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Leadership [clear filter]
Monday, August 3


Leading in a complex world (Hendrik Esser)
Limited Capacity seats available

Thanks to globalization and the emergence and wide spread of new technologies, the world has become a very interconnected place during the past decades. This change has happened and is happening at an ever increasing speed.
As a consequence, management and leadership have become increasingly challenging to deal with the resulting complexity. To succeed, traditional approaches to management and leadership are not enough. We need to continuously grow and adapt our leadership capabilities.
In this Session you will learn how to cope with this challenge. I will share stories, insights and tools that will help you to increase your leadership bandwidth, making you better prepared for leading in a complex world.
One key element is a decent understanding of Systems Thinking, Human System Dynamics and Complex Adaptive Systems theory. All these are very inspiring, yet as a leader I had difficulties to translate these into something actionable and useful in my daily life. And talking to many others (not only leaders) I found that many people share that challenge. So, in this talk you will learn about tools that enable you to deal with complexity from a leadership perspective. I will share stories about how these tools have helped me and my team. You will also learn how to embrace the mindset shift related to Agile and you will learn how to take better decisions using modern leadership approaches.
This talk is based on my own experiences as a leader in an agile transformation (2000+ people) and the great inspirations I got from working and discussing with my group colleagues from the Supporting Agile Adoption program (one of the programs sponsored by the Agile Alliance).
Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand complexity.
  • Embracing an agile mindset of emergence
  • Key capabilities to cope with complexity.
  • How leaders can approach complexity.
  • Practical tools that help master complexity from a leadership point of view.

avatar for Hendrik Esser

Hendrik Esser

Growing up in the 1980s I was a passionate computer game developer during my school and study times. After getting my diploma in Electrical engineering I started at Ericsson in 1994 as aSW developer. From 1996 I worked in project management roles. Since 2000 I am working as a manager... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2015 14:00 - 15:15
National Harbor 12


Six Rules for Change (Esther Derby)
Limited Capacity seats available

Change is often much slower than hoped for, and more painful than anticipated. In the end, you may be left with feelings of frustration and dismay rather than the benefits you hoped for. How can we make change--whether it's adopting Scrum at the team level, or agile at the enterprise level--more successful, and more enlivening?
Through my work with many organizations, I've distilled principles for successful transformation into Six Rules for Change. These principles address both the complexity of the organization and the complexity of the human experience of change. They provide a set of touch-points to guide Change Artists as they support and enable change in their organizations.
  • Center yourself, consider the context and your connection to the people who are being asked to change.
  • Honor what is valuable about the past and what is working now. Honor the human experience of change.
  • Assess what is possible from where you stand, and who will work with you.
  • Assess the trust and advice networks in your organization. Weave intentional networks. Don’t rely only on the formal hierarchy.
  • Guide the change, and consider what aspects can evolve locally and where global principles apply.
  • Design experiments and evaluate results. Big changes scare people. Experiments help people practice and learn.
Following the principles in the Six Rules for Change can dramatically improve the chance the change you want will stick.
Learning Outcomes:
  • The Six Rules for Change, and examples of how to apply them.
  • How the Six Rules fit together and mutually reinforce each other
  • Why the Six Rules work, when traditional change models fail

avatar for Esther Derby

Esther Derby

Founder, esther derby associates, inc.
I draw on four decades of experience leading, observing, and living through organizational change. In 1997, I founded esther derby associates, inc. and work with a broad array of clients from Fortune 500 companies to start ups. My approach blends attention to humans and deep knowledge... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2015 15:45 - 17:00
Potomac C


The Experimentation Mindset (Doc Norton)
Limited Capacity seats available

Among the traits that distinguish a good team from a great team is their ability to innovate. Despite the rhetoric in favor of innovation, most organizations are stuck in an implementation mindset, stifling creativity, excellence, and the resultant innovation. The experimentation mindset frees us from self-imposed constraints, allowing us to continually learn and improve. In this session, we'll talk about how we learn as individuals and how we learn as organizations. We'll take a look at some examples of the experimentation mindset happening in the agile community today and we'll talk about how you can foster such a mindset in your own organization.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Introduction to Dweck's work on Fixed and Growth Mindset
  • Introduction to Dreyfus Model of Skills Acquisition
  • Overview of Argyris' Single and Double Loop Learning
  • Implementation versus Experimentation Mindset
  • An alternative view on "Best Practices"
  • Examples of ways to foster The Experimentation Mindset in your own organization

avatar for Doc Norton

Doc Norton

Co-Founder; Agile Catalyst, OnBelay
Doc is passionate about working with teams to improve delivery and building great organizations. Once a dedicated code slinger, Doc has turned his energy toward helping teams, departments, and companies work better together in the pursuit of better software. Working with a wide range... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2015 15:45 - 17:00
National Harbor 4/5
Tuesday, August 4


