1st Conference: Speaker Interview - Gabor Devenyi

Gabor loves the agile principles and value statements - but more importantly he loves working with people and helping to get the best out of them. He is an enthusiastic person with 20 years of work experience across different business areas and industries. He's a helpful and kind character who is an active participant in the Agile Community in Melbourne. I asked Gabor what his talk was about and for some insights into what starting your Agile journey can really mean, read the insights below!

As always, if you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to reach out to us. My email is Ringo.Thomas@tabar.com.au and I'm always happy to hear from you.

1st Conference is being held on 2-3 March. Registration is available now.

You can quickly change frameworks, have stand-ups in front of a Kanban wall and use sticky notes everywhere. But those things by themselves will not make you agile.

Ringo: What’s your talk about? Where did the inspiration come from and what do you hope people can take out of it?

Gabor: My talk is about building and managing teams. I believe when putting together teams we are quite often focusing on the wrong attributes. And when we’re managing a team, we’re too often focusing on performance improvements.

I believe, there is a lot more to building a well performing team than putting a bunch of people together with the desired technical skills and improving what they’re not good at.

The inspiration came from a long career so far in which I’ve seen management starting new initiatives with teams that were selected based on perceived technical skills, but the teams were not supported, empowered or appraised properly.

I believe there is a better way and I’ll share ideas that are based on research and my experience that will give you tips on how to help teams and individuals to become better. During this presentation I will explain the importance and benefits of:

  • building on the strengths rather than improving weaknesses,
  • building diverse teams rather than building super smart teams, and
  • using empathy, compassion and support to build teams.  

Based on my experience building this type of team will help you to deliver better outcomes.

Ringo: Given this conference is centred around the Heart of Agile, is there one of the four parts that particularly resonates with you?

Gabor: I know, it’s not a part, but I really love concept of having a Heart in the middle. Without having good intentions and a good heart, why would we bother building solutions for our customers.

But if I have to pick one, my favourite quadrant is Collaborate. I love working with people. As the saying goes: “Alone we can accomplish many great things . Together we can change the world.”

Ringo: What should people be thinking about before they come to 1st conf to ensure get the most out of the two days?

Gabor: Have a good sleep before and be prepared to learn. I’ve seen many of the speakers before, they are fantastic and I am very excited to learn from them and be one of them.

Feel free to write down your most burning questions and ask as many people as you can. What I find, people are extremely helpful and willing to help - just ask.

Ringo: How do you think having a second day of workshops will add to the overall learning experience?

Gabor: While I am sure you get a lot of inspiration from the first day, the workshops will help with the practical implementation. It’s great to see a conference, where there is a good mix of speeches and practical exercises. I am looking forward James Holmes’s workshop, he always delivers.

Ringo: What’s the best advice you’d give someone starting out on their Agile journey?

Gabor: As you just mentioned in your question, it is a journey. There will be plenty of small wins and learning opportunities on the way. Keep an open mind, no one has all the answers. It is your journey, learn as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to question everything, what you’ve done before. You are a pioneer within your organisation.

Ringo: What are the most common roadblocks that people come across they should look out for?

Gabor: It’s a bit of a cliche, but organisational change can be the biggest roadblock. You can quickly change frameworks, have stand-ups in front of a Kanban wall and use sticky notes everywhere. But those things by themselves will not make you agile. Invest into guiding people through the change. There will be cultural shock, there will be resistance, there will be problems. But where there is problem, there is opportunity.
And whether you’re a small or a large company, the focus on the Heart of Agile (Collaborate, Deliver, Reflect and Improve) will always be a great guideline.