Conference 2018
 
     

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APLN-Chicago Meetup



Agile Professional Learning Conference 2018

May 3, 2018
8:00am - 5:00pm at the
DePaul University O'Hare Conference Center

 

Conference Highlights:

Agile Professional Learning Network - aplnchicago.org

Agile Professional Learning Conference 2018
"Explorations in Leading an Agile Journey"

Breakfast
Progressive Panel Discussion
Culture Enablement Methodology Leadership
Session 1A Session 1B Session 1C Session 1D
Session 2A Session 2B Session 2C Session 2D
Lunch
Workshop
3A
Workshop
3B
Workshop
3C
Workshop
3D
Session 4A Open
Space
Session 4C Session 4D
Session 5A Session 5C Session 5D
Closing Ceremony
Breakfast and Lunch included with Ticket

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"Explorations in Leading an Agile Journey"

Join us on May 3rd as the Agile Professional Learning Network takes you on an epic, full-day voyage into an agile future..

Registration at http://www.meetup.com/apln-chicago

Tickets will be Limited to 120 attendees

Program Listing:


Session 0A: Opening Ceremony: "Progressive Panel Discussion"

The opening ceremony will be in the form of a panel discussion, initially starring the members of the APLN Board, Michael Marchi, Amy Ikenn, Jeff Singleton, and Aditya Bajaj. But the plan isn't to have it stay that way for long. Every few questions, there will be an option to swap a member of the audience for a member on the panel. So by the end of the hour, there could be an entirely new group on stage!

Panelists:

Michael Marchi Amy Ikenn Jeff Singleton Aditya Bajaj


Session 1A: Organizational Awareness Into Agile Projects

Abstract: On today's organizational environments it is common to lead Agile projects but the organization is not ready yet to understand Agile principles. How to plan or how to properly understand the status of the project are common questions from all involved. This environment also brings the challenges to preserve the team and how this agile project interacts with non-agile projects. This presentation will discuss these scenarios, challenges and propose some actions that will help the agile leader to set his team to success.

Learning objectives / takeaways

  • Understand the impact of Agile projects in Non-Agile organizations
  • Set the right expectations while protecting the team and delivering value
  • Effective communication of Agile projects that makes an impact in the organization

Speaker:

Marcos Correa

Marcos Correa is an international project leader and speaker, with projects in Brazil, Ireland and Germany. He helps organizations and project teams to achieve their potential and remove obstacles to guarantee project success. Marcos brings a rich background of more than 15 years of experience in software development and IT, where he had successfully delivered multi-million dollar projects to Fortune 100 companies like Ericsson, McDonald’s, Coke, United Airlines, Northern Trust Bank, Southwest Airlines and Verizon. As a speaker, he provided presentations and workshops in Latin America, Europe and Asia on Agile and Software Management practices.

Marcos Correa


Session 1B: Getting Your Team Unstuck! Tips and Tricks for Blasting Through Common Setbacks and Becoming More Agile

Abstract: Whether you've been working on an agile team for 6 months, or 6 years, the same obstacles tend to arise to trip us up over and over. Maybe your retrospectives feel more like a death march and no one is participating any more, or your daily stand-ups have bloated into 25 team member status meetings, or you have a QA team that feels buried by your fast-paced development team. These situations are unfortunately very common, and they lower team morale, lead to abandoned transformation initiatives, and ultimately your product and customers suffer because of it. But there’s a better way! As an agile coach and consultant, I help software organizations stop the bleeding, mature their process, and develop into high functioning agile teams. And to be clear, I’ve made mistakes as well! I’d like to share with the audience my own experiences, including strategies that succeeded and failed in hopes of leading them down the path to getting their own teams “unstuck”. I'll also give attendees an opportunity to share their own challenges, so that we can leverage those strategies to give them ideas for blasting through their own roadblocks.

