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Working with Customers [clear filter]
Monday, August 3


Customer Vision for better Feedback and more Product Success! (Mario Moreira)
Limited Capacity seats available

Effective customer feedback is both critical to adapting to customer needs yet elusive to capture well. Blundering into customer feedback activities continues to be a weakness in many Agile implementations. How do you ensure you identify the right customers, get customers to feedback sessions, and capture the most effective feedback? Keep in mind that without effective customer feedback, inspect and adapt becomes moot. How can you elevate the game? This session will help you establish a Customer Vision focused on gaining the elusive customer feedback. It will help you identify customer types via personas for your product, service, or value stream. It will help you incorporate customer types into the way you capture requirements. It will help you identify the various types of customer feedback loops that can be used. It will help you determine strategies to get customers to your feedback sessions. You will be armed with a framework for establishing a customer feedback vision with ways to get to 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" bullseye?
Learning Outcomes:
  • The importance of Customer feedback loops in an effective Agile implementation
  • How the PO role is important to getting customer feedback
  • How to establish Personas to better understand your customers
  • How Personas can be directly input into writing effective User Stories
  • Strategies on getting customers to attend customer feedback sessions
  • Understand several levels of customer feedback and how to use them: Reviews/Demos (regular cadence with customers); One-on-One customer Demos (for specific customers); Alphas (internal or SaaS environment where external customers can get their hands-on); and Betas (customers can install and use the product in their environment).
  • How to construct a Customer Feedback Vision specific to a product, product-line, or solution

avatar for Mario Moreira

Mario Moreira

VP Client Development/Master Agile Coach, Emergn
Significant experience leading Agile Transformations focused on establishing and delivering Enterprise level Agile programs. Help organizations have a hyper-focus on identifying and delivering value, optimizing internal flow for faster delivery, and incorporating feedback to align... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2015 10:45 - 12:00
Chesapeake 7/8/9


The Customer CAN always be Right
 - Business Agility through Customer Collaboration (Aakash Srinivasan)
Limited Capacity seats available

Discover the impact of customer collaboration on Business Agility through real world examples and discover innovative techniques to engage your business partners to create a shared vision of success for your product. Be the one to drive the creation of a purpose driven culture in your teams. “Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation" is a fundamental value in Agile that propels early and continuous delivery of valuable software through collaboration between business and technology groups. The highest priority of an Agile mindset is to satisfy the customer with a team empowered to drive the product vision into reality. To enable this dynamic approach, the team should band together with the Product Owner and INVEST in effective User stories to realize true business Agility. Join us and uncover specific techniques for creating a Shared Vision or "North Star" for your product and experience how to walk in your customer's shoes to uncover their journey.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Discover the impact of customer collaboration on Business Agility through real world examples
  • Learn the importance of creating a Shared Vision or "North Star" for your product
  • Walk away with two techniques for creating a Shared Vision or "North Star" for your product
  • Walk away with a Product Owner 'Rights and Responsibilities" crib sheet that can be immediately leveraged by your organization
  • Experience how to create a Product Canvas to uncover what your customer really needs

avatar for Aakash Srinivasan

Aakash Srinivasan

Agile Trainer and Coach, Independent Consultant
Aakash Srinivasan is an Agile Trainer, Coach and professional speaker who travels to consult Fortune 100 companies, working with enterprise management groups, executive teams and individual project teams on business efficiency, process improvements, organizational change and large... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2015 14:00 - 15:15
Potomac 1/2/3
Tuesday, August 4


Be More Than a Proxy (Diane Zajac-Woodie)
Limited Capacity seats available

As a business analyst on an agile team, do you spend your time gathering decisions from stakeholders and passing them on to development teams? Are you tired of simply being a “proxy without power”? And product owners, you have the power to make decisions on behalf of stakeholders, but is that your only interaction with the team? How can you do more to boost your impact?
Be more than a proxy.
By definition, a proxy means doing a thing “by the authority to represent someone else.” BAs, product owners, and product managers can all act as proxies by representing their customers and other business units. But too often, they limit themselves to specifying requirements and/or answering business questions for the team.
In this workshop, Diane Zajac-Woodie shows you how to go beyond those tasks and become more than a proxy. Through some experiential exercises, you will feel the impact of fast, frequent feedback on results. Diane also teaches you how to capture requirements collaboratively, using an acceptance test format. You will get to practice describing the exact behaviors that you expect in a format that everyone understands.
Coupled with facilitation skills and simple tools like story maps, you can learn to foster a collaborative environment. Be inspired to embrace your role in an agile environment and leave with new techniques that ensure that you will be more than a proxy when you head back to work next week.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Experience the positive impact that fast, frequent feedback has on results
  • Give some examples of how to use light-weight documentation
  • Explain what a story map is and why they are useful
  • Describe the timing of "just in time" requirements
  • Name several benefits to writing requirements collaboratively
  • Write requirements in a descriptive, collaborative format
  • List at least 3 skills that are valuable on an agile team

