Agile and Scrum – Driving Success Through Innovation Conference 2016 part 2

hdr-agile-scrum-conferenceInternational Institute for Learning organized its first Agile and Scrum Virtual Conference. 5 keynotes and 20 video presentations, Q&A, chat, and networking opportunities in an slick and smoothly working online environment. Yesterday I wrote about the first 3.5 hours of the live portion of the conference. In this second part I highlight the keynote presentations and video lectures I have been watching throughout the next 3.5 hours of the Agile and Scrum – Driving Success Through Innovation Conference 2016.

V. Lee Henson – Agile Implementation (As Seen from the Eyes of the Executive)

I took another presentation by AgileDad a.k.a. V. Lee Henson. Ely, the fictional executive initially conducted a traditional project management approach. The competition did it through Agile. Could Agile be the silver bullet solution he’s seeking? Ely visited several conferences, read some books on Agile.

incorrect agile thoughts

Agile will optimize the level of output needed to achieve the desired outcome. Focus on problems you are trying to solve. Fewer projects in motion is better. Focus on earned value to leverage from agile models compared to traditional project management ones.

Limit work in progress. Context switches working on several projects screws productivity. Start finishing, finish starting up more projects. Apply the art of prototyping.  Choosing the right process is crucial. The reality check an Agile coach brings in may result in an adjusted point of view of the executive. Agile pays for itself:

  • Do the right thing (product owner).
  • Do the thing right (agile team).
  • Do it fast (Agile coach or Scrum master).

ely notes after

Sally Elatta – Enterprise agility starts with healthy teams

Sally Elatta is the president of Agile Transformation Inc. and an Enterprise Transformation Coach. She has helped guide several medium and large enterprises through developing a transformation strategy, road map and successful execution. Her company’s passion is to help leaders transform their culture and build measurable and sustainable Transformations. She is a dynamic and engaging speaker who is a thought leader in the Agile Transformation space with a special focus on Servant Leadership, Measurement and Business Agility.

common drivers for agile adoption

There are many drivers for Agile adoption. What’s the problem you’re trying to solve? Elatta contrasted the traditional phased way of managing projects to the Agile way of working. Cross-functional, stable teams as the nucleus of the new organization, which honestly are not new or part of Agile alone.

Team set up is just one of the pieces in the puzzle. Being Agile or becoming agile requires a lot of soft skills, people related competencies. People over process. TLC is needed!

The product owner is the one with the vision, answering the why to the team. The product owner is to rank the backlog. The Scrum master facilitates the team and ensures the process is adhered to. They’re focused on empowering the team. The technical lead or solution lead should be in the team as well. Each team has a backlog and release plan alongside the burn up / down chart to measure progress and a definition of done to get things done and comply to the product owner’s acceptance criteria. Teams still go through the Tuckman’s stages of group development.

Elatta has a program / product team leadership team to oversee the development teams in her Enterprise Stable Agile Teams model to scale Agile teams. Who reports to who is not equal to how the work is flowing through the enterprise. She recognizes the importance of Centers of Excellence. For this transformation a high-performance, healthy culture requires clarity, focus and predictable execution.

A little deeper it leads to emphasis on these dimensions:

  • Clarity: on who we are and how to behave. What is important now and why?
  • Performance: how to measure results?
  • Leadership: each to play his/her role and serve the others. Managers can make or break the team.
  • Culture: in search of happiness.
  • Foundation: sustainable pace, empowerment, self-organization, meaningful meetings, fitness for collaboration. has more resources and a test to conduct with your team. Use quantitve and quality metrics. Measure and grow constantly. Watch more presentations by Aletta at

Penny Dakhil – From PMP to Agilista

from pmp to agilistaPenny Dakhil, former IT program director at CA Technologies had a great opener: the spread of agile does not mean the death of project management or the death of PMP’s. Project funding, sustainable team creation, and other developments challenge project managers as they do change the process to do work. The product is still the same. We need tools, education and support to get things done. It’s people who make Agile work. There are still solutions to be build, and work isn’t done in vacuum. Project management expertise add value in all three dimensions: people, product, and process.

