Several people gather at the reception and want to get in. The "why?" is quickly clarified: The Barcamp organized by Agile.Ruhr is entering its 5th round and opens its doors on this day. We'll tell you how it was. Incidentally, the “several” quickly became a lot of people, so that at the opening at 10 a.m. around 200 people sat in the room and placed many different topics on the session board. But if you think now: Such a conference is rather boring - far from it! There was a lot of laughter during the introduction round. For example, a company was looking for “jobs” instead of employees, a young man, out of sheer excitement, presented his Tinder name instead of his Twitter handle, and a woman began her presentation with the words “I support […] real estate in upheaval situations...”.

As is usual with barcamps, a colorful bouquet of themes was identified:

Collection of topics at the Agile.Ruhr Barcamp By the way: To ensure that everyone kept to the specified 45 minutes, a member of the organizational team usually came by after around 30 minutes and held up a note without a word: It read: "Gong. It's been 30 minutes."

Day 1: "Let's go!"

The abundance of sessions for the first day already showed how diverse one can approach the topic of "agility": From "Holacracy" to "Transparency throughout the company" to the "Agile operating system for organizations" more than 40 events were offered. In addition to the question of why agility can help organizations to be more efficient and successful, many sessions also focused on the most important resource of every company: the employees. How can we create a cooperation, especially in teams, that stimulates our cooperation?

One suggestion for this at the Barcamp was the “Personal Map” in the sense of the Management 3.0 guideline. At communicode, we work a lot with the Role Model Canvas to make our roles and responsibilities in the team visible, to discuss them and to develop them further. The "Personal Map" goes one step further: Beyond the professional "role", a mind map is developed, the focus of which is one's own ego. Clusters such as "friends", "interests", "work", "goals", "values", "family" and "education" provide the impetus for personal brainstorming. The result is a large diagram that presents the different facets of a person. The most important maxim when filling out the personal map: I show as much of myself as I would like to share. At the end, each team member presents another colleague's map to the group.

The result: we discover new aspects of our colleagues who may have been with us for many years, at the same time we find things in common and start talking. This transparency promotes empathy and allows other team members to better understand the team partner's current life situation. This creates new opportunities for working together in everyday working life: I get a better understanding of my counterpart and they understand me better. At work, we can use this to better respond to our specific needs.

Day 2: "Just do it!"

The second day of the camp began like the first: with breakfast together. And then the session board got crowded again. In-depth sessions and new topics followed suit.

Topic collection day 2 Agile.Ruhr Barcamp The topic “Agile Transformation” featured prominently on this day. There is still a lot of catching up to do in this area, both on the labor market and in terms of implementation in companies. It became clear in various discussions that as a company you have to be willing to move off the beaten track.

The following article was also appropriate: When people talk about debt in general, most people have their bank account or loans in mind. In IT there is still “technical debt”, which means that the software is poorly implemented. Not even on the radar – but no less important – is organizational debt. That means: What can a company do wrong when tackling processes and wanting to bring about changes?

The topic met with a great deal of approval and was intensively discussed. Conclusion: If you want change, you have to do it right and not stop halfway.

Just do it….

It got particularly exciting in the session “Liberating Structures”. Who does not know that? A meeting is coming up and the inviter/moderator is more or less forced into a one-man show.

This is where the Liberating Structures model comes in and wants to make meetings more interactive and lively. Despite admittedly initial skepticism, this model deserves a chance. Sure, there's the more passive "Write down your answer to a question" part (and you only have one minute for that). But even after that, it's straight into a discussion with an ever-growing group. In this way, good and correct ideas/approaches are always filtered out quickly. At the latest when suggestions for improvement were collected, movement came into play in the literal sense: all participants were asked to name suggestions for improvement, to pass them on and then to evaluate the suggestions. After the suggestions with the best ratings had been collected, the next step was to clarify: “And what can YOU personally do to make this a success?” It becomes symbolically clear: Changes begin with each one of us on a small scale. And everyone can contribute to the success. With the best weather, the camp ended with a retro.

Our conclusion

As with the Agile.Ruhr Day last year, visiting this camp was more than worth it! Most of the sessions were not pure lectures, but invited participation. Sometimes even with all your body. "If someone comes up to you and wants to talk to you, then that's initially something positive." This sentence was said at our event communiversity last year, but after 12 months it still fits the eye like the famous fist. The participants all had a lot of fun, joy and commitment. The lively exchange between newcomers and "old hands" was always exciting.

But what also stands still is that agility is what you make of it. There is no "One size fits all", but you always have to respond to the individual circumstances. It is particularly important to fully engage in the process for a successful transformation. Just “a bit agile” doesn’t work. And you never stop learning. For us it was – once again – a very inspiring event. We'd love to come back!

PS: One participant introduced herself as a “force for change” at the very beginning. What made you smile at first makes sense after 2 days of Agile.Ruhr Camp. Because agile working always requires the courage and will to change structures and processes in the company.