graphic Art

My partner in crime (Ari Tikka) and me  – Presenting on Coaching

Click here to download presentation: Ari’s deck | Gene’s deck.

Personal Memorable Moments

Next LeSS conference (2019) – Munich, Germany

7 thoughts on “Sept 13 -14 | 3rd Global LeSS Conference | NYC”

  1. Great 2 days, cool venue, learnt loads, met lots of interesting people and had fun. Well done Gene and Co for organising! Looking forward to Munich next year.

  2. Thank you, Gene, for handling the logistics for a U.S. LeSS Conference. Otherwise, I would not have attended. I am glad I did.

    So much learning, networking, and growing packed into two days. It seemed too short. It was hard picking which presentation to attend. As for meeting people, I will paraphrase Bilbo Baggins. The conference was too short to network among such excellent and admirable people. I didn’t get to know half of the attendees half as well as I should like (LotR, Book I, Chapter 1).

    The family has already received notice that I intend to be at LeSS 2019 in Munich. Thanks again for making LeSS 2018 happen in NYC.

  3. Thanks for organizing the event! It was an inspiring event with many great speakers, experiences and experiments. It made me rethink many assumptions and experiences and added many new things to my practices and possible experiments.

  4. I enjoyed learning from Real people with Real solutions to problems many organizations try to solve(strikeout) avoid.

    I wish I made it to parallel sessions too ??, here is Day1:

    Nokia’s journey- manager’s view on failures and breakthroughs.Tero Peltola Bas Vodde did the impossible to summarize it in an hour, Thank you!
    There are no short cuts, always balance out long vs short terms, start with what’s possible.

    Self-designing Teams- Alexey Krivitsky took us through one of the most critical exercises to success. Emerson Mills thx for sharing with me your experience. Thank you both!
    Define product to be delivered, not preassigned roles/people; personal choice of the team is best motivator.

    Effective coaching and common pitfalls- true coaching, secrets for making it sustainable->decentralize(!), along with anti-patterns very practical “how to”. Thank you Ari Tikka Gene Gendel!

    LeSS Huge in BMW- nothing speaks louder than benefits of transformation being presented by the Firm itself.Bravo Konstantin Ribel!

    Discussion panel- Viktor Grgic Jürgen De Smet Venkatesh Krishnamurthy Mark Bregenzer Ran Nyman Craig Larman Cesario Ramos Bas Vodde Greg Hutchings Karim Harbott THANK YOU for making Thinking fashionable again!
    #LeSS2018 #LeSSworks


    Blind Spots: Cognitive Biases and Systems – ?enlightening talk how much we truly control our own decision making process. Thank you Mr Craig Larman!
    It takes deep understanding of human mind and system behaviour to successfully lead transformation. IMBO what I took away, what I think, or at least I think that’s what I think;)
    What tools we have to train mental stamina? What to change knowing blind spots? How we work in the fog of biases? How do we make change for better? How do we eliminate suffer in the way we work?…
    Building Agile Structure-experience impact of different structures in a fun way, while building common understanding across the board Thank you Justyna Wykowska Tomasz Wykowski!
    Innovation Games- learnt from the expert approach to sequencing games, its underlying purpose and best ways to leverage it, which comes only with years hands on experience. Greg Hutchings Thank you!
    Sustainable changes in large organizations – 3 huge transformations. Merrill Lynch, UBS. Gordon Weir huge shout out!
    It’s close to impossible, but it’s doable. My favourite?Team=Product, if you get that, you get it all.
    Last, but not the least, beers, laughs and thought provoking conversations!

    Looking forward to #LeSS2019!

  5. The 2018 LeSS Conference in NYC was a gathering of some of the brightest minds in Agile. Attended by a diverse, international audience; and hosted in the historic Angel Orensanz Foundation, it was a great setting for challenging our own cognitive biases and exploring how to improve our craft.”


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