Talk Synopsis 2012

To view presentation slides of the 2012 conference please visit Scribd http://www.scribd.com/agileonthebeach

Jeff Brantley

Keynote: Agile Roadmapping for Fun and Profit   video and slides

Get engagement and buy-in from business stakeholders, eliminate waste from the process, and build better products faster!.

Most teams can generally grasp the high-level vision for their products and projects, and they know many techniques for release planning to construct and organize their stories into sprints and project plans. But what many teams lack is a technique or ceremony to collaboratively create, visualize, and communicate the connection and relationship between the higher-level business vision and the tactical release plan that is supposed to make it a reality in product. Agile Roadmapping is that ceremony and much more.

Agile Roadmapping is a critical planning process or ceremony that bridges the gap between the multi-year corporate and product vision and the product backlog focused on the next release. This Agile Roadmapping process enables teams to address the “mushy middle” in an open and collaborative setting. This produces greater trust across functional silos, and a greater clarity and adoption of the stated vision and strategy for how to achieve it. Innovation is unleashed as well as the teams are allowed to really dialog with each other about how to achieve the objectives. Done regularly, this is absolutely essential for getting the involvement and proper guidance from product and business leadership as well as for ensuring that the future product planning has some degree of technical realism injected into it by those who are responsible for building it.

We will cover the essential elements of a market-driven roadmap and how to get there with your teams. This will include a description of the simplest format to get started, as well as variations based upon my experience with some unique organizational or market situations. I will also share experiences organizing “roadmap jams” to include dozens of people in an immersive, collaborative environment to build shared, multi-team roadmaps. These lead to better strategies, but also lead to concrete action items for both Product (“We need to do more research in this area to know more about this customer segment and size to make a call on the right thing to do.”) and Development (“We don’t know exactly how we could achieve that technically in our architecture today so we’ll do a little more homework on possible scenarios now that we know more about the direction and the market.”) or others.

I will also discuss the ways in which the Agile Roadmapping process, and the Market-driven Roadmaps that come out of it helps introduce and encourage the business to be involved in the Agile transformation process. This Roadmapping practice provides “agility” a the perfect level for a classic business person to “get it” and help where appropriate without overloading them. They are openly asked for input in these sessions. They love it! They are openly called out on their assumptions… they don’t always love that part. But if they are serious about learning how to better build a business and test their assumptions in the marketplace, then this is an ideal place for the business to engage with the technical leaders (every quarter or so) and act as one team. The agility mindset can begin to spread from there into other aspects of the business, especially after several roadmapping sessions and releases have been successfully completed.

Key questions that are answered by an Agile Roadmap:

  • Who cares? Who buys and who uses the product? These are the Market and Customer Segments, User Personas, etc.
  • What do they want and why? These are the features and benefits they will pay money for. People buy benefits, not features…and it is always important to hold Product accountable for understanding these Epics and why the market will respond in sales.
  • HOW will these features be built (high level capabilities) in the technical architecture… also including the HOW the current technical architecture may need to evolve.
  • WHEN it is most effective to serve the market and prepare offerings in the form of releases? The bundles of themes and epics need to be grouped into meaningful releases around these timings.

This activity helps Product folks better prioritize the items need more research and break down for future releases. It also relieves all of us from the unproductive posturing and negotiations typically related to “selling” the roadmap. You will have confidence in the roadmap and have a vehicle that specifically provides a way for the team to continually inspect and adapt the roadmap.

In a nutshell, this Roadmapping practice is an incredibly powerful technique to help the cross-functional team visualize, debate, and make progress defining and planning the enactment of the product vision in chunks that are understandable by the business stakeholders and by those in the technical leadership. It is at the right level of detail… not too deep (because a lot of these items are large and many cycles away) and not too shallow (because even technical architecture decisions now can impact our ability to prepare for something a year from now).

 

 


Mark Wightman

Building a successful agile company – people first, software second

When we talk about agile we often concentrate on process and technical practices, but to achieve greatness you must focus on what matters most – your people. If you can harness their energy, intellect, passion and creativity effectively then success will follow.

Red Gate Software is a successful ISV based in Cambridge. We are proud to have been in the Sunday Times “Best Small Companies to Work For” list for six years in a row. We’ve also won the Special Award for Innovation in Engagement Practice and have won numerous other employer awards.

Over the last five years Red Gate have adopted and evolved agile development approaches at a team and company level with great success.

In this talk I’ll share what we’ve learnt, with a focus on practical tips and techniques that you can take and away and use in your own organisations. Amongst other things I’ll show you how we build high-performing teams, how we empower them, how we encourage innovation, how we manage individuals and teams, how we drive continuous improvement at every level of the company – all with an agile mindset.

