AgileDC 2019 Day 1
Mon, Sep 23
Timezone: America/New_York (EDT)
Registration - 60 mins
Opening Remarks - 20 mins
Sanjiv Augustine - Driving Flow, Value, and Innovation with the Agile VMO™
Historically, Project Managers (PMs) and other middle managers have hustled in a bureaucratic system to drive teams to deliver value. As organizations transition from a project to product model, where can these leaders best add value in a fast-moving, Agile and entrepreneurial world? In this new and exciting world, middle managers are enabling rapid delivery of value and successful business outcomes via the creation of the Agile Value Management Office™. Learn how an Agile VMO™ drives business agility through small batches, frequent releases, and continuous adaptation. We'll explore how to:
- Create a collaborative management team-of-teams
- Bring Lean discipline to product portfolio prioritization
- Establish an End-to-End team model of resource management
- Track in-flight product work using a Visual Management System
We'll explore the transition for PMs and other leaders into this exciting role: facilitating the delivery of flow, value, and innovation end-to-end on the Agile VMO™, even as they support their Agile teams in the quest for business agility.
Coffee Break & Networking - 25 mins
Esther Gatuma - Defining And Leveraging Agnostic Agile For Transformation
If I were to ask you to recommend a standardized agility enablement methodology or framework that leverages the application of the agile manifesto to support the delivery of software which one would you recommend? I too asked myself such questions when I realized that I needed to select a license that would equip me with the Agile framework tools needed to enable organizational agility. I have discovered that all my licenses availed the tools that charted my way towards the implementation and effective agility transformation by adopting the agile manifesto.
As we continue to enable organizational agility, we have learnt that 'thought leadership' and 'decisive decision making' is an invaluable component for teams that are at the nascent or maturity phases of their agile transformation journey. Recently, I had the honor of participating in a very elightening and informative agility enablement session that was hosted by the co-author of the Agile Manifesto - Arie Van Bennekum CPF at the British Computer Society in the UK. I came away with lessons that affirmed my belief that 'one size does not fit all' when it comes to selecting agile frameworks and tools. Of these lessons, I will curate a session that equips agile practitioners with answers to questions like "what is agnostic agile?", "does agnostic agile work?", "what does it take to implement agnostic agile?", and "how can you transform using this methodology?".
My talk will be delivered using a real agilist story that leverages Joseph campbell's stages of the hero's journey where we shall review the hero's 'call to adventure', 'the initiation act, and 'the return act'.
Mindy Bohannon - I’m a BA Girl in an Agile World
Have you ever worked with a Business Analyst (BA)? Is what a BA does on an agile project much different from what is done on a waterfall project? All analysts bring excellent communication, collaboration, and trust to their work on project teams. During this session we’ll review the roles a BA can play, a BA's responsibility on the development team, and the skills a good BA possesses. For fun, lets also talk about why an Analyst is part of the 3 Amigos and the complexity of communication channels. Generally speaking, let’s discuss how BAs participate in an agile project’s success and I’ll share some stories about my experience going from waterfall to agile, how I’ve interacted with the PO, and important things I think an Analyst should be involved in.
Zack Ayers / Joshua Cohen - Andon Cords in Development Teams: Our Experience of Driving Continuous Learning through a Culture of Experimentation
In this session, you’ll learn about one team’s struggle to improve collaboration and how they sought to shorten cycle time by carefully crafting an experiment with an Andon Cord. The Andon Cord is a Toyota innovation designed to empower front-line employees to recognize issues, initiate a stoppage of work, and work together as a team to quickly identify a path forward. The emergency cable strung above assembly lines became a symbol of the Toyota Way, and has widely been copied throughout the auto industry and beyond.
You’ll be introduced to metrics that show a surprising correlation between collaboration through Andon Cord pulls and Cycle Time!
Raj Indugula / George Lively - Being Test-driven: It's Not Really About Testing
Good news: Test-driven practices have jumped the chasm to general acceptance! The bad news, though, is that while TDD, BDD, and ATDD are prominent buzzwords in the industry today, they are rife with misconceptions, with many people incorrectly assuming that being test-driven is all about testing.
In this talk, learners will leave with a clearer understanding of Test-Driven Development (TDD), Behavior Driven-Development (BDD), and Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD), and gain practical insights into how these practices can help teams develop better software. We will gain an appreciation for TDD as being primarily a specification and design technique, and how to get the whole team involved earlier in the delivery cycle using a BDD approach.
Steve Moubray / Tricia Mulcahy - Big Room Prioritization
How do you get people to agree on priorities when they may have different objectives? You may be facing an issue now where stakeholders are pushing against each other in order to get their work done first. What would happen if we could create an open dialog among stakeholders and have them understand different perspectives and focus on the goals of the greater good instead of just their own? Let’s face it, proper prioritization is the difference between writing code and developing valuable solutions.
In this simulation style workshop, you’ll learn practical methods for bringing stakeholders together and openly discuss their different priorities to agree on what’s most important overall. You will see first hand how a combining group discussion with proven prioritization methods such as Weighted-Shortest Job First and (WSJF) and Must Have, Should Have, Could Have and Won’t Have (MoSCoW) work.
Craeg K Strong - Kanban Antipatterns: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
In this interactive workshop we will examine multiple examples of Antipatterns observed in real-world Kanban boards. In each case we will identify the issues and discuss ways to improve the situation. We will review a number of better alternatives and see how the improvements map to the core principles of Kanban such as visualization, managing flow, and making policies explicit. Brand new to Kanban? Learning by example is a great way to get started! A long-time Kanban veteran? Come to see how many antipatterns you recognize and help firm up our Kanban Antipattern taxonomy and nomenclature!
Kanban is an extremely versatile and effective Agile method that has seen significant growth in popularity over recent years. Kanban’s flexibility has led to widespread adoption to manage business processes in disparate contexts such as HR, loan processing, drug discovery, and insurance underwriting, in addition to Information Technology. Like snowflakes, no two Kanban boards are alike. The downside to this flexibility is there is no well-known and easily accessible library of patterns for designing effective Kanban boards. Like Apollo engineers, teams are expected to design their board starting from first principles. Unfortunately, sometimes teams get stuck with board designs that may not provide the visibility and insight into their workflow they hope to see. Worse, some designs actually may serve only to obscure the situation. Working within the limitations of an electronic board can exacerbate the problem even further. Is all hope lost? Certainly not!
Let’s learn more about effective Kanban system design by examining what to avoid and why. Learning by example is effective and fun!
Adam Parker - NoEstimates at Scale in the Federal Government
Come learn how our 3 teams, operating in a LeSS-style scaled model, experimented with a NoEstimates approach to development work and then adopted that as our way of working for a year in the Federal government. Included in our story is a switch to Kanban, returning to Scrum, and eventually returning to pointing work. It has been a remarkable journey that I'm excited to share!
