Community-Driven Change Talk at AgileDC 2017

Shawn & I presented at AgileDC on October 16th, 2017. We have presented on the topic of Community and Change, and how a community can be the forces behind change: "Community-Driven Change". We have shared our thoughts and experiences on building communities, supporting them, helping them evolve, letting go of them. We have looked at it from many levels of organizations, such as management, leadership and members.

I have embedded the slides from AgileDC below (Google & Slideshare).



It is important to mention the Lifecycle of a Community, presented for the first time at AgileDC 2017 below.







Abstract for the talk:

Many organizations flatten management structure when they transform to agile. It soon becomes obvious that important activities done by managers are still needed. A community can fill these gaps. They can provide morale, governance, learning, and mentorship, recruiting and hiring, mutual support, coordination, sharing, innovation and more!

Unfortunately few companies manage to create a strong community. Even fewer empower that community to fill these gaps. This means they are missing the ultimate benefit of community: a strong, empowered community can transform the organization itself!

Join Shahin and Shawn in this interactive session to explore communities in organizations. Examine the benefits of building great communities. Learn how to spark the community, and how to support it as it evolves. Hear stories of communities empowered to improve the organization. Learn how to make a community into a driver of positive change.

Outline/structure of the Session:

Shahin and Shawn have twice had the opportunity to work together at large Enterprise clients. Most recently, over the last year, they have been coaching in a large bank which is undergoing an Agile transformation. This presentation arose out of our observation that, by fostering vibrant communities, we were able to vastly accelerate the rate of positive improvement. We believe that it is necessary to create communities in order to make Agile change self-sustaining.

This interactive session will explore communities in organizations.

The session will follow this agenda:

  • Table discussion about “definition of a community.” Group debriefs.
  • Table discussion about “need for a community.” Group debriefs.
  • The participants will then self-organize into communities (we will propose some “themes”, but allow them to create others if they feel they don’t fit). In these communities, they will examine the stages of a community. In each step, we ask the audience to live that stage. At the end of each, we will ask each community to share their learnings with the audience. We will also share our experiences with each stage:
    • Initiation
      • Conditions for starting a community, e.g. logistics, who should be invited, is there interest, is there support from leadership for the time required
    • Starting
      • Create a vision, get to know the community, what is the community you and for others
    • Supporting / Nurturing
      • How can leaders support the community
    • Evolving
      • How the community can evolve itself - e.g. size, mandate, evolve based on need
    • Letting go
      • Has this community served its purpose, and is it time to move on to another community
  • Table Exercise (adapted from Jurgen Appelo’s Delegation Poker) where people examine possible activities communities can do, and discuss how that might work (e.g. mentorship, governance, hiring….). Debrief with the larger group.
  • Present our experiences with community-driven change, where the community is empowered to drive improvements
  • We are going to end the session by thanking them for accepting us being part of their community. Also, we will encourage them to continue the community that they built on-going.

Learning Outcome

  • Understanding of the power and influence of community
  • Patterns for starting, building, supporting, and evolving a community
  • Tools to create greater organizational community out of smaller discipline-focused communities
  • Understanding how communities can drive positive changes


This is the screenshot of the accepted talk with all details on AgileDC2017.

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