Project managers capable of people leadership, team building, motivation, communication, influencing, decision making, political & cultural awareness, negotiation, trust building, conflict management, and coaching are well-known competencies in PMI’s Project Management Book of Knowledge and IPMA’s International Competence Baseline. That enables project managers to drive Enterprise Agility and adoption of Agile.

get the work done in agileThe work’s the same, how it is delivered has changed. Scrum is lightweight, single team-oriented. It doesn’t say a lot of the world outside the established team. Who has the bigger picture? Delivery is becoming more difficult. Contracting, training, hand over to business as usual, funding, financial reporting, recruitment of team members, HR cycle, release management, you know what else is needed to implement products and start using them. Having a Scrum master doesn’t mean that he or she is capable or willing to do all these. Delivering value quicker is key to Agile teams. Project managers are experienced in facilitating or executing these processes and build bridges.

Project management experts add value in the Agile world when it comes to:

  • Transitioning to Agile.
  • Leading Agile teams.
  • Protecting the Agile ecosystem.
  • Scaling Agile when the organization is ready.

Peter Measey – Agile Adoption Best Practices

agile adoption best practicesPeter Measey is CEO of RADTAC, and has 20+ years of experience. Agile is easy, but the adoption of Agile isn’t. It’s all about the Agile mindset. Stickiness is needed. Understand that it’s we who need to change. Next, understand why you need to change. Are you after faster delivery to customers, gaining market share, work more efficiently?

Once you got some momentum on team-level adopting Agile, there’s not automatically a momentum to shift to portfolio or company-level. You need a breaking wave, vertical movement as well. Be clear on what you’re going to change to. An Agile Operating Model will contain more than just Scrum, think of SAFe, portfolio management, release management and alignment with the business demands on a strategic level.

Agile is not new. The concept is simple. The delivery approach is difficult to adopt, however. Learn on the job. Reading a book or attending a course alone is insufficient. Agile is not to replace any other approach to product development. It is no silver bullet.

Ensure there’s a solid stakeholder analysis and communicate visually. Peter explained his Operating Model. Geoffrey Moore delivered Crossing the Chasm with Agile, using Lean Startup and Kanban. Innovate the right assets, experiment & pivot. Evolve the asset with Agile and Kanban + CD3. Then sweat the asset with Lean. The vertical slices of value need value / feature teams. There are numerous models like SAFe, LeSS, DaD and Nexus to scale up. I will explain these scaling models in more depth later this summer on my weblog. DevOps will certainly be part of the operating model too.

Cultural change needs techniques like creative thinking, fail fast, succeed later, and specialized generalists.

Brian M. Rabon – Traditional Management is Dead: It’s time for the Agile Leadership

Brian M. Rabon, CST, PMP is President and Founder of The Braintrust Consulting Group, one of the largest boutique Agile consulting firms in the United States. Brian is the author of Scrum for the Rest of Us, with thousands of copies now in circulation. Brian is the pioneer of the field of Agile Leadership, having introduced the Center For Agile Leadership™ in 2015. Brian would love to connect with leaders worldwide via his blog or LinkedIn.

“Hi, I’m a loser” was Brian’s opening sentence. I will not spoil his personal leadership journey trip to Alaska here. You as well could be stuck in a leadership crisis. We have stereotyped, even demonized managers as agilists. Why?

We too are looking for a good job, purpose, belonging. Are people working in a business or on a business? The last ones help a business grow. The level of organizational agility will never exceed the leadership agility. Brian revisits the Agile Manifesto (2001): Individual and interactions = it’s all about the people. We accomplish work through others. Working product = focus on delivering value. Customer collaboration = respect the partnership. Responding to change = plan and react. You still don’t need managers?

agile leadersLove your leaders, regardless their shirts, beards or underwear.

Brian shared a couple of inspiring case studies to highlight the importance to:

  • Steer the ship. Develop and broadcast your vision.
  • Have results count. Stimulate a results-based economy. Reduce stress, get a higher satisfaction and improve well-being.
  • Bring social norms to the workplace. Performance will be increased, greater collaboration and more loyalty achieved.

The journey towards becoming an Agile leader is difficult. Sometimes you may feel like a loser. Help’s out there.

There’s more content in the virtual IIL Conference Center

As in regular conferences you cannot attend all presentations in a single session. There’s simply too much content. IIL keeps the presentations as on-demand videos accessible until August 31, 2016. That’s perfect to watch selections from the 1 keynote and 14 more presentation I wasn’t able to fit into Thursday’s 7 hour window.

Conference participants also have the change to attend two supplementary courses, Implementing the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) with Alex Yakyma, and Deep Dive into Agile and Scrum with Sally Elatta, for free.

And, because it’s a virtual conference, you can still sign up and enjoy all of it. The keynote sessions are available on-demand as well.