Learning objectives / takeaways

  • Recognizing when your process, product, or people have gone off the rails by identifying "smells"
  • Review some tools and strategies that teams can leverage when they need a cognitive reset to get them back on track
  • How to apply tools and strategies in your own unique environments

Speaker:

Angela Dugan

Angela Dugan is a Director for the Chicago Office of Polaris Solutions. Angela has been in the software industry since 1999, is an active tech community contributor, a passionate agile coach and trainer, and organizes a number of local meetups and conferences including IAMCP Women in Tech, Chicago Code Camp, That Conference, and St. Louis DevUp. She is a Microsoft ALM MVP, a Certified Scrum master, and a SAFe Program Consultant. Angela is an avid board gamer, an accidental CrossFit junkie, an aspiring crafty diva, and a Twitter addict. She is constantly working on her 100+ year old house in Oak Park with her husband David, where they raise two ornery chickens Betsy and Gertrude and a rambunctious GSP named Sadie.

Angela Dugan


Session 1C: Scientific Method & managing expectations in empirical way

Abstract: This talk is about using Scientific Method as an empirical process to organize the work. It's about using narrative to formulate hypothesis and narrating experiments to achieve valuable outcomes.

It's about correlation between Scientific Method and Scrum. We will also bridge into hypothesis driven development concept.

Learning objectives / takeaways

  • Scientific prospective on what Scrum is - Scientific Method applied to a group of people and bound by time
  • Importance of Hypothesis in empirical work/process
  • Using narrative to experiment

Speaker:

Alex Deborin

Alex Deborin is an Agile Coach who has been practicing Scrum/XP/Lean since 2006. Degree in Applied Mathematics. In his own words, Alex helps teams to unleash their full potential. Alex has done an extensive coaching work in Data Science and Analytics field and this presentation is largely inspired by that work.

Alex  Deborin


Session 1D: Knowledge ≠ understanding: Successful transformations go beyond leadership buy-in

Abstract: What is an Agile Organization? Lots of organizations like to call themselves agile, after all, it is a huge buzz word in the industry. But what is an “Agile organization”? What does it mean and why do organizations want to “be Agile”? We thought we knew what Agile was, but we were wrong. We fell into the same trap nearly every Agile organization falls into. Knowing what Agile is, is simple, understanding what Agile is, is not. We started our Agile transformation in 2010. We touted our success and received all kinds of praise and recognition. We did everything right. We had leadership buy-in. We hired industry experts and coaches. We trained everyone in Scrum or Kanban. We certified our Scrum Masters and Product Owners. We showed improvement! However, less than three years later, our transformation was beginning to fail and we were reverting back to our “old ways”. We were failing even though everyone knew Agile. Management, and many of our development teams, were saying, “We tried Agile (or Scrum) and it didn’t work for us.” As a result, management got rid of many of our Scrum Masters, Product Owners, and coaches. So what happened? The problem is, we didn’t understand Agile. For any Agile transformation to succeed, your leaders and teams must understand Agile. Having Leadership buy-in is sufficient for adoption of Agile practices. However, Agile is not something you can simply adopt. Understanding agile is very different than knowing agile. In 2016, our Senior Leadership once again expressed a need to be an Agile Organization. This time is different. We understand Agile now. With this understanding, we are succeeding in our second Agile transformation; and we are succeeding in both development and non-development business groups. We made the same mistake most organizations do, but did not understand why we made them. "We are different" or "We are unique" was the reason some people were saying it didn't work for us. No!! Not true! We are not different or unique! We did things just like every other organization out there; and that is why we initially failed. If any of this sounds familiar to you, especially if you’re just starting, this session is for you. Come and learn why leadership buy-in is not enough and what our leaders did (or did not do) in our first transformation attempt, which caused us to revert to our old behaviors. We will further elaborate on how to not make the same mistakes we did, and hopefully you will avoid making yourselves. Finally, we will end the session on how we started behaving differently the second time , which has led us to be more successful.

This session is targeted at Agile consultants, Agile coaches, and senior managers who are either part of an Agile organization or are considering transitioning to one.

Learning objectives / takeaways

Speaker:

Frank Rios

Frank is an experienced Agile coach and trainer, scrum master, leader, and project manager in both the Public and Private sectors with a solid background in IT application architecture and development. He holds multiple Agile and Scrum certifications, is a Project Management Professional (PMP), and a Six Sigma Green Belt. Frank has spent the last several years helping companies and business groups with their Agile transformation.

