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Project Management


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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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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K1 The Care and Feeding of Feedback Cycles
Elisabeth Hendrickson, Pivotal
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 8:30am

Nothing interrupts the continuous flow of value like bad surprises that require immediate attention—major defects, service outages, support escalations, and even scrapping capabilities that don’t actually meet business needs. We already know that the sooner we discover a problem, the sooner and more smoothly we can remedy it. Elisabeth Hendrickson says that feedback comes in many forms, only some of which are traditionally considered testing. Continuous integration, acceptance testing, and cohort analysis to validate business hypotheses are all examples of important feedback cycles. Elisabeth examines the many forms of feedback, the questions each can answer, and the risks each can mitigate. She takes a fresh look at the churn and disruption created by having high feedback latency. Elisabeth considers how addressing bugs that are not detracting from business value can distract us from addressing real risks. Along the way, Elisabeth details fundamental principles that you can apply immediately to keep your feedback cycles healthy and happy.

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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

AW3 Your Agile Prioritization Process Is Probably Wrong
Tom Gimpel, SofterWare, Inc
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 11:30am

Of course we know what customers want, right? Product owners have the roadmap. Sales teams know what sells. Support talks to customers every day. So if we really know what our customers want, why is 65 percent of all software functionality rarely or never used? Why aren’t our customers delighted with the products we ship? Stop guessing what customers want and start delivering it! Tom Gimpel discusses the challenges of feature prioritization and determining what your clients really want and what they really need—and why they’re not the same thing. Learn how you can employ the KANO prioritization model to delight your customers by giving them functionality they value without the fluff they won’t use. Learn what’s wrong with most feedback surveys and build your delivery process to maximize customer satisfaction. Take away valuable tools for prioritization including an Excel-based scoring model that actually chooses the “best” possible combination of features that you can ship.

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AW7 Product Backlog Refinement: Grooming Your User Stories
Becky Moshenek, ANCILE Solutions
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 1:30pm

The Scrum Guide describes Product Backlog Refinement as “the act of adding detail, estimates, and order to items in the Product Backlog.” New and even experienced agile teams often underestimate the importance of well-groomed stories and find the process of reviewing numerous stories, breaking them down, and estimating the work chaotic and cumbersome. As this happens, teams push problems downstream into sprint planning meetings—or worse, into the sprint. Becky Moshenek shares how, working with the Product Owner, they create stories for backlog items to be reviewed. The stories include a link to the actual item, tasks outlining how and what to review, and a deadline for a future refinement meeting. These become refinement stories that are assigned to team members and brought into a sprint for an allotted ten percent of their time. Coordinating the team’s effort around backlog refinement in this way has cut meeting times, increased team involvement, produced more polished items, and made for a happier team.

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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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AW10 Getting the Most Value from Feedback Systems: Daily, Every Sprint, and Every Release
Satish Thatte, VersionOne
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 2:45pm

Agile methods are empirical. You must inspect and adapt to make agile work. This requires using effective feedback systems which are vital to your success. Agile teams often suffer from agile feedback systems that are dysfunctional—non-existent, delayed, or no learning from feedback. Satish Thatte explains three agile feedback systems—daily, sprint, and release—and their associated value and challenges. Satish discusses how to improve these feedback systems so they are beneficial to each team member, the project, the program, and the organization. The key is to use templates that capture information and show if the double feedback loops (basic as well as learning feedback loops) are working properly, and then to leverage connections among the agile feedback systems. As a bonus, every delegate receives these templates refined with feedback by industry users during the past six years.

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AW11 Smart Agile at Scale: ASK the Right Questions
Steve Spearman, Swift Ascent, LLC
Richard Dolman, agile42
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 2:45pm

Agile at scale continues to be a hot topic as more large organizations begin their transformation. Many frameworks are available, including SAFe, DAD, LeSS, Enterprise Scrum, and Nexus. Scaling agile across the enterprise is very challenging; even understanding the options is complex. How can you pick one? Do you need to pick just one? Or pick at all? The right answer depends on your unique situation. Smart scaling with the Agile Scaling Knowledgebase (ASK) 2.0 provides a way to compare different approaches, going beyond the more “popular” frameworks to include new, emerging ones. Steve Spearman and Richard Dolman explore the evolution of popular approaches and discuss how you can make the best decision to fit your company and your project. Join the conversation, share your experiences, and learn from others. Get to know ASK as a valuable tool to help you and your organization explore the topic of agile scaling within the context of your organization’s specific needs.

