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.

This year, we’ve created breakout sessions around four themes:

Leveling Up — Your own personal growth can be a multiplier for the effectiveness of the people you lead and collaborate with. Sessions in this theme help you grow in various ways to meet bigger challenges.

Creating Momentum — Sessions in this theme are about getting groups of people aligned, motivated, and pulling in the same direction to make big things happen.

Agile in Context — You have more options to be agile than just what you learn in an intro Scrum class. How do you choose the right frameworks, practices, tools, and techniques for your context?

Organizational Success — These sessions focus on the systems, structures, and skills that support organizational agility and foster humanizing work at the organization level.


Humanizing Work 2020 Program Schedule

June 23, 2020
9:00 AM-10:15 AM HW 2020 Opening Session (#101)

10:35 AM-11:50 AM Understanding and speaking to the executive view of agility (#102A)

Executives have a different view of agility (it will make us go fast and solve all of our problems). If we understand that view it can help us give them better information. How do we give information aligned with their view but do it in a way that exposes the nuances that make it agile. For example, “speed” is a value to executives, but it isn’t purely agile – AND we can have that conversation in more meaningful ways! Helping leaders understand that agility actually meets their needs, but perhaps in different ways than they expected, can help bridge the gap between teams and organizational leaders. This allows everyone to be striving for the same things because those things give wins all around, rather than all sides trying to win in their own ways which are incompatible with each other.

Session Leaders: Bob Hartman
Theme: Creating Momentum

10:35 AM-11:50 AM How to make any problem visible (#102B)

We often give the advice that the best way to solve a hard problem is to make it visible. But what does that even mean, and how do you do that? In this session, we’ll share how we think about visualizing concepts, conflicts, and other things in a way that leads to breakthroughs. You’ll walk away with a concrete set of principles to help you visualize tough problems and breakthrough on a solution.

Session Leaders: Peter Green, Richard Lawrence
Theme: Organizational Success

10:35 AM-11:50 AM ScrumMaster: so much more than you think it is! (#102C)

The Scrum Master role is key to success in Scrum – but it’s widely misunderstood and is frequently watered down. Becoming a “full stack” Scrum Master can greatly enhance the agility of your organization. If you have ever wondered “what does a Scrum Master do all day?”, you may not really understand the power and impact it can have!Join this collaborative session for some key insights into becoming a truly great Scrum Master.

Session Leaders: Steve Spearman
Theme: Agile in Context

12:00 PM-12:50 PM Lunch

1:00 PM-2:15 PM 4 Detrimental Delayers – Removing the real impediments to speed (#103A)

There is increasing pressure for teams to deliver faster. Unfortunately, many common interventions intended to get more speed actually cause burnout, poor quality, and ultimately self-sabotage our impact. To have a team deliver faster, stop trying to have the team deliver faster. Instead, change the environment in which they work. In this session, we’ll examine the 4 Detrimental Delayers that limit your team’s natural flow so you can begin to uproot them in your organization, bringing faster delivery at a sustainable and enjoyable pace.

Session Leaders: John Miller
Theme: Organizational Success

1:00 PM-2:15 PM So You Failed. Congratulations! (#103B)

Failing, for most of us, is an inevitable part of life. Yet, most people don’t like to fail despite the frequent occurrences: how we think about risk, how we approach relationships, and even how we play games. What if I told you that failure isn’t only inevitable but important; good; something to be celebrated?! By looking at common reactions to failure, methods of working through it, and more deeply exploring the Agile concept of failing fast, this interactive session will challenge you to keep your mind open to the development opportunities that failure can bring. Join us in raising a glass to failure, one of the best teachers we could ever hope for!

Session Leaders: Jerimiah Owens, Tricia Broderick
Theme: Leveling Up

1:00 PM-2:15 PM Kanban History and Principles (#103C)

Kanban gets thrown around a lot. In this season, we will look at the history of Kanban to understand why it works. We will review 4 principles and discuss why it’s fairly simple. From the simplicity however, we will look at why it might be harder than Scrum in many organizations. You’ll leave with a much deeper understanding of Kanban beyond the surface-level process stuff.

