In this podcast:
LAST Conference • Agile • Missions • Teamwork
Craig Brown is the CEO of software engineering company, Everest Engineering. Craig is also the founder of LAST Conferences which focus on Lean Agile Systems. LAST Conferences take place in cities around Australia and are curated by local practitioners. The idea for the event came when Craig was working at Swinburne University and the IT department desired more professional development – the first event in 2012 was a mixture of UX product design, software development and agile discussions. Essentially it was people coming together to figure out the ‘nitty gritty’ stuff. In recent times he has stepped back from the organisation side, but still attends as many of the conferences as possible.
In Craig’s experience, the meaning of agile tends to vary from person to person. To some it is the processes and frameworks, to others it is a set of values. For Craig, it is a flag to attract a certain type of person. Regardless, considering things holistically will help you build a tool kit that allows you to attack tougher or more onus tasks with your team. An agile mindset is key – Scrum and other concepts are just the tools a craftsman needs to utilise throughout projects.
Despite Agile starting out as a technological process, it has turned into a sociology concept that can be employed into many different industries. The idea is to shift conversations so that everyone understands the problems trying to be solved or the outcome trying to be reached. The goal is to be more efficient and avoid unnecessary administration. In the context of an agency, it is to get the client thinking in a structured way to create rigorous plans – resulting in less gaps for the development teams.
Internally, it is about no one person being the centre of a project – the team should operate as a network with a mutual value. Having this on a project allows a universal language to be used across fields and roles, essentially aligning people on a mission where there is a clear understanding of what failure or success looks like. At one organisation, Craig had a colleague who welled with tears of joy at the idea of bringing the agile mentality to their office, having seen first-hand the positive effects of it in past organisations.
“…People under play how much you have to say mission! mission! mission!
Read Sam’s review of the LAST conferences he’s attended here.