Poetry as companion in product development

Many product teams have rituals and a cadence they follow, or aspire to follow. We have daily stand-up calls, weekly demos, sprint retrospectives, sprint plannings, monthly presentations to upper management, and quarterly business reviews. What can we learn from poetry about how to apply rhythm intentionally? Excellent poetry also makes us feel. When a moving poem makes us sorrowful, elated, strong, excited, or vulnerable, that poem makes us complicit in that feeling, as if the writer were reaching out a hand to us. We at Ada’s List know this sentiment well because we are clear that we are co-conspirators taking a stand for professional women. What can we learn from poetry about extending that tender hand to help our teammates, stakeholders, employees, and customers feel psychologically safe and ready to collaborate with us? Let’s play with poetry together and see what it teaches about how to choreograph and cultivate collaboration.

Hua Szu Yang


By the time of her talk, Hua Szu Yang has newly started at MobileIron, where her aim is to be a force multiplier for how the company goes to market. Whether she is creating delightful technology products or offering up crunchy radishes for people to practice languages with her, she cherishes collaborators who embrace curiosity together. Hua Szu is also a writer, transformation coach, mental health advocate, and forever pupil of holistic fitness.

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