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Better Software East 2011
Leadership Summit

      The Agile Leadership Network Summit: What Is Leadership About?
November 10 (evening) and November 11 (all day)


Program Chair
, Linda Cook 


When agile management guru Jim Highsmith was asked what he sees as the biggest failure in agile today, he answered, “Leadership!” Because managers and executives are unclear about how to support their agile teams, many end up hindering agile adoption instead of, as they desire, encouraging it.

Led by Linda Cook, a practicing lean-agile coach who as change agent has helped numerous companies, the Agile Leadership Network Summit is a unique opportunity for you to engage in a dynamic mix of learning, sharing, and exploring. During the Welcome Reception on Thursday evening, you’ll share your agile leadership and adoption issues. Then Friday, gain new perspectives in sessions with industry leaders and share ideas in the highly interactive Think Tank Session, where you’ll work together in small groups to discuss these challenges and brainstorm solutions.

At the Agile Leadership Network Summit, practicing leaders in companies that have adopted agile present their war stories—both successes and failures—and lead exploration into what makes agile grow and thrive—or die. This year’s Summit is honored to have three industry leaders on the program:

Pat Reed, Senior Director of Delivery Management Services at Gap, Inc., challenges the traditional paradigm of trading off scope, schedule, and cost, and offers a new model of sustainable and optimal flow of values from software development.

Max Keeler, VP of Project Management at The Motley Fool, discusses how ROI can be taken too far, the pitfalls that can naturally occur in Scrum, and how focusing too much on process can take your team’s eyes off the larger ball of delivering value.

Kevin Fisher, Associate Vice President at Nationwide Insurance, shares how the certified successes within their IT development team have revealed important new challenges to solve up and down the value chain, and how these challenges are much harder to tackle because they involve departments well outside of IT.

Bring your biggest issues and challenges to the Agile Leadership Network Summit where you can draw on the knowledge and experiences of these leaders and your fellow managers who may have already faced and solved some of your issues. You’ll hear what’s working—and not working—and have the opportunity to share your experiences and successes. The Agile Leadership Network Summit is a perfect opportunity for you to:

  • Participate in insightful and informative sessions focusing on agile leadership issues
  • Meet and network with your peers in the industry
  • Join in the “think tank” discussion with industry veterans
  • Develop new ideas and action plans for innovation within your organization

Thursday, November 10
5:30 p.m. Welcome Reception — Think Tank Issues Identification: Agile Leadership and Adoption Issues
Friday, November 11
Friday, November 11, 2011 8:30 AM
Beyond Scope, Schedule, and Cost: Optimizing Value C Pat Reed, Gap, Inc. For many leaders, today’s extreme business environment demands capabilities outside our traditional management repertoire. How can we leverage change to our strategic advantage, innovate constantly, and increase business performance? Pat Reed introduces a project and portfolio framework to help leaders and their organizations adapt and thrive in complex, fast-paced environments. This approach offers tools to distinguish the essential from the expendable and develop a culture focused on rapidly delivering business value. You’ll learn how to define a value currency—with supporting measures and metrics—normalized across a portfolio of projects. Identify ways to incorporate value curves within projects and employ value decision points for portfolio management. Bring your challenges and questions, and join in the discussion about creating business value. Take back a framework that will help you bring about sustainable organizational change and, ultimately, alter the game to your advantage. Learn more about Pat Reed
Friday, November 11, 2011 9:45 AM
Moving Past ROI to Real and Lasting Value C Max Keeler, The Motley Fool When the topic of delivering software value comes up in agile, return-on-investment has dominated the conversation. Unfortunately, some people have taken a tool meant to validate assumptions and used it as a stick to measure all actions. ROI can stifle agility and real value creation when taken too far—and “too far” is not very far at all in this case. In this interactive session, Max Keeler delves into how our brain processes information and how we use that information to sometimes make bad decisions. You will learn about the pitfalls naturally occurring in Scrum and other agile processes—practices that can stifle your team’s creativity and lead to passive decision making. Explore how an overemphasis on ROI can actually take your team's eyes off the larger ball of delivering long-lasting value. Along the way, you’ll learn some surprising and revealing facts about how your brain functions. Learn more about Max Keeler
Friday, November 11, 2011 1:30 PM
Don't Bask in Your Agile Successes: There Are Bigger Problems to Solve C Kevin Fisher, Nationwide Insurance An insider during Nationwide Insurance’s award-winning lean, agile, and CMMI® Level 3 transformation, Kevin Fisher leads a discussion on how the certified successes within their IT development groups revealed important new challenges to solve up and down the value chain. At a microlevel, frequent releases and a sustainable development pace have invigorated the people working in the shadows of a large corporation. However, as their agile teams experienced success and subsequently grew in size, the traditional funding process and overly bureaucratic release processes created a new impediments—up and down the organization. These challenges are much harder to tackle than the initial introduction of Scrum and XP because they require departments well outside of IT to adapt. Join the discussion and explore ways to build an argument for enterprise change and sell it to departments that may be fiercely protective of their long standing processes and their “turf.” Learn more about Kevin Fisher

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