Jason Gudalis - Government Products Deserve Love Too
Product management and the public sector seem to go together like oil and water. After all, when was the last time that you experienced a government product that you really enjoyed using? It might be rare, but user enthusiasm for products in the public sector isn’t fiction. Current Product Manager of FBI’s Sentinel and former Technical Director of Department of Defense product portfolios, Jason Gudalis will provide a deep dive into building products that elicit passion by:
- Capitalizing on the strengths of the public sector to foster healthy product development
- Mitigating the weaknesses of the public sector to protect healthy product development
From eliminating the barriers between users and product teams to rapidly streamlining processes, he’ll share the lessons and stories that fundamentally shaped his approach to agile development and product management -- and helped him create lovable product experiences in the unlikeliest of places: the federal government.
Richard Mills - DevOps Patterns to Enable Success with Microservices
DevOps can help you dig out of the problem you created for yourself: you spent your lunch period reading the interwebs, drank the kool-aid, and decided to embrace the utopia of microservices to solve all your fragile legacy monolithic code issues and allow you to release small independent changes into production. What you didn't realize is that you've translated an early-lifecycle code architecture problem into a late-lifecycle release management and quality assessment nightmare.
This microservice thing has not provided the nirvana you expected. You ended up with:
- a set of federated services that have hidden dependencies
- independent applications maintained by teams that don't talk to each other
- inability figure out which versions work together in your test environments, much less production
- the need to test that your still-monolithic system works in pieces and as a whole
You discover that this looks suspiciously like a DevOps problem and your pipeline is critical to your success.
Someone once said to me "if you are building microservices without DevOps, you've already failed." I've learned that the integration problems created by independent microservices require a high level of automation with a pipeline that works independently of each service and can detect changes that break other services. The pipeline needs to facilitate communication between teams and assess which changes and versions work with each other.
In this talk, I highlight the important things you need to succeed with microservices and avoid some of the common problems. Participants will leave with some new ideas on what they might be doing wrong in their current microservice-based project and/or anticipate what's going to go wrong if they are just getting started.
Erin Randall - Graciousness: The Fine Art of Being Kind to Yourself
Exhaustion. Numbness. Emptiness. As coaches, as scrum masters, our work is about serving others, oftentimes at the expense of ourselves. This talk is about learning to act graciously, to act kindly, to do unto ourselves as we do for our teams. We will discuss the urgency of slowing down, of leaving room to contemplate our inner world, and of "bringing calm into the motion and commotion of the world." I discuss the urgency of slowing down, the neurobiology of graciousness and compassion, and how to use practices within the contemplative-practice tree. I will also cover how to use these practices to show when self-care is falling to the wayside and how to build a foundation of compassionate graciousness. Research for this session draws upon primary sources such as Pico Iyer, Dr. Rachel Remen, Mirabai Bush, and Dr. James Doty, philosophers and contemplative thinkers such as Thomas Merton and Henry David Thoreau, and poets such as Emily Dickinson and Mary Oliver. The Dalai Lama says that the one thing without which we cannot live is kindness, and I posit that we must also show that kindness, that graciousness, to ourselves.
This talk targets Agile practitioners of all skill levels, but particularly Agile coaches and scrum masters. So many of us help others to move forward, to self-organize, but service can be exhausting. This talk is for you, to help you find practices to show that kindness, that graciousness, to yourself.
Coffee Break & Networking - 15 mins
Steve Teske / Manjit Singh - From Storming to Performing: Accelerating Adoption of Agile Using Framework for Interactive Team Chartering
Do you remember your team's first engagement with agile adoption? Did you or others on your team hold strong opinions on specific topics? Were meetings derailed by discussions about which is the right way to do agile? Perhaps as a scrum master or coach, you face stormy meetings with many debates. If so, let's talk about chartering:
Steve Teske presets a chartering framework for sequentially identifying and resolving tough issues for teams embarking on lean or agile implementations. Utilizing the chartering framework a scrum master, team lead or coach creates a facilitation plan which includes activities and educational opportunities relevant to a specific team. Through the course of facilitated chartering the team discovers two fundamental things. First they cooperative discover common definitions of agile words and processes. Second, they build a deep understanding of their intra-team commitments which provides the foundation for trust and accountability.
Leah Burman - Giant Leaps - An Agile Generations Moonshot
"When you have hundreds of thousands of people all doing their job a little better than they have to, you get an improvement in performance. And that's the only reason we could have pulled this whole thing off" Neil Armstrong
The successful Apollo 11 mission to the moon was made possible by a group of individuals given a clear but lofty goal to put an American on the moon within 8 years. Men and women worked together through iterative Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs to deliver on President Kennedy's promise to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. Many of the decisions, practices, and mindsets of the Apollo 11 engineering team uphold agile values and principles. The talk will explain those similarities and challenge the next generation of technologists to once again activate around a common vision and shoot for the moon.
Pete Oliver-Krueger - MVPs Suck! Why this latest buzzword is such a pain in our *$$€$$!
It’s the latest and greatest business bingo term, the Minimum Viable Product, or MVP! It even has its own children now, like Minimum Loveable Products (M♥️Ps), Minimum Marketable Products (MMPs), and Minimum Marketable Features (MMFs). It’s made it up to the executive level, and almost every organization I work with these days has at least heard of the MVP.
But almost no one actually does it right. Most just map the name onto old Project Management concepts of “this is what I want in my first release”. Like Agile itself, MVP is a mindset shift. It’s not like anything most of us have ever done before.
- Do your “MVPs” take less than a month to build? If not, you’re doing them wrong.
- Do your customers pay you to build your “MVPs”? If not, you’re doing them wrong.
- Do your “MVPs” make your users light up with joy? If not, you’re doing them wrong.
I'll show you a build and release prioritization technique, based off of Lean Startup workshops I’ve been running since 2010, that can be done in hours - not days - and which will produce a true Agile Design that your teams can implement, in true iterative fashion.
Cherie Silas / Chester Jackson - Coaching Change with Moving Motivators
Presentation Overview: (What is the “message”? What key points will you make?)
Change is hard – Staying motivated during change is even harder! But you can help your teams identify what things about the change are working for them and what they need to do to make small shifts that can keep them motivated.
Is your team or team member facing a big change decision? Moving Motivators can help you identify the best choice by looking at how the factors in the change impact your long term motivation.
Learn to discover and prioritize your motivators so you will understand how change today might impact you in the long run. See which choice is better when there are multiple options. Make conscious trade off decisions in a logical way with long term thinking in mind.
Paul Boos - Agile Leadership 201: Enriching Management
The Agile Manifesto doesn't explicitly talk about what changes in management should happen and neither do the approaches. In fact, sometimes we hear the exact opposite from teams - "What do we need managers for..?" or perhaps "Can't they just get rid of all the impediments we have?"
As a former manager and now as a coach, I find the words Servant Leadership sometimes doesn't resonate. It actually only paints part of the picture anyway. What we want are ways to enrich management so that they can do more for the organization and its teams. Let's discover what some of this enrichment might be.
Phillip Manketo / Matt Miceli - The Ever Evolving Journey of the Fannie Mae Scrum Master
“Evolution is a tinkerer.”, Francois Jacob, Nobel Price wining Biologist
To further enable Scrum Masters to mature specific capabilities, and achieve more consistent practice across the enterprise, Fannie Mae’s Agile Center of Excellence (CoE) embarked on series of evolutionary initiatives. While we would like to represent that these activities were premeditated and intentional, the reality was that the activities were emergent, evolving with, and in response to, the larger organizational transformation. During this session, we will detail the evolution of initiatives over the last several years intended to support the Scrum Master, the triggers that precipitated the initiative, the outcome of the initiative itself, as well as lessons learned given the benefit of hindsight.