Session Leaders: Jake Calabrese
Theme: Agile in Context

2:45 PM-4:00 PM Escaping Drama Patterns (#104A)

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a dramatic situation? Despite good intentions, wondering why the conflict just kept increasing. You are not alone. Although there are patterns of how conflict becomes drama, we often contribute the issue by missing the bigger picture. In this session, we will examine the drama triangle aspects, explore the dynamics of getting into a vicious cycle in the triangle and gain techniques to elevate beyond. Additional note: This session is returning upon request. Since the last time delivered, this session will include some new elements.

Session Leaders: Tricia Broderick
Theme: Creating Momentum

2:45 PM-4:00 PM Backlog Patterns to Fit Your Stakeholders’ Expectations (#104B)

Often there are conflicting expectations between a Scrum Team and their Stakeholders on the ‘what and how’ of a project. In our work with many teams, there are several patterns that have emerged relative to expectations. The backlog, as an expression of the work to be done, is a good place to start for defining and managing those expectations. This session will introduce those patterns, flush out what a backlog would look like for each pattern, and finally work through how the expectations would be managed.

Session Leaders: Henry Dittmer
Theme: Agile in Context

2:45 PM-4:00 PM The Value of User Feedback: lessons from an agile startup (#104C)

The best proving ground to witness the sheer speed, efficiency, and effectiveness of Agile is in a startup. While the improved technical and organizational results were obvious, the surprising lessons weren’t around culture or leadership. The juiciest lessons were around the value of community and user feedback. Join Peter as he dives deeper into receiving user feedback. It turns out that different people respond to different surveys and feedback mechanisms. You’ll need to find them all (our pokemon approach) to get the maximum feedback for your product or service. Expect to leave this session with lots of ideas or experiments you can run within your team, and it can be fun too!

Session Leaders: Peter Saddington
Theme: Leveling Up

4:10 PM-5:00 PM Day 1 Closing Session (#105)

6:00 PM-9:00 PM HW 2020 Night Out

Have fun and grow your connections with the others at Humanizing Work 2020.

June 24, 2020
9:00 AM-10:15 AM Leadership Free style – how to answer (almost) any question with patterrns (#201A)

As leaders, our days are often filled with questions, some that are repetitive and some that are brand new. It’s easy to feel like you’re constantly on the spot. In this session, you’ll learn the patterns for how to address any question effectively on the spot and how to analyze the entire interaction from question to answer. So bring your toughest leadership questions as examples and plan to leave with confidence that you can face any unexpected question back at work.

Session Leaders: Jake Calabrese
Theme: Leveling Up

9:00 AM-10:15 AM It isn’t Agility without engagement (#201B)

Agile teams around the world are going through the motions and failing to be effective. The problem is so widespread there have been many recent articles questioning whether agility is even worth embracing. Amazingly, the solution is right in front of us: ENGAGEMENT! According to Gartner, only 32% of workers in the US are engaged, while 17% are actively disengaged. In general, this means there is at least one person on the average Scrum Team that is bringing everyone down with them! In this session you will see the issue firsthand and leave with solid action items on how to start to solve the problem.

Session Leaders: Bob Hartman
Theme: Creating Momentum

9:00 AM-10:15 AM Humanizing Work Cases Studies (#201C)

In December 2019, several senior leaders met in San Diego to work through the tough challenges they were facing at the time. At this session, Peter will share the results of following up with those leaders to learn what challenges they were working through, what they did in the six months since that meeting, and how it’s working so far. In other words, you’ll get the good, the bad, and the ugly of real leaders trying to work through real problems using an approach centered on Humanizing Work.