Agile Productivity (Bill Wake, Tim Ottinger)
Limited Capacity seats available

More, faster: everybody wants that.
Low productivity makes products late and expensive, frustrating both teams and customers.
But what is productivity? Why is it so hard to measure?
Organizations want higher productivity, but use industrial-age models better-suited to assembling widgets than developing software.
We’ll explore a model that works for software teams.
Learn several ways to boost - or drag down - productivity in your projects.
You’ll walk out with concrete techniques to apply in your context.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Begin thinking in terms of impact, not output
  • Move focus from “working harder individually” to “accomplishing more together"
  • Recognize organizational habits that limit productivity
  • Discover ways to organize teams and their work to increase productivity

avatar for Tim Ottinger

Tim Ottinger

Anzeneer, Industrial Logic
Tim is a long-time programmer (since 1979), reviewer, speaker, writer. He has been active in many of the big changes in software over the past 36 years (including Design Patterns, Object-Oriented Design, and Agile software development). In addition to his contributions in "Clean... Read More →
avatar for Bill Wake

Bill Wake

Sr. Consultant, Industrial Logic, Inc.
Bill Wake (www.xp123.com) is a consultant with Industrial Logic, Inc. (http://industriallogic.com). Before that, he was an independent consultant from 2001 to 2007, then spent two years managing software development at Gene Codes Forensics. Bill has worked with teams in a variety... Read More →

Tuesday August 4, 2015 09:00 - 10:15
National Harbor 4/5


Thawing the “Frozen Middle” (Em Campbell-Pretty)
Limited Capacity seats available

Is working with middle management the bane of your existence? Is middle management preventing progress with your agile adoption? Are the teams you are coaching being stifled by middle management? Or are you a middle manager trapped in the system struggling to break out and make a difference for your organisation? If you answered yes to any of the above questions then this session is for you!
Middle management, also known as the "frozen middle", are often bemoaned as blockers to progress. It never fails to amaze me how often a conversation in a room full of agile coaches will turn to the topic of “what to do about middle management”. Frequently the solutions I hear proposed are along the lines of “work around them” or “get rid of them”. In this session we will explore a different approach. Instead of removing middle management from the picture, how can we harness their energy to lead rather than hinder an agile transition?
In this interactive presentation, Em will share with you what it is like to be part of middle management, help you tap into your empathy by putting yourself in the shoes of middle management and provide you with numerous proven techniques to help managers at any level (frozen or otherwise!) accelerate their transition into agile leaders.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Insight into the life of a middle manager
  • A brief introduction to Empathy Mapping
  • Numerous practical tools for helping managers at any level become agile leaders

avatar for Em Campbell-Pretty

Em Campbell-Pretty

Managing Director, Pretty Agile

Tuesday August 4, 2015 15:45 - 17:00
Chesapeake 10/11/12
Wednesday, August 5


Territories, Not Hierarchies - Pressfield's War of Art as a Frame for Modern Leadership (Gary Pedretti)
Limited Capacity seats available

Steven Pressfield's The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle is well-known to artists, especially authors struggling with writer's block. It's a bedrock inspirational tome, focused on the artist finding his or her true self, breaking through resistance, and contributing his or her unique gifts to the larger whole of society.
If what we do when we create software isn't engineering, isn't factory work, and isn't science - aren't we saying it's creative work? Art? Craft? We shouldn't be surprised that Pressfield's classic for artists chasing the muse has a lot to teach us in the realms of modern business and software.
In this presentation, we'll focus on an important aspect of the book - the artist's orientation - of which Pressfield provides two possibilities, hierarchical or territorial. We'll examine how this relates to modern leadership, effectively and appropriately breaking down organizational hierarchies, product vision, intrinsic motivation, and craftsmanship.
Be prepared for a unique, artistic view of our industry!
Learning Outcomes:
  • Understanding modern business and software as creative, artistic endeavors
  • Using an artist's mindset to tackle common leadership issues
  • Using connections between The War of Art and modern leadership as effective metaphors for organizational change and learning

avatar for Gary Pedretti

Gary Pedretti

Founder and Owner, Sodoto Solutions
I am an agile practitioner, Scrum trainer, application architect, and software craftsman. With over sixteen years of experience, I help companies achieve their goals in delivering business value through software. In 2006, I took a class on Scrum with Ken Schwaber. Since then I have... Read More →

