- My experience
I have been lucky enough to learn and explore the agile practices on my own (of course with my team). I worked for a company which was not afraid to fail. While having a coach/mentor would have helped, I think my knowledge about how stuff works would have not been as deep as its today.
After experimenting with stuff on my own for the first 2 years of my agile journey, I joined a large Agile project. It was very very frustrating to work with other "so called" agile coaches from my company. The thing that frustrated me the most was these coaches were dictating how the whole team should work. Ex: Agile says that you should write stories in "As a...I want to...So that...." format. While I like this format, when its enforced, I start pushing back. In the name of Agile, the coaches were really enforcing a process. Some people refer to this as doing XP or Scrum by the book. Which to me is a clear violation of the Agile Manifesto. Its Process OVER People. When Consistency becomes more important than Quality, you know the project is doomed. After struggling for about 8 months on these kind of teams, I was moved to an Architecture team to be an evangelist out there.
On this team I used Theory of Constraints and JIT practices to build a process for the team. Initially things were not very clear in terms of direction and timelines, but then the whole team took the ownership and really enjoyed what we were doing. I moved on to 4 other teams after than and have been really happy with the results.
After doing this for the last 5 years, I have joined an Indian Product Company. My role at the new Company is to be a Quality and Community Evangelist. So instead of coming into their organization and teaching them how to do stuff, I'm working with various teams and also leading a product development to understand what is the best way to build products in their domain. While a big portion of what I do is coach and mentor individuals, there is a lot for me to learn from these folks (both technical and process wise).
- What do I plan to learn/explore
I'm also very interested to hear what new ideas people have been exploring in the agile community. Mostly when I go to big conferences, the topics are so basic that I don't really gain much out of them. My hope with this conference is that it would satisfy the urge to find latest and greatest stuff in the Agile space.
- How will I contribute?
I will like to share my experience with ToC and JIT to coach Agile Teams
Last but not the least, I would like to learn new tricks.