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Agile Development Practices
Concurrent Classes

Go To:   Wednesday  |   Thursday  


Concurrent Sessions for Wednesday, November 11, 2009 — 10:00 a.m.
Principled Agility: The Principles Behind the Practices
Mitch Lacey, Mitch Lacey & Associates
In Scrum, the product owner manages the product backlog—seems simple enough. But what principles are required to make seemingly straightforward agile practices really work? Mitch Lacey suggests courage, trust, commitment, and simplicity are those principles. Courage: Do I have the courage to say no to this stakeholder for the overall benefit of the product? Trust: Can I trust the team to sustain their velocity? Commitment: Are all team members working everyday to improve? Simplicity: Are we doing only the things that bring value to the product? These are real-life questions that agile team members face daily. It's not enough to just say you’re agile because you work in iterations. Truly being agile weaves these principles into the fabric of our projects. Join Mitch to learn how he has applied these principles in his projects and the failures that have occurred when the principles were misaligned or absent all together. True agility emerges only when principles and practices align; learn how to build and maintain that alignment.
Learn more about Mitch Lacey  
The Scrum Product Owner Demystified
Jeff Patton, Independent Consultant
A Scrum product owner’s job is challenging, to say the least. Unfortunately, the specific concepts and techniques required to succeed often aren’t spelled out in books and training classes. And being referred to—in Scrum jargon—as “the single wringable neck” is enough to discourage anyone from signing up for the job. While there’s no silver bullet, Jeff Patton helps fill your Scrum tool-kit with valuable approaches that help product owners succeed: the basics of collaborative discovery sessions to identify business and user goals; how to create effective user stories for better planning; how to split and thin user stories to support iterative/incremental development; approaches for reducing the risk of late delivery; and techniques for keeping users, stakeholders, and the team involved from inception through delivery. Jeff knits all of this into a useful product owner’s practice map for you to take back for yourself or for the product owner in your life.
Learn more about Jeff Patton  
Seven Key Factors for Agile Testing Success
Lisa Crispin, Ultimate Software
Agile development presents unique challenges for testers and test teams. Working in short iterations, often with limited written requirements, agile development teams can leave traditional testers behind. Common testing-related activities—such as user acceptance testing, testing inter-product relationships, and installation testing—require different approaches to work within agile projects. Lisa Crispin presents seven key factors for testing success within agile projects – using a whole team approach, adopting an agile mindset, automating regression testing, collaborating with customers, providing and obtaining feedback, looking at the big picture, and building a foundation of core agile practices. Learn how to overcome cultural and organizational obstacles to successful testing and discover the critical factors for delivering maximum value to your business.
Learn more about Lisa Crispin  
User Stories for Agile Requirements
Mike Cohn, Mountain Goat Software
Expressing requirements as user stories is one of the most broadly applicable techniques introduced by the agile processes. User stories are an effective approach on all time constrained projects and are a great way to introduce a bit of agility to any project. Mike Cohn describes the six attributes of good stories—independent, negotiable, valuable, estimable, sized appropriately, and testable. Explore how user stories help a team shift from more documents to more discussion, encouraging the right mix of both. Learn practical, proven techniques for gathering user stories. Discuss how much work should be done on a user story in advance and by whom and see why a just-in-time, just-enough approach aids a team in becoming agile. Discover the relationship between user stories, epics, themes, and conditions of satisfaction. Leave with a project-proven template for writing user stories and be prepared to put this powerful technique to use immediately.
Learn more about Mike Cohn  