I aim to inspire you to make your staff a primary focus in your adoption of agile and give you some practical techniques you can adopt to make your workplace a great place to work.


Robert Chatley

Extreme Start Up

In this hands-on workshop we aim to simulate a startup environment, with product teams building software and delivering it into a rapidly changing market. Attendees form teams and compete to build the best product. Through the session you can continue to refine and upgrade your software, releasing new versions and testing their performance in the market. Once your software is live it will begin to accrue points, as simulated users use the software and score it against how well it fits their needs. The earlier you release your software, the sooner you will start accruing points, and the earlier you can learn something about the market, which should inform your next iteration.

Each team needs at least one developer (bring a laptop), but product managers can also actively take part in the simulation.

The aim of the workshop is to simulate product development in a quickly changing environment, where agile techniques should excel. How quickly can we iterate? What are the bottlenecks? Which techniques are most valuable? Do any fall by the wayside?

As a practical session, this is a great chance to have some fun showing off your coding skills as well as your project management

strategies, and hopefully think about the above questions.

 

 

 


Kevlin Henney

Patterns for People

Apparently, everyone knows about patterns. Except for the ones that don’t. Which is basically all the people who’ve never come across patterns… plus most of the people who have. Singleton as a rite of patternhood and a source of excitement. Patterns as the raw materials of blueprint-driven architecture and design by diktat. Patterns as something you don’t need to know any more because you’ve got frameworks, libraries and middleware by the download.

Patterns as something you don’t need to know because you’re building on UML, legacy code or emergent design. All these misconceptions… and more. In this talk, let’s take an alternative tour of patterns, one that is based on improving the habitability of code, communication, exploration, empiricism, reasoning, incremental development, sharing design and bridging rather than barricading different levels of expertise.

 

 


Ed Sykes

Making cross-shore time-zone spanning teams work

The advice given to teams is to co-locate. Some of us find ourselves in a situation where that is not possible, often due to a board level strategic goal to use off-shoring. When this is your context and it can’t change how should you organise yourselves?

We tried a number of failing ways of organising ourselves, before finding something that works for us. It turns out that, at its root, the solution was simple: respect your people and create real cross-shore teams.

We want to tell the story of how we make cross-shoring work and offer some principles for others who must use off-shoring.

 

 


Rob Bowley

Agile Adoption is Fool’s Gold (and other stories from the coal face).

I’ll be going through some of the key learnings I’ve made from pursuing Agility over several years at BBC Worldwide and now 7digital and why “Agile Adoption” in particular is a fool’s errand (it’s probably not why you think). From my experiences – and from speaking to many others in similar situations  – it’s apparent there are some unavoidable “truths” you need to be aware of if you wish to really improve the way your organisation approaches software development. My goal is to share them with you.

The presentation will be organised into bit-size chunks of wisdom allowing you to pick and choose what works best for you.

 

 

 


Kate Sullivan

New Frontiers for In-House Practice

Lonely Planet’s legal team has innovated the legal affairs function from a Partner Model to being an Agile service providerThis presentation looks at the Legal team’s agile journey, their application of agile work practices in a non-IT environment, the obstacles faced in making the change and the benefits of working in an agile way.

 

 

 

 


Simon Cromarty & Johanna Hunt

(Being) Agile At Every Scale

Over the last few years Simon and Joh have worked in multiple different organisations that have adopted Agile to varying levels of success. Whilst our experiences were independent, we found striking similarities in our work and lessons learned.

We’ll demonstrate and share some specific lessons from different companies as they adopt agile practices, techniques, discipline and controllership into their organisations at different scales: from single-site small new media companies with 10s of employees, rapidly expanding medium-sized companies with a couple of hundred staff, through to massive utility and energy companies where a community of 1,000 agile practitioners is still only 0.3% of the worldwide organisation.

In all these cases we found ourselves asking the same questions.  What is Agile and how do you define it? What is a successful Agile transformation? How do you know when you are getting there? (and where is ‘there’ anyway?)

In this blend of participatory workshop and experience report we’ll lead you through some of the challenges and pitfalls faced by both leaders and teams on their Agile adoption journeys and explore how to address some of these commonly-faced questions.

 

 

 


Sebastian Bergmann and Stefan Priebsch

Can You Deliever It By Yesterday?

 

On the web, applications have to be adapted frequently and quickly in order to cope with changing requirements, growing size of datasets, and increasing traffic. What was sufficient yesterday can be insufficient today.
Sebastian Bergmann and Stefan Priebsch, two internationally renowned experts, have been helping web development teams around the world for years to deliver better quality while shortening release cycles. They do not spare their customers — or their audiences at conferences the truth. But by sharing their experience they save the pain of having to learn the hard way.

