Ericsson Agile Conference 2011 conference: looking at a large international company's agile transition



This 20th and 21st of November I've attended the Ericsson Agile Conference 2011 where Ericsson people from different divisions and countries meet up in Finland in Jorvas.

You can try to search with Twitter for the tag #EAGLECON before Twitter memory vanish.

Tens and tens of sessions, workshops and open spaces were held by Ericsson employees working in different roles while a few sessions were held by external speakers like me.

Attending the sessions and listening I've been able to recognize also progresses, challenges and anecdotes similar to what I have seen and experienced in other teams and organizations.




Near the end there has been one panel where tree top managers involved in the transition answered questions from the attenders, and there were real questions that required real answers.
The managers also gave their view of what is Agile for them, let see if my memory can help here:
  • one answer pointed out working together, cooperating, sharing knowledge, pushing all in a common direction.
  • another answer pointed out the value produced, the goal of increasing the flexibility of teams and departments, creating more value and so outperform competitors
  •  the other answer was about getting more near the customers, cooperating well with them and so producing better results that improve the customers satisfaction
There were questions also about the current progress of the agile transition. An estimation of the overall current progress was provided, they look like real numbers, not to persuade, to sell or celebrate. And this opened up the discussion on where to go next.

It take a sense of confidence, openness and an environment were differences and dissent are accepted to  talk about those matters in presence also of other external speakers. This also gave me a sense of the current progress of the agile transition.




Since many different countries and divisions were involved, the agile transition started in a distributed environment where different divisions took care of their own transition, experimenting inspecting and adapting to their own business, people, market, products and environment and then sharing the results with other divisions. There wasn't a big consulting firm jumping in, promising to take care of all the effort and all the risks with a granted proved  one size fit all solution. Looks like Ericsson people got the ownership of their own agile transition taking responsibility of that and getting help from a variety of local consultants and consulting firms. As they did for their conference. And it worked.

Another thing that I noticed is that people from different roles (for example devs, testers, line managers, managers, etc) took care also of their transition: it was not only managers or only developers instead it is a coordinated effort where each can look at the agile transition from their specific role point of view in relation to their background, language and duties.




Presenting a session was for me the reason and give me the opportunity to attend the conference. Presenting also help me to get the focus the energy and the attention and the active aptitude that help to take out the most from a conference when attending other's sessions.
For me it was also an opportunity to meet smart and bright people. And to get to know others Italians like me, that are doing well in Italy in Ericsson or living and working abroad in agile consulting firms.




As I wrote, Ericsson people got ownership of their conference presenting most of the sessions and workshops and open spaces. And looks like it worked well for them and also for me as external speaker.
So one think I can say about what I learned during this conference, that is useful also for other companies and organizations that are into an agile transition:



Organize your agile conference in your organization! Invite people from all divisions and roles.
Take ownership of your agile transition. Involve everyone, be inclusive. Look at your future. And then go back at work and make it happen


Print | posted @ Monday, September 26, 2011 12:23 PM

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