It has been a month since the inaugural and totally amazing Agile on the Beach event in the Bay of Plenty. Held at the sensational Mount Manganui Life Saver Club House, I wanted to reflect on the experiences I had and how they have impacted me in everyday life.

Firstly, I can’t start this blog without paying homage to the amazing hospitality of the local Iwi who welcomed us to their beautiful mountain with warmth and open arms – thank you. Also, a massive thank you to the organisers, in particular, Colart Miles and David Morris for making this event a reality in New Zealand. A special thanks to the wonderfully talented Anita Hayhoe (future coach in the making) for assisting Adept Group in sponsoring the event. Something we are very proud to be part of.

For those who don’t know, Agile on the Beach is a concept that originated in the UK back in 2011. The intent being to bring together a group of likeminded individuals to discuss changes and advancement in software delivery. Fast forward 8 years and we have finally had our first event here in NZ with a fantastic line up of speakers. AOTB is an event designed by practitioners for practitioners.

The location could not have been more perfect in my opinion; a beautiful mountain, a stunning beach and an abundance of coffee shops. #Perfect. The thing about the location is not just how breath-taking it was, but how at any given moment you could look out a window at the beach and watch the near-perfect waves coming in over and over (wishing I was a surfer), creating a sense of calmness which washed over you with each wave.

Because of this, I found myself wave watching quite a bit. Naturally, I noticed something that I found incredibly interesting, which I thought I would share as it was fitting for the event and this blog.

It was the first day and I was pretty awestruck by the absolute beauty of the Mount, so I took a moment to take it all in. I was watching the surfers (still jealous) carve up the waves when I noticed a young surfer carry a massive paddle board down to the water’s edge. She then spent the next 10 to 20 minutes fighting the brutal onslaught of waves to get through the break and enjoy one of nature’s most beautiful creations – the very waves she had been fighting for the past 20 minutes.

She did this every day that I was there without fail. What I found amazing was how she looked totally calm and at one with herself when she walked up the beach after enjoying some awesome waves. It got me thinking about how in life we all face obstacles (waves in this case) but it’s how we approach them that truly matters. You can either see the waves as a barrier trying to prevent you from reaching your goal or you can see them as a necessary tool in achieving your desired outcome.

I wondered how this would be translatable to the work environment and what relevance there was, if any.

Well as I found out, there is. In today’s Agile world we are working faster than ever to innovate and stay ahead of the game. Change is a constant that none of us can avoid, but if we embrace the waves rather than fight them we can learn strategies to adapt to these challenges and ultimately reach some pretty spectacular outcomes. Easier said than done though as we don’t always see the end of the rough waves when they fill our vision; it’s tough forging fearlessly ahead into the unknown.

Fortunately, the presenters were on hand to discuss methods and tools in order to create clarity when it seems like there is only chaos around you. The discussions we had were immersive and engaging, paving the way towards accepting being imperfect, being mindful or seeing the slope of enlightenment. They were all useful tools which made me realise there is more in us than we realise, and once we understand our wave, we can achieve some spectacular things.

I want to conclude by saying this: find your place of calmness amongst the waves whether it be meditating, going for a walk or simply speaking with a colleague. There are countless ways to find the clarity one needs, so take some your time and find that zen.

Agile on the Beach was an amazing event and an experience I won’t soon forget. Thank you again to all involved and we at Adept will certainly be looking forward to the next one.

Jason Strugnell