Elijah Biggs - Team Culture and Revisiting Social Contracts Early and Often
Change is inevitable – let’s exploit it. For Agile/team-based engagements, people learn about their preferred ways of working through a variety of changes: time, team structure, aptitude, experience, and introspection. Many teams use a social contract as an artifact to document a desired set of values, behaviors, and social norms at a project kickoff; but often forget to refine and modernize their social contract through time. Join me to discuss the elements of creating, revisiting, and revising social contracts and the value they provide individuals on a team.
Salah Elleithy / Ganesh Murugan - Agile Indicators: Start with Questions!Most teams hate the idea of tracking or sharing metrics with managers or leaders. When the teams are asked to share metrics like velocity, burn down and other output driven metrics, teams hear what are you "busy" doing? So, the team starts to focus on showing how busy they are which drives the wrong behavior and stifles their opportunity for learning and growing and using metrics for good.Since, the essence of agility is continuous improvement via inspect and adapt. We want to reframe the conversation around Agile indicators that start with questions! What questions are you asking your team? How are you helping them to learn and grow? What indicators are you looking at?In this session, we will be providing insights around using Agile indications with questions in order to embrace a different mindset. A mindset that encourages more learning, growing and less judgment. A curiosity mindset that encourages organizations to move from “busy work” or output focused metrics to outcomes focused using questions.
Max Saperstone - Getting to Continuous Testing
Max will tell the story of how a healthcare company striving to get to continuous releases built up their automation to secure confidence in regular releases. Initially, as no test automation existed, Max was able to take a greenfield test automation opportunity, and in the span of 12 months, develop over 2000 test cases. A testing pipeline was created to verify the integrity of the automated test cases, and to build docker containers for simple execution of the tests. These containers could then be simply re-used by developers and the DevOps team to verify the application. Max will walk through the feedback loop created, which allowed verification of the application go from hours to minutes.
Max will discuss what processes and paths were taken to achieve continuous testing on this project. While he will cover the tools used and why they were chosen, the main focus will be on the HOW and WHY certain patterns and activities were performed. These choices were critical to achieving continuous testing, rather than just good testing coverage in CI or CD, even allowing a push left for performance and security. Additionally, some time will be spent on the organizational and culture changes that occured, and how he was able to accomplish this push for adoption in an organization that resisted automation, and had major quality problems.
John Margetis - The Value of Preserving the Agile Mindset in 3d Party Vendor Contracts
Ignoring the importance of including a commitment to the Agile Mindset in a 3d party vendor contract introduces "mindset" and "collaboration" risk for the Project. These risks manifest into a prolonged (and more costly) effort to coach a team to a high performing state. In several cases, the team will never reach a state of high performance because of the obstacles that were introduced when the contract was executed. The end result is lower Return on Investment (ROI) for the capital invested into the Agile team and Project as a whole. This Lightning Talk will highlight several common practices observed in the industry that originate with a signature on a contract, but which directly conflict with the Agile Manifesto and Principles.
JeffreyMFarley - Bring a Scarecrow: Harnessing the Wisdom of Crowds
Many times, meetings are called to figure out what to do.
Many times, these meetings fail to do just that
On my current project, we use "scarecrows" to make sure that we focus on getting a solution and getting everyone's input
Lunch & Networking - 75 mins
Mark Ginise / Joshua Seckel - My Government Agency Is Unique...Just Like All The Other Agencies
Many people have implemented successful agile transformations in a federal agency on a project or program, some even converting entire agencies. Then they tried to take that method and apply it to another program or agency - and failed. What went wrong? Most government agencies are roughly the same size as a company, Departments are collections of companies, and the entire federal government is massive at a scale beyond most enterprise changes. Just like companies, each agency has unique cultural differences and technical proficiencies. But there are overall federal practices and ideas that can help with an agile transformation.
Are the governance practices from USCIS adoptable in other agencies? Can the leadership champion at FBI Sentinel be duplicated? Is the recovery from healthcare.gov something that should be emulated on other programs?
Based on discussions with many federal employees and a few contractors working in various agencies, including Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Treasury, Transportation, the Intelligence Community and others, this talk will dissect and analyze anecdotes and stories across various federal agencies with advice on what seems to work universally, what seem to be anti-patterns, and what is very agency specific.
We looked across several vital areas for agile adoption and transformation: technical practices, leadership engagement, governance, procurement, and mindset. For each area, we will summarize, with specific examples from federal agencies, practices that have worked across multiple agencies, practices that have seen success in one or two agencies, and practices that have not been successful at any agency in promoting change.
Lisa Mabli - The Big Small: Turning Micro Wins into Macro Success
Sometimes we get so focused on big outcomes, like scaling Agile or an Agile Transformation, that we forget to celebrate the small things that, in aggregate, actually determine whether or not we will be successful.
Agility is a universe of small things: small stories, small increments, small teams... it's a culture of thinking small to do big things. It's no surprise then that the road to business agility is built upon recognizing and celebrating small wins in order to shift the culture and mindset in a way that will last.
This Lightning Talk is an opportunity to see why, in our world of coaching and transforming, it pays to sweat the small stuff.
Mark Grove / Julie Wyman - What’s REALLY Going On? An Observational Skills Workshop
Imagine you are asked to sit in on a team’s sprint review and retrospective. The team has been having difficulty forming and the Scrum Master has asked you to observe the team dynamics during these two sessions. Are you simply going to watch what’s going on or is there more you can do? Perhaps you are seeing interactions and team dynamics at play without truly realizing what you are observing. And when you do observe, are you injecting your own biases into those observations? Observation is a powerful tool, but one which we may not take advantage of to its true potential. After all, what exactly should we be observing, anyway?
By learning how to expand our observational skills in a non-biased and non-judgmental manner, we can gain a deeper understanding of team dynamics and interactions allowing us to offer more meaningful and impactful support, coaching, and empathy. Because there are many observational aspects that pass us by, the best way to become more observant is through deliberate practice. So, let’s practice together with a group exercise in a fun and safe setting!
In this highly interactive workshop, we’ll start by sharing tools and tips to make you a better observer. Then we’ll ask for a small group of volunteers (“builders”) to be observed performing a brief task. The remaining attendees will practice applying the observation techniques, and, after the builders finish, will share their observations in small groups. We’ll conclude with a full-group debrief and discussion of the key takeaways and opportunities to improve our effectiveness and observations.
If you’re looking for new ways to connect with your team, to enhance your agilist toolkit, or simply participate in an informative and interactive workshop, this session is for you!
Mark Koenig - Continuous Modernization
Rather than engaging in an intense modernization effort followed by years of minimal maintenance, a better alternative often is modernizing a system continuously, balancing operations, maintenance, and renovation. Ideally you can improve, update, and upgrade the software system one piece at a time while it continues to operate, avoiding feature freezes and scary cut-overs.
There are always trade-offs to be made, but some approaches better fit IT systems with long-lived missions. At a certain point, a whole-sale rewrite is the best option for replacing stale, decaying software before it leads to major headaches and eventual catastrophe. Big rewrites have big risks and big failures, however. Because of the stability and enduring mandates of some software systems, long-term investments in IT systems pay off and give room for smart maintenance strategies.
