Agile Arizona 2016

May 6, 2016

Speaker Bios


Linda Rising

Author & Independent Consultant

The Power of an Agile Mindset
download slide deck

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.

About Linda Rising

Linda Rising is an internationally-known presenter on topics of agile development, patterns, retrospectives, the change process, and the connection between the latest neuroscience and software development. She is credited as having played a major role in having "moved the pattern approach from design into corporate change."

Linda Rising is an independent consultant who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She has authored numerous articles and published several books: 'Design Patterns in Communications', 'The Pattern Almanac 2000', 'A Patterns Handbook', 'Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas' (with coauthor Mary Lynn Manns), and her latest 'More Fearless Change' (also with coauthor Mary Lynn Manns). Linda also contributed to the book '97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know'.


Alan Dayley

How You Lead Is What You Get: Empowerment is not enough
download slide deck

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.

About Alan

Alan Dayley spent more than 25 years working in software engineering. He discovered Agile ideas as a way to improve his work. Alan realized that the human factors of creative work are exciting and powerful. As a Senior Agile Coach, Alan has worked in many companies, from small groups to the Fortune 100. His experiences continue to affirm the value of engaging the intrinsic power in people to create great products.

Alicia McLain

The Stability States of Scrum
download slide deck

“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.

About Alicia

Alicia McLain is an international coach, trainer, consultant and thought leader on Scrum and Agile Software Development. Her aim is to be of service to organizations that are looking to create lasting change. As the principal at Operational Innovations, Alicia has had over fifteen years of experience working side by side with her employers and clients to improve quality, increase productivity and build high performing teams. With a Masters in Organizational Leadership, Alicia's focus is on developing servant leaders and systems thinkers in technology environments.

Alicia is a Certified Scrum Professional, an IC Agile Certified Professional Coach and a Certified Scrum Coach candidate. Alicia is the founder of the Agile Coaching Exchange for Southern California (ACE:SoCal). ACE:So Cal is a group inspired by and in partnership with the ACE group in London, UK and is designed to support the Agile coaching community in Southern California.

Allison Pollard

ScrumMaster As Team Coach
download slide deck

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.

About Allison

Allison Pollard is an Agile Coach with Improving in Dallas who helps people discover and develop their agile instincts. She enjoys mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. Allison is also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, an organizer of the Dallas-Fort Worth Scrum user group, a foodie, and a trebuchet builder.

Andy Miller

Ross Beamish

Mob Programming – Like a Boss

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.

About Andy

Andy has been in software development for over 12 years. He has been a Java web developer, Certified Scrum Master, and currently is a Development Manager. Andy loves the teamwork nature of software development.

About Ross

Ross Beamish is a senior software engineer at Infusionsoft, where he has grown from an intern over the last 8.5 years. Ross has driven many teams to completion of projects with his drive for results and willingness to try new technologies and approaches to solving the problems at hand. Ross has a wife and two boys ages 2 and 6 and enjoys vacationing with his family, especially cruising.

Catherine Louis

Recruit, Hire, and Retain Top Software Talent

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.

About Catherine

Catherine Louis is an independent agile coach and a Certified Scrum Trainer™. With more than twenty years of experience in complex product development in both software and hardware, Catherine has led agile transition efforts at top telecommunications firms and worked with North Carolina State University to conduct research on agile test-driven development. She has conducted research and training on “building security” into your product, verifying that security protection mechanisms are in place, and working before it’s too late. Catherine runs the AgileRTP meetup group, one of the largest agile meetup groups in the United States.

Derek Neighbors

So Many Agile Adoptions. So Much Mediocrity. Why Leadership Matters.

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.

About Derek

Derek Neighbors is a serial entrepreneur who helps people bring ideas to reality. Derek co-founded Gangplank, a collaborative workspace, in 2008 to help encourage local creatives to explore innovative ideas and create what they are passionate about. Formerly he was a partner at Integrum Technologies, a consulting services firm, that helps companies build high performing teams to compete in the new economy. He taught entrepreneurship at Arizona State University. Now he is building an organization to revolutionize matching products to people at Tanga.

Dimitri Ponomareff

Planning, Scaling and Flowing within your Agile Organization
download slide deck

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.

About Dimitri

Dimitri Ponomareff is a passionate coach, facilitator and public speaker. He has the ability to relate to people from all walks of life and at every level within an organization. He can motivate and energize individuals, teams or entire organizations. Dimitri is consistently recognized as an effective and successful change agent who is able to mobilize people on a path of continuous improvement. Dimitri is a certified coach, project manager and "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" facilitator and uses his vast experience to build highly-focused and productive teams. Dimitri has coached for such organizations as American Express, Charles Schwab, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Choice Hotels International, JDA Software, LifeLock, First Solar, Mayo Clinic and Phoenix Children's Hospital.