avatar for Diane Zajac

Diane Zajac

Agent of Change, Green Jeans Consulting
Several years ago, Diane traded a career in corporate America for a life of coaching and she has never looked back. She now uses her 13 years of experience to help groups, from Fortune 50 companies to the U.S. Government, transform their people into high-performing teams. Drawing... Read More →

Tuesday August 4, 2015 14:00 - 15:15
Potomac 1/2/3
Wednesday, August 5


User Story Mapping: Don't Lose the Big Picture (Jeff Patton)
Limited Capacity seats available

A story map is a simple way to visualize your product idea from your users’ perspective. Mapping your product's story uses the same approach scriptwriters use to think through a movie or TV story idea. It's fast, collaborative, and telling your product's story helps you spot the holes in your thinking. Once created, a map lets you think through options and alternative ideas that'll make your product better. It's easy to slice out what you think is a smallest viable product, and to identify the next experiment that'll help you validate your product concept.
In this workshop, you'll learn story mapping by building a simple map collaboratively with others. You'll learn how to use story maps to make sense of how users and customers do things today, and how they might do things better with your product. You'll learn how to use story maps to drive Lean Startup style experimentation, as well as heads-down Agile software development.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand how to use story maps to break down large feature ideas into small deliverable pieces
  • Understand how release strategies focus your release on smaller minimum viable product releases
  • Understand how development strategies reduce risk and increase learning
  • Understand how experimentation helps validate your product assumptions before you build

avatar for Jeff Patton

Jeff Patton

Chief Troublemaker, Jeff Patton & Associates
Jeff makes use of over 20 years of product design and development experience to help companies create great products.Jeff started in software development in the early 90s as a project leader and senior developer for a small software product company. There he learned that well written... Read More →

Wednesday August 5, 2015 14:00 - 15:15
Potomac C


No Dream Crushing: Human Centered Solutions using Design Thinking (Kathryn Kuhn, Skip Angel)
Limited Capacity seats available

What do our customers really need? This question plagues every Product Owner and yet so few Product Owners feel like they are equipped to answer this question well. Asking the customer directly is one method, but all too often the customer isn’t able to express that answer in an actionable way. We spend more time trying to manage large backlogs and write stories rather than working closer to customers to discover what they really need.
The solution? Design Thinking has been an approach for many years in the design world, made popular by IDEO and taught at places like Stanford’s D School. Only recently, have some in the Agile community started to apply this process to software product discovery. Lean Startup and Customer Development techniques are teaching us to get outside the building and validate our ideas with our true customers. In this session, you’ll learn to leverage key insights from both of these to create a collaborative and experimental framework to sense, create, and respond to ever-evolving user needs.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Introduction to Design Thinking and how it has been applied to Product and Customer Discovery
  • How Design Thinking can help inform better customer interviews as well as better organization of the information gathered about customers and potential customers
  • How the Build-Measure-Learn framework can help inform and structure the overall Product Management and Scrum framework
  • Gain insight on how to apply this to your current Agile team and where to learn more

avatar for Skip Angel

Skip Angel

Chief Pathfinder, CA Technologies
I have over 25 years of experience in software development in a variety of roles such as Developer, Project Manager, Consultant and Chief Technology Officer. Over the last 7 years, I have provided thought leadership, training and coaching to new and experienced teams interested in... Read More →
avatar for Kathryn Kuhn

Kathryn Kuhn

Agile Expert, McKinsey & Co
Kathryn is an Agile Transformation Lead working at the intersection of her core expertise in Agile, Lean and Design Thinking and startling new technologies (e.g., Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning) to bring a human-centered approach to enable clients to be Value First in their... Read More →

Wednesday August 5, 2015 15:45 - 17:00
Potomac 1/2/3
Thursday, August 6


Lean Startup Mistakes Stopping Successful Experiments (and how to fix them) (Erin Beierwaltes, Colleen Johnson)
Limited Capacity seats available

