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As an Agile team member, you have a responsibility to ensure that the right product is being built. Warning - you can still build the wrong product using Agile! In Eric Ries' book The Lean Startup, he poses the question "What if we found ourselves building something that nobody wanted? In that case, what did it matter if we did it on time and on budget?"

Lean Startup is designed to ensure we build the right product. This popular Agile method is applicable to all companies and projects, not just startups.

Join us for a fun hands-on workshop to explore the main Lean Startup principles such as hypothesis-driven project vision, experiment-driven development, validated learning, build-measure-learn loops, pivot/persevere decisions, small batch size, minimum viable product, and others.

The workshop concludes with a "marshmallow challenge" project simulation contest utilizing the Lean Startup principles where teams will attempt to break the current world record for highest marshmallow on top of spaghetti sticks.

Whether you are new to Agile or a mature "agilista", you will leave the workshop armed with new techniques that can be applied immediately on your Agile projects.

At the end of the workshop, you will be able to:

  • Evaluate and apply Lean Startup principles to your Agile projects
  • Differentiate between experiment-driven and assumption-driven development
  • Organize project efforts with high levels of innovation and experimentation
  • Effectively de-risk development efforts through validated learning

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?

  • My projects are completed effortlessly on schedule and in budget every time.
  • Every team I’ve ever been on has shared a vision.
  • In meetings, we only ever do what will get results.
  • No one blames "management" or anyone else, if they don’t get what they want.
  • Everybody shares their best ideas right away.
  • Ideas are immediately unanimously approved, improved, or rejected by the team.
  • Action on approved ideas begins immediately.
  • 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, and
  • How to move quickly and with high quality towards the team’s goals

You've all heard the stories about amazing product teams at the best software companies, but how do you work in these amazing ways while leading your product teams in new directions? This hands-on workshop will help you to take your product management skills to the next level!

You'll be learning about modern product management principles and immediately applying your learning during small group working sessions. Our hands-on activities include playing the role of product managers for popular products that we all use on a daily basis, so you will learn by doing instead of being lectured.

By the end of the workshop you will be able to:

  • Run dual-track agile (discovery and delivery) with your product teams
  • Create rich and effective story maps to represent your customer needs and informs the solution to be delivered
  • Discover exactly what should be in the MVP solution
  • Facilitate a design studio session with your product teams
  • Identify and define key metrics that matter to positively influence your outcomes

In this workshop you will learn about the difference between coaching and giving advice. You will understand and practice deep listening and how to draw out the other person by asking open-ended powerful questions that empower them to serve up their own answers. We’ll go over how bring the people you coach to meaningful accountability that encourages action or changes in the way that they want to "show up" in the world. We’ll also talk about the art of mentoring and giving advice. That too has it’s place especially when we are working with teams to apply a certain philosophy such as Lean and Agile development.

We all know change is hard, both personally and organizationally. This workshop will introduce some of the most powerful tools I've come across to help encourage meaningful change. We'll look at the four ground conditions that must be in place, the psychology that holds us back when we really want to make a change but struggle, and two powerful techniques to help us break through resistance and start to make incremental, positive changes in our lives and our organizations.

Learn how to slice projects into high-value early features, features into good user stories, big stories into small stories, and how to manage it all with a continuous backlog refinement approach.

One of the most powerful skill-sets for Product Owners and Agile teams is being able to find the thin slices in every big idea, every feature, even every story that will deliver maximum impact with minimum time and effort. The 80/20 principle suggests that most of the value in every project, feature, or user story (the 80%) comes from just a small slice of it (the 20%).

Are you sure you're spending your team's time on what matters most? The average Scrum team in the US costs over $5,000 per day. Odds are, you're wasting hundreds or even thousands of dollars every day on the low-value parts of your projects, features, and stories.

There's an old saying in poker: "If you're at the table 30 minutes and you don't know who the sucker is, get up—you're the sucker." The same sort of thing applies here. If you don't know what the low-value part of a project, feature, or story was—the part you intentionally cut out—you spent money building it.

Agile practitioners everywhere are struggling with this. But it doesn't have to be hard. You can learn to split stories faster than you probably estimate them today.

In this workshop, you'll work with Michael Vizdos and other participants in learning how to Focus and #deliver using Scrum in the Real World. We will quickly review Scrum (to set context) and then spend the time during the session addressing real world problems, issues and concerns that you can apply when you return to your real world Scrum teams. This workshop is for all levels of experience and requires active participation (nothing physical!).