Doug Gavilanes

Faye Hall

Episode 4: Enterprise Agile Transformation - Not for the Faint of Heart

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.

About Faye

Faye is a 5 year Agile veteran that has been doing technical delivery for 15 years. She is a huge supporter of the rapidly growing Agile Enablement team and pitches in as an Agile coach specializing in Teamwork, retrospectives, and release planning. Faye is a passionate Agilist and is a firm believer that you don’t DO Agile, you ARE Agile! A good team plays to its strengths, chooses conversation over email, and “If two heads are better than one, then a whole team is genius!”

About Doug

With a career in Technology, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Retail, Travel, Health-Care, and Media, I joined American in Jan 2009. Currently, I am enjoying playing a part in American Express’ Transformation. I work closely with an array of people, from all parts of the world sharing one common thread: passion for cross-platform people-centric innovation with pan-global ambitions.

Hart Shafer

The Art of Innovative Products: how to catalyze invention in your team and organization

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.

About Hart

Hart Shafer is an agile and executive coach specializing in customer discovery, product validation, and developing the agile leadership skills needed to nurture innovation. He works with executive and product teams to improve business outcomes and reduce systemic risk through deep customer empathy and empirical in-market investigation.

Hart is also the founder and CEO of TheraSpecs Company, makers of eyewear that relieve migraines, headaches, and other issues triggered or worsened by light, and serves as the mentor for Adobe’s internal Kickbox innovation program. Previously, he served as VP Product Management at iZotope managing hardware and software product lines, including the Emmy® award-winning iZotope RX, and as Senior Product Manager for Adobe Audition and the Adobe Creative Suite.

Kalpesh Shah

Standup Poker – How One Change Revolutionized Our Daily Stand Up And Team's Mindset
download slide deck

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!

About Kalpesh

Kalpesh is a Culture Hacker , Speaker & Enterprise Agile Coach with IntraEdge Agile Solutions with experience in creating and working with different shapes and sizes of Agile teams. He has worked with organizations ranging from Fortune 50 companies to startups, helping them make the transition to Agile way of working, implementing Agile at Scale, employ Lean Product Development approaches and instill Lean Startup mindset. As a monk on a spiritual journey, he is also on a journey of discovering, learning and implementing different agile techniques to create happier teams which in turn create better products, his version of enlightenment! His latest passion is Culture Hacking through continuous experimentation which will promote innovative thinking, extend openness, embody rationality, and bring design thinking into teams.

Kirk Lee

The power of pair testing

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.

About Kirk

A QA professional for nearly twenty-five years, Kirk Lee has worked as a QA manager in the United States and overseas at several of the world's largest and most respected software companies. Kirk has worked on consumer software products and SaaS offerings. Currently he is a senior QA manager at Infusionsoft in Chandler, Arizona, where he leads a test department that operates in an agile/scrum development environment. As a certified ScrumMaster, Kirk is dedicated to agile principles and Scrum practices. He is especially passionate about defect prevention and getting QA involved at the very beginning of the development process.

Larry Cummings

How to use tools without losing focus on individuals and interactions
download slide deck

“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.

About Larry

Larry is a Senior Atlassian Consultant and Trainer with Isos Technology. Larry has over twenty years of experience as a software architect, information designer, data and business analyst, and product manager in a wide variety of business applications. He specializes in helping product development teams, finding the right balance between those who use new systems and the machines used to build those systems. He is especially passionate about organizations that contribute value to their communities.

Larry Gorman

If only I knew then what I know now
download slide deck

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.

About Larry

Larry Gorman is the Chief Technology Evangelist for SkyTouch Technology, provider of the most widely used cloud-based property management system in the hospitality industry. Larry has 20 years of experience delivering technology solutions to the hospitality industry in various technical and leadership roles. Larry led the architecture, design, and development of the industry’s first large-scale, cloud-based property management system currently in use by over 6,000 hotels worldwide.

Linda Rising

Incentives: why or why not?
download slide deck

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.

About Linda

Linda Rising is an internationally-known presenter on topics of agile development, patterns, retrospectives, the change process, and the connection between the latest neuroscience and software development. She is credited as having played a major role in having "moved the pattern approach from design into corporate change."

Linda Rising is an independent consultant who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She has authored numerous articles and published several books: 'Design Patterns in Communications', 'The Pattern Almanac 2000', 'A Patterns Handbook', 'Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas' (with coauthor Mary Lynn Manns), and her latest 'More Fearless Change' (also with coauthor Mary Lynn Manns). Linda also contributed to the book '97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know'.

