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Collaboration Culture & Teams [clear filter]
Monday, August 7

2:00pm EDT

Make the agile transition work! And what HR can do to support it… (Maike Goldkuhle)
Limited Capacity filling up

During an agile transition the change of mindset, leadership behavior and the shift of responsibilities to many are key elements. Usually a company would work very hard on delivering this message, training people and make sure, they understand this new philosophy. But when it comes to daily business, the employee needs to see structural and process changes, too, to receive guidance and boundaries. Furthermore, they need to see that the agile transition is something that not only takes place in mindset but also happens in reality. He needs to feel safe when acting based on the new philosophy. Feeling safe is something that they will only experience when the new definitions, rules, guidelines and boundaries are also made explicit. Quite often those structural and more tangible changes will only follow after a while. During this period confusions and fallback into old habits may arise.
And here the contribution from HR can and needs to start! Become involved and proactive: Understand what agile transition means and immediately start changing old systems and processes. Develop and offer new tools whenever needed to support the new way of working and thinking. Emphasize the wanted behavior and work methodology in guiding the teams through three stages with your new tools.
The speech will describe the benefit of the listed three phases and concrete tools and guidance on how to implement them:
1. Sharing (feedback) is caring
a. Throw away your old manager – employee dialogues
b. Implement team feedback
c. Let the teams do their feedback dialogues themselves
 Team feedback for social competencies
 Team feedback for technical and skill competencies
Learn how to and helpful tools
  1. Reduce hierarchical thinking
    a. Throw away processes that the manager usually owned
    b. Let the team take ownership
    c. Implement team review and team approval processes
     Vacation planning
     Team training budget
     Recruiting and onboarding new employees through the team
    Learn how to and helpful tools
  2. Break with old (or common) rules
    a. Throw away old processes for salary raises/adjustments
    b. Standardize and objectify salary adjustments procedures
    c. Build them on team feedback and benchmark reviews
     Team Bonus
     Merit Money
    Learn how to and helpful tools

Learning Outcomes:
  • This session is about new systems and processes HR should set up and why they will make a difference. I will explain how you can introduce them step by step and what needs to be considered, based on my experiences.
  • • At the end the audience should feel value through my report as
  • o they have learnt new tools that can be useful for self-managed teams
  • o they will include HR into the agile transition and see value in doing so
  • o they have learnt that the sooner you change systems, structures and processes, the better and faster the transition will become


avatar for Maike Goldkuhle

Maike Goldkuhle

HR Business Partner, Avira
I worked as Global Director of HR at a company that decided to transform their classical working technology teams into agile working and cross-functional business teams. During this transition the CTO decided to take out all manager roles of the newly set up teams. During that time... Read More →

Monday August 7, 2017 2:00pm - 3:15pm EDT

3:45pm EDT

Hello? Is there anyone there? How to engage with distributed teams. (Samantha Laing, Karen Greaves)
Limited Capacity full
Adding this to your schedule will put you on the waitlist.

In the ideal perfect world there will be rainbows and unicorns and teams that all sit together. In reality, most teams have to deal with distribution in one form or another. For some: it’s team members spread across a building, for others it’s team members in other parts of the world in different time zones.
Have you even been on a call where you can hear someone ordering coffee, or a dog barking? My favorite is being told someone is joining the call, after you've spent 5 minutes explaining something in detail. Mostly distributed meetings are boring, and not really worth the time and effort.
As agile coaches we truly value face to face communication and visible boards and sticky-notes, we also value working from anywhere, having pets in the office and not having to travel. So what is possible here? We decided to fully immerse ourselves into the distributed world and see what happened. We were amazed - we managed to build trust, explore and discover great collaborative tools and we improved communication.
We would like to share some of our discoveries and tips with you. Join us to explore how agile can work for distributed teams.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Cultivate a mindset of exploring possibility rather than resenting distribution
  • Understand how distribution affects your team
  • Know when distribution is actually an advantage
  • Know what is possible given your situation
  • Tips we have learned from working with distributed teams


avatar for Karen Greaves

Karen Greaves

Agile Coach, Growing Agile
I love meeting new people so come introduce yourself. Check out www.growingagile.co.nz to see what I look like, or just listen for the loudest person in the room :)
avatar for Samantha Laing

Samantha Laing

Agile Coach, Nomad8
My personal motto is ‘be brave’, and I embody this by taking on challenges one small step at a time.Most of my career has been in the IT industry, specifically Software Development. Nowadays I find myself coaching others with a passion for agile and a focus on self-care.I love... Read More →

Monday August 7, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm EDT
Tuesday, August 8

9:00am EDT

Art for Agilists - A Visual Thinking Warmup (Alexandra West)
Limited Capacity seats available

Do strong personalities dominate your development team? Are code reviews painful? Are you blindly following orders from a backlog, or are you learning from observation? This talk will introduce you to Visual Thinking Strategies (or VTS) - an activity that can help get the most from every member of your Agile team.
Visual Thinking Strategies is a cross-disciplinary technique applicable to anyone working in a collaborative setting where observation is key. VTS develops critical thinking skills by viewing and discussing works of art in a group. It is backed by over 30 years of field research showing its effectiveness and accessibility. By allowing individuals to talk about art - without needing a background in the field - VTS advances skills you can use to create more relevant products and stronger teams: Observing, Brainstorming, Speculating, Reasoning with Evidence, Cultivating a Point of View, and Revision & Elaboration.
During this interactive exercise, we’ll discuss selected works of art as a group. There are no right answers or group consensus being sought. We’re creating a safe environment and process for looking, thinking, reasoning and revision - skills that are mission-critical to anyone working in a software design or development role. After our group discussion, participants will learn the basics of image selection and facilitating VTS sessions within their own organizations. In addition to the above, we'll cover how VTS can help you and your team with the following: Comfort with Ambiguity, Openness to the Unfamiliar, Civil Debate, and Willingness to Participate in Group Thinking. VTS's inclusiveness makes it ideal for use within diverse groups, encouraging maximum participation from all members. It is a method that truly values “individuals and interactions over processes and tools.”

Learning Outcomes:
  • Understanding the history & benefits of Visual Thinking Strategies
  • First-hand experience with the VTS method
  • Basic understanding of how to facilitate VTS sessions


avatar for Alexandra West

Alexandra West

Creative Director/Founder, Nerd/Noir
Alexandra West is a production designer, international speaker, and Creative Director of Nerd/Noir. Her present interest is in bringing a visual thinking mindset into the world of collaborative work. Alex has a long history as a creative. After earning her degree in Art History from... Read More →

Tuesday August 8, 2017 9:00am - 10:15am EDT

2:00pm EDT

Why the tech industry needs all kinds of minds and how to support them. (Sallyann Freudenberg)
Limited Capacity seats available

In our work transforming our organisations, sometimes as an industry we appear to have forgotten that teams are still made up of individuals. That we are different to one another. That sometimes we need to work in different ways or different environments to each another.
The diversity that helps create amazing teams and products may ironically be being drummed out of us by our own practices and environments. Inadvertently creating a mono-culture when far from being a weakness, our diversity is our biggest strength. Perhaps we have moved from an “old school culture” (one that focuses too heavily on the written word, on working alone and thinking things through carefully up-front) to a more agile culture (that replaces these with exclusively open-plan spaces, intense collaboration, thinking on one’s feet and lots of audio and visual noise). Neither of these fit everyone all of the time.
In addition, as we work in more cross-functional teams and/or cut across organizational boundaries we will need to find ways to work together whilst still respecting our differences.
This talk is about embracing diversity of thinker and Sal takes a "neurodiversity" approach - that is, a belief that autism and other types of divergence of neurology are normal variations in the human genome rather than "illnesses" which should be "cured". This talk is about making our collaborations more inclusive. About experimenting with how we can create teams, spaces and practices where people can turn up authentically and have their differences not only supported but celebrated.

Learning Outcomes:
  • An appreciation of the prevalence of neurodiversity in the general population and in the tech industry in particular.
  • An understanding the benefits of having a neurodiverse team - what special talents someone neurodiverse might bring.
  • A basic understanding of the superpowers and challenges that come with Autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder and depression.
  • Some ideas for how to modify our agile practices to make them more inclusive to all kinds of minds.
  • Understanding how to make our recruitment process more neurodiversity-friendly so that we don't inadvertently screen out some of the brilliant minds our industry needs.

avatar for Sal Freudenberg

Sal Freudenberg

Sallyann is a neuro-diversity advocate and an Agile Coach, trainer and mentor with 25+ years in the IT industry, 14 of which have been firmly in the Agile and Lean space.She has a PhD in the Psychology of Collaborative Software Development.Along with Katherine Kirk, Sal is co-founder... Read More →

Tuesday August 8, 2017 2:00pm - 3:15pm EDT
Wednesday, August 9

10:45am EDT

How to Reboot Your Agile Team! (Maurizio Mancini, Martin Lapointe)
Limited Capacity full
Adding this to your schedule will put you on the waitlist.

