Conference Presentations

Journey to Agility: Leading the Transformation

How far can you take agile within an organization? Is it enough to just focus on agile development practices such as Scrum and XP or is something more needed? Agile is much more than just a development methodology. Beyond product development, it can become an organizational strategy for increased success. Skip Angel shares an example of one company's journey from no knowledge of agile to an organization of high agility. He answers many of your questions about transformation that can help your company on its journey to agility, especially how to get started. Skip describes the preconditions a company must be ready to accept-significant organizational changes and the major activities and events that happen during the transformation process. Agile changes organizations in terms of who they are, how they think, and what they can achieve.

Skip Angel, BigVisible Solutions
Implementing Agile in an FDA-regulated Environment

While many industries have adopted agile, the medical device industry, which develops products for life-critical applications-where quality and reliability are clearly a top-priority, remains largely stuck under the “waterfall.” Medical device firms must comply with FDA regulations that overwhelmingly suggest a controlled, phase-gated approach to software development. Unfortunately, many companies and development organizations interpret FDA regulations to require a steep waterfall. Many industry long-timers incorrectly see agile as an undisciplined style of software development. Neeraj Mainkar demonstrates how those in regulated industries can overcome these and other hurdles. At Neuronetics, he helped implement key elements of agile while fully complying with FDA regulations.

Neeraj Mainkar, Neuronetics
Performance Appraisals for Agile Teams

Traditional performance evaluations, which focus solely on individual performance, create a “chasm of disconnect” for agile team members. Because agile is all about team performance and trust, the typical HR performance evaluation system is not congruent with agile development. Based on his practical experience leading agile teams, Michael Hall explores how measurements drive behavior, why team measurement is important, what to measure, and what not to measure. Michael introduces tangible techniques for measuring agile team performance-end of sprint retrospectives, sprint and project report cards, peer reviews, and annual team performance reviews. To demonstrate what he’s describing, Michael uses role plays to contrast traditional, dysfunctional annual reviews with agile-focused performance reviews.

Michael Hall, WorldLink, Inc.
Enterprise Agile: From the Top Down

Now that agile has gone mainstream, team-level development is not the only way organizations are implementing agile. Some senior management teams are trying to understand how they can implement agile-and lean-principles and practices from the top down. Jon Stahl demonstrates agile and lean techniques applied in a new way with certain constraints. With these techniques, your organization can begin its journey toward becoming an agile enterprise. However, before beginning, it is important that management “see the whole”-customers, projects, applications, people, leadership, financials, and standard work products-and start implementing and practicing the culture they wish to create. To help PMOs support this journey, Jon shares some guiding principles that can be applied to both agile and waterfall approaches.

Jon Stahl, LeanDog Software, Inc.
Why Continuous Improvement Programs Fail: Can Kaizen and WIP Help?

If you have established an agile or lean development approach and aren’t experiencing meaningful innovations or improvements in your process, this session is for you. Michael DePaoli shares an interdisciplinary understanding of why change initiatives so often fail and what to do about it. Join Michael and your peers to explore the neuroscience behind change and review the patterns of cultural, organizational, and behavioral dysfunction that impede improvement efforts. To address these challenges, Michael explores the kaizen philosophy of change and why optimizing from a current situation is often better than attempting revolutionary changes. Through the use of an innovation game, you’ll have an opportunity to share your challenges with continuous improvement and work with Michael and other participants to map out a new approach.

Michael DePaoli, VersionOne, Inc.
Development Productivity: The Science behind Motivation

When there is a defined task with a clear set of rules to follow, rewards are an excellent way to encourage desired behavior. In situations where creativity, innovation, and thinking “outside the box” are essential-as in software development-rewards are actually a terrible strategy to use. They narrow the person’s focus and restrict possibilities. When it comes to your creative work, wouldn’t you be happier and more motivated if you were given the freedom to choose how you work? Russell Pannone discusses the science behind motivation and reports on research showing that, when doing knowledge work, reward-based systems actually hinder our efforts. Learn better ways to motivate yourself and your team-ways that allow individuals and groups to control the direction of their work, fulfill their desire to excel, and do something that really matters.

Russell Pannone, We Be Agile
Risk-based Development with Standards-compliant Software

When challenged with designing and developing standards-compliant software using a risk-based approach, it is essential to understand regulatory law, industry best practices, and the consensus standards recognized by regulatory bodies (FDA, ISO, and the EU). Thomas Bento helps you sort through the challenges of regulatory expectations to move confidently and defensibly forward with risk-based development using consensus standards, including IEC 62304 and ISO 14971. Learn valuable ways to augment your existing software lifecycle processes with these standards, how the standards impact industry, how to demonstrate your process for compliance audits, and ultimately how to submit to the FDA with confidence. Apply critical thinking to determine the appropriate amount of rigor for software design and development with a risk-based approach that maps your context to the Processes, Activities, and Tasks required by the standard.

Thomas Bento, Certified Compliance Solutions
Carrot and Sticks: What Incentives Really Work?

It's surprising how little of the research around incentives has made it into regular management practice. Widespread belief is that the debate is first about carrots vs. sticks and then about the kinds of carrots or sticks. Cognitive scientists, however, suggest that carrots result only in temporary compliance. Rewards, like punishment, are ineffective in producing lasting change. Numerous studies show that offering incentives is not only less effective than other strategies but often proves worse than doing nothing at all. Organizations seem to focus on the effects of variations in incentives and not on whether performance-based pay has a real effect on performance levels. Managers often use incentives instead of giving workers what they need to do a good job: treating workers well, providing useful feedback, offering social support, and allowing room for self-determination.

Linda Rising, Independent Consultant
Faltering Projects: Getting Them Back on Track

Are you concerned that your project is in trouble? Perhaps the team has missed some deadlines. No one can show a demo. The testers are finding more defects that anyone expected. And, because you are starting to have delays, the stakeholders want more features in this release. You know that things are not hunky-dory with your project. Johanna Rothman first discusses the measurements you can take to evaluate progress-cumulative flow, fault feedback ratio, and defect trends. Next, she describes approaches she's used to rescue projects-time-boxing, working by feature, using demos to demonstrate progress, and managing scope changes that can slow down your project. You'll learn the options you have for getting the project back on track and keeping it there through this release and into the future.

Johanna Rothman, Rothman Consulting Group, Inc.
Teamwork Is an Individual Skill

Are you in this situation? You share responsibility with others to get things done, and, although you are not in charge of them and they are not in charge of you, your individual performance, credibility, and perhaps even your paycheck depend on what you accomplish with them. Knowing how to get things done with others over whom you have no direct authority may be your greatest leverage for career success-and your success in developing high-value software. Christopher Avery shares his communication framework for building and leading cohesive, high-performance teams. You don't need to be a smooth-talker or an extrovert to master this approach. The fundamental challenge is helping team members understand the differences between responsibility and accountability, and mastering the dynamics of everyone's assuming shared responsibility for success.

Christopher Avery, Partnerworks Inc.


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