Mark French

Michael Vizdos

Learning to be Agile

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

About Mark

About Michael

Michael Vizdos is the creator of and travels internationally working with clients to improve delivery of products to their customers using Scrum and other Agile techniques. He is a Certified Scrum Trainer (since 2006) with over twenty-five years experience in all facets of software development and product delivery. He is active in the Lean Startup community; one of his current projects can be found at He co-authored a book with Scott Ambler about the Enterprise Unified Process and speaks at user groups and conferences internationally about all of the above topics (and more!).

Michael Vizdos is ​an active supporter, sponsor, and past speaker for the Phoenix Scrum User Group and Gangplank (both in Arizona and Virginia). He lives in Richmond, Virginia and can be found on twitter@mvizdos and

Michael Vizdos

Lean Coffee: Scrum in the real World

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

About Michael

Michael Vizdos is the creator of and travels internationally working with clients to improve delivery of products to their customers using Scrum and other Agile techniques. He is a Certified Scrum Trainer (since 2006) with over twenty-five years experience in all facets of software development and product delivery. He is active in the Lean Startup community; one of his current projects can be found at He co-authored a book with Scott Ambler about the Enterprise Unified Process and speaks at user groups and conferences internationally about all of the above topics (and more!).

Michael Vizdos is ​an active supporter, sponsor, and past speaker for the Phoenix Scrum User Group and Gangplank (both in Arizona and Virginia). He lives in Richmond, Virginia and can be found on twitter@mvizdos and

Mike Cottmeyer

The Three Things You Need to Know to Transform Any Sized Organization into an Agile Enterprise
download slide deck

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.

About Mike

LeadingAgile co-founder and CEO, Mike Cottmeyer is passionate about solving the challenges associated with agile in larger, more complex enterprises. To that end, his company is dedicated to providing large-scale agile transformation services to help pragmatically, incrementally, and safely introduce Agile methods.He spends most of his time leading and growing LeadingAgile, doing sales and business development, and providing strategic coaching for clients.

Mike was on the steering committee that created the PMI-ACP certification and he co-lead the creation of the DSDM Agile Project Leader certification. He’s an honorary member of the DSDM Consortium and a fellow of the Lean Systems Society. He’s also served on the board of the APLN and the Lean Software and Systems Consortium.

Mike DePaoli

Help! My Teams are Agile but my Execs are Waterfall!

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?

About Mike

Michael DePaoli has been contributing to the IT community for 26 years and practicing agile and lean approaches to software development since 1996. He gained his experience working in roles from programmer to product manager to CTO in companies like Adobe Systems, American Express, AOL, Deloitte Consulting, NetApp, Sapient and Sprint. Michael has 12 years experience working as an Agile Coach helping companies to plan and manage the execution of agile / lean change initiatives. He is currently helping customers craft Lean-Agile solutions in their organizations as the VP of Agile Solution Architecture at AgileCraft.

Michael’s area of expertise is helping organizations craft holistic agile transformation approaches that not only educate and establish agile and lean values, principles and practices and tools to begin an agile / lean transformation but also to craft a strategy for the change needed to successfully scale and integrate agile within an organization. Michael has keen interest in applying systems thinking with an interdisciplinary studies approach to his work.

To further the practice of Scrum at scale, Mike continues his efforts to incorporate learning from neuroscience and the social sciences to optimize Scrum execution as a human system. When there is understanding, trust and respect in a team environment openness blooms and true collaboration and synergy begins.

He has spoken domestically and internationally at agile and lean conferences (most recently, Agile Development West 2013, Agile 2013 and Agile 2011 in Salt Lake City and Agiles 2011 in Buenos Aires) and shares he his thoughts in his blog “The Agile Horizon”

Nirmaljeet Malhotra

Making "them" agile. The agile leadership mindset.

Leadership should be the catalysts for organizational agility. However, in most cases leadership is unaware of the outcome they expect from organization agility and are unable to create the right organizational structures, practices and culture to experience the benefits of agility. At the end agility becomes a means to measure others and not the leadership themselves.
Having worked with executives and leadership of multiple large organizations as an enterprise and executive agile coach I will share share some key mental blocks that leadership has when moving to agile and also share some success stories coaching them and helping them establish a truly agile culture.

About Nirmaljeet

Nirmal is the Principal and Enterprise Agile Coach with Improving Enterprises in Dallas. He has 15+ years of experience in the technology space and 7+ yeas in agile software development. Along the way he has played multiple roles including that of a Scrum Master, Iteration Manager, Product owner and team agile coach. Through his agile journey, he has had helped many clients implement enterprise LEAN/agile practices. He loves to work both at the team level as well as the leadership level in helping in agile adoption and transformation using Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban. His clients include Citi, FedEx, JPMorgan, CapitalOne, TomTom, Rackspace, Dell and more. In his current engagement, Nirmal is working as an executive and enterprise agile coach helping in large scale agile adoption and transformation for world's largest technology, hardware and services provider.