Session Leaders: Peter Green
Theme: Organizational Success

10:35 AM-11:50 AM Aligned Autonomy, Product Planning Parties, and the First Friday Friday Facilitator’s Forum, oh my! (#202A)

Do you need to work across many teams, many levels of hierarchy, and a complicated organizational structure to foster Agility? Would you like to do so with just enough humor and aggressively amusing alliteration to attract attention while keeping your corporate day job? Come join Nicole Forsythe, Director of Agile Coaching at Best Buy, to explore her Aligned Autonomy model for helping big enterprises think about supporting scrum teams. In addition, we will review two transformative techniques that have supported the model, one for socializing planning, and another for supporting coaches and other change makers as they work.

Session Leaders: Nicole Forsythe, Tricia Broderick
Theme: Creating Momentum

10:35 AM-11:50 AM Scaffolds, Safety Nets, and Stances – Growing Towards Self-Organization (#202B)

Much of the advice about self-organizing teams seems to assume team members are all at a relatively high level of personal development. But if, as the research shows, nearly two-thirds of adults are at the Socialized Mind level of adult development or below, we need ways to help people develop into self-organization. Otherwise, it feels like anarchy for leaders and abandonment for teams. In this session, we’ll explore practices and techniques we can use to coach individuals and teams to dial up the capacity to self-organize without the drama.

Session Leaders: John Miller, Richard Lawrence
Theme: Leveling Up

10:35 AM-11:50 AM Creating an Ecologically Sustainable Value Stream (#202C)

“You care about our biosphere: You recycle; perhaps you drive a hybrid. But you also know that the largest challenges to a sustainable ecosystem are the larger-scale activities of our societies and organizations. We still have to go to work; we still have to make a living. Is there some way to balance these needs?

Together we examine ways to gradually shift an organization’s value-stream to be more sustainable, ecologically neutral, and profitable. Techniques such as adding your “going green” initiatives to your marketing materials, buying carbon offsets for employee travel, and others have been around for a while. Are there still others? Is there something we’re missing?

Rob will share some case studies and recommended readings on the topic. You will have the opportunity to share and explore possible actions that your own organization can take, that will be both profitable and more Earth-friendly.”

Session Leaders: Rob Myers
Theme: Agile in Context

12:00 PM-12:50 PM Lunch

1:00 PM-4:00 PM Learning From Outside The Room – integrating Unique Experiences to Humanizing Work (#203)

“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 (#204)

Let’s share those insights from the afternoon experiences.

June 25, 2020
8:00 AM-8:50 AM Breakfast Lean Coffee (#300)

Lean Coffee is a structured, but agenda-less meeting. Participants gather, build an agenda, and begin talking. The conversation topic will be timeboxed, where majority vote can continue or move on to the next topic. So bring your coffee (or tasty beverage of your choosing) and your topics, and let’s see what we learn.

9:00 AM-10:15 AM Presentation Karaoke (#301)

Presentation karaoke is an improvisational activity in which a participant must deliver a presentation based on a set of slides that they have never seen before for under two minutes. Test your knowledge, test your improv ability, but mostly have fun and laugh!

10:35 AM-11:50 AM How to put the A in SAFe (#302A)

Let’s face it, SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) is only “sort of” agile—it’s an unabashedly hybrid model. Yet, it’s the most popular “scaling” method by far, so let’s figure out how to work with it. SAFe without the proper values and some Agile adjustments can become a heavy, push system—even a method of stifling agility. So let’s lift the covers and work together on how to make the best of a hybrid situation – let’s make SAFe a stepping stone to something better.

Session Leaders: Steve Spearman
Theme: Organizational Success

10:35 AM-11:50 AM Better Flipcharts and Whiteboards (#302B)

Whether you’re a ScrumMaster, Product Owner, Coach, or just someone who facilitates the occasional meeting, you need to be able to communicate visually. Otherwise growth-minded people are strangely fixed-minded about this particular skill—”I just have messy writing,” like it’s height or eye color. But it’s a learnable skill. Let’s work on your marker skills so a flip chart or whiteboard is a welcome tool rather than your meeting Kryptonite. (Note: this is a repeat of a session from HW 2016, back by popular demand.)

