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Adopting Agile Practices


MD Eight Steps to Kanban
Ken Pugh, Net Objectives
Mon, 11/09/2015 - 8:30am

Transitioning to agile can be difficult—often downright wrenching—for teams, so many organizations are turning to kanban instead. Kanban, which involves just-in-time software delivery, offers a more gradual transition to agile and is adaptable to many company cultures and environments. With kanban, developers pull work from a queue—taking care not to exceed a threshold for simultaneous tasks—while making progress visible to all. Ken Pugh shares eight steps to adopt kanban in your team and organization. Ken begins with a value stream map of existing processes to establish an initial kanban board, providing transparency into the state of the current workflow. Another step establishes explicit policies to define workflow changes and engender project visibility. Because you can easily expand kanban to cover many parts of development, another step is to increase stakeholder involvement in the process. Join this interactive session to practice these key steps with hands-on exercises and take away an initial plan for implementing kanban in your organization.

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TE Agile Project Failures: Root Causes and Corrective Actions SOLD OUT
Jeffery Payne, Coveros, Inc.
Tue, 11/10/2015 - 8:30am

Agile initiatives always begin with high expectations—accelerate delivery, meet customer needs, and improve software quality. The truth is that many agile projects do not deliver on some or all of these expectations. If you want help to ensure the success of your agile project or to get an agile project back on track, this tutorial is for you. Jeffery Payne discusses the most common causes of agile project failure and how you can avoid these issues—or mitigate their damaging effects. Poor project management, ineffective requirements development, failed communications, software development problems, and (non)agile testing can all contribute to project failure. Jeffery shares practical tips and techniques to identify early warning signs that your agile project might be in trouble and offers suggestions for getting your project back on track. Gain the knowledge you need to guide your organization toward agile project implementations that serve both the business and the stakeholders.

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K2 Continuous EVERYTHING: How Agile Is Changing Our World Forever
Jeffery Payne, Coveros, Inc.
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 10:00am

Everywhere we look these days we see the word continuous—continuous delivery, continuous integration, continuous deployment, continuous testing, continuous security, and continuous ______ (fill in the blank). It’s continuous everything! So, what’s happening in our industry? Will a move toward more continuous practices result in better software? Will agile have any long-lasting effect on how software is built, tested, delivered, and maintained? Join Jeffery Payne as he discusses the link between agile and continuous software engineering capabilities. Learn how operating in a continuous manner not only speeds things up but also results in better software quality and security. Discover how the continuous nature of agile is changing our world. Leave with an understanding of what this change means for us as software professionals. Take back knowledge about how we can get more involved in the continuous processes that surround our work.

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K3 Introducing the GROWS™ Method for Software Development
Andy Hunt, Pragmatic Bookshelf
Thu, 11/12/2015 - 8:30am

Agile software development is in a rut. Agile is consistently misapplied, misunderstood, misused, and then, all-too-often abandoned. Worse than that, many popular agile methods are not actually agile. They've remained largely unchanged for more than a decade. And despite preaching inspect and adapt, users adopt and forget, following practices by-the-book and suffering when a practice conflicts with their local context. Join Andy Hunt as he describes the GROWS™ Method—a new approach to software development. The GROWS™ Method is based on four key ideas—the Dreyfus Model of skill acquisition, evidence-based practice, inclusivity, and local customization. The Dreyfus Model speaks to limitations in human cognition and problem solving. Evidence-based practice is a framework for first-class experiments that encourage us to make decisions and answer questions with actual outcomes—not wishful thinking or popular folklore. Inclusivity includes more of the organization than just the developers, and local customization makes adaptation to individual environments a first-class part of the method. It’s now time to grow software development beyond the limitations of agile.

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K4 Scaling Agile: A Guide for the Perplexed
Sanjiv Augustine, LitheSpeed
Thu, 11/12/2015 - 4:15pm

Scrum, XP, and Kanban are familiar agile methods. Now in the second decade of their adoption, agile methods continue to help organizations worldwide respond to change and shorten the time to deliver value. An overwhelming 88 percent of executives cite organizational agility as key to global success. So, in recent years, many have begun scaling their early agile adoptions beyond individual teams to programs, portfolios, and the enterprise. Even though today’s scaling techniques are not yet fully understood, new scaling frameworks continue to emerge. Join Sanjiv Augustine to explore this exciting area and discover approaches to scale agile in a way that makes the best sense for your organization. Learn about scaling frameworks including the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS), as well as the simple Scrum-of-Scrums meeting. Join Sanjiv to explore how you can develop a straightforward scaling strategy for your organization.

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Concurrent Sessions

AW1 Going Agile? Three Conversations to Have Before You Start
Heather Fleming, Gilt
Justin Riservato, Gilt
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 11:30am

All too often, companies adopt a mission to “go agile” before truly understanding what that entails. Business managers are quick to jump on the agile bandwagon, believing that going agile will magically make projects happen faster. Teams are getting certified in Scrum believing it is the silver bullet that will suddenly make everyone more productive. Inevitably, cracks begin to develop, and expectations are not met, leaving everyone questioning the value of going agile at all. Heather Fleming and Justin Riservato say there is a better way! The truth is that going agile will result in more productive teams and faster delivery of projects—but only if everyone can agree on the rules of the game. Learn why gaining consensus on the principles of agile is more important than implementing a specific process. Explore how having three key conversations—about saying no to deadlines, ensuring business partner engagement, and experimenting with process—up front can save you from an agile disaster.