Debug Your Mind
Andy Hunt, The Pragmatic Programmers, LLC
Every day, we make important decisions and try to solve critical problems in our work. Unfortunately, our decision-making and problem-solving processes often are based on a faulty memory and our emotional state at the time. We tend to ignore crucial facts and fixate on irrelevant details because of where and when they occur, or whether they are brightly colored—especially if they are brightly colored. Join Andy Hunt as he shares concepts from his popular book Pragmatic Thinking and Learning and explores the common cognitive biases that can dramatically affect your decision-making and problem-solving skills. Learn why most predictions are wrong from the start and how you can guard against false assumptions. Discover aspects of context which can subtly affect you, including generational affinity and personality tendencies. Find out why your own brain's legacy hardware can work against you, and learn how to recognize and stop that when it happens.
 Learn more about Andy Hunt  
Concurrent Sessions for Wednesday, November 11, 2009 — 12:45 p.m.
Rightsizing Your Project in a Down Economy
Michael Mah, QSM Associates
In tough times, both shoes drop simultaneously and “scarcity thinking” takes over in senior executives, managers, and development teams. In this environment, dysfunction can wreak havoc on your projects in the form of scope greed, death-march deadlines, and budget cuts. Often, the tendency is to say “yes” to impossible dates, take on too much, suffer the budget cuts, and pray that heroics might save the day. This is a disaster waiting to happen. It takes a skillful manager to “rightsize” critical projects—right team, right scope, right dates—at the beginning. Scarcity thinking threatens all three. Michael Mah describes how to lead difficult conversations and discuss the “undiscussables.” He shares how to artfully frame trade-offs for stakeholders to set priorities. Learn how to get buy-in by using a blend of common sense, essential measurement concepts, and rules of software estimation. Whether you’re agile, waterfall, or offshore, discover information you need to make the right choices and gain the support of your organization.
Learn more about Michael Mah  
The Power of Retrospectives
Linda Rising, Independent Consultant
One principle in the Agile Manifesto states, “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” Retrospectives are a powerful, repeatable tool to help your team continuously learn and improve. Linda Rising shares techniques for project retrospectives to help teams discover what they’re doing well and identify what should be done differently. Not finger pointing or blaming sessions, retrospectives are structured interactions in which team members reflect on the past in order to become more effective in the future. Linda shares her experiences with leading retrospectives—both successful and unsuccessful. Learn ways to apply her positive experiences and a proven retrospective model to your projects. By taking the time to reflect and proactively determine what should be done differently in the next iteration, release, or project, your team will embody one of the important principles of the Agile Manifesto and help your company become a true “learning organization.” 
Learn more about Linda Rising  
Dealing with Defects: The Agile Way
Janet Gregory, DragonFire
In agile development, software defects are everyone’s responsibility. One tenet of agile is that defects should be fixed “as soon as possible” rather than documented as an inventory of “stuff” that doesn’t work yet. Janet Gregory examines the sometimes vexing question agile teams have for dealing with a defect—should we “fix it now and forget it,” “fix it now and track it,” or “record and track it?” She explores why, regardless of which choice is made, you should write a test case to verify the fix is correct. Find out how those test cases can become a valuable record about defect history. Learn ways to track defects in a simple system to help the agile team discover process problems and potential improvement opportunities. By dealing with defects effectively, your team will be able to shift its focus from defect repair toward defect prevention.
Learn more about Janet Gregory  
Determining Business Value
Ken Pugh, Net Objectives
Agility focuses on delivering business value to the customers as rapidly as possible, and user stories are a common way to describe the features and functions that define value incrementally. However, to concentrate on delivering most business value earlier in the project, we must determine and assign the relative business value to each of those stories. Through lecture and interactive exercises, Ken Pugh presents two methods for quickly estimating and assigning business value for features and stories. Ken explains the relationships between business value estimates and story point estimates, and how to chart business value for iteration reviews. Ken demonstrates what estimates really represent in both dollars and time.  On a larger scale, he shows you how to use  business value assessment as a portfolio management tool to prioritize feature development across several projects. Learn how business value can help both customers and developers focus on the most important requirements and needs. 
Learn more about Ken Pugh  

CMMI® or Agile: Why Not Embrace Both?
Hillel Glazer, Entinex, Inc.
Agile development methods and CMMI® best practices are often perceived to be in conflict with each other.  Some even argue that the Agile Manifesto was largely a counter response to the original CMM®.  Hillel Glazer explores ways that CMMI® and agile champions can work together to derive benefit from both approaches to dramatically improve business performance. Arm yourself with the knowledge to address any Agile-CMMI®  rift within your organization and learn ways to benefit from both practices.  Hillel fills in some of the missing details that led to the original perceived conflict and discovers that CMMI® is missing components that agile provides and agile is missing components that CMMI® provides. He presents examples of how CMMI® can help propagate agile ideas and propel them towards fully optimized performance levels.  In addition, he shares an example of how to use systems engineering to strike the appropriate compromise between "extreme" agile and "extreme" CMMI® so that, in the middle, they can interoperate effectively.
Learn more about Hillel Glazer  
Concurrent Sessions for Wednesday, November 11, 2009 — 2:45 p.m.

Instill Scrum Values to Build High-Performance Teams
Lyssa Adkins, Cricketwing
Your teams are using agile practices well and starting to understand the principles behind them, but they are still not high-performing. Although they’re getting a bit better with each sprint and they’re meeting commitments, they are not producing the great results you thought agile was supposed to create. Come learn the framework for guiding teams to those great results using the Scrum values as the root and ground of the journey. The Scrum values that lead to high performance and the fruits of high performance teams are put into a context that causes teams and people outside teams—even senior managers and executives—to “get it.” They get what makes agile work and what we are moving toward when we talk about high-performing teams. Lyssa Adkins offers an interactive experience for you to learn and practice how to teach your team to use this Scrum framework so they, in turn, can chart their own paths toward high-performance.
Learn more about Lyssa Adkins  

Growing Pains: Why Scaling Scrum and XP Hurts—and What You Can Do
Ed Kraay, ThoughtWorks
Do you have a large scale program with multiple agile teams? If so, you may have experienced some of the growing pains we encountered when we scaled Scrum and XP—conflicting priorities across teams, handling dependencies across multiple backlogs, planning a release date for teams with changing velocities and backlogs, inconsistent technical practices, and ineffective cross-team communication. Ed Kraay presents his organization's experience working on a large, complex Scrum program with multiple, interrelated Scrum teams. Learn the secrets of what to avoid and ways to minimize the pain so that your teams can reduce defects, improve delivery, and have more fun. Ed’s practical tips include synchronizing sprints across teams, using multi-team release planning, building a cross-team roadmap, embedding architects and coaches, and facilitating vertical transparency using a meta-scrum framework. Bring your current challenges scaling Scrum or XP practices, and leave with a fresh perspective to move forward.
Learn more about Ed Kraay  

Source Code Analysis in the Agile World
Gwyn Fisher, Klocwork

Agile practitioners know that achieving high velocity in iterations requires a pinpoint focus on code quality. The death of many projects can be traced to an out-of-control defect queue being pushed uphill from one iteration into the next. Source Code Analysis has emerged as an effective technology that plays an integral role in achieving defect-free code within a contained cost and effort. However, the actual benefits achieved are dependent on when and how the technology is applied, and how broadly it is used by team members. Gwyn Fisher describes how developers can make automated code inspection and other related technologies such as regular refactoring and peer review part of their daily routine, resulting in more stable iterations, increased team velocity, and more predictable delivery. Gwyn also provides a technical walkthrough of the history of source code analysis, illustrates where many of today’s misconceptions come from, and provides a technical description of its strengths, limitations, and potential future applications.

Learn more about Gwyn Fisher  

Realistic Test-Driven Development: Paying and Preventing Technical Debt
Rob Myers, Agile Institute
Are you considering implementing Test-Driven Development (TDD), or have you tried it and failed? If so, this class is for you. Rob Myers describes the basic mechanics and components of TDD. In addition, he explains the real long-term benefits to the individual, team, and organization of using this technique.  Teams find that their defect rate is considerably lower (compared to no unit testing, or unit testing after coding).  Even greater rewards are gained in future enhancements and releases.  As developers build a “safety net” of automated tests around the growing product, the team can rapidly modify the design and add features required by changes in a dynamic market. The TDD tests guarantee that any defects introduced in those modifications are quickly detected. Rob shares first-person stories of how TDD provided astounding returns.  Rob then explains what is required to implement TDD painlessly and professionally, and gives a brief demonstration to show the levels of detail, the emergent nature of the design, and the thought-processes that occur during TDD coding. 
Learn more about Rob Myers  

Small Is Beautiful: Business Agility Through Adaptive Governance
Sanjiv Augustine, LitheSpeed, LLC
In this economic downturn, is your company looking beyond knee-jerk cost cutting to focus on creative ways to solve business problems? When businesses tap the innovative capabilities that agile development teams possess and scale up through adaptive governance, they can produce game-changing solutions. Sanjiv Augustine shares how leading businesses are using agile to jumpstart and scale their new product development by incorporating user-centered product design and a user story “maturity progression” to support the creative evolution of system development. To optimize their project investments, these businesses are adopting incremental funding and portfolio-level feature prioritization, reducing team churn by creating stable teams with embedded specialists, and tracking and monitoring project portfolio progress across multiple teams in a visual, agile fashion. In addition, businesses are aligning individual compensation with team-based performance management to reward both teamwork and individual excellence. Join Sanjiv and learn how you can adapt these successful practices to your organization.
Learn more about Sanjiv Augustine  

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