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Agile business breakfast – AmCham meeting summary

Krzysztof Marszałek
Krzysztof Marszałek
office manager | k.marszalek@wes.expert
Office leader and education expert. His work combines systematic thinking and a high level of empathy for the end user.

On 8th November 2018 WES together with our strategic partner Steelcase was hosting American Chamber of Commerce in Poland Chapter Wrocław. This was our annual meeting where we try to discuss fresh ideas and business trends, which are impacting the world of business today and moreover have to be taken into consideration when it comes to shaping your space.
This one was about Agile and here are some thoughts we listened to during presentataion of Martin Hodulak and discussion we had just after:

1. Why I should be interested in Agile?

The shortest answer – it’s all about speed, the fastest will win. We already had some stories of companies, which neglected the need of change and wanted to “stay the same”: Kodak, Nokia etc. And this can apply to all of us. We were fortunate enough to have some non – corporate representatives in the room (start-ups/software houses) and simply by the energy they brought in you could tell that the sky is the limit for them and there is absolutely no respect for established rules of market game for them. It’s a rebelion approach (in a good sense) where everything can be changed overtime. So if we all at least don’t pay attention to this kind approach we can become obsolete sooner than expected.

2. Applying agile as a concept

Agile Manifesto has been brought to life in 2001, so it’s already 17 years old (!), but looking at general business discussion still seems like a new idea. This is perhaps partly to the fact that “going Agile” is a neverending process (you can find out more about in this great Steelcase podcast), but also many companies in Poland just started using this approach since 1-3 years and are still not sure about it. The problems occur mostly in implementation phase. Martin also had a great point saying, that we rather be able to implement some aspects of Agile, rather than whole concept.

3. The role of space in shaping Agile culture

The most powerful yet often overlooked role of space in supporting this kind of project is that a) it’s always there, so it’s impacting us every day, hour and minute of our time b) has not been used in such way often, so it can become a game changer or new resource to play on.
Martin during second part of his presentation highlighted key aspects of agile workplace, which I would like to use as a thought starter questions when evaluating your readiness for agile workplace conversation:

  1. Embed learning:
    • Am I ready for customer collaboration within my design/development process?
    • Are we a hands on experimentation culture? Able to fail quicker to move faster (or even be rewarded for that – like discussed Google example)?
  2. Leading in new ways:
    • Would I define my leadership approach as
      a) open b) accessible c) sharing d) connected?
    • Is our leader communicating true purpose over some empty phrases?
  3. Building networks:
    • Is my space adaptible to host everchanging (and a bit messy) process? Am I ready for how it can look like?
    • Are we sharing info verbally and visually?

The presenatation ended up with some nice case study on large market player aquiring start up and how this impacted workspace and culture during this merge.

Observing engagement of the audience and discussion this was a definetely an insightful and interesting start of the day and topic which WES need to explore more for our market. Thank you again Steelcase and American Chamber of Commerce in Poland Chapter Wrocław for making this happen.