Presentation: Self-Selection for Resilience and Better Culture

Track: Human Systems: Hacking the Org

Location: Empire Complex, 7th fl.

Duration: 1:40pm - 2:30pm

Day of week: Monday

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The talent shortage is real. According to CareerBuilder research, 60% of US organizations today can’t fill their open positions in 12 weeks or more. Combined with a high turnover rate, this leads to a massive loss of profit opportunities. How can we create a culture that attracts people and keeps them engaged, motivated, and well-jelled with their teams?  And after they join, how do we build resilience into our teams and the organization?  Empowering people to choose their own teams - a “self selection” - is a great vehicle to build in happiness, resilience and a better culture.       

In this session I will share stories from running successful self-selection events in New York, Dublin and Chicago, and how I prepare technology teams and management for their first self-selection events. Building on the work of Sandi Mamoli and David Mole, I created my own simulation and a “Spooky Questions” game. The game enables open conversations, helps identify unspoken worries and brings in more fun and empathy into a self-selection process.

In this session, you will learn: 

  • a fundamentally different approach to creating high performing teams 
  • five steps to make your first experiment successful
  • how self-selection enables better career path, psychological safety and organizational resiliency. 

Speaker: Dana Pylayeva

Agile/DevOps Trainer & Founder of Agile Play Consulting, LLC

Dana is an independent Agile Coach and trainer with over 20 years of diverse experience in IT.  She’s been on both sides of the “wall of confusion”:  first as a software engineer and then as a DBA Manager in low-latency, high-throughput environments. She’s been fortunate to work with co-located and distributed teams in US, Canada, Ireland, Japan, UK, India and Russia and can share with you their distinct challenges, successes and effective practices. 

Dana is passionate about connecting people in a powerful way for co-creation and learning. She is an educational games designer and author of  “Introduction to DevOps with Lego, Chocolate and Scrum Game”,  “Self-Selection Game” and ”“Fear in the Workplace”.

In the last 5 years, she trained over 2000 people, coached 30 + teams and delivered workshops at 36 conferences in 15 countries.

She is actively involved in Agile community in various roles as a volunteer, reviewer, track chair, program chair and conference chair. Dana is the founder of Big Apple Scrum Day conference and a co-organizer of NYC Scrum User Group and NYC Liberating Structures meetups.

Find Dana Pylayeva at


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