An interview with outgoing Board Member Ellen Grove

Added to The Alliance

As we come to the close of the year, we’re also nearing the end of the terms for two of our volunteer board members, Craig Smith and Ellen Grove. We interviewed them both so they could share their thoughts about what it was like for them to serve on the board, including the highs and lows, some surprising things they learned, and more. This is the first post of two and features a Q&A with Ellen Grove, who also served as the Interim Managing Director of Agile Alliance in addition to her responsibilities as a board member. You can see our interview with Craig Smith here.

Serving on the Agile Alliance Board of Directors (or any board of directors) is a significant responsibility. What is the most surprising thing you learned from being a board member?

One thing that surprised me a lot when I joined the board is how small the Agile Alliance staff is. An Agile20XX conference is a BIG event, and we have a great partnership with the wonderful people at Elastic who work really hard to pull that event together each year, but the core staff who do everything else is a handful of people. I had–and I know others have–grand expectations that there is a lot of organizational capacity to do all kinds of things. This isn’t quite the case, especially as Agile Alliance revenue depends heavily on in-person events, and during the pandemic, the organization had to focus on the most critical work. I hope that Agile Alliance is now able to add some bench strength to expand the services we offer to members and the Agile community.

Ellen Grove Board Member

Other than the issues surrounding Covid-19, in your opinion, what is the biggest opportunity/challenge facing the organization?

There’s a whole Agile world out there! I believe the biggest opportunity for Agile Alliance is creating a truly global network of Agile professionals. Compared to the number of people around the world involved in the Agile community, Agile Alliance’s membership is relatively small although it has grown significantly over the past couple of years. There’s a tremendous opportunity to create valuable experiences and knowledge sources to support and connect Agile folks 365 days a year. The organization needs to continue figuring out how to create valuable experiences/connections on a global scale. Agile Alliance also needs to challenge the perception that “Agile is dead and done, been there, tried that, got burnt.” If there’s one thing that’s been made vividly clear over the past couple of years, it’s that setting yourself and your organization up to be adaptable in the face of the unknown is absolutely essential–Agile values and principles are still very relevant.

What was your favorite part of being an Agile Alliance Board member?

As a board member, I really loved the opportunity to engage with Agile folks from all around the world through participating in a variety of Agile Alliance events, including the community gatherings we held alongside in-person board meetings in places like Buenos Aires and Vancouver. I also learned a lot about good group processes by being part of the board. Compared to some of the other volunteer boards I’ve worked with, the Agile Alliance board has really constructive conversations about difficult topics and a solid approach to participatory decision-making.

What is your ultimate wish for Agile Alliance and the Agile community?

My wish for Agile Alliance is to hold the space for a vibrant multi-faceted Agile community that includes people from around the globe (and, increasingly, outside of software) where we can learn from and with each other. For me, it’s not about Agile20XX. It’s about what we do the other 360 days a year to help each other become increasingly agile.

Please join us in thanking Ellen Grove for her time served on the board, and all of the energy and enthusiasm that she brought to Agile Alliance over the recent years!

This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They do not represent opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.

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