Cherie Silas - Forget Climbing the Ladder - Take the Escalator to Success!
Ever wonder if climbing the ladder of success is really worth it? So much competition. So many people to out-perform. So many people to compete for to get the best jobs, the highest raise, the biggest bonus. And that frustrating bell curve! There's a better way. Forget the ladder! Take the Escalator instead.
In this talk I will share my personal experience with the uselessness of climbing the ladder just to find out that you have reached the top only to be miserable and alone. What I have learned through countless experiences in my career is that ladder climbing is a futile way of progressing. There is a more powerful, effective, and satisfying way to achieve success. Take the escalator instead.
The escalator turns what doesn't seem to make sense -- helping others succeed, helping your competitors win, giving away what others are selling - into your golden ticket to success. Join this talk to understand more about why the ladder method does not work long term and how the escalator model can bring more fulfillment, greater rewards, and financial security without the stress.
Dave Rooney - How Thin is Thin? A Practical User Story Workshop
Most of us have heard the mantra, "Slice your User Stories as thin as possible!" In my travels as a coach since the early 2000's, however, I've rarely seen stories that truly are thin. What are these rare creatures? Why don't I see more of them? Having good User Stories is crucial to the success of teams using them as the means for determining what needs to be built to fulfill a customer's need. Having thinly sliced stories is even more important!
This workshop provides a level set on what stories are and explores why slicing stories very thin is important, what benefits thin slicing provides, and how to do it. Through a combination of examples and practical application in the workshop, you'll leave with slicing techniques that you can apply at your next planning session.
Anita Sagar - Prioritizing Business Value through the Bockman Technique (Agile Release Planning Prioritization)
Agile release planning provides a high-level summary timeline of the release schedule based on the product roadmap and the product vision for the product’s evolution. It allows the a product team to decide how much needs to be developed and how long it will take to have a releasable product based on business goals. Since features represent value to the customer, it is crucial that we prioritize a release in order of highest to lowest business value. Often times, this poses a challenge as various roles prioritize differently. In this session, individuals will work in teams to prioritize hypothetical user stories according to the business value of the given scenario. Individuals will leave this session with a game/technique to efficiently prioritize his or her backlog according to value with input from the entire team.
Lisa Cooney - The Art of Developmental Feedback
People don't like being told what to do, especially knowledge workers. Yet in many work settings we give feedback that is directive in nature. What would it be like to receive feedback that, instead of making us ashamed of our failures, helped us to learn and grow? What would it be like to give feedback that enabled deep and sustained learning and growth in another person, while still being perfectly honest?
During this talk you will learn about Developmental Feedback, which enables the giver of the feedback to be clear and speak truth, and enables the receiver of the feedback to absorb it without defensiveness, and with a sense of invitation to learn and grow. You will learn about a variety of feedback types, how to have a "shared sensemaking conversation," what Impact Feedback and "The Story I Tell Myself" feedback actually are, and review sample dialogues. We will explore the conditions necessary for effective developmental feedback conversations, such as psychological safety and timeliness. You will emerge with a practical tool you can use with anyone (not just at work) to speak your truth while respecting the other person’s humanity, leading to lasting change and deeper relationships.
Thomas Stiehm - Shifting Security Left - The Innovation of DevSecOps
DevSecOps uses application security practices that have been around for a while. The innovation of DevSecOps is incorporating security into the daily workflow of the team rather than leaving them to the end of a release like many legacy processes do. Shifting security left is made possible by the ability to automate many aspects of security testing and verification. DevSecOps leverages DevOps practices to make application security a first-class citizen in the practices of modern software product development. DevSecOps starts with a culture change mindset of cross-functional teams creating software through collaboration and fast feedback cycles.
The security in DevSecOps starts before the code is written by using techniques like threat modeling and risk analysis to help figure out who might want to attack you and how they might do that. This often ignored security practice can be enabled by following the DevSecOps practices of having a cross-functional team involved in the process from the beginning, including security professionals.
Next, DevSecOps maps application security practices into the build pipeline for a project in order to provide quick feedback about the security posture for any change made to the software. By using automation to allow the team to move quickly while maintaining confidence in the health of the code base, DevSecOps extends that health check to include application security checks. While automation can be used to make security data collection easier it is important to understand what security practices still require a human being.
This talk focuses on how, when, and where practices should be incorporated into a build pipeline to get the most value out of your security practices through automation. It explores what manual security work still needs to be done by a person and how to maximize value while minimizing the effort of human beings.
David Laribee / Arushi Bhardwaj - Introducing the Dojo Model: Experiences from the Industry and within Fannie Mae
The Dojo movement is growing in popularity as an approach that helps enterprises transform into world-class product development organizations. Dojos represent a departure from the classic agile focus on delivery, bringing learning and a product mindset to the forefront.
We'll share the emerging Dojo model by way of specific examples and mini-case studies. You will see how Dojos have taken shape at Fannie Mae and other large companies in the last several years. Think of this as a tour of the Dojo for two, main audiences: teams and leaders. Attendees will leave understanding how Dojos can benefit their group, portfolio, and/or organization.
Leila Rao / Padmini Nidumolu - Lean in Agile for Women
The Lean in Agile for Women session is designed to explore some of the additional challenges women face in today’s workplace and to provide unique techniques to help women empower themselves and each other.
This exploratory workshop brings women together to discuss shared experiences to identify barriers and to explore techniques derived from Lean and Agile values to generate insight and facilitate targeted behavior change.
Lean In Agile is a community organization created to raise the value and visibility of women within the Lean and Agile spaces and beyond. Join us to experience the LIA difference and walk away with a greater toolkit for personal empowerment as well as the potential to be part of facilitating community and organizational change.
Katrina L. C. Tanner - Journey from Analyst to Product Owner to Scrum Master in less than a year
Not many people can say they have performed as an Analyst, Product Owner, and Scrum Master, much less in the same year, and sometimes at the same time.That has been my journey throughout 2018 and into 2019 thus far, as I made intentional decisions in pursuing my next best step, exploring where I really fit, and experiencing quite a few surprises along the way.
As a CSM and CSPO, I navigated each role taking what I learned in the classroom and implementing it as a practitioner. Being very team AND operations oriented, I have always thrived when one of these were included in my job description. 3 companies, 3 roles, and 2 organizational restructures later, I have found a career that involves both. I learned what works and doesn't work for me and my teams, as well as, what I like and dislike compared to my strengths and weaknesses, especially among changes in organizational needs and structure.
This short and sweet talk will be an overview of my journey and leave attendees with characteristics of each role to help them decide where they might fit in this agile world and tips on how to talk to your boss about your next step.
David W Kane - Hang Out with the DevOps Folks!
One of the things I like about AgileDC is that I see a lot of familiar faces. Not just familiar from previous AgileDC events, but from other Agile events in town, other conferences, Meetups and such. I also go to local DevOps events, and I see familiar faces there too, but I don't observe much overlap between the two. In this talk I will discuss whether this division is real, or perhaps just a figment of my imagination, whether we as an Agile community should care, and what we should do about it.
Coffee Break & Networking - 15 mins
David Blair / James Lloyd / Melinda Solomon - The Push/Pull of Partnership: An Honest Conversation Between IT and Business
DevOps has been a key driver in United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) breaking silos and becoming an innovator in federal IT, enabling a continuous flow of new functionality directly to public and internal users. But it wasn’t until we rethought the nature of the partnership between IT and “the business” that our ability to deliver on the mission truly transformed into “continuous value delivery”.
USCIS has embarked on a vision of going paperless, in place of a system legendary for shipping reams of paper throughout the United States and the world every day in order carry out the agency’s core case processing duties. Through this journey to digital transformation, the need for an involved, responsive, and collaborative partnership between business and technology stakeholders has become imperative.
Mr. Blair and Mr. Lloyd will reflect on how they worked together to strategize, reorganize, and prioritize to truly share the business value delivery decision-making. Team structures were changed, technical approaches reconsidered, and business process flows were re-engineered. The people in the field became authentic partners instead of “receivers of product”. Success was no longer measured by the number of featured delivered, but instead by how effectively and efficiently field staff could do their jobs. Business performance metrics became the primary measures of IT success. It is this collaborative business/IT partnership that is key to the success of a modern federal enterprise.
Afsaneh Samari - Experience Report: Agile Transformation of Marketing & Creative
While Agile practices are more commonly adopted by Software Development, DevOps, and IT teams, they can be successfully applied to Marketing and Creative teams. In this experience report, you will hear the trials and tribulations endured over the course of a year to move Marketing and Creative from a hand-off focused workflow to Agile within a fintech company.
You will hear lessons learned, including how to adjust Agile software development practices and frameworks for the concerns of Marketing and Creative teams. You will see the anti-patterns developed and how, with the support of leadership, to coach the team towards healthier norms. You will learn how I successfully gathered competing needs of a variety of stakeholders and prioritized the work in order to meet deadlines and achieve excellence. The resulting teams were far more powerful than that created using "assembly line" practices, partly due to increased collaboration and the breaking down of silos.
Colleen Esposito - Beyond Prioritization: How to Make an Impact for your Customers
If you’ve been exploring agile methods, you probably want to deliver the most value in the least amount of time possible. But what if the best prioritization and planning just isn’t enough to keep your organization at the top of your market?
Enter Impact Mapping, an approach that reveals the hidden assumptions that keep you from reaching your goal. This technique helps when you're looking for innovative solutions to tough business problems because you'll bring in strategic thinking skills as you identify the ones most likely to reach your goal. Even better, you'll know upfront how to measure the impact of those solutions, so you won't invest more than you need.
This workshop is hands-on, so get ready to learn while you’re working!
Matthieu Cornillon - Trusting our Guts: Using Confidence Assessments to Drive Delivery
Do you have a team that is struggling to complete sprints? Are you having trouble achieving multi-sprint goals? Or do you have a group of teams that aren't all pulling in the same direction? In this talk, I’ll share variations on a technique I have developed to help address each and every one of these problems.
Though the specifics vary by application, the core technique has two steps: ask individuals how confident they are that their larger team/group will hit its overall target, then use that gut confidence assessment to drive meaningful conversation. Because it is so lightweight and takes in so many perspectives, it surfaces problems earlier and over a wider range than any other technique I’ve encountered. In addition, by putting focus on what the group is trying to achieve together, it often drives an increase in true teamwork. Through presentation and interactive demonstrations, I’ll show how to use these confidence assessments to help Scrum teams hit their sprint goals; to help individuals or teams hit longer-term objectives; and to help groups of teams work more cohesively in achieving shared targets.
Philip Karash - Build a House, Build a Car: An Interactive Set of Games to Introduce User Stories and Requirements
One of the most difficult aspects crafting user stories with a team can be a lack of understanding of why good requirements gathering and user story writing are important to the iterative development of a good product. Without this foundation, teams misinterpret requests, develop unwanted features, and establish a frustrating relationship with their users. Therefore, it’s key for agile leaders to help all members of the team learn that clear communication about requirements leads to better end products and the ability to iterate.
Together, we will play two games that you can use to encourage communication amongst teams, clients, or managers and facilitate an understanding of how to best utilize the user story format. In Build a House, we look at how requirements can be misconstrued between a client and developers by putting teams in both roles. In Build a Car, we explore the user story format and how only using part of it leads to assumptions and poor product creation. These interactive games allow teams to experience the creation of requirements and importance of user stories through clear metaphors.
John Tanner - Using Metrics for Good not Evil or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the KPIs
Using metrics for punitive reasons is a problem as old as time. In software, this is further complicated by the fact that people rarely agree on why we are collecting metrics in the first place. In this session we will explore how we can use metrics for good instead of evil.
By focusing on the goal of system improvement, rather than individual performance, we can begin leveraging data to make a positive difference in how we work while also delving into why we work the way we do.
This session will include real-world examples of problems that organizations create for themselves by using metrics for the wrong intent. We will also discuss examples of good metrics and how they can be used to make our lives better.
Ben Scott - Instilling a culture of craftsmanship
When companies are struggling to increase the quality of their deliverables they tend to turn towards quick technology fixes, for example pushing for more test automation. The real solution isn't a technology fix but a cultural one. We need to change our culture to one that embraces, nurtures and encourages software craftsmanship.
It's only when your employees care about the quality of their work and when your organization rewards quality over speed that you'll make a lasting impact. Let's explore what this means and how we can start this culture shift.
Some of the things we'll look into:
- How to implement code reviews that become primers for mentoring each other.
- How performance reviews can impact the quality of your software
- How a CICD improves software quality
- Changing your management style towards Management 3.0
Ben Morris - Agile the Hard Way - Lessons from a Government Project
The talk walks through lessons learned from a specific government project, jumping head-first into agile, open source, and (oh dear) the cloud. In the jet plane metaphor, it's not about the theory of why a plane should fly (as a physicist), but about the big and little forces that will act on it in practice (as a test pilot).
RICARDO ABELLA - 11 Design Thinking secrets only Pros know
Agile has proven its business value: product quality, time to market, and team satisfaction are the order of the day. Scrum, for instance, became a great framework for Product Development: planning in small chunks, getting rapid feedback, delivering continuously, and pivoting as necessary. When done correctly, it’s like a Smart Factory: if we feed the system with a good “product idea,” chances are we will end up with an outstanding product.
However, have you wondered where that “product idea” is coming from? Maybe from the product manager? The executive team? Some stakeholders? A couple of sponsors? The product owner? A client’s whim? All of the above? With what exactly are we feeding the system? Guesses, assumptions, gut calls, extrasensory perceptions, the magical wisdom of marketing departments, historical data projected into the future?
If “yes” is the answer to any of those questions, then Design Thinking should come into play –in order to create an intimate connection with people, uncover true needs and problems and propose less risky solutions.
In the first part of the talk, you will take a quick trip through the framework. In the second part, you will learn 11 secrets that only the Pros know. You will walk away with a graphic organizer, filled out by yourself, with the most relevant tricks ready to be used in your context.