Why do so many organizations struggle to put in place mature Agile teams that can apply proper Agile principles and deliver awesome products? Some people will say, “Agile is hard” as an excuse to not do Agile or to become frAgile. Well we think we have developed a method to reboot any Agile team that just doesn’t seem to be maturing and we want to share it with you!
If you are thinking of scaling Agile across a large organization, then this talk is a must to attend to help ensure your teams have the right foundation. Organizations wanting to scale Agile must have a solid foundation of mature Agile teams who embrace the Agile values and have the right Agile mindset.
Over the years, as we have done Agile transformations in different organizations, we have seen common patterns that keep repeating. The most common pattern we found in our experience is that teams are frAgile. Too many either pretend to be Agile or don’t even know Agile is not a methodology, so organizations question the value of using Agile. Very often the confusion and frustration that comes with thinking that a team is Agile when they are not Agile, brings people right back to their old habits of command and control. Creating successful mature Agile teams is not magic, you just need to discover the right recipe!
In this talk, we will reveal our secrets on how to reboot any struggling Agile/Scrum team in 5 sprints. Attendees will learn how we applied our special ingredients as we experimented with more than 30 teams over a number of years and we refined the know-how. This recipe has proven to be successful in different organizations and teams delivering different types of products. Our Creative-Destruction approach goes through a human change process we labeled The M&M Transformation Plan.
Once you have the foundation in place, then the 5 sprints to reboot the team are:
Sprint 1: Run in the rain
Sprint 2: Thunderstruck
Sprint 3: Start the M&M pain machine
Sprint 4: Open-up and look at the sun
Sprint 5: Removing the training wheels
And by using these 5 sprints, attendees will discover the 5th Agile value!
We bring all of the ideas together in a functional canvas that any practitioner or manager can use.

Learning Outcomes:
  • How to lay the foundation of an Agile Reboot to ensure success of the Reboot.
  • How to take an existing team and have them conduct an assessment of how they are doing.
  • As an Agile coach, how do you build trust with the team you are intervening in.
  • Determining and providing the right amount of training so that everyone is on the same page.
  • How to apply the Creative-Destruction paradigm.
  • How to reboot the team and introduce fun and cadence.
  • How to let the team take ownership and succeed.
  • A Review of the M&M Transformation Canvas so that each attendee can assess if their team needs a reboot.


avatar for Martin Lapointe

Martin Lapointe

Agile Coach, AgileKlix
Martin began his career as a multimedia developer when Macromedia was all over the Web. He then quickly moved into management and had the opportunity to experience different approaches and mindsets. In the early years, Xtreme Programming (XP), transformed his view of how work can... Read More →
avatar for Maurizio Mancini

Maurizio Mancini

Agile/Enterprise Coach and Transformation Agent, Exempio
Maurizio Mancini is a leader in the quality and process industries with a sixth sense for Agile, quality, and business process. He is best known for cutting through the noise and getting to the heart of any organizational problem whether that problem consists of choosing the right... Read More →

Wednesday August 9, 2017 10:45am - 12:00pm EDT
Wekiwa 6

3:45pm EDT

Excel at Change: The Hidden Differentiator (Jeff Nielsen)
Limited Capacity seats available

In his original Extreme Programming book, Kent Beck said that we should “embrace change.” A few years later, the agile manifesto told us to “value responding to change over following a plan” and to “harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.” But what does this really mean? What does it look like in practice?
In my work with agile teams over the last 15 years, I've found that few of them are truly skilled at handling change. While they may give lip service to the idea, change more often than not brings frustration, delays, and quality problems. But excelling at change is a skill that can be learned. And the mastery of this skill is what differentiates teams that fully realize the benefits of an agile approach from those who don't.
In this talk, I’ll explore what it means to “excel at change”—both technically and culturally—and discuss some specific ways that individuals, teams, and organizations can get better at it.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand why a "change focus" is a key part of the agile mindset
  • See how getting better at change helps us think differently about the future
  • Recognize the differences between teams/cultures that excel at change and those that don't
  • Feel inspired to work on those skills that will help you be better at change


avatar for Jeff Nielsen

Jeff Nielsen

CTO, The Common Application
Jeff helps people and organizations improve in the way they work together to produce software. Jeff is the Chief Product & Technology Officer at The Common Application, directing development, operations, and support for the high-volume system that over 1/3 of U.S. high-school... Read More →

Wednesday August 9, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm EDT

3:45pm EDT

High Performing Teams: Want to watch one in action? Absolutely! (Bryan Miles)
Limited Capacity full
Adding this to your schedule will put you on the waitlist.