Wednesday August 5, 2015 10:45 - 12:00
National Harbor 6/7


Road to No Management (Pawel Brodzinski)
Limited Capacity seats available

We often connect leadership with management. It is a common misconception. On one level – self-organizing teams – we find it rather easy to accept that these are in fact independent concepts. We want the whole team to show leadership and take responsibility for their commitments within the constraints defined by a project, a hierarchy and a method. The same pattern, however, can go way further than that.
What would happen if we adopted the same paradigm when designing the whole organization, not just a team?
The No Management theme is used to label different approaches that refuse to use traditional management paradigms. While the stories differ one of the common parts is emergence of leadership across organizations on all levels. At the same time I don’t consider No Management a destination. It’s more of a journey and as such it can be used to drive leadership in all sorts of organizations.
I will share the story of Lunar Logic, where we evolved from a traditional organization to pretty radical approach where almost everyone is a leader and there’s no formal hierarchy. Some of the ideas are easily applicable on a team level, some require more positional power. All of them are inspiring.
It’s not just a story though. I will cover elements of systems thinking, organizational culture, anthropology and psychology that are building blocks that enable such stories to happen in a repeatable manner. Do you want to be a part of one? Join me at this session.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Learning the idea of No Management organizations and why they perform so well
  • Understanding building blocks for creating an environment where leadership emerges across all the ranks
  • Learning ideas that enable emergent leadership
  • Challenging traditional management paradigms

avatar for Pawel Brodzinski

Pawel Brodzinski

CEO, Lunar Logic
Pawel Brodzinski is a leader, a team builder and a change agent, but most of all he is an always experimenting practitioner trying to make his teams work better (and learn in the process).He is an active member of global Lean Kanban community. He led the first Kanban implementation... Read More →

Wednesday August 5, 2015 14:00 - 15:15
Potomac 1/2/3


'What?', 'So what?', 'NOW WHAT?' How to use data to influence others (Larry Maccherone)
Limited Capacity seats available

The evening before the space shuttle Challenger explosion, scientists at NASA caught what they thought was a potentially catastrophic risk with the o-rings considering the unusually cold temperature expected for the morning’s launch. They brought the issue to management attention but failed to influence the final decision enough to stop the launch. As a leader in your organization, your failure to influence may not cost lives but it could be “catastrophic” for your business.
Metrics and data are just the "What?" You need comparisons, trends, and benchmarks to get at the "So what?" But none of that matters until it changes what you and your organization do next... the "Now what?" Fact is, "We don't see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." ~The Talmud. Metrics are used as often as not to simply justify our past decisions. It takes a different approach to get the right decisions and behavior change out of your data.
This talk addresses the people side of metrics and data. How do you steer the emotional elephant of your organization or appeal to the risk tolerance level of your stakeholders? How to think about decisions in a way that avoids your own cognitive biases and those of your executives? Come to this session for the answer to these questions and more.

Learning Outcomes:
  • How to get action and behavior change from data analysis
  • The do's and don'ts of visualization
  • How others lie with data
  • How to communicate uncertainty and still get action
  • * Understand cognitive biases and how to avoid them in yourself and others

avatar for Larry Maccherone

Larry Maccherone

DevSecOps Transformation, Comcast
Larry Maccherone is an industry-recognized thought leader on DevSecOps, Lean/Agile, and Analytics. He currently leads the DevSecOps transformation at Comcast. Previously, Larry led the insights product line at Rally Software where he published the largest ever study correlating development... Read More →

Wednesday August 5, 2015 15:45 - 17:00
National Harbor 6/7
Thursday, August 6


Swarming : The Birds, the bees and Agile -or- How Managers influence self-organization (Dhaval Panchal, Thomas Perry)
Limited Capacity seats available

