location_city Gatineau, Quebec schedule Nov 24th 11:30 - Jan 1st 12:00 AM IST place Room - Mont-Bleu

We swim in a sea of language but seem to be drowning in misunderstanding. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the efforts we make to change ways of organizing work in organizations.

Making common meaning of the language we use when working together takes conscious effort but we typically go about it unconsciously. In this session we'll examine common patterns of unintended consequences that stem simply from the language we use to describe changes to the way we work.

You'll leave with a new model for thinking about language and using it to better effect. We'll discuss and practice the use of metaphor, mindset and specific practices to create shared understand in and between teams. 


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

This session is a mixture of presentation and workshop activity.

The session begins with the a brief explanation of the use and impact of metaphor on our lives and why our brains are so influenced by it as a sense-making tool. (10 minutes)

The presentation will explore, with examples drawn from the audience, the consequences of common metaphors used to make sense of our work environment. (10 minutes)

Group exercise (15 minutes)

Wrap-up, Questions + Discussion (10 minutes)

Learning Outcome

After this session participants will be able to:

  1. Choose better communication options that promote common understanding in different contexts
  2. Recognize opportunities to make unspoken knowledge explicit
  3. Avoid using language that undermines team goals
  4. Hold improved conversations that clarify intended outcomes

Target Audience

Members of teams who are seeking better ways to share meaning and express their work.


schedule Submitted 7 years ago

  • Sue Johnston

    Sue Johnston / Andrew Annett - Get the Story Before you Write the 'Story' - Journalistic Skills for Agile Professionals

    60 Mins

    "Who are you?" "What do you want?" and "What are you going to do about it?" Those are the essential questions reporters use for practically any daily news story.

    Do they sound familiar? "As a [Who are you?] I want [What do you want?] so that I can [What are you going to do about it?]."

    Building software may seem light years away from journalism, yet there are techniques to be shared. How does a reporter blend natural curiosity, information from multiple sources and some basic writing skills to create a meaningful, well-crafted, unbiased story - and deliver it for daily release?

    In this interactive session, Sue and Andrew will examine the parallels between interviewing people for news gathering and interviewing users and customers to discover what they need and want from your products. You'll discover how to:

    • Identify the best people to talk with - they may not be the usual suspects
    • Explore ways make users and subject matter experts excited about talking with you
    • Practise techniques for questioning that build trust and elicit information
    • Navigate via curiosity - this is not the time to be an expert
    • Create a story in which you make meaning from relevant voices and perspectives

    You'll leave with tools reporters use to develop their products and be able to apply them to create and use effective user stories that lead to useful and usable products. 


  • Ellen Grove

    Ellen Grove - Everything Is Better When We Stick Together: Building Team Working Agreements

    60 Mins

    Whether a team is brand-new or seasoned veterans at working together, explicitly defining and/or refining a team working agreement will help the team to align on how they will work together effectively to meet their common goal. In this fast-paced hands-on session, participants will go through the process of building a team working agreement using LEGO Serious Play (LSP).

    Creating a team working agreement helps team members set the stage for effective communication and high performance by making assumptions about ‘what really matters to us’ and ‘how we will work together?’ explicit and negotiable.  Great working agreements address some difficult topics - what values do we share? how do we want to deal with conflict when it comes up? how will we handle problems within the team? - which are often challenging to discuss openly and honestly, especially when a team is first assembled.  This session will show you how to use LEGO Serious Play to encourage a frank and fearless discussion in order to kickstart these discussions so that a team can quickly create a powerful set of simple guiding principles for working together.  Participants will learn about the importance of team working agreements in creating team cohesion and common understanding of shared values and operational guidelines, and experience hands-on how to use the LEGO Serious Play cycle of build-share-reflect to have a participatory discussion to identify shared values and build a set of simple guiding principles.


  • Caroline Sauve

    Caroline Sauve / Bill Bourne - Agile Project Inception - Getting Aligned and Making Commitments

    90 Mins

    Sponsors of development projects generally want to know what they are going to get, when they are going to get it, and how much it will cost *before* they make the commitment to "purchase". In many businesses, while the software development process may be Agile, the reality is that other functions in the business - Documentation, Training, Marketing, Sales, Finance, Business Planning - need to know what's coming well in advance. When starting an Agile project these stakeholder needs must be met if the team is to get off on the right track, and be allowed to proceed without undue outside interference.

    Centred on the use of the "Inception Deck", participants will learn techniques to kick off an Agile project that will help them to:

    1. Create a shared understanding around the project’s goals.

    2. Identify and understand risk on the project.

    3. Build a high level plan for the project and setting the ground rules for change on the project.

    4. Get agreement on a set of “project bounds” for scope/content, schedule/delivery, and resources/cost, to allow the project team to proceed independently and make their own decisions as the project progresses.

    This session co-presented and pair-facilitated by Bill Bourne and Caroline Sauve

  • Sue Johnston

    Sue Johnston - COMMUNICATION STYLES - Employing and enjoying team differences

    60 Mins

    The first value of the Agile Manifesto addresses "Individuals and interactions." Unfortunately, the fact that we're individuals can, sometimes, make our interactions unpredictable. This lively and practical session offers insights on the different ways people process information and communicate and introduces techniques to overcome misunderstanding and get our work done well.

    Everyone is different, yet we’re different in some predictable ways. This session shines a spotlight on our patterns and habits of communication and encourages a conscious and strategic approach to conversations. You'll explore the diverse ways people you interact with process and share information. You'll discover techniques to overcome those differences so you can connect and be understood.

    With its foundation in sound psychological principles, it’s a light-hearted - yet useful - look at human conversation and a powerful communication tool that can improve relationships at work and in life.

    In this interactive session, you'll learn to:
    - Recognize individual differences in communication style
    - Discover the characteristics of each of four styles, to identify the folks you interact with
    - Identify your own communication style, its strengths, patterns and quirks
    - Develop strategies to interact productively with people whose styles differ from your own

  • Jason Little

    Jason Little / Mike Edwards - 3 Techniques for Architecting Change

    90 Mins

    Let's face it, when organizations want to "go Agile", they really want help solving a problem they can't quite put their finger on. Some of the time they may buy a tool and call themselves Agile. Other times, they'll implement a few practices but not much more. There are no shortage of tools, methods and techniques for installing Agile and there are an equal number of failure stories. At the end of day, Agile is simply a trigger for an organizational change.

    In this session you'll learn 3 techniques that will help you navigate through complex change by working on a real problem with your peers. After all, a consultant or coach is only going to take you so far!

  • Andrew Annett

    Andrew Annett - Are We There Yet? Painting Signposts for an Agile Journey.

    Andrew Annett
    Andrew Annett
    Agile Catalyst
    schedule 7 years ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins

    Adopting agile practices is complex - often we only understand where we are by looking back. Yet many involved in and observing the process want to know how teams and organizations are progressing.This session will explore techniques for mapping the journey, exposing directional options and customising the route according to where we find ourselves.

    The goal of this session is to enable us to understand and clearly explain where we are with respect to team development, how we got there and where we'll head to next.

    The tools we'll discuss will move towards building a GPS for our practice adoption travels.