LeadingAgile is Speaking at Agile2012

Written by Mike Cottmeyer Thursday, 19 April 2012 07:05

I am really excited to announce that Dennis and I both had talks selected for the Agile2012 program this year. Personally, I’ve slowed down my speaking and writing to focus on the operations of LeadingAgile and growing our client base.  Given my schedule, I almost missed the deadline to submit… even though it was on my radar for months. I’m glad it all worked out in the end, I really wanted to be at this event and speak.

Here are the abstracts, location, and time for the selected talks:

Patterns for Agile Adoption and Transformation – Mike Cottmeyer
Room: Texas D           Time: Wednesday 13:30 – 15:00

Introducing agile into an organization is more than just running people through a few days of training and hoping for the best. Training is part of the equation but only addresses one part of the adoption and transformation cycle. The problem with a training-only approach is that we can learn new ways of working, but if the structure and culture of the organization don’t support those new ways of working, the training won’t stick. The trick is to create an organizational structure and culture that is congruent with training in agile practices. We need a structure and culture where Agile practices can flourish and grow and produce the business outcomes we all hope for.

This talk will start by exploring the main differences between agile adoption and agile transformation and how to distinguish between structural transformation and cultural transformation. Next we’ll explore criteria for how to assess your organization and create an adoption and transformation roadmap to help you pragmatically and safely introduce agile methods to your enterprise. Finally we’ll explore three primary dimensions of adoption and transformation: competency, frequency, and scale that will assist in guiding your adoption and transformation roadmap and change management strategy.

After establishing the theoretical underpinning of a successful adoption and transformation strategy, we’ll consider several case studies where these ideas have been applied and what has worked, and more importantly, what hasn’t. The case studies will consider 3-5 companies of varying sizes where these ideas have been applied in the past 18 months.

Beyond Functional Silos with Communities of Practice – Dennis Stevens (with Brian Bozzuto)
Room: San Antonio 4-6          Time: Wednesday 11:00 – 12:00

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… An organization aligns its operation around business products with cross-functional teams focused exclusively on each one. The business likes the focus, but soon people start to complain. Functional experts feel isolated and aren’t able to tap into their technical peers now isolated in other teams. Common practices become difficult. Functional managers feel left out now that their people are permanently assigned to dedicated cross-functional teams. Overall, the organization gains benefit from the re-alignment, but people can’t help but feel they are neglecting their institutional knowledge and have reduced their technical capacity to solve problems. You might think we’re talking about an Agile development team, but actually we’re talking about Chrysler in the 1990′s when they re-organized their engineering around auto lines. (Wenger et al, Cultivating Communities of Practice 1)

This session will explore the concept of communities of practice and how they are a vital component for agile organizations. From providing tactical support in issue resolution, to being stewards of knowledge across vast enterprises, and even helping create support for the larger organizational change, communities of practice are a vital component in improving organizational agility. We will walk through the history of communities of practice, from their emergence in fields as disparate as auto manufacturing, consulting, and oil exploration, and show how these concepts apply to agile organizations. Participants will hear several cases about how communities have been used at our actual clients to help support the organizational change, as well as get some tactical steps they can use to implement their own communities of practice at work.

Understanding Agile Program and Portfolio Management – Mike Cottmeyer
Room: Austin 1-3          Time: Thursday 09:00 – 10:30

More than 10 years after the signing of the Agile Manifesto, agile is now officially mainstream. PMI is offering an agile certification and you can’t hardly find an IT job description that doesn’t ask for some sort of Agile experience. As a community, we’ve become pretty good at setting up agile teams and delivering agile projects. The next frontier for agile methods is tackling the enterprise and one of the toughest nuts to crack will the the traditional PMO.

In larger more complex environments, it isn’t sufficient to pair a single product owner with a single team and expect that the work of the business is going to get done. We are dealing with larger, more diverse groups of stakeholders, stakeholders who’s needs often compete for the attention of the team. Furthermore, the teams have to work together in more complex ways that require tighter integration across teams to deliver larger, more complex feature sets.

This talk will explore patterns for dealing with more complex organizations, managing interdependencies between teams, and balancing tradeoffs to optimize the project delivery organization. The key question to answer is ‘when will we be done, and what will we get for our time and money’. We want to give the PMO a way to answer this question without having to resort to traditional plan-driven approaches. This talk will lay out just such an approach.

Agile and the Nature of Decision Making – Dennis Stevens
Room: Texas 3           Time: Monday 13:30 – 17:00

Organizations are really bad at Risk Management. And the typical approaches to risk management are flawed – resulting in bureaucratic overhead and not much improvement in the performance of software development projects. Agile efforts have rejected bureaucratic and non-value adding efforts and in the process have rejected most of what is practiced as risk management. This is unfortunate – because the nature of agile development fundamentally changes how to benefit from effective risk management.
Risk management is about managing uncertainty to reduce the probability and impact of unfortunate events and the maximize the realization of opportunities. This workshop builds on concepts from SEI’s MOSAIC project and Eric Reis Lean Start-up to present a practical and proven to a systemic approach to integrating threat and opportunity identification and response into the management of Agile projects. Useful for typical delivery teams, this approach is particularly valuable in the large projects and large organizations.


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  1. LeadingAgile is Speaking at Agile2012 « Developers.BlogNotions - Thoughts from Industry Experts   |  Monday, 23 April 2012 at 5:16 am

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