Conference Presentations

Organizing to Fulfill the Product Owner Role

At Yahoo!, the product owner role is defined as the "single wringable neck" who ensures that software products and projects deliver value. Many organizations struggle to fill this role that collaborates with stakeholders to define value and manage a backlog, provides tactical support to the delivery team, and directs the product and project vision and roadmap. For most organizations, the reality is that it takes a whole team of people to fill this role. Ronica Roth begins with a quick overview of the product owner responsibilities, particularly in the context of the five levels of agile planning. She then presents patterns and examples for organizing product and customer groups in product companies, consulting shops, and internal IT departments. Soliciting your ideas, Ronica leads a discussion of the successes and challenges of those patterns and of your experiences with them.

Ronica Roth, Rally Software
Re-thinking Scheduling: Parkinson's Law Inverted

The Empire State Building-the tallest building in the world for over forty years-took just 13½ months to build. Amazing as this may seem today, it was not remarkable at the time; most skyscrapers were built in about a year. How did they do that? In those days, cash flow was more important than cost, and schedule routinely trumped scope. The paradigm was the inverse of Parkinson's Law-work should contract to fit the time allotted. Today, Parkinson's Law is alive and well in current scheduling approaches that break work down into tasks, estimate the tasks, and sum up the result. This approach invites work on each task to expand to fit the estimated time. Mary Poppendieck will show why you should not ask, "How long will this take?", but ask instead, "What can be done by this date?" You will learn how to accomplish more with less by applying cash flow thinking and turning Parkinson's Law upside down.

Mary Poppendieck, Poppendieck LLC
Agile Contracting

Many software development organizations work within the bounds of contractual agreements where the limitations imposed by the "Iron Triangle" of fixed timelines, budgets, and scope challenge their ability to embrace change and focus on value delivery. Agile practitioners often comment that agile contracting is a difficult problem, but proven solutions are rarely presented. Rachel Weston and Chris Spagnuolo offer some tools they have used in their own agile contracting work to help agile practitioners deal with different contracting scenarios while promoting agile practices, protecting the development organization, and still providing value and protection to the client's organization. Through a combined workshop and facilitated collaborative session, Rachel and Chris present new agile contracting tools that can be added to your toolbox.

Rachel Weston, Rally Software Development
Agile Development Practices 2008: The Agile PMP: Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Agile methods put a great deal of emphasis on trust, empowerment, and collaboration. Agile moves us away from command and control project management toward an approach designed to harness the passion, creativity, and enthusiasm of the team. A successful transition to agile project management hinges largely on how well traditional project managers are able to adopt new ways of thinking about project structure and control. Building on the principles of PMI® and the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), Mike will explore how a PMP can adapt their knowledge and experience to become an effective agile project leader. Mike will tackle the hidden assumptions behind the PMBOK and explore a more agile approach to managing time, cost, and scope. He will take an in-depth look at the PMI Processes and Knowledge areas and explore how to adapt them to agile projects.

Michael Cottmeyer, VersionOne, Inc.
What are they Doing Down There? A CIO's Perspective on Agile Software Development

What are the factors critical to the success of a CIO? How can a CIO consistently deliver business value? Do development teams, in general, and agile teams, in particular, understand how to contribute to this success? In this interactive presentation, Niel Nickolaisen presents the metrics and drivers that influence CIO behavior and longevity. These metrics and drivers also influence the organization's decision to embrace agile methods. Niel shares his experiences and the survey responses from his CIO peers on how development teams and CIOs can work hand-in-hand to make agile the preferred development method. Niel introduces and describes immediately-implementable, proven tools that dramatically improve IT and business value while reducing project risks.

Niel Nickolaisen, Headwaters, Inc.
Are We There Yet? Defining "Done"

"Are you done yet?" The answer to this question may sink your career, your team, and your project. If you respond with a "yes," you may be forced to take on additional work you can't handle. If you say "no," you may be branded as someone who can't get things done. Mitch Lacey notes that this innocent question is asked countless times on almost every software project. Establishing an upfront, common understanding of "done" can save teams and businesses countless hours of rework, process-thrash, unclear communication, and hidden work. Mitch describes what a "done list" is, how it adds value, and the value it communicates to stakeholders. Mitch takes you through an exercise on how to establish a common understanding of done and provides an exercise that you can use with your project teams.

Mitch Lacey, Mitch Lacey & Associates, Inc.
Overcoming the Pitfalls of Transitioning to Agile

If you've been trying to change your organization so that your projects are more agile, you may have encountered several problems-one is that it's difficult to have product management, senior management, and functional managers work together to lead in a way that makes sense for your agile project. You're also probably working with other parts of a large program that isn't agile; you have a geographically distributed team; your management wants to know at the beginning when the project will end; or you might have a project team that does not share a common vision of what "done" means. Johanna Rothman explores common organization, management, team, and individual team member issues. She offers suggestions for making the changes more acceptable and helping people work with you in a way that enables your projects to succeed.

Johanna Rothman, Rothman Consulting Group, Inc.
Seven Years Later: What the Agile Manifesto Left Out

Although the Agile Manifesto has worked well to help many organizations change the way they build software, the agile movement is now suffering from some backsliding, lots of overselling, and a resulting backlash. Brian Marick believes that is partly because the Agile Manifesto is almost entirely focused outwardly—it talks to the business about how the development team will work with it. What it does not talk about is how the team must work within itself and with the code. Even though those omissions were appropriate then, now more is needed. Teams starting agile need to know that more discipline is required of them, and that discipline is fruitless without a strong emphasis on skills. Teams need to recognize that success is not just fulfilling requirements. It is also increasing productivity and decreasing the consequences of mistakes.

Brian Marick, Exampler Consulting
Going Mobile: The New Challenges for Testers

Mobile device manufacturers face many challenges bringing quality products to market. Most testing methodologies were created for data processing, client/server, and Web products. As such, they often fail to address key areas of interest to mobile applications-usability, security, and stability. Wayne Hom discusses approaches you can use to transform requirements into usability guides and use cases into test cases to ensure maximum test coverage. He discusses automation frameworks that support multiple platforms to reduce test cycle times and increase test coverage, while measuring and reporting at the different phases of the software lifecycle. Wayne presents case studies to illustrate how to reduce test cycles by up to 75 percent. He demonstrates solutions that have helped providers of third-party applications and services manage testing cycles for multiple mobile device releases.

Wayne Hom, Augmentum Inc.
Database Locking: What Testers Should Know, Why Testers Should Care

Database locking is a complicated technical issue for some testers. Although we often think that this issue belongs in the realm of the developer and the DBA-"It's not my problem"-database locking is the enemy of functional and performance testers. As Justin Callison can personally attest, locking defects have led to many disasters in production systems. However, there is hope! Justin sheds light on the problem of database locking, how it varies among different platforms, and the application issues that can arise. Armed with a new understanding of database locking, you can develop effective testing strategies. Join in and learn about these strategies: designing explicit locking tests, ensuring appropriate test data, implementing sufficient monitoring, and combining manual with automated testing to avoid disaster.

Justin Callison, Peak Performance Technologies


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