Frank Rios


Session 2A: A, E, I, O, and You (Agile, Engineering, Innovation, Organizational Culture, and You)

Abstract: Can an Agile organizational culture lead to more successful innovation in the workplace? My 2016 dissertation research examined the relationship between corporate culture and the creative endeavor of innovation in the software development industry. The outcome of this research suggests that elements of corporate culture – specifically time, resources, collaboration, and management buy-in and follow-through – do have a direct effect on innovation, and that practical implementation of workplace changes could increase the success of innovative efforts. My experience with Agile/Scrum development teams indicates that many Agile values align with the outcomes from this research. When organizations make an effort to be innovative, part of that effort must involve changing the culture of the organization with regard to employees’ use of time, teamwork, and the management of human resources. Together, let’s examine the connection between Agile values, Scrum practices, corporate culture, and innovation, and talk about how teams and organizations can become more innovative through Agile.

Learning objectives / takeaways

  • Learn about some of the cultural elements of a company or team that can foster creativity.
  • Examine how an Agile organizational culture can lead to more successful innovation in the workplace.
  • Discuss practical ways to connect Agile values and Scrum practices to creativity and innovation.

Speaker:

Heidi Sandler

Heidi Sandler is a senior technical writer at Forcepoint LLC with over 20 years of writing experience. She has worked in several Scrum environments, from the early stages of “forming” through to the establishment of well-performing teams. Heidi has also worked with problem-solving teams as well as innovation management groups on initiatives to create cultures that foster innovation in the workplace. Although active in her corporate career, Heidi’s interest in education and research led her to complete a doctorate in Leadership in Curriculum and Instruction. This academic work focused on leadership and organizational culture, with a specific interest in innovation and creativity. Heidi has brought her academic work into practical application, working with her leadership teams to implement programs to improve team culture, enhance employee engagement, and create opportunities for successful innovation. Heidi is currently expanding her research and examining how it maps onto Agile values and Scrum practices. She is specifically exploring how organizational culture can help or hinder creativity and innovation within an Agile environment.

Heidi Sandler


Session 2B: The Power of Pairing

Abstract: Often, we see so much success with frameworks like Scrum or Kanban that we stop looking for other innovations in our process. We continue to think that parallel work streams are the key to efficiency. Two people working on the same thing doesn’t sound very efficient, does it? Unfortunately, these efficiencies tend to build knowledge silos within teams making it difficult to scale. This robs us of innovation and creativity, limits our scope from emergent practices to conforming practices, and limits our ability to respond to change. This talk will focus on the practice of pairing. After this talk, you will be able to better determine when to pair, understand the benefits and drawbacks, address concerns of pairing from teammates as well as explore the common resistance to making this type of change. Join us for a conversation on implementing pairing throughout your organization

Learning objectives / takeaways

Jeff Bubolz

My goal is to end human suffering in organizations, as an agile coach I transform organizations through setting up an environment of continuous improvement and learning. I use authenticity and the kind truth to align organizations to be more responsive and adaptive to change. I nudge people and organizations to be the change they want to see in the world.

Jeff Bubolz

Jeff Maleski

Jeff Maleski is a coach and agile enthusiast with over 15 years of IT experience spanning mobile game development, enterprise software development, and service in the Army as a Signal officer. His deeper skill sets include programming, business analysis, quality assurance, product owning, Scrum mastering, people management, and Agile coaching. He looks to be a catalyst, where 1 plus 1 equals 3, and help drive alignment and purpose for new and experienced Agile teams.

Jeff Maleski


Session 2C: Exploring the DevOps Pipeline

Abstract: DevOps practices are supplanting traditional SDLC as a game changer. Software is now developed analogous to an assembly line and delivered often and not as a large project when everything is put together. In this presentation, Randy will discuss what the DevOps pipeline is and how it is used to achieve continuous delivery.