Session Leaders: Richard Lawrence
Theme: Leveling Up

10:35 AM-11:50 AM How Groups Decide: between consensus and autocracy (#302C)

How groups of people come to decisions is a tricky problem to work out. Consensus includes everyone’s perspective but is slow and often removes any innovative edges from the outcome. A single decision-maker can be fast but decreases the likelihood that all perspectives will be heard and integrated into the decisions. In this session, we’ll provide a variety of techniques that are between the spectrum of Consensus and Autocracy that give you the best of both worlds. These approaches have helped several teams we’re working with to get to remove 80% of the chatter around decisions without removing the quality of the decisions.

Session Leaders: Peter Green
Theme: Creating Momentum

12:00 PM-12:50 PM Lunch

1:00 PM-2:15 PM Improving Your Probes for Complex Problem Solving (#303A)

We know from Cynefin that complex problems require probes: well-designed, safe-to-fail experiments. But how do you design, execute, and track a good probe? In this session, we’ll look at patterns, examples, and techniques to make your complex problem solving much more effective.

Session Leaders: Pam Fox, Richard Lawrence
Theme: Organizational Success

1:00 PM-2:15 PM Pragmanatic Power of Patterns of Practice (#303B)

“Sometimes we feel like we’ve adopted all the recommended Agile practices, but things still aren’t going well.

We’ve noticed some of our clients “stumble” upon (often intentionally) practices that multiply the value of the others. For example, some have blended BDD with “Mob Programming,” resulting in a sustainable and comprehensive methodology. These combinations represent a sort of team-process “pattern.”

In order to do this consciously, we need to know what benefits and costs a practice provides, and how practices work together to take care of all the various needs of the team. You’ll examine the value of various practices, and how combinations of practices “cover” or replace certain traditional practices.”

Session Leaders: John Miller, Rob Myers
Theme: Agile in Context

1:00 PM-2:15 PM Personal Branding (#303C)

Building a positive personal brand is essential in this connected world. How you are perceived by others determines how they summarize you in one line. Join Peter as he shares ideas on building your brand on various mediums to get the impact you want. Expect to leave this session with a clear idea of your brand, how to continually evolve that brand, and tips for promoting your brand.

Session Leaders: Peter Saddington
Theme: Leveling Up

2:45 PM-4:00 PM I can speak, you can speak…we all can speak! (#304A)

Glossophobia, or a fear of public speaking, is a very common phobia and one that is believed to affect up to 75% of the population. As someone that has helped numerous people with their speaking skills, I fully embrace that the difference maker is being uniquely you. What messages do you want to share? Where do you want to share your stories? Why do you want to speak? Yet, there are tips and techniques to help address or at least minimize common specific fears – such as what if I forget what to say, what if I start shaking, and what if no one cares what I’m saying. In this safe environment, expect to gain and practice tools to help you on your speaking journey.

Session Leaders: Tricia Broderick
Theme: Leveling Up

2:45 PM-4:00 PM Getting from metrics to goals…or ideally vice-versa (#304B)

We are constantly asked to create, share and leverage metrics. In this session, we will explore a simple framework for metrics to link from goals to stories. We will look at how to evaluate your metrics, how to engage transparent business decisions in your metrics discussions, how to create goals based on outcomes, how to connect metrics to goals, review some common metrics for traps, and review some ways to talk about metrics with others in the organization. Finally, we will look at how stories connect to these metrics. It’s a lot! But… It’s what it takes to connect goals to work!

Session Leaders: Jake Calabrese
Theme: Organizational Success

2:45 PM-4:00 PM How to become a Professional Coach (#304C)

Ever wonder what professional coaching is and/or how to become one? Join Henry as he explains the skill of Professional Coaching. Expect to unpact a live demonstration to understand the intent, power and value professional coaching provides. In addition, gain insight into the specific resources and path to growing your professional coaching mastery.

