This past week, Dennis Corpman and I gave a presentation at IEEE ProCon, a long-standing annual Professional Development conference held by the Cedar Rapids section of the IEEE. Our presentation focused on lessons learned along the agile path. As a way of framing our exploration, we used Patrick Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team to examine team interactions in a daily standup, and we used elements of an Agile Mindset to examine a sprint retrospective.
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The week of November 14th, I spent 3 days with fellow developers, leaders, and Agilists at the Techwell-organized AgileDev / Better Software/ DevOps East Conference and the Agile Leadership Summit. The keynotes and sessions were well attended, as well as the "hallway breakouts." As a compulsive note taker, I came back with 53 pages of notes, everything from more books on my to-read list, to "Aha!" insights. Here, I would like to share a few of my key takeaways from the conference…
What's the opposite of fragile?
Most people would answer "robust" or "resilient." If we subject something that is fragile to stress, shock, randomness or volatility, we can expect that it will be harmed. If we do the same to something that is robust or resilient, we can expect that it will resist harm - but won't be any better off than when we started. But what if something that is subjected to stress, shock, randomness or volatility actually benefited? That would be the opposite of fragile: antifragile. This is the core theme of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder.