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Agile Leadership Summit—Leading Agile Culture Change

Agile Leadership Summit—Leading Agile Culture Change

Thursday, June 6 • 6:00pm–8:00pm and Friday, June 7 • 8:30am–3:30pm

(Additional registration is required to attend)    

Pollyanna Pixton,
Summit Chair

“We can’t do agile until the culture changes” is an often-heard lament from teams that want to adopt agile methods. The culture must move from plan- and schedule-driven—and this transition is not easy. At the Agile Leadership Summit, leaders who have achieved—or are in the middle of—this culture change will share their challenges, successes, and failures.

The Agile Leadership Summit is your chance to join your peers and agile industry veterans—Robert Begg, VP Engineering, Bluecat Networks; Ruth Frank, Director UX Development , Pitney Bowes; Todd Little, Sr. Development Manager, Landmark Graphics; and Lisa Shoop, Director of Product Development and Agile Coaching, Sabre-Holdings—to explore the unique challenges facing software development leaders as they transform organizations to support agile methods. You’ll hear what’s working—and not working—for them and have the opportunity to share your experiences and successes.

On Thursday evening, Lisa Shoop kicks off the Summit and shares her experience at Sabre-Holdings. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss your agile leadership issues that will become the basis for the Summit’s interactive sessions.

Friday, in the Think Tank Session, you will work together in small groups to discuss your challenges and brainstorm solutions. Over lunch, speakers address your questions in a panel discussion. Join us for roundtable sessions (new this year), led by the speakers, to work on your specific challenges in small group collaboration. The conversation does not end when the Summit adjourns. Informal discussions will continue around the pool into the evening.

Share your experiences with the speakers and other delegates during the networking breaks. You’ll have ample time to form a network of resources you can rely on for years to come.


The Agile Leadership Summit is a perfect opportunity for you to:

  • Meet and network with other leaders in the industry
  • Participate in insightful and informative sessions focusing on agile adoption leadership issues
  • Join in the “think tank” discussion with leaders in the trenches
  • Develop new ideas and action plans for culture change within your organization

6:00pm–6:30pm • Summit Kick-Off Reception (Think Tank Issues Identified for Discussion on Friday)

6:30pm–8:00pm • How to Sustain Agile Teams and Organizations

  Lisa Shoop, Director of Product Development and Agile Coaching, Sabre-Holdings

“We have mastered the agile principles and are thriving … Wait! Our team members have just changed and the business unit has reorganized! What do we do now?” Sound familiar? Often a team goes through training, adjusts to the new way of working, and starts delivering using agile principles to guide their software development. This snapshot-in-time does not always last past one or two projects—sometimes not past one or two sprints! Something affects the team—team members are added, some leave the company or move to another team,new management takes over, new users emerge. How can we support agile teams and the organization when this kind of change happens? Lisa Shoop describes when to consider training, how to assist the team in role adjustment, and ways to provide the guidance for team knowledge transfer without taking back ownership. Lisa presents her insights on how to determine what’s best for the team—and on the flip side, what’s best for the enterprise.




Lisa Shoop is a director of product development and agile coaching at Sabre-Holdings. Lisa is a highly skilled transformation leader with experience guiding teams through change by creating organizational alignment between technology and business, fostering open team communication and collaboration, and establishing accountability. She has extensive experience in the information technology industry spanning many aspects of software development—agile coaching for team and enterprise, quality assurance, portfolio and product management, business analysis, software development and delivery, project management, and business processes. Lisa has been involved in the agile community since 2005.

7:30am–8:30am • Registration and Breakfast

8:30am–8:45am • Welcome

8:45am–9:30am • Design Studios: A Powerful Tool for Culture Change

  Ruth Frank, Director UX Development, Pitney Bowes

Does your organization’s culture present significant challenges when adopting new software development practices such as lean, UX, and agile? Organizational silos and other barriers to collaboration can lead to churn, miscommunication, and slow decision making. Join Ruth Frank to learn how culture can be changed to become more inclusive and collaborative. Ruth describes the specific business results that can be realized, including speed to market, closer alignment to customer needs, and reduced development costs. Learn design studio techniques you can use immediately to start effecting change in your organization. Begin with the “business case” to start doing things differently, and start creating internal events and workshops to harness the power of stakeholders working together. If your culture is limiting your business results, learn practical techniques and strategies to start turning the corner to an environment that allows success to thrive.