Learning objectives / takeaways

  • DevOps Business Case
  • Anatomy of the DevOps Pipeline
  • Key/Foundational Elements of a DevOps Pipeline

Speaker:

Randy Spiess

Randy Spiess is a DevOps Management Consultant at Cara/Accenture. He is a highly accomplished software leader that has expertise spanning Agile transformation, DevOps practices, Quality Management and a history of driving continuous improvement projects. Randy has a BSEE from the University of Wisconsin, a MBA from the Lake Forrest School of Management, PMP Certification, and is Green Belt Certified. Randy’s software career started at Motorola where he rose from software engineer to manage large software projects, and process improvement initiatives. At Accenture, Randy is teaching and facilitating lab based training on DevOps practices.

Randy Spiess


Session 2D: Ditch Fear- Leading with Vulnerability

Abstract: I once thought showing vulnerability in the workplace was the fastest way to get left behind. Then I went blind. When ego, fear and intimidation weren’t in my toolbox anymore, I had to learn how to embrace others and ask for help to achieve even small successes. As it turns out, I was joining the next big workplace revolution: embracing vulnerability and ditching cultures of fear. Companies like Microsoft, Google and Shell are throwing tradition to the curb to embrace this model of leadership to establish team work, work towards common goals, and be more agile.

Speaker:

Sameer Doshi

Sameer is Relativity's Cloud Architect. He is helping to lead the company through multiple major transitions: from a company that delivered software for partners to host on metal, to a company with an industry leading cloud platform, built on Azure, operating at Cloud scale, built with DevOps. Sameer has helped move from a four person SA & SCM team to an entire department that creates tools and an automation platform to let us run a system with ti250TB of data in the first two years! Sameer is legally blind and has been working to develop DevOps tools and platforms for the 15 years.

Sameer Doshi

Workshop 3A: Influencing Change: Change Management Techniques to Guide New Tool Adoption to Organizational Transformations

Abstract: Implementing a new tool like Rally, Jira, etc.? Creating a new continuous delivery model? Rewriting an application in a new language? Adopting Scrum practices? Changing mindsets? Transforming to being Agile? These are all changes we see every day in organizations from small to large that range from easy to complex. Even if you’re not working on the big bang transformation to being Agile, change is constantly around us. Getting people on board to think and perform differently is not an easy effort. Bring your current or past change experiences as we’ll go through setting up a change management effort that you can take with you to get started tomorrow on your next change implementation.

Learning Objectives

Speaker:

Ebony Nicole Brown

Ebony Nicole Brown is an Organizational Agile Transformation Consultant working with businesses to strategically solve opportunities that allow for all parts of the organization to deliver value to their employees and customers. Her experience encompasses Change Management, Agility Coaching, Instructional Design & Training, and People Development. Ebony coaches start-ups, mid-size, and Fortune 10 companies to change their practices, mindset, and tools to allow for a more collaborative, transparent, incremental, and iterative environment across all parts of the organization.

Ebony Nicole Brown

Workshop 3B: Continuous Delivery of Agile Architecture: Integrating Architecture into Continuous Delivery

Abstract:Software engineering ecosystems are always evolving with new tools, techniques, frameworks and paradigms. Long-lived systems need to keep up with the pace of the environment in which they live. Over the past few years, incremental developments in core engineering practices for agile software development have forced us to revisit how architecture changes over time: collaboration, design thinking, technical debt, emergent design, evolutionary architecture, agile infrastructure, and continuous delivery have all played a key role in how we can integrate architecture into agile delivery methods.

This session will explore proven ways to incrementally/iteratively plan & build software architectures to support continual change as part of the continuous value-delivery pipeline.

Learning objectives / takeaways

  • Understand the difference between agile (emergent) design and agile (evolutionary) architecture
  • Understand how & where [software] architecture fits in an agile delivery lifecycle
  • Understand the relationship between architecture & organization (Conway’s Law, and how to exploit it)
  • Current treatment of software architecture in popular enterprise agile frameworks (LeSS, DAD & SAFe)
  • Foundational principles & techniques of agile/evolutionary architecture:
    • Architectural elements as backlog-items
    • Continuously integrating architecture into the vision, roadmap & delivery-pipeline
    • Minimum Viable Architecture(MVA)
    • Architecture spikes, iterations & runway
    • Last Responsible Moment (applied to architecture)
    • Architectural dimensions/views/concerns
    • Fitness Functions

Speaker:

Brad Appleton

Brad Appleton is an Enterprise Agile/DevOps leader, coach & manager, and seasoned ALM/SCM solution architect at a large Fortune 100 company. Currently he helps projects and teams scale, adopt and apply lean/agile development methods and ALM/SCM/DevOps practices, pipelines and tools. He was the creator of Agile CM, co-author of the book Software Configuration Management Patterns, a former columnist for the AgileConnection & CMCrossroads communities at Techwell.com, and a former section editor for The C++ Report.

