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What is an Extreme Meeting?

· Agile Zone

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Stairs made it "easier"
I definitely have to give the nod to Jon Stahl on this one. I'm not sure where he got the idea. I've not asked. But it wouldn't surprise me if he came up with it all on his own. If you know Jon, you know what many of us would consider extreme is pretty commonplace for him. If you get the opportunity to sit down with him and you don't want to talk about agile or lean, be sure to ask him about his trip to the far north. It is an epic story.

The basic premise is simple; get out and do something that tests your stamina, creates a sense of team, and allows you to have discussions you might not otherwise have.

So far, I have to say I am a fan. I liked the concept, but was apprehensive of the potential outcome. My primary concern was if everyone could make a 14 mile challenging hike. We placed a vehicle at the turn-around point, which helped. We also chose a route that started easy, got more difficult, and then ended very flat and easy. Warm up, work hard, cool down.



Status Update
We preselected a few important strategic topics. Individuals were assigned responsibility for the items. To be quite specific, we ran an A3 process several days prior to the hike. But the A3 piece is not necessary, only a select set of key topics and an "owner" for each topic.


We were headed out for a 14 mile hike, so we broke the hike up into sections approximately three miles each. The team met at the trail head and each topic owner gave a brief overview of their item. We then split up into small groups, each focused on a specific topic.

Jon Selects a Lunch Spot
We hiked a leg of the trail, talking over our thoughts and ideas on the specific topic. The topic owner facilitated the session, making sure we stayed near enough to the original topic, without entirely dominating and controlling the discussion.

At the end of each leg, we briefly discussed the experience as a larger group. We then split up into new groups. We decided at each point if we wanted to retire a topic and introduce a new one or continue with a prior topic. It was all quite dynamic and the general lack of formal agenda allowed us to organize around things as we thought necessary.


Discussing Strategy
At the end of the hike, we met at The Winking Lizard in Peninsula, OH. The Lizard is a wings and beer pub that has been around for many years. It was a nice venue to wind-down, have a drink, and get something to eat.

We generally agreed to try mini-presentations at each break. This would allow each of us to get a quick (3-minute) update on each of the topics.

Next Event

We are thinking about an over-night canoe trip for the next one. Clearly, this will have to wait until the weather is more appropriate. Other suggestions were sky diving, rappelling, and white water rafting. They all sound fun (or at least extreme), but it is important that the activity provide for discussion first and foremost. I, for one, would have a hard time holding a conversation while simultaneously fighting to hold down my lunch.

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Published at DZone with permission of Michael Norton , DZone MVB .

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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