Reflections on Agile2023: Gratitude and hope

Linda Rising and Heidi Musser at Agile2023

Wow! Thank you to all our members, speakers, sponsors, and guests who made Agile2023 another extraordinary Agile conference! More than 20 years after the Agile manifesto was written, our event remains the world’s largest gathering of Agilists!

We gathered this year for another respectful, safe, and inclusive experience – in the U.S. and Scotland! – where we explored, applied, and expanded Agile values, principles, and practices.

At its core, Agile is about changing human behavior and how we interact with each other. We are members of an innovative, diverse, and global community. Our shared commitment to uncovering better ways of doing things and helping others to do it is steadfast. It is exciting to witness our resilience as we courageously encourage and support all people to realize their full potential. Congratulations to you all!

Thank you, Program Team

I’m so proud of the Agile2023 Program Team, led by Conference Chair Emma Armstrong and Program Chairs Dana PylayevaSemira Allen, and Chris Murman. Your commitment, creativity, curiosity, and courage were extraordinary, along with your willingness to embrace change! The program was eloquently designed, the keynotes were fabulous, and the Scotland Experience was a successful experiment!

Perhaps, most importantly, I’m in awe of your leadership. The months leading up to the conference were fraught with anxiety and tension as some members of our community reached out to us to express concerns about the location of Agile2023. In truly Agile fashion, you pivoted. In collaboration with the Agile Alliance Board of Directors, you created the space for a Townhall Meeting for our attendees to share and listen to each other as they expressed concerns and offered ideas for working together to ensure safe spaces for our members at all Agile Alliance events. Special thanks to Paul Tevis for facilitating this session. Yes, #wearelistening, #wearelearning.

We shared so many engaging highlights, including the keynotes and general sessions where we learned together. My key takeaways included the following:

  • Anne-Marie Charret compelling us to not only create safe spaces for people but also for ourselves (watch keynote)
  • Linda Rising reminding us that we – human beings – are NOT rational decision-makers
  • Bushra Amawali inspiring us to always reach higher (watch keynote)
  • Esther Derby teaching us that creating conditions for ourselves and others to contribute more effectively is a profound act of leadership (watch keynote)
  • Lyssa Adkins demonstrating how can use Agile to guide ourselves through challenging situations where there is no “clear” right answer or “winning strategy.”

Wow – just WOW!

Thank you, volunteers

I’m also incredibly proud of our volunteers, aka the #purpleshirts. As Board Chair, one of my core responsibilities at the Conference is to provide Code of Conduct training for our volunteers. For me, it is THE  highlight of the Conference. I’m humbled by all who volunteered to make Agile2023 an extraordinary event and for your service to our global community. Thank you for your kindness and compassion as you responded to the myriad questions from the conference attendees and ensured everyone had a safe and enjoyable experience. And thank you for your hugs and smiles – all y’all ROCK!  #BeKind #BeProfessional

Thank you, Agile In Color

Thank you, Kisha Wright-Banks, and Agile In Color, for co-sponsoring the #SitWithMe campaign this year as we continue to raise awareness about the need to include all voices and perspectives in the Agile Community.

Much progress has been made in DEI&B – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging – both in the global Agile community and in our communities and workplaces. Still, much work remains. This year, we not only #SitToTakeAStandForDEI&B in the Agile community; we #SitToTakeAStandAgainstHate.

Thank you also to all who joined us Tuesday evening at Agile Together and sat in the Red Chair, sharing your stories about why diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging matter in the Agile community. I’m in awe of your vulnerability; I’m inspired by your courage. DEI&B changes what is possible.

Thank you, Agile2023 – The Scotland Experience!

What an amazing experiment! For the first time ever, we offered AgileXX beyond the borders of the United States! To the Agile community, to Seb Rose, and all of the volunteers in Edinburgh, we can’t thank you enough for your time, effort, and commitment to ensuring we provided a sustainable option for our friends on the other side of the pond. While the full Board of Directors wasn’t able to attend in person, we’ve seen the pictures and we’ve heard the stories, and we are pleased! A special thank you to our Board members, Angie Doyle and Apeksha Patel, for their support in ensuring this event was so successful.

Thank you, Agilists

What a fantastic global experience in both Orlando and Edinburgh! Thank you to everyone I had the opportunity to connect with – your words, smiles, hugs, laughter, tears, songs, and dances have both humbled and inspired me. And for those I did not meet, my hope is that our paths cross in the future as we trudge the road of Agility! My spirit is full!

The conference began with some wondering about the future of Agile. Yes, the Agile community is evolving, as is our understanding of Agile values, practices, and principles. Yes, we might be changing, but we are resilient. I am confident our future is brighter than ever!

This is MY Alliance. This is YOUR Alliance.

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

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Heidi Musser

Heidi Musser

As a senior Executive, I have spent over 30 years leading and advising businesses on designing new operating & engagement models to drive digital transformation and achieve operational excellence and enterprise agility. My passion is 'managing the soft side of technology'© – through the adoption of fundamentally different ways of working, thinking and being. I am recognized by industry peers for my contributions and thought leadership on the topics of enterprise agility, design thinking, and…

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