Agile Arizona 2016


Arizona's First Regional Agile Conference

Friday, May 6, 2016

At Infusionsoft in Chandler, Arizona (click for map)

Friday, May 6 - Agile Arizona 2016 conference
Until Mar 20


Mar 21 - Apr 17


Apr 18 - May 6


Thursday, May 5 - Take Advantage of Pre-Conference Workshops
until Mar 20


Mar 21 - Apr 17


Apr 18 - May 5


Thu workshops -
Thank you AZ!

Agile Arizona 2016

Agile Arizona is a full-day regional conference for Scrum and Agile practitioners, coaches, trainers and enthusiasts. Agile Arizona 2016 is the inaugural event, brought to you by the Phoenix Scrum User Group with the goal of providing a full day that mixes passionate people, great ideas, and industry best practices in a unique and creative setting.


Real stories. Real techniques. Real results.
20 sessions and a day of workshops to accelerate your learning.


Your experience is likely the very story someone needs to hear.
Share it with others.


Stretch your capabilities to the next level.
Grow beyond your current impediments.

Receive PDU and/or SEU credits!*

* Note that PDU credits are subject to final approval from PMI, and SEU credits are subject to final approval from the Scrum Alliance.

Conference Schedule - Friday May 6

Click on the session title to open up a detailed description





Linda Rising
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I've wondered for some time whether much of Agile's success was the result of the placebo effect, that is, good things happened because we believed they would. The placebo effect is a startling reminder of the power our minds have over our perceived reality. Now cognitive scientists tell us that this is only a small part of what our minds can do. Research has identified what I like to call "an agile mindset," an attitude that equates failure and problems with opportunities for learning, a belief that we can all improve over time, that our abilities are not fixed but evolve with effort. What's surprising about this research is the impact of an agile mindset on creativity and innovation, estimation, and collaboration in and out of the workplace. I'll relate what's known about this mindset and share some practical suggestions that can help all of us become even more agile.


Break / Snacks


Robert Pieper
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You've just been placed on a team but something feels weird. People disagree constantly and when you do finally agree, no one commits to the solution. Perhaps you have a really vocal team member that dominates all the conversation. Do you trust your team members? do they trust you? How's that going for you?

Too often work teams don’t act like teams, but like a collection of individuals with separate agendas. To be a team, better yet, a high-performing team, something must be done differently. High-performing teams are made, not born. Teams take ongoing care and maintenance to work well together; I believe teams need someone like a therapist to help work through the people problems that often destroy the fabric of an otherwise high-functioning team.

Is that therapist-like person you? Are you a Scrum Master on a Scrum team with great people skills? Are you a people manager willing to develop better team gardening skills? are you just a person concerned with team health? In this presentation we will discuss ideas around team building, trust building and conflict mining to create and sustain high-performance teams.

Doug Gavilanes & Faye Hall

You probably have heard it all about the many Agile successes there are or perhaps nearly failed, yet back on track. The truth is the Agile journey is indeed a journey that requires appetite to lead well in a wide range of circumstances, especially new, changing, and ambiguous situations. Agile transformations at large enterprises are challenging to say the least! Many start as a grassroots movement for all of the “right” Agile reasons: accelerate time-to-market, provide early visibility, incorporate changing requirements with lower cost of change, and more. Some come out of the gates deploying a number strategies to enable an organization to transform and confidence as you can imagine would be extremely high.

Then we accelerated and that’s when it got hard!

Different groups ceased the window of opportunity, while others revolt. Then, there are those who continue on and realize that Enterprise Agile Transformation is not only about Agile methods. Are we doing it right? Not necessarily, because this is really hard. But, we are continuously evolving and gaining much insight and learning to close the gap between our Agile framework and people’s behavioral changes.

Come share our frustration or even cry with us as we build our future on how keeping to old ways of doing things actually prevent us from seizing upon opportunities outside of the box.

