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Thursday, August 9 • 10:45 - 12:00
Heroes are Expensive - Extinguishing the Firefighting Culture (Sue Johnston) POPULAR

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Does your organization rely on heroes to complete your products and projects? Fuelled by pizza, coffee and who knows what else, they work all hours, flat out, giving 110% to meet that critical release date. Sometimes they do it week after week. It isn't pretty. It isn't smart. And it isn't agile.
In this session, you'll explore ideas that aim to prevent that unsustainable and costly scenario and create environments where people can contribute their best work without extraordinary measures.
In her work as a trainer of agile practitioners, Sue has a view of agile life through the eyes of Scrum Masters, Team Leads, Agile Coaches, Product Owners and other technical professionals. She sees a pattern that gets in the way of team productivity, effective work and project success. It's the gap between the expectations organizational leaders hold - or were sold - and what's possible under the circumstances. (Twice the work in half the time, anyone?)
Changing those circumstances is the role of agile leaders. While few still believe, "install Scrum, fill up Jira and you're agile," there remains an apparent belief that agility is the responsibility of the development teams, alone. For everyone else, it's business as usual and that leads organizations to to demand and reward heroic behaviour, which leads to quality slips, burnout and interpersonal drama.
In this session, as an agile leader, you'll examine this challenge and explore what you might do about it. We'll create some realistic expectations, based on the patterns of effective teamwork.

Learning Outcomes:
  • After this session, participants will be able to:
  • - Identify situations that can lead to hero syndrome
  • - Recognize the causes and costs of heroes
  • - Display some ways to encourage sustainable work practices
  • - Be prepared to lead discussions and take actions that eliminate the need for heroics


avatar for Sue Johnston

Sue Johnston

Idea Monger, It's Understood/Leanintuit
Sue Johnston's interests have always been communication and teamwork. After a journalism career, she held senior management roles at two Canadian banks, where she was involved in large scale change initiatives and technology implementations. That's where she discovered that the critical... Read More →

Thursday August 9, 2018 10:45 - 12:00 PDT
San Diego A