Brad Appleton

Workshop 3C: Kanban: Real Scaled Agility for Your Enterprise

Abstract: Your business in an ecosystem of interdependent services, a complex, adaptive system. Learn about how the systems thinking approach to introducing Kanban into your organization can stimulate the complex adaptive system to improve. This presentation includes knowledge discovered from real-world implementations of the Kanban Method. Pragmatic, actionable, evidence-based guidance derived from insights and recognized patterns in the real world will be shared and explored.

Learning objectives / takeaways

Speaker:

Travis Birch

Travis has been learning about helping organizations improve since 2008. By 2013, he self-identified as a Scrum coach. Around that time, he met Alexei Zheglov, from whom he began to learn about the Kanban Method. Travis has had the good fortune of working with Mr. Zheglov and helping a client together over the past few years. After attending Mr. Zheglov's Kanban Management Professional classes, Travis went on to attend David J. Anderson's Coaching Masterclass and Train the Trainer with Janice Linden-Reid. Travis has been serving as an Accredited Kanban Trainer since January 2017.Over the past year, Travis has had the opportunity to support several middle and senior level managers with the Systems Thinking Approach to Introducing Kanban (STATIK) to the design Kanban services so that their organizations—complex adaptive systems—are stimulated to improve.

Travis has also been accused, since his adolescence, of being a philosopher.

Travis Birch

Workshop 3D: Product Ownership; Value Stream Mapping

Abstract: An unspoken rule of the Agile Community is thus; An A-level team and a C-level Product Owner consistently have difficulties delivering production-ready value on a steady cadence. But an A-level Product Owner, and C-level team, are able to consistently deliver something. It might not be much, but some business value will consistently be delivered. This overview and short workshop is designed to assist Executives, Product Owners, Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches in identifying value streams and prioritizing them in order to maximize the amount of business value delivered at the end of each sprint. During this workshop, we will develop the basic foundations of a hypothetical new product and work towards fostering it until we are to the point where a team could hypothetically begin sprinting on it, and be sure that the items they are delivering are maximizing business value. This technique has worked at all clients I’ve served and is very much focused on organizations who are focused on Agile Transformations at the full Enterprise-level. Using this technique, my employees and I have been able to increase shared service productivity by 9600%, reduced time to market for several products and initiatives by up to 80%, and allowed for early revenue generation for new product lines.

Learning objectives / takeaways

At the end of this workshop, the attendees should have an idea on how to:

  • Develop a value-driven product roadmap
  • Identify Users, Customers and the differences between them
  • Identify and begin to force rank the value of epics and value streams within a product
  • Be able to develop a purely value-driven MVP for a new product

Speaker:

Matt Herold

Matt has worked in the agile space since 2003, as a developer, scrum master, product owner and agile coach for various companies throughout technology and finance industries. As Agility spreads throughout the world, I have found a lot of my clients are working towards true Enterprise-level Agility in teams both inside and outside of technology. As Agility spreads outside of technology and into other business units, including Finance, Marketing, Sales and Internal Servicing, I have found the most value in focusing my efforts and skill set on working with Product Owners in identifying value streams and delivering incremental business value. Since 2012 I have worked in Agile Coaching and currently serve clients in the Chicago/Madison/Milwaukee area through my company, Arthur Alexander LLC. Some of my previous clients are; CUNA Mutual Group, Walt Disney Studio Technologies, and Lootcrate.

