Skip to main content

Ken Whitaker

Leading Software Maniacs

Ken Whitaker of Leading Software Maniacs® has more than twenty-five years of software development executive leadership and training experience in a various roles and industries. He has led commercial software teams at Software Publishing (remember Harvard Graphics?), Data General, embedded systems software companies, and enterprise software suppliers. Ken is an active PMI® registered education provider, Project Management Professional (PMP)® certified, and a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). Ken is author of Managing Software Maniacs, Principles of Software Development Leadership, and I’m Not God, I’m Just a Project Manager; editor of Better Software magazine; and creator of PM University™ ( and PM Chalkboard® (

Speaker Presentations
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 8:30am
Half-day Tutorials
Agile Boot Camp for Project Managers

For a project manager, successfully transitioning from traditional project management to a more agile approach can be difficult due to the staggering learning curve. Using a combination of case studies, exercises, and best practices identified in the PMBOK® Guide, Ken Whitaker gets you up to speed on the essential fundamentals you need to effectively facilitate and lead Scrum-based agile projects. Learn ways to avoid being yet another project failure statistic, how to make better tradeoffs using a simple technique based on a design hierarchy, and adopt innovative ways to better collaborate with product management to focus on what’s really important to the customer. To become an effective leader, discover how to size up and then help your team rise up in their hierarchy of needs while adapting your leadership style to effectively communicate with stakeholders. This workshop is designed to give you practical tools to help you lead and motivate your team to deliver projects on time, every time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 8:30am
From Chaos to Order—Leading Software Teams Today

To successfully lead “the nerd herd,” you’re expected to motivate your team to perform, encourage innovation, and produce software solutions that delight the customer. Prioritizing your time for what’s most important can be quite challenging—especially when you’re swamped with a steady stream of incoming requests, meeting overload, and the ever-present personnel issues. The expectation of even faster product deployment, the evolution of software development to agility, and the establishment of self-directed teams often require even more time devoted to planning. So, how can you balance all of these important activities? There aren’t enough hours in the day! Ken Whitaker presents efficient, time-saving techniques for setting a culture of collaboration and communication, keeping your team focused, improving staff retention, handling awards versus incentives, improving how status is reported, making decisions for the good of the customer, and setting up successful geographically-distributed virtual development teams. Learn to focus your attention on turning chaos into order.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 10:00am
Projects & Teams
Seven Deadly Habits of Ineffective Software Managers

As if releasing a quality software project on time were not difficult enough, poor management of planning, people, and process issues can be deadly to a project. Presenting a series of anti-pattern case studies, Ken Whitaker describes the most common deadly habits—along with ways to avoid them. These seven killer habits include mishandling employee incentives; making key decisions by consensus; ignoring proven processes; delegating absolute control to a project manager; taking too long to negotiate a project’s scope; releasing an “almost tested” product to market; and hiring someone who is not quite qualified—but liked by everyone. Whether you are an experienced manager struggling with some of these issues or a new software manager, take away invaluable tips and techniques for correcting these habits—or better yet, for avoiding them altogether. As a bonus, every delegate receives a copy of Ken’s full-color Seven Deadly Habits comic.