Ankur Saini - Agile without labels: Beyond Scrum and Kanban
We live in a world where everyone is either an agile practitioner, wants to be one or pretends to be one. But how do you implement agile in your organization to deliver products that are fit for purpose and fit for use? Is there a silver bullet? Due to a number of reasons, often tactical implementation of an agile methodology and tools to jumpstart agile in an organization leads and overshadows the values and principles behind the Agile Manifesto, which prevents the organization from reaping the rewards of true agility.
This session presents a principles-based approach to implementing and maturing agile practices in your organization. By examining the successes and failures along the journey of a mission-critical system at GSA, we will discuss how we have conjured up an agile methodology that works within our constraints at GSA, and has allowed us to enhance user experience for over 2000 users in a short amount of time. This methodology optimizes a series of interrelated feedback loops (from product conceptualization through production deployment) to deliver customer-centric products faster. Using workplace experiences, we will interactively examine how different organizations within GSA, including but not limited to Contracting Office, Program Office and IT, have collaborated to making agile a reality at GSA despite being geographically dispersed. Further, we will share our observations and techniques we’ve employed to minimize risk from cognitive biases and likely pitfalls that one may encounter when attempting to implement agile practices.
Coffee/Ice Cream Break & Networking - 30 mins
John Hughes / Tara Lemieux - Value-driven CMMI: An Agile Approach to CMMI for Agile Companies
CMMI and agile haven't shared many beers at the bar over the years. But there is no reason they shouldn’t be best of friends. They both long for continuous improvement, creating learning organizations that strive to reduce risk and increase quality. I believe that a major cause of dissonance is the lack of perceived value in the way the CMMI models have been applied and appraisals performed in the past.
So, what would it look like to implement CMMI and prepare for an appraisal focusing all of our effort into creating value and removing waste, instead of adding it? That was the question we tackled this past year and are seeing a completely different practice and outcome given our approach, including enthusiasm and appreciation from the project teams for this approach as opposed to the more typical dread.
Participants in this presentation will hear from both a CMMI Lead Appraiser and an agilest who lead this value-driven approach to CMMI. They will learn how agile mindset, practices, and tools can be used to apply the CMMI model to our delivery, with intentional focus on creating an ever-maturing practice that reduces risk and increases quality. Participants will also hear how agile was used in the appraisal preparation, enabling continuous improvement across the organization and even reducing the amount of time and effort needed for the SCAMPI A appraisal.
Mark Shead - Courageous Software Delivery
When an organization is terrified of taking risks, change management requirements can make it seem impossible to get the full benefits of Agile development. This talk covers strategies for lowering risk & meeting change management requirements with examples of a project at the US Treasury.
The goal of Agile is to deliver business value to customers. No matter how quickly new features are completed, they can’t be used by customers until they are actually deployed into production. Continuous delivery builds a technology and process pipeline to get business value efficiently from story to production with maximum automation, minimal time, and high reliability. By removing the risks and costs associated with manual deployment, organizations are free to deliver small incremental changes to running systems at much higher velocity and much lower risk than traditional approaches.
If you work on important applications in an organization with many change management requirements, it may seem like creating a continuous delivery pipeline is impossible. While it definitely isn’t easy, it is possible—even for government organizations.
In this talk, we are going to look at concrete ways to meet the governance requirements of large risk-averse organizations while decreasing the amount of time it takes to get capabilities and features into production. There is no magic formula, but we will look at examples of how to meet governance requirements with a high deployment velocity. In addition to examining technology that can lower risk and cut cycle time, we will also explore the human aspect of selling a new approach to an organization where the cost of mistakes is high and the reward of Agile deployment may not be fully understood. We will also look at some concrete examples of the return on investment of rapid deployment that can be used to help explain the value to your organization.
Derek Huether - 10 Steps to Better Outcomes by Using Metrics
This session is not intended to offer an exhaustible list of metrics or instructions on how to improve all systems. Rather, the intent is to provide a framework on how to ensure the quantitative and qualitative metrics you use are measuring the right things and how to apply them to a system of continuous improvement. Attendees will have a repeatable framework they can apply after leaving the session.
The session is broken into two main parts.
- Part 1: Identify the right (quantitative and qualitative) metrics that will help people and teams meet outcomes or goals.
- Part 2: Create a cycle of learning and improvement that aligns people and teams to the outcomes or goals.
Darren Hoevel - Mindfulness, it's a practice NOT perfection! Lead iMpErFeCtLy!
What does your mindfulness practice look like? Is it still a practice if you don't meditate or do yoga?
Human development is largely driven by changes that take place in the body and the brain. As we strive to create and be a part of high performing teams, having an awareness of the physiology, neuroscience, and the power of empathy will greatly increase our probably of success. Even more powerful, is having the capability of AWARENESS of ones self and our environment. How do we foster and create an environment where you and your colleagues can experience the feeling of being understood, lead with empathy, and create generative solutions through dialogue. Mindful Leadership provides clarity and enhances the journey through the important work we are doing.
Please join me on this exploration of the the physiology of the brain, patterns of the mind, how each of our individuals stories create our perspectives, and how our current agile and coaching models incorporate aspects of mindfulness.
Valerio Zanini - Deliver great products and the art of measuring outcomes
Creating a new product is an exciting and demanding job. What if you go through all of that work, get your product out the door, and your customers don't like it? This is the curse of the "Delivery Gap", that is having a product in-market but failing to meet customer needs. The 5 Dimensions of Great Products (Discover, Design, Develop, Deploy, and Deliver) is a framework that helps us plan and build a product while delivering value to customers as quickly as possible.
By having a focus on the outcomes we want to deliver to customers, we can ensure to build the right thing. We'll discuss how to three main types of metrics - business, customers, and telemetry - support the delivery of great products and the right outcomes for your customers.
This workshop is based on the recently published book "Deliver Great Products That Customers Love" by the author.
Link to the presentation:
Richard Cheng - How to REALLY use the Agile values and principles!!Your organization is doing Agile, which great, but what does that really mean? Perhaps they are implementing Scrum, or Kanban, or one of the other Agile methods, but are they really being Agile? Does it feel like you are you are doing Scrum, but you’re team isn’t really Agile? There's difference between doing Agile and being Agile and this session explores that concept.In this session, we’ll understand what Agile really means and how that relates to the way we implement our Agile methods within our organizations. We'll identify how we effectively use the Manifesto value points so that we can maximize the value of our products while still ensuring that we have quality and governance built into our process. This session will also explore the use of Agile principles to guide our strategic and day to day decisions.This sessions is great not only for beginners, but for anyone who wants to get past simply implementing Scrum or Kanban by the book, but really understand how to use Agile values and principles to build better products and organizations.