Hart Shafer

While innovation has always been the lifeblood of young companies, the pace of change in the business world today means that companies of all sizes are feeling the pressure to constantly invent and reinvent. Historically, team leaders and executives have pursued innovation through a “find the most clever person” strategy, which the data show is a highly ineffective approach.

In this session, you will learn frameworks for thinking about innovation in teams and organizations, as well as concrete tips and techniques for building a culture of innovation. With examples from a wide variety of industries and organization types, this session is appropriate for team members, team leaders, and senior leaders.

Andy Miller & Ross Beamish

Mob Programming is, as described by its community leader from, Woody Zuill, all the smart people focused on the same problem at the same time using the same computer. Come discuss with us what this means, how it works, and what we've learned about the practice after adopting it and using it for more than a year on a couple of different teams at Infusionsoft.

Catherine Louis

You are understaffed, overworked, and behind on your commitments. Your go-to person just quit, leaving an unbelievable void of knowledge. If the old-school ways of attracting talent—advertising on job boards, filtering résumés, interviewing candidates are not working, then this session is for you. Catherine Louis says the tables have turned. The balance of power has shifted from the employer doing the hiring to candidates operating more as free agents and selecting the job. Leaders must learn how to build teams that engage employees as sensitive, passionate, creative contributors. A shift is needed, from trying to enact the perfect hiring schema toward focusing on building an irresistible organization that attracts top talent. Join Catherine in this hands-on working session to learn how to hack the traditional HR hiring system to find the right people for your team, how to interview a potential new team member with empathy, and what new team members expect from their new companies. Discover how you can attract the top talent you need to deliver products that delight your customers.


Break / Snacks


Alan Dayley
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Managers can feel a bit lost in the transformation to Agile frameworks. Often they are simply told to leave the teams alone and be supportive. What does that mean? In this presentation we will explore a spectrum of leadership patterns. Importantly, we will explore how these patterns engender or hinder Agile values and principles in the people around the manager. Empowerment, while a great concept, might actually prevent your teams from reaching their full, high performing potential. We will explore the leadership behaviors that tap the full potential of your teams.

Larry Gorman
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Lessons learned on how to migrate a dev shop to agile.

Why do so many agile transition efforts seem to fail? Poor collaboration, lack of buy-in from key stakeholders, fear and resistance to change could all be causes, but at the heart of the matter is the misconception that agile is just a set of processes for software development. Sure, agile brings with it a set of frameworks for building software, but at its core agile is really about culture. Larry discusses how treating your first agile project as the first step toward a much larger cultural transformation can help you avoid abandoning agile before it has a chance to succeed. He shares lessons learned from his own experiences leading agile transformations, and practical tips to help you start your new lifestyle on the right path to success.

Larry Cummings
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“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.” This statement is one of the most important Agile values, and one I subscribe to. But tooling cannot be ignored when applying Agile principles. In this talk I will guide you on how to effectively navigate tool evaluation and implementation while honoring this Agile principle. To this end I will be focusing on how software project collaboration tools, like Atlassian tools I work with every day, should be tuned to best meet how your teams work. I'll talk about my experiences coaching organizations that incorrectly expected tool adoption would deliver improved process and collaborative culture to their team simply as a result of installing a tool.

Stjepan Rajko
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Epic features, large refactoring tasks, and other giant beasts are notoriously hard to estimate, plan, and implement effectively. While estimating anything is hard, giant beasts with unpredictable movements are even harder. And when the estimate of resources required to tackle the beast is a big question mark, planning it into a sprint / release schedule is a daunting task. But nothing is more daunting than committing to a schedule, and half-way through implementation realizing that the giant you set out to defeat is actually four giants lead by a mutant tuna-fish (and half-way is actually tenth-way).

Stjepan shares real-world examples of tackling such giant beasts, some that went well and some not so well, and distills lessons learned into practical advice. The examples include a refactoring task that went unexpectedly well, a refactoring task that went incredibly wrong, a seemingly small feature that lead to a desire to spend days curled up in the fetal position, and a large feature that’s going pretty well for now.