The key to helping your teams transform and be successful in an “agile” world is to know what skills you need to be effective, and in turn help your team navigate change. This session will be focused on providing you with a toolkit for agile leadership. We will explore your level of acceptance of change, how adaptive you are, and strategies to help people adapt to changes. We will provide exercises that enable you to learn your leadership style and understand your blind spots as a leader. What metrics should you be baselining and measuring against as you adopt agile development methodologies instead of a traditional SDLC? Leave with ideas on what will work for you and your organization. Explore with other leaders during hands on activities how to influence and promote ideas and change, as well as how to inspire others to follow and invest in your ideas. Finally, learn how to partner across cross-functional teams and geographies. After this session, you will have the tools to make sure that you are an agile leader that your teams want to follow.

Create an intentional team culture focused on the business value of joy and unleash the human energy and the results you always knew were possible.

The CIO invited me into his office and closed the door. Before he took me for a tour of his operation, he had a few stories to share. Important stories. Last year’s project was a disaster. Late, lots of quality issues, in short, a failure in every dimension. His boss, the CEO, had just presented him with a very personal ultimatum: deliver the next project by April 4th, “or else”.

“Or else what,” I asked?

His team was burned out and scared. They were a hard-working and dedicated group, but fear and demoralization had set in and he didn’t know what to do next. That’s why he wanted to talk to me, he had heard things about my company, things that seemed too good to be true, but he had to hear them firsthand. He wanted hope, inspiration, and a practical way to get there.

I told him about my own journey from joy to fear to disillusionment back to joy. It was simple, but, of course, simple isn’t easy. I wasn’t sure he and his organization were ready; “manufactured fear” is a powerful drug.

In this talk, I will share with you what I shared with him. I will explore what an intentionally joyful culture must choose as its focus. I will discuss what joy looks like, feels like, how it is organized. Along the way, you will be confronted by paradoxical approaches of how workplace noise increases productivity, how two people at one computer outperforms hero-based organizations 10-to-1, how rigor and discipline emanate from a shared-belief system, how transparency conquers fear, how all of the disciplines you study including agile, lean, and six sigma when done well are really about building human relationships at the intersections of business and technology, between project management and software development, between development and design and how quality can be a natural result of a team built on trust.

This is not a theoretical talk, but rather a talk built from well over a decade of experience of leading a team focused on “the business value of joy”. There will be lots of room for discussion with the audience. The audience will begin to understand why thousands of people make the journey to Ann Arbor, Michigan every year to see The Menlo Software Factory firsthand, and why so many more are reading about it in Joy, Inc. – How We Built A Workplace People Love.

Agile Development has permeated all sectors and sizes of organizations. This has led to a wealth of thought and options when it comes to applying agile at scale.

With variety comes complexity and many factors need to be considered when implementing a scaling strategy. What commitment from executive leadership do you have, what is your relationship with your customers, what parts of your corporate culture and identity need to be retained, and many other questions need to be answered.

In this session, Michael shares insight through experience in comparing and contrasting today's most common methods of scaling agile, the benefits and obstacles to applying agile at scale and leads a discussion on critical factors for finding the right fit for your enterprise.

Be sure to bring your thoughts, ideas and questions and join in the conversation.

Have you ever had a gut feeling a project is about to go off course but no way to validate (or invalidate) that feeling? Has your team ever been burned by an inaccurate estimate or unreasonable expectation? Have you ever wished you could peer a bit into the future?

Navigating the uncertainty of knowledge work is often difficult and uncomfortable. During this session, learn new ways to visualize your team's reliability and variability of delivery using the data you already collect. Instead of relying entirely on your gut or laboring over estimates, learn to articulate trade offs, predict outcomes and describe their likelihood. While this session doesn't teach you to eliminate uncertainty or allow you to see the future, it does provide you with tools to explore and chart a reasonable course through the inherent ambiguity of knowledge work.

When your team compositions change it doesn't mean you're doing it wrong - it could be the secret to your success. Changing teams can help reduce the risk of attrition, learning & career stagnation, and the development of knowledge silos. I'll share original case studies from well known companies that enable dynamic change to their teams propelled by retrospectives and other agile, humanistic practices. In this talk, you'll learn tips and tricks for building a sustainable company by changing teams - whether it's by growing and splitting teams, merging teams, seeding teams, adding new people across multiple teams and more. I'll also share reteaming antipatterns and what not to do.

Transformations stall. Teams get stuck in an improvement rut. Impediments lists grow. It's not uncommon for teams to plateau. When things are going well, it is difficult to find motivation to go from good to great.