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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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AW16 Well Begun Is Half Done: Creating Dynamic and Living Team Charters
Linda Cook, Project Cooks, LLC
Chris Espy, SolutionsIQ
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 4:15pm

Aristotle once stated, “Well begun is half done.” However, many agile initiatives suffer from a feeble launch. So how can we increase the likelihood of success for a team or organization? By developing a sound team charter. Beginning with the end in mind, we use retrospective techniques to develop consensus around objectives, vision, and mission. Linda Cook and Chris Espy introduce the components of a good charter and explain how those components help focus the team toward a common goal. In addition, the development of the recommended charter components ensures that key questions are succinctly answered during the kickoff of a team’s efforts. Linda describes when to create or revise a charter and the associated artifacts and process that provide a framework for the team charter. Learn the various types of charters and their recommended content. During the workshop activity, teams will develop a complete charter for a team of their choice or for a provided case study.

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AT1 Agility without Complexity: Fast and Efficient
Geoff Perlman, Xojo, Inc.
Thu, 11/12/2015 - 10:00am

The Agile Manifesto was stated in less than seventy words. Now, fourteen years later, layer upon layer have been added to it. What was supposed to be a simple philosophy has exploded into a gigantic industry. Much of this layering makes agile seem overly complex. We know developers want to focus on getting their work done, unhindered by rules and regulations. Developers should know the priorities of what to work on, do their work, report their progress, and be held accountable. This process should be supportive, not burdensome. Geoff Perlman shows how a small engineering team built a large project (Xojo) with new releases regularly, using a simplified agile process that gets the job done without adding complexity to the lives of the team. If your team is grumbling about your agile processes, join Geoff as he shows you how to focus on the “meat” of agile so you can be both fast and efficient—without the complexity.

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AT3 Now That We're Agile, What's a Manager to Do?
David Grabel, Grabel Consulting Services, LLC
Shyam Kumar, UST-Global
Thu, 11/12/2015 - 10:00am

We teach managers to foster agility by encouraging their teams to self-organize, stop assigning work, and telling them how to do it. Since the Product Owner defines the what and the team defines the how, what’s left for managers to do? Managers need to become servant leaders. It’s a key success factor for agile transformations. However, most managers have no idea what servant leadership is or what these leaders do. David Grabel teaches the true meaning of servant leadership—transforming it from a buzzword to a guiding principle. Learn how, as a leader, you can accelerate your team’s agile journey. Working in groups, participants discuss the challenges faced by an agile manager. As part of your learning, create artwork using Legos, clay, and pictures to illustrate how a servant leader meets the challenges of today. David defines the new job description for today’s managers in tomorrow’s agile culture. Come and prepare to take your part in it.

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AT4 Emerging Product Owner Patterns in Large Organizations
Timothy Wise, LeadingAgile
Thu, 11/12/2015 - 10:00am

Many organizations are actively searching for the perfect product owner—a unicorn who knows all about the product, anticipates the market, innovates, and improves the product’s quality and architecture, all while making and meeting commitments to the organization. That's a difficult if not impossible role to fill. So, how can we achieve these goals? Various enterprise patterns of scaling the product owner are emerging including the technical product owner, the proxy, the product owner team, the program team, the market manager, and the innovator. Tim Wise describes where each is applicable in large enterprises. Learn how to apply these approaches to both a service organization and a product development organization. Get a glimpse into the evolution that will influence product owner roles in large organizations as companies scale agile in the enterprise. Leave with knowledge of patterns that are emerging in large enterprises around the product owner.

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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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AT7 The Agilization of Software Project Managers
Brian Watson, VersionOne
Thu, 11/12/2015 - 11:30am

Project Management Professional (PMP) or other detailed training has become almost ubiquitous in the project management profession. Through this training, Brian Watson says that many of us have learned what we should be doing when it comes to managing projects, and this often conflicts with what we are doing. This gets more complicated when transitioning from plan-based methodologies to an agile framework. What may seem like chaos is really the perfect time to stop managing projects through controls that lack trust in the development teams, dust off those skills of empowerment, and embrace those activities we should be doing. Project managers are leaders, and agile transformations are the perfect time to eliminate ineffective, micromanagement processes and to implement collaborative, empowering techniques. Brian shares his experiences combining corporate agile transformations with mentoring project managers on how to leverage agile techniques. Learn how to effectively embrace resource management, estimating, reporting, traceability, and courage—all while project managing in an agile world.

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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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