Matt Herold


Session 4A: Organizational Structure: The Rock On Which Agility Is Built

Abstract: Does it seem like you are fighting an uphill battle or have plateaued in your agile journey to become more responsive and adaptive to change? Do you have the right organizational structure in place to support the behaviors you want? Agile is not an “IT thing” - it has much more to do with how your organization is structured into teams. Organizations generally focus on behaviors, policies, and tools to help them gain agility but don’t change their environment to support agility. As organizations grow and look for ways to scale they need to focus on creating an organizational structure that will nurture agility and enable continuous improvement. This talk focuses on organizational structure that will cultivate and sustain agility.

Learning objectives / takeaways

Speaker(s):

Chad Beier

I work with all levels of the organization to optimize your business to respond to change. I am passionate about moving organizations and people closer to agility. My first experience with "agile", Scrum specifically, was in 2005. I was part of a global transformation team responsible for software customizations driven by a global consolidation of accounting software. We ran into typical implementation challenges and organizational impediments. Around 2012 I attended an event at which Ken Schwaber spoke that reignited my passion for lean, agile, and continuous improvement. I left my traditional business analyst and project manager roles behind and evolved into an internal change agent kickstarting an agile transformation. I soon realized by stepping into a consulting role I could make a bigger impact across many organizations as an external change agent.

Chad Beier

Jeff Bubolz

My goal is to end human suffering in organizations, as an agile coach I transform organizations through setting up an environment of continuous improvement and learning. I use authenticity and the kind truth to align organizations to be more responsive and adaptive to change. I nudge people and organizations to be the change they want to see in the world.

Jeff Bubolz


OpenSpace 4B: Open Space

Abstract: Open Space has been characterized in many ways. It could be 'roll-your-own conference', or even "passion bounded by responsibility". What it really means, is only you know if you are getting everything you want out of your Agile Professional Learning Conference day. If you want more, then request it! An Open Space is the chance for anybody to shift the direction of the conference to something that they are keenly interested in, and find others willing to share in a discussion on that topic. If you've never done it before, give it a try. You can jump in at any point, you don't necessarily have to be there at the beginning, or stay until the end.

Learning objectives / takeaways Open Space events are what you make of them. Throughout the day, we will be building the "Marketplace" of topics that YOU want to see discussed. Those topics will be collected, and with each round of this two-hour interactive event, you will have an opportunity to bring one of those topics to life.

Facilitator:

Michael Marchi

Michael Marchi - Over a decade ago, Michael turned a quest for project sanity and predictability into a journey that transformed his career.

He is one of the founders of the Agile Professional Learning Network of Chicago (aplnchicago.org), a professional meetup group that serves the Chicago Northwest suburbs. He currently works as Delivery Leadership Manager for Strive Consulting where he brings form to Strive's ever-expanding Agile service offerings. Twitter: @michaelmarchi Blog: http://michaelmarchi.com

Michael Marchi


Session 4C: Agile is Dead, and it Died in Infancy

Abstract: The power of agile software development experienced by authors of the Agile Manifesto far exceeds what people experience today. Why the huge gap? What does that mean for Agile as currently practiced? And how do we escape the current situation to something better? Most of us feel like we’re pretty agile. But most of us don’t know that the inventors of agile development methods such as Scrum and XP delivered value (not code) four to ten times faster than classic software development methods. Very few of us have enjoyed anywhere near that level of performance. Commercial agile frameworks such as SAFe boast performance increases only up to about two times prior expectations. In this presentation, we'll start with a brief agility self-survey to give you a sense of how agile your organization really is. Then we explain why commercial Agile frameworks fall short, and the vicious cycle those frameworks create. We then reveal the natural economics that underlies all agile practices (spoiler - it’s much simpler than teamwork, learning, or small batches). Finally, we conclude with a new vision and path forward, taking us well beyond agile as commonly practiced.

Learning objectives / takeaways

  • conceptual understanding of authentic agility
  • understanding of how agile as currently practiced limits us
  • understanding of what must be done to advance beyond agile as commonly practiced

Speaker:

Doug Knesek

Doug Knesek is a developer, coach, and leader of agile teams and organizations with nearly 30 years of industry experience. Doug started developing software in about 1990 when waterfall was king. He abandoned waterfall and transitioned to the Unified Process in 1995, then abandoned that in favor of Extreme Programming in the year 2000. Doug is a CSM and a SAFe® 4 Program Consultant (SPC). He is currently the Director of Agile Practice at Wisconsin-based Flexion, leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. Prior to Flexion, Doug worked in e-commerce at Amazon in addition to other large companies in a broad range of sectors including state and federal government, education, energy, and financial services.

