Humanizing Work is three days of advanced, brain-friendly learning and valuable connections. You’ll benefit from the varied experience and expertise of our coaches and other attendees. And no matter how much Agile experience you’ve had, you’ll still find yourself considering new ideas.


Humanizing Work 2019 is a mix of large group fun and learning with the whole community together and focused work on particular topics in breakout sessions.

The breakout sessions at Humanizing Work 2019 are organized around three daily themes. Tuesday’s sessions focus on collaboration. Wednesday is about customers and value. Thursday is focused on leadership and growth.

Unlike previous years, sessions aren’t focused on particular roles, so you’re free to go to whichever sessions look right for your needs, and you’ll get much more cross-role interaction and learning.

If you’re not sure which sessions are right for you, post a question on the Humanizing Work Slack community, which is open to all current and former Humanizing Work participants and facilitators. Contact us for an invitation if you don’t have one.

June 25, 2019 9:00 AM-10:15 AM HW 2019 Opening Session

Session Leaders: Peter Green, Richard Lawrence

10:35 AM-11:50 AM Creating Positive Group Focus through Appreciative Inquiry

Change doesn’t always need to start with what’s wrong. Using Appreciative Inquiry enables teams to tap into what’s already working well as a lens on how to get even better.

Session Leaders: John Miller

10:35 AM-11:50 AM Mindful Group Coaching & Facilitation

There are entire sections of libraries and bookstores offering conflicting advice on what coaching and facilitation are and how to do them well. We’ve seen this lead to confusion and frustration, and in the worst case, people just giving up and winging it. In this session, we’ll teach the six stances of mindful coaching and facilitation that we find regularly lead to breakthroughs in group and individual problem solving. You’ll walk away from the session with a clear idea of how to get forward momentum on some of your stickiest problems.

Session Leaders: Peter Green, Richard Lawrence

10:35 AM-11:50 AM XP Practices as Collaboration Structures

Scrum teams that don’t choose concomitant daily practices often run into serious trouble in mere months. For teams to consistently and continually deliver value, the way they build product needs to be even more fluid, iterative, and cooperative than sprint ceremonies. We’ll examine a subset of Agile engineering practices that are not really “technical” practices (code-writing practices) at all: Most of the cornerstone Agile engineering practices are, at their core, collaboration and communication practices that provide fast and rich feedback to the rest of the team.

Session Leaders: Jake Calabrese, Rob Myers

12:00 PM-12:50 PM Lunch

1:00 PM-2:15 PM “Can You Give Me an Example of That?”

Is the “As a…I want…So that…” user story template crushing your creativity? Has adding Acceptance Criteria just made matters worse? In this session Rob will cover the reasons why those “traditional” techniques may not be working for you, and what we recommend instead.

Session Leaders: Rob Myers

1:00 PM-2:15 PM Applying Neuroscience to Collaboration Design

Repeating yourself in meetings seems to have become a favorite past time at work. Obviously, the repetition is annoying but what is extremely scary is the lack of collaboration, engagement and retention that is lurky underneath. In this session, we’ll teach the six brain science principles to positively impact this root problem. You’ll walk away with a clear examples of exercises that leverage these principles and immediately be able to apply within your own meetings. Bonus: You’ll get a better understanding of what Agile For All does and why too!

Session Leaders: Tricia Broderick

1:00 PM-2:15 PM Aware: A Method for Creating Presence

Leadership regardless of place or form is best exercised from presence. The literature is full of ‘presence based leadership’ references. You know when the leader is bringing their whole self to the conversation and as result to everyone in the room. This session explores a mindfulness framework created by Daniel Siegel in his most recent book ‘Aware’ to develop your own leadership presence.

Session Leaders: Henry Dittmer

2:45 PM-4:00 PM The Risk of Expert Mindset

We go to school to increase our learning and solve problems. We enter the workforce with the expectation of increasing our skills to be the “go to” problem solver. Over time, we have received a very clear message: become a problem-solving expert to be promoted and valuable in organizations. This expert mindset often crashes into the concept of a self-organizing teams. Can the expert on a team succeed? Can the team truly collaborate and succeed? The challenge is that while agile organizations want high-performance teams, we have encountered team after team struggling because of perceived conflicting perspectives: be the expert – but be cross functional, be the expert – but share ownership, be the expert – but be collaborative, be the expert – but the entire team is empowered. In this session, expect challenge the reasons, personal value, and consequences of not sharing the expert role within a team. You’ll walk away with a technique that increases your understanding and appreciation for the value of not quickly fixing it yourself.

Session Leaders: Jake Calabrese, Tricia Broderick

2:45 PM-4:00 PM Conversation Framework Mash-up

There are many different conversation or conflict frameworks including several that we at Agile For All have taught, including Crucial Conversations, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and Fierce Conversations. This session makes a quick review of each and then distills the common practices & why, along with perhaps the common approach or process. From work we hope you can create the ‘YourName Conversation Framework’ that works best for you.

