Agile Portugal 2016

Interview to Geoff Watts and Paul Goddard

Geoff Watts and Paul Goddard were interviewed by Agile Portugal, and they tell us about themselves and their sessions in this year’s edition of the conference:
• Keynote: Selling The ‘fluffy’ side of agile
• Workshop: Exploring the ‘fluffy’ side of agile

This post is brought to you by the Agile Portugal 2016 reporters, Nuno Rafael Gomes and Bruno Teixeira.

Who are you?

geoff watts  and paul goddard

(Geoff) I am someone who is very difficult to put into a category or box. No week is the same for me and I have a very varied work life, ranging from writing to training, from speaking to coaching. I’m inspired by the people I coach; people who are constantly looking to learn about and improve themselves so they can help other people and their companies improve.

(Paul) I try and make every day of my life as fun and as enjoyable as it can be. I like to think I have a good sense of perspective as many of the situations I find myself in as a trainer and coach can be daunting and complex. Helping people to remain positive and optimistic is the best way to overcome any type of hurdle, and sometimes my role is simply to enable that spirit within people.

Tell us the story of your Agile journey.

Geoff and Paul - Scrum Early Stages

Geoff and Paul were both some of the first ScrumMasters in the UK and worked together at British Telecom (BT) to help facilitate the largest agile transformation in the world at the time. We both went on to hold Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) and Certified Scrum Coach (CEC) – Geoff being the first in the UK to hold both certifications.

There was nothing planned about our agile journey, it was merely a case of being in the right place at the right time, noticing the opportunity and a match with our personal values and attitudes.

With there being no blueprint or case study that we could learn from at BT, as you can imagine there were infinite lessons that we could learn and one of the biggest lessons that hit home were that an agile transformation operates on the same principle as any agile project or product development effort.

Accept it’s a big, scary, unknown. Work out why it’s worth the effort of even starting then break the effort down into smaller chunks that can both deliver value and help guide your journey going forward. Learn to let go of your desire for perfection and certainty, give it a go and look to learn through your own reflections and the feedback of others.

Then dust yourself off, celebrate where you have got so far, and go again.

Why the Agile Portugal Conference?

Geoff and Paul - Team Effort

We believe that the success and growth of agile will come not from consultants and theories, but from the ideas and practical knowledge of the agile community. Anything we can do to inspire that community has to be worthwhile.

Being asked to speak at events like this is a constant reminder to us that the Agile community is still growing strongly. It also challenges us to stretch ourselves as trainers and coaches to continue to help inspire the community to carry on growing.

We have spoken in Portugal once before (Scrum Gathering 2011) many years ago when the community was much smaller but the people were fantastic. Very welcoming, very kind and hungry to learn. We are interested to see how the growth of agile has moved on in Portugal since we were here last.

Why should an Agile practitioner attend your keynote/workshop?

Geoff and Paul - Workshop

Our keynote is a reaction to one of the most common questions we get asked. Many people struggle to get the necessary support to drive real change within their organizations. It seems much easier to focus on the hard aspects of agile but then it becomes quite mechanical.

Organisations that really “get agile” are able to understand the softer side (or what we call the “fluffy” side) of the values and principles but this is difficult for people to express in a way that management can understand and support. We hope this talk will give you all some insight into how you might go about this differently to achieve more success.

And you might just be surprised by one of the biggest reasons why it is so hard to sell the fluffy side of agile. Come along to find out…