Conference Presentations

"With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" - Empowering the Agile Team

Managers at many levels are often afraid to let go of the reins for fear of losing control of the project (and their position of power). V. Lee Henson explains the benefits of letting go and outlines the expectations of a responsible, empowered agile team. Through presentation of multiple real-world scenarios and years of project management experience, Lee will show that often our own human nature is the greatest impediment to being a better manager. Lee focuses on the attributes of an effective agile manager/leader, the expectations and attributes of an empowered agile team, the pitfalls and warning signs of a "damaged" team, and the rewards an organization can expect from adhering to basic agile principles. You will leave with the tools to help any agile team become more empowered.

V. Lee Henson, VersionOne, Inc.
Assessing Your Agility

Are you curious how "agile" your organization is? Do you wonder how you compare with other organizations that have been using agile for a similar amount of time? Do you want an authoritative source of information to help guide your successful transition to agile? Mike Cohn and Kenny Rubin present a framework for assessing organizational agility. Specifically, they examine the areas of teamwork, requirements, planning, technical practices, quality, culture, and knowledge creation. Mike and Kenny describe how to use a framework to assess agility at various times during an organization's adoption of agile and how to derive actionable information from each assessment. Mike, Kenny, and their colleagues have collected over 300 assessment surveys from participants working on agile projects around the world. They will present preliminary industry-specific findings derived from analyzing the results of these assessments.

Mike Cohn, Mountain Goat Software
Agile Development Practices 2008: When to Step Up, When to Step Back: How to Lead Collaboration

Leaders can stifle progress when they interfere with team processes. But as a leader, you don't want an on-track project to go over the cliff and deliver the wrong results either. There are times when leaders should stand back and let the team work and times when they should step up and lead. How do we know which is which? Pollyanna Pixton focuses on collaboration and teaches you how to step back by unleashing the talent in your organization and teams. Learn how to create an open environment that fosters innovation and creativity and how to let your team members take ownership and hold themselves accountable. Equally important, develop the techniques to step up and lead without impeding the flow of ideas, yet keep the project on track. Master this balancing act and come away with tools to both motivate and guide effectively.

Pollyanna Pixton, Accelinnova
Selling Agile: Getting Buy-in from Your Team, Customers, and Managers

Are you excited by the potential of agile software development, but find that your colleagues are a bit reticent? Is your whole team ready to dive in, but your business partner is only interested in dipping in their big toe-if that? Or maybe you're wishing you could find a way to convince your clients that there's a better way to contract for a software development job-without having to do a full-blown detailed design upfront? Michele Sliger discusses all of these questions surrounding how to best "sell" agile in your organization. Michele focuses on the general idea of a "sales pitch", including what to say and what not to say. Then she discusses selling agile to the team, to management, to the customer, and to others in your organization. She wraps up with a pointed look at not selling, and instead focusing on finding other ways to promote and share agile.

Michele Sliger, Sliger Consulting, Inc.
Beware of Your Brain

Cognitive scientists tell us that we are more productive and happier when our behavior matches our brain's hardwiring-when what we do and why we do it matches the way we have evolved to survive over tens of thousands of years. One problematic behavior humans have is that we are hardwired to instantly decide who we trust. And we generally aren't aware of these decisions-it just happens. Linda Rising explains that this hardwired "trust evaluation" can get in the way of working well with others. Pairing, the daily stand up, and close communication with the customer and others outside the team go a long way to overcome our instant evaluation of others. As Linda helps you gain a better understanding of this mechanism in your behavior and what agile processes can do to help, you are more likely to build better interpersonal relationships.

Linda Rising, Independent Consultant
Collaborative Leadership: A Secret to Agile Success

When members of a development project are asked to become a self-directed agile team, some claim that leadership and leaders are obsolete. Or, is a different type of leadership exactly what agile teams need to truly flourish? Pollyanna Pixton describes a new, collaborative leadership style that does not attempt to control or micro-manage. It's one that asks the right questions at the right time to generate new ideas and develop creative products that customers need and want. Pollyanna explains the four areas of collaborative leadership-creating an open environment where the best people can work, learning from stakeholders throughout the enterprise, prioritizing innovative solutions based on business value, and standing back to allow the team to succeed.

Pollyanna Pixton, Accelinnova
Value Stream Mapping - Extending Our View to the Enterprise

What if the process improvements you are trying to make are not where your real problems lie? Assuming where your problems are is often the biggest problem. Alan Shalloway presents value stream maps, a Lean tool that focuses on finding waste in your development process. Alan presents an example of a value stream map that resulted in a twenty percent productivity improvement to the development team without modifying how the team worked. After this introduction to value stream mapping, you will create your own maps to learn how to improve your own processes and to learn the basic lean principles of optimize the whole, deliver fast, and build quality in. Alan demonstrates how focusing on improving the flow of software development from a time perspective can lead to a higher quality, lower cost process.

Alan Shalloway, Net Objectives
Agile Project Metrics

Agile projects and traditional projects are tracked differently. The key difference is that agile projects track outcomes; traditional projects track activities. Project managers who are new to agile are often unsure which measures are relevant to which stakeholders and how to interpret them, and how agile metrics tie back to some of the more familiar forms of project reporting. Dave Nicolette explains how agile projects are tracked, which metrics are useful to which audiences, and how to monitor project health, delivery effectiveness, and the quality and value of the results. Dave describes the reasons to choose particular metrics, how to use metrics for informational, diagnostic, and motivational purposes, and the time-sensitivity of metrics. Dave also explains the meaning and use of measures peculiar to agile methods, such as "velocity," "running tested features," "earned business value," and "burn charts".

David Nicolette, Valtech Technologies
Calling all Agile Skeptics - the Curious, and Die-Hard, Non-Agile

Not convinced about agile? Curious about this new approach, but not sure it makes any sense? Does it feel like agile goes against everything your experience tells you is the right thing to do? Damon Poole examines your concerns, doubts, counter-examples, and horror-stories. If you are interested in helping to answer the concerns of others, then bring your answers, positive examples, and experiences. In either case, bring an open mind, a sense of humor, and at least one anecdote. Delegates will share the floor and help to keep the atmosphere fun and relaxed. Come and learn how some of the practices that may be fueling your skepticism are either optional or only work when done in conjunction with other practices. For instance, frequent releases are not required and short iterations work best when coupled with automated regression testing.

Damon Poole, AccuRev
Driving Agile Transformation from the Top Down

While agile practices are starting to make their way into large enterprises, in most instances this has been a "bottom up" movement driven through grassroots efforts. But, as success stories draw attention to the benefits of agile practices, an increasing number of executives are considering making an organization-wide agile transition. It is an attractive idea, but what does an agile transition look like when it comes as a mandate from the top? How do you scale agile principles from a single team to an enterprise with multiple teams working on multiple projects? Pete Morowski shares practical answers to these questions, addressing issues such as the role of management in creating an agile culture, bridging "two worlds" as traditional and agile co-exist in the enterprise, and rewriting the "rules" to fit the organization.

David Wilby, Borland Software


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