As an Agile leader, it's important to be able to identify the symptoms your team or team-of-teams start to exhibit when they get stuck – when their momentum for positive growth and change stalls or plateaus – and what to do about it. This workshop will help you get your teams back in gear and on the path of relentless improvement.

As you work to define the next feature, service or full product for your company, iterative sketching is a powerful tool that can illuminate amazing ideas from all members of your product teams and build shared understanding in the process. Unfortunately with the prevalence of digital design solutions, many product teams skip this important step and defer the "creative work" to their product designers. Attend this presentation for a hands-on opportunity to see how iterative sketching can be used to discover the next great iteration of your products.

Do you understand why your team behaves the way it does? Identify their favored communication styles using DISC to nurture trust and promote a more agile team.

Learning objectives:

  • Understanding our own dominant communication style and coaching style
  • A useful model for identifying and understanding others' dominant communication styles

  • A technique for visualizing a team's styles and recognizing potential conflicts within the team

  • Practice trust-building communication by adapting to others' preferred communication style

Where is your team on the Agility Continuum? In the world of 'agile', there are many points on the continuum. Assess your teams' transformation toward agility across 10 different facets in order to consider specific ways to improve along the journey. Consider which cultural aspects or processes may be holding you back in order to target them for change.

While Agile methodologies are typically only considered within software development organizations, far more opportunities exist to maximize efficiency when leveraged effectively. Learn how the Infrastructure organization implemented Agile into its service-oriented departments that would not have typically expected such opportunities, and witness the impact it could simultaneously have in software development organizations.

Whether you are working on a new product, a long-range high-budget project, or a quick process improvement engagement, misaligned assumptions can create expensive and time consuming mis-steps.

Many initiatives would be well served to have explicit discussions regarding which key stakeholders require the greatest amount of attention, and then exploring the challenges regarding too much scope and too few resources.

In this hands-on high energy workshop, we will simulate a $72,000 project. Teams of attendees will work through stakeholder prioritization using a tool that we call Persona Mapping. These teams will then work through a scope prioritization process that we affectionately call The Planning Game.

We will wrap up the workshop by exploring how one company uses these tools to help its clients design and build products that end users love.

We are working in a world where we are asked to be agile and manage change on a daily basis, but are you struggling to see the benefits of being agile and all the change you are being asked to make? The role of the leader is changing significantly and what is required for success has dramatically changed. Are you stuck in old patterns? Are you not seeing results while other teams or leaders are? It is important to understand old leadership patterns or habits that may be holding you back from realizing success in this new world for leaders. What people expect and need from their leadership has changed and you need to understand how to attract and retain talent in your teams. One thing that remains the same is people don’t leave companies or organizations they leave leaders. Even the way we think about "teams" has changed and we need to understand the new dynamic of a "team". You need to understand how to adapt to this world we live in as leaders and the strategies necessary to bring along others in this fast-paced digital transformation age.

UX isn't just for designers or product managers. It's for everyone. Learn how to bring everyone to the table and make everyone an advocate for the user, designing exponentially better solutions that win in the marketplace.

Is it okay that only IT and software delivery teams are Agile? Does it matter if HR and Finance, Sales and Marketing still do things the way they always have?


Without change throughout the whole organization you cannot truly be Agile.

How do we scale Agile to the "carpet side" so our whole organization can reap the benefits from Agile? First, we have to open our minds to the possibilities of Agile and understand it's not a prescriptive set of steps but a different way of looking at things.

As agile movement sweep across the industry many organizations have started practicing different agile frameworks. As they go through these agile transformations, quite often their focus is on implementing the different elements of framework and using measures like velocities, story points and burn down charts to measure the progress of the teams and forget the core purpose on why they switched to agile way of working in first place turning these teams into user story machines and their team members into backlog lumberjacks.

A successful agile team is not about how many stories they can finish or how frequently they release to production but rather more about hypothesis validation and learning from the users and their behaviors.

Through story telling Kalpesh will talk about the real essence of going agile and how NOT to turn your teams into backlog lumberjacks.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Team members will learn the most important goal of an agile team i.e "Speed of learning" and "applying that learning".
  • Product Owners will learn how being a great product owner isn't just about writing perfect user stories or creating a healthy backlog but about bringing teams close to the user or the "problem they are trying to solve".
  • Scrum Masters or Agile Managers will learn that a great agile team isn't measured by story points, burn-downs or velocities but instead are measured by "velocity of learning".
  • Leaders & Executives will learn how in an agile organization and for Agile teams its less about managing and more about mentoring.