Session Leaders: Henry Dittmer
Theme: Leveling Up

4:10 PM-5:00 PM HW 2020 Closing Session (#305)

June 23, 2020
9:00 AM-10:15 AM HW 2020 Opening Session (#101)
10:35 AM-11:50 AM Understanding and speaking to the executive view of agility (#102A) Bob Hartman
10:35 AM-11:50 AM How to make any problem visible (#102B) Peter Green, Richard Lawrence
10:35 AM-11:50 AM ScrumMaster: so much more than you think it is! (#102C) Steve Spearman
12:00 PM-12:50 PM Lunch
1:00 PM-2:15 PM 4 Detrimental Delayers – Removing the real impediments to speed (#103A) John Miller
1:00 PM-2:15 PM So You Failed. Congratulations! (#103B) Jerimiah Owens, Tricia Broderick
1:00 PM-2:15 PM Kanban History and Principles (#103C) Jake Calabrese
2:45 PM-4:00 PM Escaping Drama Patterns (#104A) Tricia Broderick
2:45 PM-4:00 PM Backlog Patterns to Fit Your Stakeholders’ Expectations (#104B) Henry Dittmer
2:45 PM-4:00 PM The Value of User Feedback: lessons from an agile startup (#104C) Peter Saddington
4:10 PM-5:00 PM Day 1 Closing Session (#105)
6:00 PM-9:00 PM HW 2020 Night Out
June 24, 2020
9:00 AM-10:15 AM Leadership Free style – how to answer (almost) any question with patterrns (#201A) Jake Calabrese
9:00 AM-10:15 AM It isn’t Agility without engagement (#201B) Bob Hartman
9:00 AM-10:15 AM Humanizing Work Cases Studies (#201C) Peter Green
10:35 AM-11:50 AM Aligned Autonomy, Product Planning Parties, and the First Friday Friday Facilitator’s Forum, oh my! (#202A) Nicole Forsythe, Tricia Broderick
10:35 AM-11:50 AM Scaffolds, Safety Nets, and Stances – Growing Towards Self-Organization (#202B) John Miller, Richard Lawrence
10:35 AM-11:50 AM Creating an Ecologically Sustainable Value Stream (#202C) Rob Myers
12:00 PM-12:50 PM Lunch
1:00 PM-4:00 PM Learning From Outside The Room – integrating Unique Experiences to Humanizing Work (#203)
4:10 PM-5:00 PM Day 2 Closing Session – Afternoon Experience Reports (#204)
June 25, 2020
8:00 AM-8:50 AM Breakfast Lean Coffee (#300)
9:00 AM-10:15 AM Presentation Karaoke (#301)
10:35 AM-11:50 AM How to put the A in SAFe (#302A) Steve Spearman
10:35 AM-11:50 AM Better Flipcharts and Whiteboards (#302B) Richard Lawrence
10:35 AM-11:50 AM How Groups Decide: between consensus and autocracy (#302C) Peter Green
12:00 PM-12:50 PM Lunch
1:00 PM-2:15 PM Improving Your Probes for Complex Problem Solving (#303A) Pam Fox, Richard Lawrence
1:00 PM-2:15 PM Pragmanatic Power of Patterns of Practice (#303B) John Miller, Rob Myers
1:00 PM-2:15 PM Personal Branding (#303C) Peter Saddington
2:45 PM-4:00 PM I can speak, you can speak…we all can speak! (#304A) Tricia Broderick
2:45 PM-4:00 PM Getting from metrics to goals…or ideally vice-versa (#304B) Jake Calabrese
2:45 PM-4:00 PM How to become a Professional Coach (#304C) Henry Dittmer
4:10 PM-5:00 PM HW 2020 Closing Session (#305)