Peter Green

If you're looking at Scaling sessions, you're probably in one of four categories: 1) You are using a scaling framework and want to make it work better, 2) You are evaluating various scaling frameworks and struggling to pick the one that will work best in your organization, 3) You want to "roll your own" scaling framework that is custom fit for your organization, and want to make sure that you create something that will lead to a truly Agile Organization, or 4) You want to "scale agile" outside of just the IT/development group in your organization.

While the idea of taking something that works really well at the team level and scaling it up seems logical, the core characteristics of successful teams are really hard to duplicate outside of a small number of people. In addition, this type of fractal approach is just one of several possible scenarios for scaling. This has resulted in scaling approaches that assume trust, accountability, and transparency of information without putting effective systems and structures in place to achieve those characteristics at the organizational level.

In this session, we'll share a set of principles that we've discovered from our years of working with organizations of all types (including non-software) to help them become Agile Organizations at scale. These principles can be applied to any scaling framework, they are agnostic in nature in order to be useful in helping you do any of the following: 1) Strengthen the effectiveness and agility of your chosen scaling framework, 2) Select a scaling framework that will best fit your organizational context, 3) Focus on the most important considerations if you are "rolling your own" scaling approach, and 4) Scale Agile thinking and approaches beyond development and IT.

Our principles based approach examines what Agile Organizations do to achieve those same benefits beyond just scaling to more agile teams working on projects, programs or portfolios. The principles can be used to achieve true Organizational Agility, which is necessary to remain competitive and make a difference in the 21st century.




Linda Rising
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It’s surprising how little of the research around incentives has made it into practice. There’s widespread belief that the debate is around carrots vs. sticks or if it’s carrots or sticks, what kind of carrots or sticks. It’s also surprising how the understanding of this fundamental topic eludes many well-respected, experienced practitioners and coaches. Many managers (and parents) have NOT read Alfie Kohn’s book, Punished by Rewards, even though it was published in 1993. Now there’s even more research to show what incentives work (and don't work) for individuals and teams. This presentation will attempt to bring in the latest and help those of us who care about development teams to learn what works best.

Alicia R. McLain
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“Never pull anything into a sprint that is not ready and never let anything out of a sprint that is not done”. Ready and done are two terms everyone relies on and no-one defines. Don’t let these key terms derail your projects.

Teams that are face to face or across the globe need to be speaking the same language when it comes to these key stability states. Knowing the baseline and finding a way to have the conversation with your team can help take you and your team to the next level. While this comes from Agile and Scrum, these terms and a team’s common understanding of them are vital to any project’s performance.

Mike DePaoli

Organizations in the midst of a bottoms-up agile transformation can find themselves in a quandary. Even though some (or even all) teams may have adopted agile at the developer / program level, PMOs are often still required to plan, resource, and report on progress with almost no consideration given to the methodologies of the underlying work. This session will address questions like:

- How can an organization that practices traditional strategic planning at the executive level map budgets and plans down to Agile teams, and have reporting roll back up in a way that maps back to the original planning process?

- What does it really mean for an organization to become “Agile” at the portfolio and enterprise level?

- As organizations transform to an agile approach, how do leaders avoid creating two separate reporting structures to understand progress?

- How can portfolio and enterprise level planners put in plans to transform the entire organization (top-to-bottom) to an agile model?

Dimitri Ponomareff
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Organizational agility has been defined as the ability of an organization to effectively sense and adapt in complex, rapidly changing conditions so that it can thrive as an organization. In order to achieve great agility, organizations must have a Plan to achieve specific results, define an ideal way to Scale the way they work, and be fully transparent in the way they Flow the work across the organization. In this presentation, we will look at the 5 levels of planning in Agile, various models to scale Agile within an organization and simple ways to visualize the flow of work based on empirical data and innovation accounting.

Richard Kasperowski

Want an awesome team that builds great products? Great teams don’t happen by accident and they don't have to take a long time to build. In this keynote, Richard lays out the case for Continuous (Extreme) Teaming. Session participants will join in a flight of fun learning activity-sets. These will give you a taste of team awesomeness and how to start when you go back to work.