Peter Green

A Principles Based Approach to Scaling Agile

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.

About Peter

Peter Green led a grass roots Agile transformation at Adobe from 2005 to 2015, starting with his own team, Adobe Audition. His influence includes the teams behind such software flagships as Photoshop, Acrobat, After Effects, Flash, Dreamweaver and Premiere Pro, as well as dozens of internal IT and platform technology teams and groups such as marketing and globalization. His work was a major factor enabling Adobe product teams to successfully transition from perpetual desktop products to the subscription-based service, Creative Cloud. His hands-on Scrum and Agile training and coaching at all levels of the organization including executives, helped lay the groundwork to shift teams from two-year product cycles to frequent delivery of high-quality software and services.

Peter is a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), Innovation Games® Qualified Instructor, Conteneo Collaboration Architect, a Leadership Agility™ 360 Administrator, instructional designer, coach, facilitator.He is a frequent speaker and thought leader on agile transformation, combining Lean Startup with scrum, agile leadership, and emergent organizational models.

Richard Kasperowski

Awesome Teams: Games for Continuous (Extreme?) Teaming

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.

About Richard

Richard Kasperowski is a cofounder of the Greatness Guild, a signatory of the Manifesto for Greatness, and the author of The Core Protocols: A Guide to Greatness. He leads clients in building great teams that get great results, using the Core Protocols, Agile, and Open Space Technology. Richard teaches the class Agile Software Development at Harvard University.

Robb Pieper

Your Agile Team Needs a Therapist
download slide deck

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.

About Robb

In the early days of Robb’s career, he tinkered with hardware and software. His first experience in code was animating objects using Basic for the Commodore C64.

Physically wiring and automating systems is how Robb spent most of his career as a technologist. His experience comes from working with retail store electrical networks, building 3D vision systems for manufacturing quality control, commercial web development, financial systems integration, and working directly with clients to ensure a match between technology solution and business need.

Robb’s passion for making things better as a system lead him to focus on industrial psychology and organizational development topics and eventually moved into a role in which he could apply these concepts to build high-performance teams and organizations.

Robb Pieper is a passionate technologist, team-builder, teacher, mentor, process improver, and all- around nice guy living in Chicago, IL. He currently spends his professional days teaching, coaching, advising and mentoring others to understand better how to respond to change.

Sean McKeever

Balancing Discovery and Delivery on Product Teams
download slide deck

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.

We will discuss:
- what it means to have a true product culture
- Who needs to be in place on the product team to be successful
- Details on how to setup a great discovery program which will inform de ivery
- Details on how discovery work flows into the delivery process
- Top 10 cultural ideals that will guarantee success on product teams

About Sean

Sean has worked in product management for 17 years with a variety of technology companies, primarily in the K-16 education market. He also spent two years on mobile app and mobile platform product management at Workiva, which is where he first started using dual-track agile methods. His work there involved frequent interactions with prolific Product Management consultants, Marty Cagan and Jeff Patton, which accelerated his understanding and implementation of great discovery and delivery methodologies. At his current company, Edgenuity, he has been working with the product teams to make the transition from single-track agile to dual-track agile methodologies.

Stjepan Rajko

How to Bring Down Giants - Planning and Executing Epics, the Agile Way
download slide deck

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.

About Stjepan

Stjepan Rajko is Director of Architecture and Tools at Axosoft, and currently figuring out what that means exactly. He has contributed to the development of GitKraken, a cross-platform Git GUI client, and Axosoft, an agile project management software. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science with a concentration in Arts, Media and Engineering, and an M.F.A. in Dance with a concentration in Interdisciplinary Digital Media and Performance, all from Arizona State University. Stjepan lives in sunny Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and two dogs.

Tom Gilmore

DevOps from within your organization
download slide deck

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.

About Tom

Tom Gilmore is a DevOps/Agile Testing Coach. Tom brings a unique background to coaching, having started his career working in operations management where he worked closely with Lean Manufacturing and TQM concepts. With over 20 years of experience in Lean Manufacturing, TQM, Agile Development, DevOps, Quality Assurance, Agile Testing and Automated Testing, he has helped many organizations to develop DevOps/Agile solutions in order improve cycle time and improve quality.

His experience as an ATF Coach includes the following organizations: SkyTouch Technology, Able Engineering, Evaluate to Win, Forever Living, Concord Servicing, First Solar, Choice Hotels International, Glynlyon, Discount Tire, Edgenuity, Really Simple by RSP, AgWorks, Mayo Clinic, Best Western International and NantHealth.

©2016 Agile Arizona. All Rights Reserved. Banner photo adapted from Alan Stark, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0