Dr. Suzette Johnson / Robin Yeman - Applying Agile and Continuous Delivery to Significant Cyber-Physical Systems
As Agile and DevOps continue to challenge the status quo and improve business outcomes, large companies need to identify how to scale these practices across large, complex systems composed of hardware, firmware, and software. The ability to iterate and deploy faster allows companies to adapt to changing needs, reduce cycle time for delivery, increase value for money, improve transparency, and leverage innovations. An industry-wide misconception is that this form of rapid iteration is only for software or small applications and systems. For large cyber-physical solutions, software is only one part of the value stream leading us to consider the implication and the application of DevOps principles across the entire end-to-end flow from idea to delivery. In a previously published DevOps Enterprise Forum paper from 2018, Industrial DevOps: Applying DevOps and Continuous Delivery to Significant Cyber-Physical Systems, we described a set of principles that development organizations can use to bring the power of DevOps to the build and maintenance of large-scale, cyber-physical systems such as vehicles, robots, complex medical devices, defense weaponry, and others. We introduced the term “Industrial DevOps” to expand the definition of DevOps in order to enable significant, cyber-physical system development programs to be more responsive to changing needs while also reducing lead times. This guidance has helped to establish the feasibility of using DevOps practices to more efficiently build, deploy, and maintain some of the world’s most important—and most complex—systems.
In this presentation, we take the original guidance concept of Industrial DevOps, eight supporting principles, and the subsequent definitions one step further, by applying the principles in the context of a hypothetical example using autonomous cars and then relating it back to those governing principles. Our intent is to help readers better understand the applicability and need for Industrial DevOps in different solutions, beyond those that are strictly software. The bodies of knowledge that inform Industrial DevOps principles and practices include DevOps, Lean manufacturing, Lean product development, Lean startup, systems thinking, and scaled Agile development. We’ll describe guiding practices that can be used to leverage the learnings from DevOps and scaled Agile developments to address the challenge of building these complex cyber-physical systems in a more efficient and more effective manner.
Nicole Spence-Goon - Peaks or Valleys? The power of Scaling Agility in the alphabet soup of Government agencies
Do you feel like Agile Scaling has become a goal rather than the means to an end for your organization? To determine where you stand on the Scaling spectrum, ask yourself a few soul-searching questions: Why do we need to scale? Is this the right time for us to scale? If you’ve checked these boxes, you may wonder “where do I go from here?”
This talk will focus on 3 areas that emerged as common themes throughout my experience working on government Agile Scaling projects and ultimately influenced the trajectory of each agency's scaling journey:
- Communicate vision consistently
- Focus on your people genuinely
- Create your own path intentionally
I've seen successes and some struggles with Agile Scaling efforts in government agencies. Regardless of the agency acronym or the frameworks used, these key elements shaped their scaling outcomes.
Fadi Stephan - TDD – That Was Easy
Scott Showalter / Justin Beall - Icebox Zero: Agile UX and the Lean Backlog
One of the most disregarded principles of the Agile Manifesto is one of the most important: Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done. Simplicity seems simple enough, but in reality it’s as complicated as the work we are so often asked to deliver on—work that we may ultimately find was not worth doing. This session explores the complexities of this sort of counter-intuitive workstream optimization, with low-effort tactical approaches to preventing such waste in software and product development. The session attempts to codify the things teams need to do to truly execute on simplicity, and as a bonus, fulfill what is likely the most important principle of the Agile Manifesto: satisfying the customer.
Coffee Break & Networking - 15 mins
David Fogel / David Bujard - Nine levels of Agile Hell... and how to get out!
Government Agile transformations can feel like overwhelming efforts – but do not abandon hope! This interactive, audience-driven presentation reviews how government and large organizations ESCAPE common Agile adoption challenges.
You - the audience - will prioritize your pain points; we’ll focus on the five Agile hells most highly prioritized. We will discuss real examples of “escaping” out of each Agile hell, with pro tips and success patterns you can apply.
The Agile hells we've escaped include:
- No Transformation hell - A federal program or department wants to change but can’t start or can’t finish
- Too Fast hell - Newly Agile federal programs sometimes respond TOO rapidly, too often changing priorities.
- Technical hell - Programs can become bogged down in technical debt and manual processes.
- No Trust hell - Government delivery can be slowed by lack of trust between contractors and feds, between business and IT, or between compliance and delivery groups.
- Product Owners hell - Government Product Owners can be unavailable, think they are managers, aren’t empowered to provide vision, or struggle with prioritization
- Too Big hell- A frequent pattern in federal Agile! Large batches produce slow progress, low visibility and high complexity, seen in big programs, big deployments, and big contracts.
- Collaboration hell - Government teams can struggle with collaboration within the same organization across roles and across the fed-contractor divide.
- Stove-piped hell - Government organizations can struggle to collaborate across contractual or organizational boundaries within the same enterprise
- Leadership hell - An organization can only be as agile as its leadership. In the government, how can you work with leaders who aren't ready to be agile?
For each Agile hell, we focus on successful techniques to escape from these common dynamics. Unlike other presentations, we won't be doing a deep dive, but we will cover the most important challenges our audience face.
Avinash Tripathi - The Tree of Trust and the Culture of Collaboration
Consider a chicken's egg. Have you ever considered how an egg might see it's future? It could be boiled, cracked, or perhaps hatch into a beautiful life. Despite these significantly different outcomes, the egg remains constant. What differs is the environment in which it is treated.
The environment plays a vital role in the organization's success. As an organizational leader it is crucial to know and understand the ingredients which manifests an environment within which the people can thrive not just survive. Creating, maintaining, and sustaining such environment is certainly not easy and requires constant monitoring of our decisions and behavior.
In this session, we will explore the Ingredients for a strong organizational environment and culture. We will learn about the effectiveness of finite games and infinite games aka Game Theory to nurture organizational environment and culture.
Julie Wyman / Jennifer Forrest - KonMari Your Backlog: Tidying up those PBIs
Have you tidied up your personal life with Marie Kondo and are now wondering how to achieve the same effect in your work life? Do you have the feeling that the most valuable product backlog items (PBIs) are getting lost under a mountain of old stories, bugs, and tasks? Maybe you know a change is needed, but feel completely overwhelmed about where to start? If so, join us to learn how to make your product better through the life changing magic of tidying up your backlog.
We’ll start by exploring the costs of a large, cluttered product backlog and share a short quiz you can use to gauge the current state of your own backlog. Next, we’ll cover how we’ve adapted the KonMari method and introduce five easy steps you can take to get started in your tidying process. We'll share real-life examples along the way, calling out potential pitfalls to avoid (don’t become a storage expert!), and illustrating how story mapping may be the magical backlog equivalent to Kondo’s “vertical folding” technique. By the end of the session, you’ll know the specific next steps to take so that you too can realize the many benefits of a tidied-up product backlog: improved visibility, increased self-organization, and easier decision-making.
Donald Patti / David Bulkin - Scaling: Getting Big is NOT the Answer!
Ask someone why they want to scale and their response is often, "So we can continue practicing agile as we grow bigger." While the pursuit of agility is a noble one, most often the pursuit of "bigness" is not. But what is?
In this talk, David Bulkin and Donald Patti will introduce attendees to three of the most popular scaling frameworks -- Scrum@Scale, LeSS and SAFe -- comparing the qualities of each. In addition, they'll explain what organizations looking to scale SHOULD pursue as they scale.
Jeremy Fogelman - Thriving Through an Agile Evolution
Have you ever encountered a situation where clients change priorities on you? What about when those priorities are deep into the methodologies of your team? This session addresses challenges some mature agile teams may face when the agile processes evolve over time - fluctuating priorities, organizational changes, or incorporating new methodologies. Learn how to adapt strategies for quickly shifting priorities and adjusting to a new agile culture.