As director of global user experience at Pitney Bowes, Ruth Frank leads a team of thirty interaction designers, visual designers, UX developers, architects, and creative strategists. In partnership with the business and other engineering teams, she ensures that the customer experience is unified and reflects the Pitney Bowes brand. Her team visualizes the concepts upfront, defines the detailed user experience, and acts on customer feedback. This results in products and solutions that exceed customer expectations and differentiate the user experience from the competition. Ruth works to foster a global culture of innovation and collaboration that not only delivers excellent UX but also attracts and retains world class talent.

9:30am–10:15am • Agile Reality Bites: The Stories of the Struggle

  Robert Begg, VP, Bluecat Networks

Every agile transformation effort runs into challenges when standard practices meet reality head-on. Out of nowhere, the old organizational culture emerges and fights for survival making the transition difficult. How do you distinguish between natural resistance and real issues that need real solutions? How can you deal with these issues without taking away the team’s ownership? How do you ensure these solutions don’t erode key agile principles? Robert Begg shares stories about his team’s challenges: changes in team dynamics, passive aggressive resistance to change, shifting product and market priorities, customers with diverse needs, and the constant need to bring more maturity to processes and skills. There are no quick solutions or silver bullets. However with hard work, Robert and his team are experiencing success. Join Robert as he shares his team’s journey and learn how you can apply these techniques to make agile a reality in your company.


Robert Begg is the VP of engineering for Bluecat Networks, an established startup that is applying agile to help address business challenges. Along with his passion for applying agile practices, lean principles, and collaborative leadership techniques, Robert brought to Bluecat his twenty years of software development experience at IBM. His last role in IBM was senior agile coach with IBM's Software Group Agile Center of Competency. Previously, Robert worked for eighteen years on IBM’s DB2 product where he first wrote user documentation, later developed and tested code, and ultimately led teams as both a technical manager and a senior development manager.

10:15am–10:45am • Networking Break

10:45am–11:45am • Think Tank Discussion: Solutions to Top Issues in Roundtables

11:45am–12:15pm • Networking Lunch Buffet (Grab & Go)

12:15pm–1:15pm • PanelAdvice for Leaders: Leading Culture Change

1:15pm–2:00pm • Integrating Software by Integrating People

  Todd Little, Senior Development Manager, Landmark Graphics

Like many organizations, Landmark Graphics is globally distributed and has faced the challenges typically associated with distributed development. The leadership at Landmark recognized that people develop software, and if Landmark wanted to produce integrated enterprise software, they needed to integrate the people developing the software. Todd Little shares some of his experiences at Landmark—and its parent organization Halliburton—with specific examples and techniques used to bring multiple diverse corporate, geographic, and domain cultures toward a unified objective. At first, the challenges were related to blending cultures of organizations incorporated through acquisition. Over time, Landmark started working with offshore outsourcing providers and discovered new challenges. Ultimately it comes down to communication and understanding. The agile community often talks about changing culture, but often it is more effective to understand culture and then work to maximize effectiveness. By understanding culture—and individuals and interactions—it is possible to adapt and be agile.


Todd Little is a senior development manager for Landmark Graphics. Todd has been involved in most aspects of software development with a focus on commercial software applications for oil and gas exploration and production. He is a coauthor of the Declaration of Interdependence and a founding member and past president of the Agile Leadership Network. Todd has served on the board of directors of both the Agile Alliance and the Agile Leadership Network, is a coauthor of Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility, has written several articles for IEEE Software, and posts all his publications and presentations on his website Todd is also a presenter at Agile Development Conference & Better Software Conference West.

2:00pm–2:30pm • Networking Break

2:30pm–3:15pm • Speaker Round Tables

3:15pm–3:30pm • Wrap Up and Ongoing Informal Discussion with Speakers and Attendees