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People and Teams


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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TI Coaching and Leading Agility: Tuning Agile Practices
David Hussman, DevJam
Tue, 11/10/2015 - 1:00pm

Are you an agile practitioner who wants to take agility to the next level? Are you looking to gain real value from agile instead of simply more talk? Even though many are using agile methods, not all are seeing big returns on their investment. David Hussman shares his experiences and describes a short assessment that you can use to identify both strengths and weaknesses in your use of agile methods. Creating an assessment helps you look at the processes you are using, examine why you are using them, and determine whether they provide real value. This assessment guides you through the rest of the tutorial, helping you tune your current processes and embrace new tools—product thinking, product delivery, team building, technical excellence, program level agility, and more. Leave with an actionable coaching plan that is measurable and contextually significant to your organization. If you want to promote real agility—or lead others to do so—come ready to think, challenge, question, listen, and learn.

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TM Essential Patterns of Mature Agile Leaders SOLD OUT
Bob Galen, Velocity Partners
Tue, 11/10/2015 - 1:00pm

Currently much of agile adoption—coaching, advice, techniques, and training―revolves around the agile teams. Leaders are typically ignored, marginalized, or, in the worst cases, vilified. Bob Galen contends that there is a central and important role for managers and effective leadership within agile environments. In this tutorial, explore the patterns of mature agile managers and leaders—those who understand servant leadership and how to effectively support, grow, coach, and empower their agile teams in ways that increase the teams’ performance, accountability, and engagement. Investigate training and standards for agile adoption, and situations and guidelines for when to trust the team and when to step in and provide guidance and direction. Explore the leader’s role in agile at-scale and with distributed agile teams. Good leadership is central to sustaining your agile adoption; bad leadership can render it irrelevant or failed. To inspire you and your teams, join Bob to walk the path of the good and examine the patterns of the bad.

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Concurrent Sessions

AW4 Crunch Time: The Death of Creativity
Ryan Tang, Pivotal
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 11:30am

Extrinsic motivators like crunch time worked a hundred years ago in the era of low-tech factories. In the knowledge economy today, the high pressure of crunch time efforts often backfires. So why do many agile software shops still default to crunch time—probably to their detriment? Ryan Tang says that traditional management motivators—crunch time, cash rewards, and even employee recognition—have their place in today’s workplace; they work for straightforward tasks. But creative work, on the other hand, is impeded by the same external pressure. People performing mundane tasks work faster with these motivators, but workers who need to find a creative solution actually take longer under crunch time pressure. Using three case studies, Ryan explores the effect of crunch time, analyzing the positive and negative effects of management pressure. He provides guidance to agile software managers and leaders on the effective use of crunch time and offers alternative motivators that foster, rather than stifle, creativity.

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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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AT5 Develop Internal Coaches for Your Organization
Shawn Button, Leanintuit
Sue Johnston, Leanintuit
Thu, 11/12/2015 - 11:30am

Substantial evidence exists that coaching plays an important role in helping an organization successfully transform to agile. External coaches can help an organization as it begins to adopt agile practices, but a sustainable, long-term agile adoption requires the organization to stand on its own. Developing an internal coaching team is an important step toward becoming self-sufficient. Join Sue Johnston and Shawn Button as they explore the process of building a team of competent internal coaches. Discuss how to identify coach candidates, put together and run a coach development program, and create opportunities for learning on-the-job. Talk about potential bumps in the road—those organizational impediments to building coaches—and strategies for overcoming those barriers. Sue and Shawn share their experiences with what works and what doesn’t. Leave with a realistic plan to discover and develop coaches within your organization.

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AT6 Actionable Customer Feedback: A Key to Product Success
Mario Moreira, Emergn Ltd
Thu, 11/12/2015 - 11:30am

Actionable customer feedback, although difficult to capture well, is critical to adapting to customer needs. How can you ensure you identify the right customers, get customers to feedback sessions, and capture the most useful feedback? Mario Moreira shares ways you can establish a customer vision focused on gaining that elusive customer feedback. He helps you identify customer types via personas for your product, service, or value stream. Mario discusses how you can incorporate customer personas into the way you capture requirements. He helps you identify various types of customer feedback loops you can used and determine strategies to get customers to your feedback sessions. Leave armed with a framework for establishing a customer feedback vision with ways to get more effective customer feedback leading to products and solutions that more closely align with customer needs. Instead of barely hitting the broad side of the “customer” barn, wouldn't you rather hit the “customer” bull’s-eye?

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AT10 Software Craftsmanship and Agile Code Games
Mike Clement, Greater Sum
Thu, 11/12/2015 - 1:30pm

Musicians and athletes spend most of their time practicing—not performing. If as software developers we just learn on our job and don’t practice, we will continue to make mistakes on code meant for customers. We must improve the quality of our skills which will, in turn, improve the quality of our code. Mike Clement believes we must take time to practice, allowing ourselves to improve our skills and develop better “code sense.” Learn how the Software Craftsmanship Manifesto provides a framework for us to improve in our craft. By learning a variety of code games, we can assemble a full toolbelt of activities to help us improve. We then can take these games and give others the opportunity to improve and thus raise the level of the whole community. Join Mike to take a whirlwind tour of some different agile code games and discover what it means to become a true software craftsman.

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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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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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