I work on a team as a contractor in the public sector within a portfolio of six agile teams and over sixty agile professionals. Over the last year, we have experienced significant changes, primarily changing between five different government IT Project Managers (PM) and two different product owners. Many of these changes were due to regulatory requirements, internal restructuring, or simply career moves, but the impact on our team came down to a simple truth: They all wanted to do agile differently. This session explores how to thrive while evolving your agile processes to meet changing priorities
INITIAL STATE – Focus on the Backlog and O&M
Our first IT PM had a more point-by-point focus on the backlog, with a priority more on performing O&M tasks than new functionality.
1st EVOLUTION – Team-Managed Backlog
The next PM had a more strategic style of communication management. The backlog became more team-managed, which had its advantages and disadvantages; we had an improved buy-in for new research and story development, but it was a lot easier to lose tracks of the priorities without the same level of feedback. We also had to change our strategy to address a more structured release schedule, which was not ideally suited to the same Kanban approach, although this changed schedule more closely aligned with the customer’s deployment needs.
2nd EVOLUTION – Shifting from Kanban to Scrum
Our most radical shift was from Kanban to Scrum. In retrospect, this was a choice that made sense, but at the time there were a lot of challenges we needed to overcome. The PM wanted more visibility into the day-to-day work being done by the team, and the Scrum approach was a better way to meet the customer’s needs. This was ultimately a better choice for our team, but we only had a month to make the transition:
- The story board changed to define user stories and tasks differently, changing our planning procedures and the development process. This also affected the individual story workflow, which required internal training meetings for all developers, testers, and PMs.
- Agile ceremonies were changed several times as we worked with the customer to determine the best ways to include their feedback and improve our own processes.
- Release deployment changed to a time boxed, two-week sprint schedule, requiring changes to how we had been handling deployments and production support, which previously could be done on a more ad hoc basis.
The Scrum approach requested by the customer had an overall net positive effect for our development efforts and the oversight requirements by the IT PM, allowing for more effective communication to and from the customer, lower developer burnout, improved time management, and better use of planning overall.
Adaptation Strategies for Quickly Changing Priorities
- Initiate conversations with management prior to the methodology shift.
- Increase visibility for customer down to the story lifecycle.
- Determine ideal mechanisms for generating feedback and iterating process improvement.
- Focus ceremonies and meetings to reduce overhead and promote higher customer value.
Key Evolutionary Metamorphosis
- Due to the methodology changes, our product releases became more frequent than expected, so we developed automated deployment strategies, including standardizing release schedule and documentation.
- Our new stories began to include higher overhead than initially anticipated, so we refocused planning efforts and moved towards a more careful circle on task estimates.
- The prioritization on legacy maintenance led to over-reliance on specific individuals and their targeted experience, causing frequent problems with knowledge management when the release timing was critical. We increased knowledge sharing sessions, spread out assignments, and created fully featured transition plans.
- When we first started the transition, our instincts to satisfy customer requirements and release quality products often led to over-planning and more meetings than were helpful. We created customer justifications and rationale for reduced meeting count and focused attendance. Meeting agendas were always prepared in advance even for sprint grooming and planning sessions.
- The release schedule and expectations to our desired velocity tended to focus on reactive measures instead proactive ones, deprioritizing automation strategies over adding more stories to the potential releases. We refocused the customer perspective to incorporate Test-Driven Development (TDD) and pipeline focus, allowing higher prioritizing of UI and other test automation.
Ultimately, we determined that the keys for success are empowering the client, but keeping the choice to a well-managed scrum list of stories.
Culture Changes Needed for Adaptation
- Greater pre-planning and tactical preparation for agile ceremonies and sprint planning.
- Highlight focus on automation and pipeline integration.
- Consider the critical elements of the end user’s experience.
Lydia Ly - Key to Creating Human-Centered Products and Services (using Design Thinking Framework)
In the world where we are consumed by the next cool technology, how do we create organizations that build products and services that can last? The answer is to create products and services that are centered around human needs and solving for their problems. How? Using Design Thinking.
During the session, you will find out how to identify your user groups, create user persona through hypothesis and validation, and hear our experience on organizations that thrive using this to solve your everyday needs!
Let's all build a world that cares!
Mathias Eifert - Complexity is the Enemy! How Agile Practices Allow Us to Operate in a VUCA World
One of the key advantages of Agile over plan-driven approaches is that an Agile mindset acknowledges our ever-diminishing ability to usefully predict the future and focuses our efforts on managing change instead of trying to suppress it. This “new reality” has become pervasive enough to drive its own buzz word – VUCA, which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. But beyond the hype lies a truth that Agile leaders need to understand and embrace – that certain problems really do respond differently to our attempts to manage and solve them. Why does this matter? Because problem contexts that defy straightforward cause-and-effect expectations significantly impact productivity while simultaneously presenting much higher risks to success. Even worse, applying leadership approaches that aren’t matched to the problem context dramatically increases the danger of catastrophic failure.
In this session, we’ll examine how the Cynefin framework helps us make sense of what kinds of problems we’re dealing with and how we should approach them. We will then look at ten ways in which Agile frameworks, approaches and technical practices help us manage or even reduce complexity and one where they fall short. You will walk away with a deeper understanding of how - and why - the things we do as agilists increase stability and reduce risks for our teams.
Scott Schnier - The Seven Date Driven Sins
Date driven behaviors are common in many pre-agile organizations. They are as bad as sin and produce bad outcomes when considered through a long range lens. This presentation targeted to managers and leaders in organizations in the early stages of agile transformation. Scott will lead an entertaining and provocative look at how classical date driven behaviors often produce outcomes that are the opposite of what those leaders ultimately desire. Scott will suggest an experiment to focus on the virtue of frequently delivering incremental value as an alternative to those date driven sins.
Gene Gotimer - Get to Green: How to safely refactor legacy code
For many of us, legacy code is a fact of life. Code without tests -- no safe way to make changes, no safety net, no hope of untangling the web of accumulated ugliness, an incomplete understanding (or less) of how it really behaves. And your next set of changes is just going to add to the garbage pile and make it worse. You need tests so you can safely make changes, but you can't add tests without changing the code. It is a chicken-and-egg problem.
So how do you turn legacy code into code you can change confidently? Slowly, one step at a time. Join Gene as he shares his experiences working with a monolithic codebase that was so bad it made national news. He'll go over the steps he and his team used to refactor the code safely by using mocking frameworks, mutation testing, and patience to build an understanding of how the code worked so that they could change it confidently.
This talk is for anyone that has inherited legacy code that they aren't confident in and wants to make it something they can work on and improve. You'll leave with some tools and techniques that will help you change your legacy code into something maintainable.
Itopa Sulé - What NOT to do when prioritization fails
One common mistake by new Agilists is to think that the product backlog is a linear list with the highest priority item on the top. As it's often the case, the reality is different. Prioritization is neither binary nor linear. Your team will be asked to work on several competing priorities, like meeting the new regulation while working on the next product milestone (the product is the company lifeline) - and your product owner will insist these are both top priority!!
In this workshop we are going to explore different tools, to ensure that our teams are working on the highest value backlog items: from Eisenhower Method to Cost of Delay, CD3 and modified Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF).
Closing Reception, Networking, & Raffle - 120 mins
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