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AW5 Don't Bulldoze a Vibrant Ecosystem for Agile
Steve Adolph, Blue Agility
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 1:30pm

Software processes are commonly portrayed using machine metaphors in which consistency is highly prized. Frequently, organizations set up Centers of Excellence in a well-intentioned effort to create enterprise consistency. Steve Adolph reminds us that, in reality, software development takes place in a diverse ecosystem of corporate policies, competing interests, personal agendas, personality types, and a variety of formal and informal relationships. An aggressive top down imposition of practices is like sending a bulldozer through an ecosystem. This can create a prized consistency, but it also can destroy the environment’s productive vibrancy. It does not matter if the bulldozer says waterfall or agile on the side—it’s still a bulldozer. How do we live in harmony with our ecosystem? We can start by replacing machine metaphors with biological ones about leveraging and embracing diversity. Then use these metaphors to interpret two case studies of how organizations either bulldozed their ecosystem or learned to boost their productivity by living in harmony with it.

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AW9 Agile Adoption in Risk-Averse Environments
Brian Duncan, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 2:45pm

Adopting agile development methods in a conservative environment can be a daunting and time-consuming venture, facing resistance at all levels of the organization. You may wonder: Will this organization ever get with the times? Will our leaders ever change their way of thinking? Brian Duncan shares personal experiences and lessons learned in bringing an agile development mindset to two distinct organizations—a bottom-line product-driven software development organization, and the conservative, risk-averse Space Department at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Sharing the Good (what worked well), the Bad (what set us back), and the Ugly (what we had to abandon), Brian shows how to bring a slow-to-change organization into the forward-thinking agile methods of today. He presents practical approaches (adoption committees, grassroots techniques) and creative endeavors (free classes, an innovation lab) along with their impact on the organization. With persistence and a multifaceted approach, even risk-averse organizations can adopt agile.

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AW12 Why Agile Works ... and How to Screw It Up!
Perry Reinert, Infusionsoft
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 2:45pm

Agile practices can be the easy part of agile, but getting people into the agile mindset can be a real challenge. Do you have a team member who doesn’t quite support agile or someone who’s playing along but not really committed? One step toward obtaining real commitment is a better understanding of why agile works, why it’s different, and when it is the right approach. In this fast moving session, Perry Reinert provides a fun look at some of the theory that gets to the core of why agile works. Yes, we really can use the words fun and theory in the same sentence! Combining parts of the Agile Manifesto, Empirical Process Control, and Cynefin, Perry leaves you wondering how anybody can choose not to use these methods! After explaining the why, Perry connects the dots from that theory to some of the agile practices. Finally, he wraps up with a discussion of common ways to screw it all up—and how not to.

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AW13 Thieves of Agile Adoption: Approaches to Avoid
Francie Van Wirkus, Francie Van Wirkus
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 4:15pm

Businesses are hit by thieves from all angles. Thieves often go unnoticed until something is missing. If you are adopting agile, you may have thieves stealing from your transformation right now. Every organization is different, but some thieves of agile adoption are well-known. Francie Van Wirkus shares her “most wanted” list of thieves, common organizational impediments and patterns, and her ideas on how to mitigate them. At the foundation of all solutions is strong leadership muscle, so expect stories and action items on how to raise your leadership game. Francie introduces high-level concepts including the mistakes of managing change instead of leading change, pushing culture ahead of environment, and skipping agile coaching. Awareness of what’s stealing from your agile adoption is only part of the conversation. Francie provides real-life actions to keep your strategy and goals on track. Don’t wait for something to go missing from your organization before you take action.

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AT9 Our Journey to Agile in the Microsoft Developer Division
Gregg Boer, Microsoft
Thu, 11/12/2015 - 1:30pm

This is the story about the Microsoft Developer Division and their two-year journey to agile—from shipping every three years to shipping every three weeks. In the old days, long stabilization phases were part of its DNA. Managers were rewarded for micromanagement. Commitments were made months in advance. Maintaining the appearance of meeting commitments was valued over transparency. Gregg Boer shares how this organization within Microsoft transitioned to one that values agile principles—controlling technical debt, enabling teams, eliminating bogus commitments, and rewarding transparency. When applying agile to such a large, traditional organization, the key to success is allowing autonomy at the team level, while ensuring alignment with the organization. Gregg shares successes as well as colossal failures. Learn how management sets direction while teams own their own backlog, how communication up and down can be transparent and healthy, and other lessons on their journey to agile.

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AT15 From Waterfall to Agile: A ScrumMaster’s View
Andrew Montcrieff, Veritas
Thu, 11/12/2015 - 3:00pm

In less than one year, a leading software company's product team transitioned from a twenty-five year history of waterfall development to using agile methodologies. They had produced software the old-fashioned way—sequentially, firmly entrenched in the process and procedure of pure waterfall. Long release cycles, a mature code base, and an ingrained development model prevented their rapid response to the needs of their customers. The “rush for the finish line” left schedules and deadlines shredded, quality and development staff exhausted, and management frustrated. Andrew Montcrieff describes the processes, challenges, and lessons learned while moving from waterfall to agile. He provides insight on how they dealt with the problems encountered along the way. Andrew will make you feel more comfortable with moving a legacy waterfall product to a more predictable, reliable, agile methodology-driven product by learning what to expect and how to deal with the obstacles you’ll likely encounter along the way.

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