Lean Startup Practices are becoming a mainstay for emerging businesses and existing enterprises looking to ensure that they solve the right problems for their customers. Explore the common mistakes made when implementing scientific discovery practices. Identify assumptions and build concrete experiments around falsifiable hypotheses that produce data to make informed decisions about where to take your solution next. Whether you are launching a MVP or iterating on a legacy product, you will learn how to avoid the mistakes that can take you down the path of wasted time, money, and energy.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the common mistakes with Lean Startup implementation and how to fix them
  • How to use an experiment canvas to document assumptions
  • How to write an experiment that can be concretely validated or invalidated
  • How to define and track metrics that drive actionable next steps

avatar for Colleen Johnson

Colleen Johnson

Practice Director, ScatterSpoke
Colleen Johnson is the CEO and cofounder of ScatterSpoke, a space for more effective team retrospectives. In her coaching, she applies a systems thinking approach to aligning agile methodologies across the enterprise and works with clients to apply the right cultural and context-driven... Read More →

Thursday August 6, 2015 09:00 - 10:15
Potomac 1/2/3


Getting Rid of the Feud in Your Work Family (Robert Reid, Christina Hartikainen)
Limited Capacity seats available

Imagine your team has a new project and needs to work with Sally in Accounting. When you first approach Sally about the project, she wants nothing to do with you or your team. She tells you that a couple of years ago she had another project with a team in your department and it did not go well. For this new project, Sally wants to hire external consultants because she feels that way she will get what she wants. This relationship is much like that of estranged family members – something happened in the past that has driven a wedge between them. So how do you bring them back together?
In this workshop we will help you to recognize familial relationships in your workplace, identify the potential dysfunctions in them and explore techniques for getting Sally and your team working together.

Learning Outcomes:
  • How to identify family relationships in the workplace
  • How to identify specific dysfunctions in these relationships
  • Mediation techniques to apply to improve these relationships


Thursday August 6, 2015 10:45 - 12:00
Potomac D


Bootstrap your Business Model: Business Agility on the Back of a Napkin (Bernie Maloney)
Limited Capacity seats available

With every product we ship, we learn what we wished we’d known: what customers really wanted. What if you could gain those insights before beginning development? What if you could “unit test” a product idea? Or at a bigger level, what if you could “system test” your business idea/plan?
Engineering teams are experiencing productivity gains of 30-300% when applying Agile and Lean practices and methods. These same Agile and Lean principles can be applied beyond engineering, to the business itself. Using a lightweight yet powerful tool, assumptions behind a business plan can be tested and iterated almost on-the-fly. With a hands-on exercise, attendees will learn how to build a map of any business ecosystem, and how to use it to check and iterate solution viability. Come experience the application of Agile to Business so you and your team can focus on your richest opportunities over chasing your competitor’s taillights.
Learning Outcomes:
  • How to amplify Agile’s power of Inspect & Adapt by applying it in business layers
  • How to Paper Prototype a Business or a Product Definition ahead of development
  • How to “unit test” a Product Idea to find Minimum Viable Product
  • How to “system test” a Business Model to find Product Market Fit
  • Experience creating a Business Model for a simple product, and exploring how the same product could be used to solve multiple customer problems

avatar for Bernie Maloney

Bernie Maloney

Agile Coach | Accelerating Genius, Persistent Systems
Bernie’s career started with a flash and a bang. Literally. His first position was designing devices that protect telephone networks from lightning strikes. A few career pivots later, he had a flash of insight: it was possible to tap into latent potential in every person, every... Read More →

Thursday August 6, 2015 15:45 - 17:00
Potomac 1/2/3
Friday, August 7


Backlog Refinement – The Rodney Dangerfield of Scrum ceremonies (Richard Dolman)
Limited Capacity seats available