Product Managers / Product Owners track progress against work done by many teams, not just software development teams. How does an agile approach spread across all kinds of teams?

With the move to continuous deployment how do we orchestrate all that?

What you will learn:

  • How to lead an organization into an agile approach that spans the entire development lifecycle.
  • How the cultural change of DevOps impacts how you integrate an agile approach into this entire lifecycle.

Want awesome teams that thrive in hierarchical organization structures? We talk about flat structures, self-organization, and holocracy, but the truth is that we all work and live within power structures. How do we navigate hierarchy and power to be our best and do be the best with our teams?

n this session, Richard makes the case for a team culture that’s safe for all team members regardless of the organizational structure around them. 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, Geerte Hofstede, and Augusto Boal. His learning activity sets are short games and explorations, using elements from Theatre of the Oppressed, 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 maintenance.

If you want Agile to thrive in your organization, your top leaders have to not only support the shift, they must co-lead it. Agile is not simply a methodology that is implemented. It is a different way of thinking about running an organization to thrive in complexity. So what if leaders don't value Agile? This was my quandary for years until I discovered a leadership development model called The Leadership Circle. It is the most powerful tool that I've ever seen in helping individual leaders and teams of leaders make huge shifts in the way they see their purpose and possibility as leaders.

The Leadership Circle reveals a leader's Operating System: Internal assumptions (beliefs) that run behavior. It measures the two primary leadership domains– Creative Competencies and Reactive Tendencies–well-researched dimensions that directly impact a leader's capability to lead an Agile organization. In this session, you'll learn about these two domains, how they relate to success in creating Agile teams and organizations, and practice taking the two approaches to various challenges faced by session participants. Expect to walk away with concrete new ideas for how to help create more Agile teams and organizations!

An enterprise Agile journey can be daunting. It can be filled with surprise, loss of direction, crevasses, whiteouts, and tidal waves. It can also be filled with satisfaction, exhilaration, and a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Michael navigates the precipitous path to predictability by sharing 10 tangible steps to a successful enterprise Agile transformation. Warning - not for the faint of heart!

Hands-on activities are used to emphasize the learning outcomes. Michael explains a typical Agile journey including alignment, learning, predictability, acceleration, and adaptation. The 10 transformation steps include understanding the situation, defining transformation goals, building an Agile champions team, aligning systems, instituting Agile practices, defining the rollout strategy, procuring Agile training, developing support artifacts, embedding team coaches, and establishing metrics. These 10 transformation steps can be applied to your specific situation in helping guide your company's enterprise Agile transformation!

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is the leading method for scaling Lean-Agile principles and practices. SAFe 4.5 introduced a configuration, Essential SAFe, which represents the minimal elements of SAFe necessary for a successful implementation. This configuration servers many benefits. First, it provides a starting point for implementing SAFe. It also describes the most critical elements needed to realize the majority of the framework's benefits. And finally, Essential SAFe addresses the common question, "How closely does an organization need to follow SAFe in order to get the full benefits?". Come discuss these ten vital elements needed to realize maximum results from an agile scaling initiative.

Does this sound like your organization?

After a sprint planning session, the developers each take a story to work on 'their part' of the sprint; when finished, they give it to QA to test. When a defect is found it is passed back to developers to fix and then back to testing and repeated until it works correctly.

Doesn't this sound more like a bunch of individuals working in sequence than a team actively working together to deliver? Is quality to be 'tested' at the end to ensure compliance, rather than being built in?

Jeremy provides an introduction to Mob Programming, some of the basic principles and concepts, and how this goes far beyond something that only developers do. Jeremy explains how developers, QA, and product owners collaborate in real time to deliver higher quality, continuous learning, and true team collaboration. Ultimately, the bottleneck in software development isn't how fast you type, but how fast you can think.

Learning Outcomes

  • How 5+ people can be effective working on one thing
  • Creating a continuous learning environment
  • Guidelines for successful mobbing
  • Workspace setup
  • Handling completing solutions

Moving your development team to scrum is so 2016! Building on her experiences in coaching technology driven product teams in the use of lean and agile, Christine has extended lean and agile practices to marketing teams, book editing teams, executive leadership teams and -- yes -- even residential construction. Join her to hear about the good and the bad (and even the ugly), and share some of your own experiences as well.