Session Leaders: Henry Dittmer, Rob Myers

2:45 PM-4:00 PM Creating the Conditions for Creativity

Have you ever heard someone (maybe yourself) say “I’m just not very creative”? We think deep down inside, everyone is inherently creative – it is a core part of being a human, but most people don’t understand how to create the conditions for creativity to thrive, individually and in teams. In this session, we will share actionable ideas for how to create those conditions personally and with your team. Applying even one of the patterns will up your capability to more regularly create new, useful things!

Session Leaders: Peter Green, John Miller

4:10 PM-5:00 PM Day 1 Closing Session

Session Leaders: Bob Hartman

6:00 PM-9:00 PM Conference Night Out

Connect with old and new Humanizing Work friends, share stories, and just generally have a good time. Food and drink are provided. As always, come prepared for fun surprises!

June 26, 2019 9:00 AM-10:15 AM Value Innovation & Strategy

So many teams and organizations talk about strategy and innovation in the context of technology. But technology is just one lens for strategy, and not the most critical one to focus on. In this session we’ll introduce the idea of Value Innovation and how to incorporate that into a Strategy Canvas. You’ll walk away with at least three tools to unlock innovation and communicate that through a clear, meaningful strategy that accommodates complexity and change.

Session Leaders: Peter Green, Richard Lawrence

9:00 AM-10:15 AM Projects vs Products – what is the core difference and how do you make all work transparent.

We will start this session by looking at the difference between projects and products and how they relate. The single largest issues plaguing most organizations in that there is too much work in progress. We will look at how typically happens and what is at risk. Building on that, we will look at a structure for a product workshop, to outline and explore product, service, and supporting system in your organization. Without a clear picture of the work in progress and the required work, it is nearly impossible to start to make the tough choices between the work. You will walk through a mini version of the workshop for your organization in the session to start to apply the concept to your work.

Session Leaders: Jake Calabrese

9:00 AM-10:15 AM Innovation Games for Customer Value

Even if you ask customers, they can’t usually explain what they want. Or they tell you, but then, when they finally see something, it’s, “Oh, now that I see it, I actually want this other thing.” Innovation Games are fun, interactive facilitation tools to help you uncover customers’ real, hidden needs and desires. You’ll leave this session with a few of Bob’s favorite Innovation Games that you can use right away back at work.

Session Leaders: Bob Hartman

10:35 AM-11:50 AM Product Owner Is Not a Solo Role: Patterns of Great Product Ownership

The Scrum Guide refers to the Product Owner role as solely accountable for the Product Backlog, its order, and refinement. This often leads to the belief that the Product Owner is a single person making decisions and accepting accountability for those decisions. However, nearly every effective instance of Product Ownership that we’ve encountered is actually a collaborative effort between at least a few people. It’s never a single person. In this session, we’ll share our experience and our research in the patterns of collaboration that have led to great value delivery.

Session Leaders: John Miller

10:35 AM-11:50 AM Customer Interview Dojo

We all know we should be talking to customers more regularly, but it’s so hard! Often, our own lack of confidence in conducting skillful interviews prevents us from tapping into this key opportunity to learn from and be surprised by our customers. In this session, Richard and Peter will boil down the art of interviewing to a few simple rules, then we’ll practice, practice, practice those skills. Walk away with a clearer idea of what to focus on in interviews and an increased level of confidence that you can apply those skills in every conversation you have with customers.

Session Leaders: Peter Green, Richard Lawrence

10:35 AM-11:50 AM Purpose – Inventing and Turning the Flywheel

Finding your team, organization or even personal purpose is the foundation of meaningful work. Then, inventing what Jim Collin’s calls the ‘flywheel’ creates an inevitable momentum of performance. This session takes you through the exercise of building a purpose and flywheel.

Session Leaders: Henry Dittmer

12:00 PM-12:50 PM Lunch

1:00 PM-4:00 PM Learning From Outside The Room – Integrating Unique Experiences to Humanizing Work

Creative breakthroughs happen when we’re not directly focusing on a problem. We can wait for these breakthroughs to happen while we sleep, shower, or exercise. Or we can cultivate them by exposing ourselves to unrelated fields and seeking connections and inspiration. This afternoon, you’ll take a deep dive into a field unrelated to Agile or even business, with the goal of bringing new insights into the Humanizing Work conversation.

Be sure you’re on the Humanizing Work Slack community to get details about the experience options and to sign up for your first choice before it fills up.

4:10 PM-5:00 PM Day 2 Closing Session – Afternoon Experience Reports

Let’s share those insights from the afternoon experiences.

Session Leaders: Richard Lawrence

June 27, 2019 9:00 AM-10:15 AM Presentation Karaoke & Lightning Talks

We will be bringing back this popular session, where you deliver a short talk based on random slides! You’ll get more details and have an opportunity to sign up on day 1 of the event.

