1st Conference: Speaker Interview - Andrea Blundell

Andrea is an Agile Coach who is passionate about ways of working that support self organising teams and enabling organisational agility.

She is focused on coaching others to explore diverse perspectives, and make effective decisions informed by these, and is interested in how to facilitate ongoing and sustainable change within organisations. She is currently working with Sportsbet.

Andrea is teaming up with Pru Gell to speak about psychological safety in teams using the Lewis method of Deep Democracy.

I took the opportunity to interview Andrea and ask her some questions about her upcoming talk at 1st Conference, and general advice on embarking on an Agile journey.

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.

Deep Democracy has concepts and tools which continue to give me a broader understanding of myself, group dynamics, and tools to help people work together more effectively.

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

Andrea: Pru Gell and I will be speaking about psychological safety in teams, exploring practical ways to measure and increase safety from the Lewis Method of Deep Democracy tool kit.  I came across Deep Democracy through a session Pru facilitated a couple of years ago and it really resonated with me. I'm now doing ongoing training in Deep Democracy with Pru as my coach.

Working with teams over the years I've grappled with many challenges as a leader and facilitator including making truly binding decisions, everyone having a voice, and creating an environment of safety. Deep Democracy has concepts and tools which continue to give me a broader understanding of myself, group dynamics, and tools to help people work together more effectively.

Pru and I are looking forward to sharing elements of Deep Democracy with people at 1st so others can add it to their tool kits if it resonates with them.

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

Andrea: If I had to choose one, and it's hard to choose just one, it would be collaborate.  I'm constantly amazed at what people can achieve through working together, both in the workplace and out in the broader world.

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

Andrea: I go to conferences to be exposed to new ideas, meet people, and see familiar faces. Given this, my advice is to come to 1st Conference with curiosity, an openness to new ideas, and an interest in discourse around agile in 2017.

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

Andrea: As someone who has a strong leaning towards learning by doing and reflecting, workshops are an ideal environment to pick up new skills and ideas.  Having these experiential sessions is a great way for people to learn and try out approaches in a supportive environment.

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

Andrea: You are where you are, it’s just a matter of starting.  It’s helpful to be aware of the type of organisation you are in, and the vision of where that organisation is looking to head.  When you are starting out some training in fundamentals is always a good kick start.  I’d add to that meeting people who work in different companies, and talking to them about what they are doing to understand how approaches to agile differ from place to place.

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

Andrea: One roadblock when starting out with agile is talking a different language.  How can you introduce agile practices and concepts and spread awareness of them in a way that is accessible and engaging?