Managing consistent delivery of a magnificent product or product portfolio is difficult. How do you keep all stakeholders engaged? How far out is the planning horizon? Which role is responsible for delivering, monitoring or executing which pieces? How do you achieve alignment from executives? How do you deal with competing priorities and shared resources?

You will be teleported into the heart of a blockbuster producing movie studio through the power of metaphor to learn how you can super charge your products and portfolio to release hit after hit.

Teams all start at the same place, but where they wind up depends on how we guide and nurture them. If we do good work the teams get to a point where they perform well, but can we afford the time to get to that point at a leisurely pace? During that development time delivery is delayed, discontent surfaces and the team stumble.

I propose that team development can be speeded to get teams more quickly to the point that members are co-joined to know and meet their goals. I offer to you the TEMPLE (Trust, Excellence, Motivation, Personality, Listen, Empowerment) as a way to more quickly speed the team into high performance status.

To work at the TEMPLE does not require an Indiana Jones bull whip but does require vision, planning and a little courage too. In this presentation we will discuss how to assess the team and develop strategies to use the TEMPLE to move the team forward quickly.

Organizational Design is a critical step in the overall Agile transformation and successful adoption. Dimitri shares his vast experience to illustrate how organizations can structure themselves to get the most benefit from being Agile and Lean. This presentation focuses on flowing work effectively using an Agile Canvas (i.e. Organizational Design) and leveraging Kanban boards to ensure transparency/accountability at all levels of the organization. Once we master setting up the ideal organizational structure, we will explore actual Kanban board examples to visualize the flow of work across the organization. Ultimately, it's all about connecting clear goals, with meaningful features and well written stories; while reducing dependencies and creating simple communication channels. You will walk away with real examples and techniques that you can implement immediately within your organization.

Our culture, mindset, and language are all highly intertwined. The vocabulary we use on a daily basis affects our actions and the actions of others. We develop patterns based upon the words we use. Individuals, teams, and organizations have, sometimes not so obvious, practices centered around their culture and mindset. When adopting agile practices or trying to improve, we often find the barriers to getting better are rooted within our culture itself. Taking steps to improve is challenging. Shifting the culture of an organization can seem infeasible. Adjusting our internal mindset can be grim. The words we use internally in our thoughts and in our communication carry significant influence.

Let's have a discussion around a technique that can influence change centered on our vocabulary. We can explore the 'F' word, the 'S' word, and the 'P' word. We will discuss how this technique has produced results and how you can put it to use in your team.

In this session, Michael Vizdos will share his story about why (and how) he is volunteering in schools — from 3rd grade to university graduate programs — to bring Scrum in the Real World to students.

You'll leave this session inspired AND have specific tools to help you get started with volunteering to help our future generation learn Scrum in School.

Whether you're a ScrumMaster, Product Owner, leader, trainer, or coach, facilitation is a key part of your job. But few people have intentionally developed this skill. (Which is why so many backlog grooming sessions and sprint retrospectives are so painful.)

Do your meetings suffer from problems like these?

  • Low energy
  • Uneven participation (someone dominates the conversation, others check out)
  • Rabbit trails
  • No meaningful decisions or actions


  • …going into any meeting with the confidence that it will produce a valuable outcome
  • …having your team members and peers respect you as someone who can help a group collaborate more effectively
  • …everyone in your meetings contributing in a useful way
  • …leading focused, productive discussions that end on time without feeling rushed

You can spend a lifetime growing your facilitation skills. But as with so many things in life, the 80/20 rule applies. The essential skills and tools you need to avoid the most common issues can be learned in a remarkably short time.

In this session, you'll learn and practice these essential skills and tools so you can facilitate more confidently and more effectively.

Come with a specific meeting in mind. What problems do you have facilitating it (or other meetings like it) today? How do you wish it looked different? Why does it matter for you, your team, your organization, and/or your customers?

Behavior Driven Development (BDD) began as a means of helping developers practice Test Driven Development (TDD). In this it was successful, but it quickly proved its value in many other ways. In this presentation, Larry Apke quotes heavily from the work of Uncle Bob Martin to make the case for TDD and then explains how developers can use BDD to take advantage of this excellent software development practice. Larry also talks about his "Ten Reasons BDD Changes Everything" along with some easy ways to begin implementation of BDD in your software development organization immediately and what the corresponding future steps would be to take full advantage of this technique.

In this highly interactive and engaging session for Product Managers and Product Owners, we walk through multiple behavioral and tactical tools to create a complete tool box which can be put to use in order to leverage the creativity, passion and expertise of development teams to make them hyper productive and high impact.