Richard builds on the work of Jim and Michele McCarthy, Bruce Tuckman, Gamasutra, Standish Group, Peter Drucker, and Melvin Conway. His learning activity-sets are short games, using elements from improvisational theater, The Core Protocols, Extreme Programming, and more.

Who should attend? Anyone who wants to create a great team and build great products. You’ll leave having embodied the essential elements of accelerated continuous team-building and awesomeness maintenance.

For those who want to get the most out of the session and activities, Richard suggests that you get a copy of his book, The Core Protocols: A Guide to Greatness, read with a marker pen, and come with questions about who, when, and where to use a protocol.


Break / Snacks


Mike Cottmeyer
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The deeper we go down the path of scaled agile transformation, the more we learn that adding additional process and complexity can only get us part of the way there. At some point, size and complexity is going to limit our ability to be truly agile. The challenge is that large organizations are often complex and anything but simple. We have to stop chasing advanced ways to manage complexity and seek effective patterns for moving toward greater simplicity. In short, it’s not the end-state of transformation we must stay focused on; it’s the systematic process of reducing complexity that is critical to achieving your business goals. This talk will explore the three things you need to know to successfully transform any sized organization into an agile enterprise.

Mark French & Michael Vizdos

Blueprint Education operates four schools in Arizona. We serve “at risk” students from grades 3-12.

Over the past two years we have applied agile principles in our schools. We are passionate about establishing self-directed, cross-functional teams of students and staff who are empowered to innovate through iterations. We support the idea that the best decisions are made by those closest to the action. An agile-inspired educational framework provides students with the tools they need in life. Our students will be able to adapt in any environment because they have the flexibility to overcome professional and personal impediments.

We want to inspire students to make better choices and be champions of their own learning.

In this session we will share how we applied agile principles and the scrum framework at Hope High School and Blueprint High School:
- Culture shift
- Staff training
- New tools to facilitate student empowerment
- Shared leadership
- Student skills matrix
- Student reviews and retros

We will also facilitate an open discussion to hear your insights about next steps to further integrate agile in education

Derek Neighbors

Is there a company that hasn’t started an “agile adoption” yet? Some fail miserably. Some claim success, but don’t deliver results. Few actually deliver on the promises of the manifesto. What role does leadership play in organizational design? What drives teams? What gets results? Learn what makes the difference in being an organization/team that is able to inspect and adapt opposed to one that is headed for death.

Kirk Lee

Perhaps you have heard of pair testing but are unaware of its tremendous benefits. Maybe you have tried pair testing in the past but were dissatisfied with the result. When done correctly, pair testing significantly increases quality, decreases overhead, and improves the relationship between testers and developers. Join Kirk Lee as he shares the essential points of this powerful technique that moves testing upstream and prevents defects from being committed to the codebase. Kirk explores how pair testing facilitates discussion, increases test effectiveness, promotes partnership, and provides cross training. Learn why testers and developers say they love pair testing. Kirk describes key tips to ensure success, including the amount of time required for the pair-testing session, the best way to run the session, and how to know when the session is complete. He provides specific steps to take before, during, and after the pair-testing session to make it even more effective.

Allison Pollard
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The role of the Scrum Master is about more than removing impediments and facilitating meetings. Scrum Masters act as mirrors for their teams and mentor team members great Scrum Masters coach their teams to high performance every day. We will share a metaphor for teams to use on their journey to high performance and teach Scrum Masters how to be coaches for their teams. Come learn how to give meaningful feedback and ask powerful questions to grow a team.