Session Leaders: Jake Calabrese

10:35 AM-11:50 AM Psychological Safety: Live Debriefs of Safety Assessments

Psychological safety is one of the key traits we see in high-performance teams, that beats out even skills in many cases. What is psychological safety and what does it really mean? This session will explain why our brains don’t fit in with today’s society and specifically what can happen when our brain tries to protect us. Turns out that the older part of the brain is maladaptive and can cause us a wealth of problems. While some may know a bit about those concepts, we will build on this foundation with the concept of S.A.F.E.T.Y. and what aspects like fairness and esteem can mean to us in our daily life. We will look at a few S.A.F.E.T.Y. assessments in the session and do some debriefs of these assessments live with people attending the sessions. The assessment report providing you with insights into how much security, autonomy, fairness, esteem, or trust you need to don’t. Knowing these key insights can help you lean into your creative competencies and to limit your reactive tendencies. They can help you have more in-depth conversations with your team and help your team engage with you at new levels!

Session Leaders: Jake Calabrese

10:35 AM-11:50 AM Integrating the Science and Practice of Mindfulness

Mindfulness keeps popping up in the literature of business and leadership (and session descriptions…have you noticed?). “But what is it, and how do I get me some?” It’s not what you think! We’ll review a clear and helpful definition, and some intriguing scientific findings. You’ll experience a simple, secular, and pragmatic exercise to strengthen your ability to be clear-headed, here and now.

Session Leaders: Henry Dittmer, Rob Myers

10:35 AM-11:50 AM Leadership Circle Q&A

The Leadership Circle model is the most powerful tool we’ve come across for understanding how to lead transformational efforts, but it can be overwhelming to anyone encountering it for the first time. There are a few elegant underlying patterns to the model that can help unlock it’s potential. In this session, we’ll simplify the model so that you can get deeper insight into your own gifts and blind spots, whether you’ve done the 360 or not. If you’ve struggled to breakthrough on a personal challenge, you’ll walk away from this session with “one big thing” you can focus on personally to unlock meaningful change.

Session Leaders: Bob Hartman, Peter Green, Richard Lawrence

12:00 PM-12:50 PM Lunch

1:00 PM-2:15 PM It’s All About THE LINE – Leadership Model Frameworks

There is a common pattern that appears when you survey many of the leadership frameworks, many of which we’ve discussed at previous Humanizing Work conferences. This pattern as an anchor for mindfulness can be particularly powerful. This session explores this pattern along with methods to ‘move above THE LINE’.

Session Leaders: Henry Dittmer

1:00 PM-2:15 PM Say What You Really Mean – Faster, More Accurate Communication Using Speech Acts Theory

Have you ever come out of a meeting with a plan and then immediately heard, “Well I didn’t agree to that and I won’t do it”? Then you have to have another meeting to agree on what the agreement was of the previous one. Speech Acts Theory suggests that we view language as action rather than just words that transfer information. This powerful tool can change the course of a meeting, plan, or relationship.

Session Leaders: Richard Lawrence, Dallas Hinesly

1:00 PM-2:15 PM Creating Growth in Classrooms: Leading the Agile Classrooms Movement

We see significant effort to change the world of work, but what about education? John Miller has been a key leader in applying Agile thinking in classrooms. In this session, Peter will interview John about the Agile Classrooms movement. We’ll dig into how Agile has had a profound impact on students, teachers, and on John’s own leadership and growth.

Session Leaders: Peter Green, John Miller

2:45 PM-4:00 PM Immunity To Change (ITC) Maps – Making Change Actually Happen

Often, we know that a new behavior would enable new results, for some reason are unable to get there. The Immunity To Change (ITC) map is a great tool for discovering why this happens and what to do about it. This session teaches the ITC process and map, working through a real behavior change of your personal choice. Come prepared with ‘one big thing’ to change in either your work or personal life, OR something you’ve learned at Humanizinng Work that you’ve decided to implement!

Session Leaders: Henry Dittmer

2:45 PM-4:00 PM Leadership Self-Care

Am I doing anything right? It’s a question, most professionals – especially leaders – have asked themselves at least once in their career (for some of us on a regular basis). Obviously, the answer is yes but that doesn’t mean the weight and pressures don’t occassionally start tipe the scale in the wrong direction. In this session, we’ll teach the psychological ratio to keeping our minds balanced. You’ll walk away with numerous self care tools/techniques. Don’t worry; I’m not a fluffy kind of person so there will be no kumbaya…I promise!

Session Leaders: Tricia Broderick

2:45 PM-4:00 PM Let’s Create a Leadership Manifesto

The Agile Manifesto provides valuable guidance for teams who want to work in an Agile way. But while it has implications for leadership, those implications are not obvious, which means leaders miss opportunities to help Agile teams thrive by leading just like every other leader. In this session, we’ll work together to build a manifesto expressing the values and principles of Agile Leadership. You’ll be able to use this manifesto to guide your own leadership or to spark a conversation with your colleagues and leaders back at work.

Session Leaders: Bob Hartman

4:10 PM-5:00 PM HW 2019 Closing Session – Turning the Event Into a Community

Don’t miss this closing session where we’ll draw conclusions and make plans for taking the insights from the event back to work. We’ll also discuss how the Humanizing Work community can stay connected between events to make the Humanizing Work movement a reality in the world.

Session Leaders: Peter Green, Richard Lawrence