"I am fortunate to have been a member of a few hyper-productive teams and have led or coached a half-dozen others. But most of the time, I have interacted with organizations that struggle to reach the promise of authentic agility. Over the last decade, I have obsessed over understanding the differences between exceptional and average transformations and have focused on developing more effective methods of delivering authentic and sustainable agility."

Doug Knesek


Session 4D: Financing Agile Delivery with Forecasts

Abstract: Your team’s been trained to deliver new features a short time frame. You’re estimating your work using abstractions like “story points”. The predictability and quality of delivery has clearly improved. However, you still get asked every December to estimate year-long initiatives for annual budgeting. Something doesn’t make sense and you’re having a hard time explaining it to senior leadership. Finance departments and PMOs are trying to invest wisely and mitigate risk. They need to understand what projects to fund and which to avoid and looking at big scary numbers. However, they’re still using the same methods they did before by mitigating risk with big plans and committed dates. How agile can an organization be when the finance department is still thinking in large-batch fixed cost, scope, and time projects? In this session we’ll talk about how to mitigate financial risk and improve return on investment by working in smaller batches. Join us and learn how you can start forecasting!

Learning objectives / takeaways

  • How to determine which projects to manage with a predictive vs adaptive approach
  • A few new tools to make better business decisions about what projects to fund
  • How to use the tools to predict weather and the stock market to forecast project end dates

Speaker:

Robert Pieper - Principal Advisor / CEO - Responsive Advisors

Robb has taught and coached thousands of people on agile frameworks and methodologies. He’s worked at all levels from the team to the C-Suite as a champion of modern management, nimble thinking, and the benefits of business agility. Robb’s developed a strong ability to communicate difficult-to-grasp ideas in his long career in software development and client facing roles. He’s a charismatic public speaker inspiring business leaders and knowledge workers with new ideas to improve. He specializes in executive and management training/coaching, but also passionate about building solid relationships and teams, keeping first things first, and mistake-proofing.Industry experience applying agility includes: Industrial Automation, Web development, Financial Services, Insurance, Print, Big Data, Business Intelligence, Data warehousing, hardware/software products.

Robb Pieper


Session 5A: Agile Is Not the Answer

Abstract: 17 percent of large IT projects go so badly that they can threaten the very existence of the company, according to a recent McKinsey & Associates study on large scale IT Projects. Now that’s scary… Even more terrifying is that 75% of business and IT teams believe their projects will fail right at the start before one requirement is gathered.

With these kinds of statistics it’s no wonder why companies are scrambling to do things different. Technology changes almost daily and customer demands follow suite. There are tech startups that are re-writing they way we live our entire lives. In today’s market the pressure to remain competitive and anticipate customer needs is felt way beyond the IT department. Many companies turn to Agile in hopes that they could reap the boundless rewards everyone promises. Yet only about 50% of Agile projects are successful. With all of the these highly desired benefits of teaming up why aren’t more teams seeing these kinds of results?

The crux of the matter boils down to two simple truths:

  1. Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
  2. Organizational structure is the DNA of company culture.

While the top three reasons for adopting Agile, accelerate product delivery, ability to manage changing priorities and increase productivity, remain constant so too are the top three barriers to Agile adoption. VersionOne’s Annual State of Agile survey reveals year after year that the leading cause of failed Agile adoption is directly tied to company culture, with 63% of respondents citing organizational structure at odds with Agile values as the #1 challenge for their respective company’s Agile journey.

Learning objectives / takeaways

In this highly energetic and interactive discussion participants will learn three proven strategies that create a culture that supports Agility including:

  • The #1 enemy that can derail any Agile workshop or transformation
  • Top 3 questions a company should ask before embarking on an Agile journey
  • Three key elements that will transform your current Agile transformation
  • A simple one question assessment to identify a trust culture vs cultural entropy
  • The 5 Pillars of company cultures that support and enhance Agility

Speaker:

Danielle D. Pollard

Danielle is a Peak Performance Coach and Strategist, Founder & CEO of 7 Wolves Consulting, a speaker with a passion for serving others, author of upcoming book The Trust Factor: How to Unlock the Power of Trust to Build the Perfect Agile Team.