We invite you to join us in sharing the questions that truly unsettle us about prevalent management practices.
“Nature is to be considered much less of a sucker than humans.” - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
You’ve heard it before, “You are agile now, go self-organize” and yet exactly how to do it remains a mystery. Beyond giving permission to “go agile” what else can managers do to help teams capitalize on the power of self-organization? Who’s the real sucker here? Perhaps the question should be, “What can nature teach us about self-organization?” How can we as managers use the lessons nature provides to our advantage?
Swarming is a dynamic act of being, of exhibiting collective action to solve complex problems which are beyond the capabilities of top-down problem solving. Natural systems have iterated over millennia to hone into simple rules. Studies of ants and bees and other beings in the natural world have revealed some of the underlying principles and techniques. These have found applicability into wide variety of problem domains. e.g.. battlefields, drones, supply-chains, autonomous robots etc. But people aren’t robots…or insects. Is there a practical way to use these strategies, these lessons of nature, to help provide guidance for those of us trying to create an environment that supports and nurtures self-organizing teams?
The purpose of our talk is to first, elevate the conversation about Swarming in software development from the “psuedo-management-pop” notion of “every body work on the same thing” approach. Second, in light of the our understanding about how utterly un-understandable complexity really is, we invite you to join us in sharing the questions that truly unsettle us about prevalent management practices. 
Learning Outcomes:
  • Overview of Ashby’s Law of Requisite variety and its consequences
  • Introduction to the role of Context Manager
  • Insights into the art of creating a context that supports self-organization or swarming

avatar for Dhaval Panchal

Dhaval Panchal

VP & Enterprise Agile Coach, agile42 US
Dhaval Panchal is a VP and Enterprise Agile Coach for agile42. He is a Certified Scrum Coach (CSC), Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), and Innovation Games Facilitator. Dhaval brings results-oriented, people-centric perspective while training and coaching. He is often described as a... Read More →
avatar for Thomas Perry

Thomas Perry

Founder, Thomas Perry LLC
Tom has been working as a transformation agent in software development for over 20 years. He has worked on teams at startup companies, large corporations in the Fortune 100 and the State and Federal Government. His background includes testing, development, project/program management... Read More →

Thursday August 6, 2015 09:00 - 10:15
National Harbor 6/7


Leading Global Teams (Todd Little)
Limited Capacity seats available

Software development for most enterprises is a global operation. The agile movement got its start with small collocated teams. Sometimes we have that luxury, but more frequently teams are distributed and often distributed across multiple locations and time zones. Todd’s current organization is scattered across 10 different development sites in 6 different countries. At a prior global organization he faced similar challenges. Even if you are only split between 2 locations there are significant challenges to effective agility. Join Todd as he shares several direct experiences and lessons learned in working with globally distributed teams.
Learning Outcomes:
  • • How to structure distributed teams to have the greatest chance for success
  • • How to build trust and enable teams to take ownership so that they can become high performing

avatar for Todd Little

Todd Little

Chairman, Kanban University
Todd Little is Chairman of Kanban University, the leader in Kanban training for knowledge work. He is an executive with deep experience leading the development of commercial technology solutions. He is a pioneer and global thought leader in lean and agile approaches to improve business... Read More →

Thursday August 6, 2015 14:00 - 15:15
Potomac D
Friday, August 7


Spine Model - A systemic approach to effective leadership (Kevin Trethewey, Danie Roux)
Limited Capacity seats available

Great people, great ideas, great work environment. Often all the ingredients are there, but somehow there always seems to be fires to put out, misunderstanding to smooth over, damage to be undone.
Being an effective leader is hard when there is just so much to be done all the time.
As a leader in an organisation you are only effective when there is a shared perception of the way things currently are and productive debate on the way they should be. An effective leader makes it clear where the boundaries are and empowers people to make choices within them. Without an effective mental model of your work system that is easily shared with others this becomes an intractable problem that consumes your energy as well as that of all those who look to you for direction.
The Spine Model is a systemic approach to mapping a work system that will enable you to be a more effective leader. It provides an explicit way to determine your responsibilities as a leader and those that should be delegated to the people doing the work. It shows how and where to place enabling constraints into a work system that will allow the people most familiar with the current local context to decide how that work should be done.
The Spine Model has emerged from our coaching through necessity rather than intent. We have been applying and refining it for some time and, recently, teaching it to others. We have found that it meets a large need, particularly for people that have started to move beyond basics of Scrum and Agile practices.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Create and maintain a shared perception of how things are, and why.
  • Lift conversations to an effective level, breaking agreement deadlocks.
  • As a leader, place enabling constraints into the system and know when to intervene effectively.

avatar for Danie Roux

Danie Roux

Danie Roux Consulting
People person, change agent. Journeyer through problem and solution space. Interested in being interested. I consult on the Why and How of Value creation.
avatar for Kevin Trethewey

Kevin Trethewey

Founder, Driven Alliance
Over the course of my career I have had the opportunity to work in and observe projects, teams and organisations in vastly different environments, and seen vastly differing levels of success amongst them. Through my experiences I have grown an understanding of the values, principles... Read More →

Friday August 7, 2015 09:00 - 10:15
National Harbor 4/5