Break / Snacks


Michael Vizdos

Are you tired of attending meeting after meeting where you walk away with either another meeting commitment or *nothing* actually happening by the end of it? Recommendation: Say NO to attending these useless meetings. Do something productive instead.
Can’t do that? Join this session and learn to effectively facilitate a "Lean Coffee" ( within your real-world teams. Turn your next meeting into something that is productive and helps move your team and organization forward with actionable outcomes. Michael Vizdos will "meta-facilitate" this session to demonstrate both the mechanics of a Lean Coffee event AND to address YOUR Real World questions about any agile topic brought by the participants. Michael uses this technique regularly within his company, together with clients, and has taught it to the Local Gangplank​ in Richmond, Virginia ( to use on a regular weekly basis.
Focus. #deliver

Sean McKeever
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Do your product teams frequently struggle to have groomed and well-defined stories ready for the developers? If so, this is a classic symptom of a single-track agile system and this presentation is a great choice for you. Sean is going to help you clearly understand the key steps in establishing dual-track agile methodologies at your company by presenting his experiences and providing discussion opportunities for participants. A major outcome of these changes is to always have 1-2 sprints of discovered and groomed backlog for your development teams. In addition, using dual-track agile methodologies results in more efficient use of your development resources, products that better meet your customers’ needs and ultimately more success for your company.

Tom Gilmore
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In today’s world of IT, DevOps has become a major buzz word being thrown around the industry. The reality is that about one percent of the company’s worldwide are actually able to implement true DevOps. There are numerous reasons why the vast majority of companies fail to implement DevOps, failure to understand the DevOps principles, lack of the needed skills, not being willing to make the difficult changes necessary and trying to introduce DevOps improperly. In this presentation, we will look at the origins of DevOps, define what DevOps is, explore the building blocks of DevOps and discuss how most successful DevOps implementations have started from within an organization.

Kalpesh Shah
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An experiment that turned into Standup Poker revolutionized the team’s daily standups and every aspect of their agile journey. It took our team to next level of Awesome! In this session, Kalpesh will share a case study of how he created a simple experiment that turned into Standup Poker and revolutionized our Daily standup. This technique helped us uncover true insights of teams progress. It got the teams talking about strategic planning and plans to remove any impediments as a “team”. The benefits came on a daily basis and helped accomplish sprint goal and commitments. I will share examples, stories, and experiences from using Standup Poker and I will describe how this simple technique converted a group of individuals into a TEAM!!! The content, exercise, and message of this session highlight the agile principles of individuals and interactions over process and tools. This session will help you foster the mindset of continuous improvement within your teams!




Conference Wrap Up


Raffle Drawing


Happy Hour

Workshop Schedule - Thursday May 5

Click on the workshop title to open up a detailed description




Richard Kasperowski

Your team can be ten times better.

What does that mean? That means your professional team can accomplish 10x more work, do it with 10x more quality, 10x faster, or with 10x less resources. Your family can be 10x happier. Your school can be 10x more effective at helping people learn. Your community group can be 10x better at making life better for the people it serves. Even you yourself can be 10x more effective at getting what you want.
In other words, you can be great. Your team can be great.


Can you say these things about your teams?

  1. My projects are completed effortlessly on schedule and in budget every time.
  2. Every team I’ve ever been on has shared a vision.
  3. In meetings, we only ever do what will get results.
  4. No one blames “management” or anyone else, if they don’t get what they want.
  5. Everybody shares their best ideas right away.
  6. Ideas are immediately unanimously approved, improved, or rejected by the team.
  7. Action on approved ideas begins immediately.
  8. Conflict is always resolved swiftly and productively.

The Core Protocols are one way to make teams that have these characteristics.

Some of the things you’ll learn:

  • Results-oriented behaviors
  • How to enter a state of shared vision with a team and stay there
  • How to create trust on a team
  • How to stay rational and healthy
  • How to make team decisions effectively
  • How to move quickly and with high quality towards the team’s goals

Peter Green

Are you an Agile Leader? (hint: if you have agile values and influence others around you, then you should be answering yes).
Do you work with others who you secretly wish would “up their game” in practicing leadership from an Agile perspective?

In this interactive, half day workshop, we’ll explore “three threes” of Agile Leadership that you can use yourself and share with others in your organization:

  • Three mindset shifts that are critical for leaders to be effective in an agile organization.
  • Three tools leaders can use to work on their own leadership effectiveness and to help others around them grow.
  • Three quick daily practices that everyone striving for strong leadership can put to use right away.