With a background in Industrial and Systems engineering, more than two decades of training, executive coaching, and most importantly, real-life, in-the-trenches leadership experience, her view is insightful and refreshing. Pollard, referred to as “the motivator” and a “phenomenal change agent” for her innate ability to bring the best out in others to consistently drive results and deliver value, is known for her high energy, humorous style; hailing from Chicago’s south side, Danielle’s fusion of street-savvy real-world stories and her passion for helping others connect with her audience at a truthful, transformational and tailor-made level.

Danielle D. Pollard


Session 5C: Exploratory PD: An adaptable approach to developing products

Abstract: This session will provide an alternative approach to the traditional phased and gated process, called Exploratory PD®(ExPD). www.exploratorypd.com With ExPD, project uncertainty drives the process versus prescribed documentation and activities that you find in a phased and gated process. ExPD is an adaptable process that leverages many agile methods.

The benefits of ExPD include:

  • Adaptability
  • Speed
  • Strategic alignment
  • Making uncertainties visible throughout the project
  • Developing products that start with the customer
  • Real-time project prioritization and resource optimization
  • Learning fast from key uncertainties and killing projects quickly
  • Decreased bureaucracy and paperwork
  • Better decision-making through team empowerment

ExPD is robust in that it integrates all the important product development system elements; including strategy, process, portfolio management, market understanding, metrics and teams. In addition, during this discussion we will discuss what it takes to implement ExPD, and if companies are ready to move towards a more adaptable way of developing products.

The speakers, Mary and Kathy received a NSF STEM I-Corp grant through the University of Chicago for their work on this topic. In particular, for a software tool called the Business Fit Framework® www.bfftool.com that identifies and manages product development risk and uncertainties.

Learning objectives / takeaways

  • A new adaptable approach to developing products
  • How companies are currently handling product development risk and uncertainty
  • How companies are reacting to ExPD, is it too much of a mind shift?

Speaker(s):

Mary Drotar

Mary Drotar is co-founder of Strategy 2 Market www.strategy2market.com , a consulting and software firm that specializes in an adaptable way to develop products. Mary has an MBA from the University of Chicago. In 2018, she received a NSF STEM I-Corp Grant for her work on product development and risk. Mary also works part-time for the University of Chicago, as a Faculty Coach for the New Product Development Lab course.

Mary Drotar

Kathy Morrissey

Kathy Morrissey is co-founder of Strategy 2 Market www.strategy2market.com , a consulting and software firm that specializes in new product development. Kathy has an MBA from the University of Chicago and a MS in Statistics from Carnegie-Mellon. She recently received a NSF STEM I-Corp Grant for her work on product development and risk. Kathy also works part-time for the University of Chicago, as a Faculty Coach for the New Product Development Lab course.

Kathy  Morrissey


Session 5D: More Productive Refinements with Affinity Estimating!

Abstract: Important and joyless make for poor bedfellows. Refining and estimating work are crucial in planning and execution of software development, but can often feel tedious and unproductive. Sessions gradually get further from the goal of collaborative discussion and closer to what often feels like metaphysics (What is a two, really?). I’ll articulate and walk through a simple hybrid approach to refining and estimating that, by combining the in-depth discussion of standard backlog refinements and the straight forward expediency of affinity estimating, will inject productivity and engagement back into refining and estimating work.

Learning objectives / takeaways

  • Technique for quickly estimating work while preserving depth of discussion
  • An easy way to preserve consistency in story estimates across backlog & completed work

Speaker:

Andrew Shih

Andrew Shih is an Agile Coach at Uptake. He’s spent the past half-decade helping development and business teams with agility, with experiences in fields ranging from enterprise consulting to fast-moving product startups. A newly-accredited CSP, he’s especially interested in helping teams articulate value in meaning ways, and finding the perfect balance of deliverable work and tangible business value.

Andrew Shih

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