"Companies know that they derive greater creativity and innovation from teamwork - but what, they wonder, makes a great team?"  -Margaret Heffernan
The research is clear: High performing teams are extremely rare, but their ability to impact an organization is limitless. If we know this is what we're aiming for, why is high performance so elusive and how can organizations and leaders create environments where it can flourish?
Through performance and a facilitated conversation, a small music ensemble will offer insights into their organizational dynamics. In this unique session, participants will have the opportunity to watch and interact with a high performing music team (live and in the flesh!), discuss what makes them a great team, and learn about the various roles that make them who they are. Participants will observe and participate in discussions around what makes the team tick and take away practical examples of how you can supercharge the teams you work with or coach.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Participants will walk away from the session with a greater understanding of:
  • 1. What makes a high performing team
  • 2. What behaviors inspire high performance
  • 3. What behaviors detract from high performance
  • 4. The role of leadership in high performance
  • 5. How they can inspire high performance in the teams they work with


avatar for Bryan Miles

Bryan Miles

Coach, Pliant Solutions

Wednesday August 9, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm EDT
Wekiwa 7&8
Thursday, August 10

2:00pm EDT

Dynamic Reteaming: The Art & Wisdom of Changing Teams (Heidi Helfand)
Limited Capacity full
Adding this to your schedule will put you on the waitlist.

When your team compositions change it doesn't mean you're doing it wrong - it could be the secret to your success. Changing teams can help reduce the risk of attrition, learning & career stagnation, and the development of knowledge silos. I'll share original case studies from well known companies that enable dynamic change to their teams propelled by retrospectives and other agile, humanistic practices. In this talk, you'll learn tips and tricks for building a sustainable company by changing teams - whether it's by growing and splitting teams, merging teams, seeding teams, adding new people across multiple teams and more. I'll also share reteaming antipatterns and what not to do.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Learn why changing teams and roles can help you retain team members and avoid learning & career stagnation.
  • Understand how reteaming helps you build a sustainable company by spreading critical information across your teams and encouraging the retention of knowledge inside your company.
  • Learn how to reteam, including how and when to split teams, merge teams, strategies for managing high growth and doubling of teams, rotating team members & beneficial siloing of teams.
  • Hear about reteaming antipatterns - what not to do and why.
  • Find out the deliberate community building and interpersonal practices you can do in your company to facilitate and amplify reteaming.
  • It's inevitable: people come and go from your company. Get good at reteaming!


avatar for HEIDI HELFAND


Director of Product & Technology Excellence, Procore Technologies
Heidi Helfand is author of the book Dynamic Reteaming. She coaches software development teams using practical, people-focused techniques, with the goal of building resilient organizations as they double and triple in size. Heidi is currently Director of Product & Technology Excellence... Read More →

Thursday August 10, 2017 2:00pm - 3:15pm EDT

3:45pm EDT

AMA: Gender and Sexuality (Bonnie Aumann)
Limited Capacity seats available

*AMA means Ask Me Anything.*
The topic of diversity has exploded in the tech industry, but it's left many questions in its wake. There are new acronyms to learn - what do the A's mean again in LGBTQAA+? People you've known for years are asking you to use the pronoun They: has their gender identity changed or are they being political? Some women are just realizing that they've been affected by systemic bias, while others have suffered from harassment and assault at conferences.
I'll tell you my story. My 13-year career in tech has, through some unknown grace, been spent vocally out of the closet. I've worked on three continents, in start ups and Fortune 100 companies alike, and without fail, a colleague (or boss!) has shyly approached me in confidence with an awkward question they just didn't have anyone else to ask.
The close collaboration of agile teams can intensify the need to know the answers to these questions. Rather than corner a coworker at the bar, come ask me.
**Session ground rules**
In this session, well-meaning but clueless-feeling person, you'll get to ask your questions without getting in trouble.
* Chatham House Rules: what happens in session, stays in session.
* Any question is ok, if it comes from a desire to understand.
* It's ok to briefly expose your biases and your ideas, as long as it's to clarify your question.
* No playing Devil's Advocate, and no debating.
Feeling pretty comfortable with your knowledge on the subject? Come listen to what those around you have been wondering in silence and consider how you may, if you choose, be a better ally.

Learning Outcomes:
  • In an AMA, the learning outcomes can be quite surprising.
  • If people listen and find the part of the session where I share my story compelling, they will learn about
  • - sexual identity in the workplace, or, when I had to tell a teammate who liked making casual gay jokes that I had a girlfriend in a pairing session
  • - the intersection of gender and sexual identity, or, how being out as a lesbian ended up with me being just one of the boys (mostly)
  • - respectful vocabulary to use with LGBT++ colleagues


avatar for Bonnie Aumann

Bonnie Aumann

Coach | Collaborator, Bluestreak Collaborative | Agile Fluency Project

Thursday August 10, 2017 3:45pm - 5:00pm EDT
Wekiwa 5