Linda Rising

With the emphasis on in-depth customer interaction during development, agile team members are being asked to take an active role in working with customers. This evolving role poses a big challenge for many who, in the past, rarely met “real” customers.

Linda Rising presents patterns she has used successfully to help software professionals in their direct, face-to-face interactions with customers. These patterns describe solutions to common problems that occur again and again when dealing with customers and users. The patterns Linda discusses have memorable names such as It’s A Relationship—Not A Sale, Be Responsive, Show Personal Integrity, Build Trust, and Take Your Licks. Pattern names build a vocabulary that allows you and your development team to have meaningful conversations about—and to ultimately improve—customer relationships and the software you deliver.

Benefits from this tutorial:

  • A vocabulary based on patterns to improve communication with customers
  • Simple and powerful ways to improve your own personal interactions
  • How to focus on what is best for both you and your customers



Catherine Louis & Michael Vizdos

We’ll begin by introducing a technique that will help you tackle your organizational impediments, and an introduction to Design Thinking.

We will then form into cross-functional working teams. Next, using effective user interviewing techniques, we’ll learn to pinpoint the organizational “culture” pain points. We’ll apply these techniques within the workshop group to create a safe space for product exploration.

We will then dive right into a full product development cycle, with Product Discovery and Visioning through delivery. In this workshop, we will “learn by doing”.

The outcome of this workshop is a video prototype that each team (or individual) can use to solve an organizational impediment.

Peter Green & Hart Shafer

A successful senior Product Manager that I was coaching once told me that “Scrum is a great way to build the wrong thing really efficiently”. Ugh, that hurt! But I could see how he might get that impression.

In this 1/2 day interactive session, we’ll provide a set of tools that Product Owners and Teams can use to make sure that their backlog is filled with the “Right Thing”.

Linda Rising

You’ve tried and tried to convince people of your position. You’ve laid out your logical arguments on impressive PowerPoint slides — but you are still not able to sway them. Cognitive scientists understand that the approach you are taking is rarely successful. Often you must speak to others’ subconscious motivators rather than their rational, analytic side.

Linda Rising shares influence strategies that you can use to more effectively convince others to see things your way. These strategies take advantage of a number of hardwired traits: “liking” — we like people who are like us; “reciprocity” — we repay in kind; “social proof” — we follow the lead of others similar to us; “consistency” — we align ourselves with our previous commitments; “authority” — we defer to authority figures; and “scarcity” — we want more of something when there is less to be had.

Learn how to build on these traits as a way of bringing others to your side. Use this valuable toolkit in addition to the logical left-brain techniques on which we depend.


  • Linda Rising


  • Alan Dayley

  • Alicia McLain

  • Allison Pollard

  • Andy Miller

  • Catherine Louis

  • Derek Neighbors

  • Dimitri Ponomareff

  • Doug Gavilanes

  • Hart Shafer

  • Kalpesh Shah

  • Kirk Lee

  • Larry Cummings

  • Larry Gorman

  • Linda Rising

  • Mark French

  • Michael Vizdos

  • Mike Cottmeyer

  • Mike DePaoli

  • Nirmaljeet Malhotra

  • Peter Green

  • Richard Kasperowski

  • Robb Pieper

  • Ross Beamish

  • Sean McKeever

  • Stjepan Rajko

  • Tom Gilmore


Platinum Sponsor

  • TEKsystems

Gold Sponsors

  • AgileCraft
  • IntraEdge
  • Isōs Technology
  • StateFarm

Silver Sponsors

  • Axosoft
  • Leading Agile
  • SolutionsIQ
  • Vizdos Enterprises

Venue Sponsor

  • Infusionsoft

Friends of the Conference

  • LA DAVISON Design
  • PMI Phoenix Chapter
  • Tanga
  • Torak Agile Coaching

Conference Venue

Contact Us

If you have any questions or are interested in sponsoring or volunteering, please feel free to contact us at  [email protected]