I spent last few days at Kanban Leadership Retreat. An original David Anderson’s idea was to gather in one place thought-leaders working on Kanban and provide them a platform to exchange experience, ideas and thoughts. I must say it kinda scratched my ego in its back to be invited.
Anyway I’m still impressed how great the event went. I mean, I know that gathering some great minds in one place and giving them free beer (one evening only, but still) is a sure-shot recipe for a stunning success. To be honest, I did have high expectations. Basically all of them were exceeded.
As the retreat worked as unconference vast majority of sessions ended up as discussions. There was little-to-none pre-prepared content which was both good and bad. It was good because it really enabled a lot of good discussions and thought exchange but there were moments when I’d appreciate a bit of structure, which is naturally brought by standard presentations.
Personally I’d also prefer to see sessions a bit more focused on real-life stories than on meta-level but I guess expectations on this one differed.
Anyway, volume of mind-blowing ideas I’m still trying to think through was astonishingly high. After all, what could you have expected after inviting all those though-leaders, and I take the word “leader” very seriously here, to the same place? By the way: you can definitely expect some of those ideas shared here in near future.
Actually I went to the retreat with a goal to discuss a few of them: portfolio-level Kanban, Kanban failures and methods of selling Kanban to teams and organizations. Lucky me, each of them have made it to the event program. And basically each of the sessions looked totally different than I’d projected. This basically means I got a new, and unexpected, perspective on ideas I’d already had which, by the way, might make attending my future sessions on Kanban way more valuable, if you excuse this shameful plug.
But all in all it wasn’t the content which was the most valuable for me. People were. I always say that networking is the most important part of any event but this time it was totally on steroids. The format of unconference, the choice of people and never-ending Icelandic days made it the ultimate networking event. If, by any chance, I looked as a child in chocolate factory please forgive me – I had damn good reasons to look so.
I should probably mention all great folks I was talking to, which would be kind of boring for people who weren’t there, so I’ll refrain (BTW: if somebody is curious please check people I recently followed on Twitter). But if you are the one of them I’d like to genuinely thank you for all the stuff I learned from you.
Personally I will be there next year. That’s no-brainer for me. If any of you, by any chance, is invited you shouldn’t hesitate whether it is a good idea to go even for a second.