I tell ya’ sometimes I feel like Backlog Refinement just don’t get no respect!
Ever been in a Sprint Planning session when the team doesn’t have enough understanding of the product backlog items (PBIs) to effectively plan the Sprint?
Does your team feel like they don’t have time to "waste" elaborating PBIs, learning about Acceptance Criteria, or collaboratively estimating as a team?
Has someone mandated it’s “too expensive” or “inefficient” to bring the whole team together regularly or that just one or two “leads” can should review and estimate PBIs for the entire team?
These misconceptions and related anti-patterns are far too common when new teams begin transitioning to Agile/Scrum.
Backlog Refinement may be the 2nd most important activity (after the Retrospective) for enabling team improvement. But too often, new Scrum teams neglect it only to find themselves struggling to establish predictability, sustainable pace, stakeholder engagement or collective ownership. The most common indicators of this neglect emerge in painful and ineffective Sprint Planning, as well as a repeated “undone work” pattern at the end of the Sprints.
We can avoid this by emphasizing the value of “Collaborative Discovery” over just "reviewing the Backlog".
Join this session to learn common sense practices and techniques to help optimize the emergence of requirements, and why it’s the conversation that matters, making Backlog Refinement a must-do, indispensable team learning activity.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Attendees will learn to leverage Backlog Refinement as the container for:
  • collaborative discovery
  • lightweight design and visualization
  • good Story writing
  • clear, demonstrable Acceptance Criteria
  • effective and collaborative elaboration and decomposition
  • vertical slicing
  • relative estimation
  • just-in-time planning
  • Attendee Call to Action - "What can you take back to your teams to help them improve?"

avatar for Richard Dolman

Richard Dolman

Enterprise Agile Coach and Trainer, agile42
My professional passion is helping companies solve critical business and technology challenges, and empowering and enabling collaborative, high-performing teams.

Friday August 7, 2015 09:00 - 10:15
Chesapeake 1/2/3


Quantifying Cost of Delay: Why is it the “one thing” to quantify? How do I do it? (Ozlem Yuce, Sean Barrett)
Limited Capacity seats available

Quantifying Cost of Delay not only helps improve prioritization, it also help with making trade-off decisions, creates a sense of urgency, and changes the focus of the conversation. Maybe this has got you interested in experimenting with it, but you’re not sure how to get started? If so, this workshop is specifically for you!
When people hear about Cost of Delay they sometimes doubt whether their organisation is ready for it. They say things like, “We don’t have the maturity for it”, or “We couldn’t do that because our stakeholders wouldn’t support it”. We’ve heard people say this too. And yet, in hindsight, people find it much easier than they thought! We will show you how to get started with using Cost of Delay, despite these doubts.
Building blocks
The first essential building block is to understand the value. To help structure the conversation we will use a simple economic framework to surface the assumptions and drive to the economic impacts. The second essential building block is to understand the urgency. For this, we will look at different urgency curves to help us understand how value is likely to decay over time. Combining these two gives us the Cost of Delay helping us to question and better understand what our gut tells us about value and urgency.
Practice makes perfect!
To get going, we will start by looking at some simplified scenarios that help you put what you’ve learned about Cost of Delay into practice. You’ll work at your own pace through some simple exercises that test different aspects of your understanding. To really embed it, once you’re done you’ll get a chance to help others around you – you become the teacher. We will then quickly reflect on what we’ve learned so far.
Then, we’re all going to work on quickly estimating the Cost of Delay for a real life example for a real company. You’ll do this in pairs making assumptions you need to get to a cost of delay for the feature in dollars per week. To help us learn about what the key assumptions were we will compare results across the group to help us understand what the value might be and the areas of greatest uncertainty.
To wrap up we’re going to ask you to do a mini-retrospective about what you’ve learned and what your puzzles are. If we have any time left, we’re happy to help you have a go with a feature or project you are working with.
Learning Outcomes:
  • By the end of this session you should be able to go back to your organisation armed with a better understanding of what Cost of Delay is, why it’s useful and be confident enough to apply it.
  • Learn about an economic framework for estimating value
  • Learn about the most common urgency profiles we see
  • Do some exercises to work out the Cost of Delay for a set of scenarios
  • Get some practice with helping others to calculate the Cost of Delay
  • Learn about the assumptions we often need to make in order to calculate Cost of Delay.
  • Get to a Cost of Delay figure (in dollars per week) for a real situation, compare and contrast with others.
  • Be able to calculate the Cost of Delay for your own Project or Feature.

avatar for Ozlem Yuce

Ozlem Yuce

Chief Product Officer, Agile@Heart
Ozlem works with teams to quickly develop products and services that truly delight customers. With 15 years experience working in e-commerce, software and product development, she has worked with everything from Fortune 500 behemoths to fast-growing Inc 5000 startups. Ozlem has... Read More →

Friday August 7, 2015 09:00 - 10:15
Potomac 5/6