Join Sebastian and Stefan for this workshop and learn how your company can deliver quality software on time and on budget.


Stefan Priebsch

Observations from the agile front

Compared to the waterfall model, agile methodologies sound really promising. In theory, at least. But (how) does agile development work in day-to-day practice? What is the impact on development teams, and the business in general?

This session presents valuable insights from coaching development teams working in more or less agile environments.

 

 

 


Sebastian Bergmann

Agilty and Quality

Agile methodologies and processes have changed how PHP-based software projects are realized. This session gives an overview on how agility and quality can go hand-in-hand helping to deliver software on time and in budget. Agility does not stop at software development, though, but extends into other realms such as web operations.

The audience will learn about some of the core ideas of DevOps, such as “Dark Launches”, “Feature Flags” or “Gradual Ramps” that help with implementing continuous deployment strategies.


Rachel Davies

Pulling Together as a Team

Agile software development depends on individuals working collaboratively with each other and their customers. However, you may find that for one reason or another people in your organisation are reluctant to rely upon one another to get work done.

Come to this hands-on workshop session to explore issues that get in the way of collaboration. Pick up some ideas on how to improve that you can take back and try with your team.

 


Jon Jagger

Cyber Dojo

Your coding actions are strongly influenced by the environment you code in.

A development environment (eg Visual Studio, Eclipse, etc) is designed to help you finish writing code faster. But finishing and going faster are not what you want to concentrate on when practising! When practising you want to be concentrating on working slowly, with heightened awareness, towards improving some aspect of your skill. Therefore in this session we will deliberately not be using a normal development environment! Instead, we will be using CyberDojo – an innovative browser-based environment designed to encourage deep awareness of genuine coding practice. It is fun and stimulating.

Please bring a laptop.

 

 


Romilly Cocking

Raspberry Startup

What’s it like starting up a business with limited funds, a distributed part-time team and a key ingredient which arrives months later than expected?

Romilly shares the fun he and the rest of the team are having with their lean start-up, and looks at what they got right and what they would do differently next time round.


Allan Kelly

Business Patterns for Software Developers

Patterns, patterns everywhere. Patterns exist not just in the software code but around the code. In the same way patterns can explain software design they can explain how businesses are structured and operate. Some patterns reappear again and again in software companies big and small. To the entrepreneur, or growing business, these patterns offer an opportunity to learn from others. Software architects can benefit too by better understanding the business environment the software exists within.

In this talk Allan Kelly will describe some of the patterns in his new book, show how they connect together in pattern sequences and show how budding software entrepreneurs can make use of these patterns.   He will also preview some related patterns not found in the book.


 

James Lewis

Growing a culture of innovation

Most organisations optimise for cost control over value creation but in our connected world we are only ever one smart competitor away from trouble. Can you optimise your IT organisation and business around innovation and still keep costs down? In this talk we will explore some of the forces that act on business to stifle innovation and explore some ways that teams, IT divisions and businesses can organise to take advantage of the new opportunities our online world offers.

This is a talk about Lean, Organisational Design and the perils of matrix management (its 45 minutes of free consultancy, don’t tell everyone or they’ll all want to come…)”


Dragan Jojic

Organisational Agility and Agile Suitability

In 2010, Gartner predicted that Agile development methods would be utilised in 80% of all software development projects by 2012. In some respect they were right: the word “Agile” has become a part of organisational vocabulary and there are bubbles of agility to be found everywhere you look. However, most organisations are still struggling to advance beyond this stage.

This session will explore how to take agility higher up into the organisation and will introduce the concept of Business Value Stream. It will also look at the main organisational roadblocks to agility and into ways to assess organisation’s agile suitability and the likelihood of it succeeding in its agile transformation.

It is expected to be an interactive session and the participants will be encouraged to provide their input and experiences.

 


Seb Rose

Common objections to TDD (and their refutations)

This is not a session about how or why to practice TDD. Based upon research conducted, I will outline the most common objections to TDD and rebut them. Where possible I describe in detail, with examples, how to refute, avoid or mitigate the objections. The coverage will acknowledge that there are risks inherent to all techniques and will not promote the idea that TDD is some kind of silver bullet.


 

Schalk Cronjé

Agile Teams:  Value-Focused, Values-Driven

No teams work in isolation. All teams are part of larger ecosystems, which continually induce opposing stressors into the system. If Agile is fundamentally about delivering value to all stakeholders, the obvious question is how teams focus themselves to provides this goal for the greater good. This session takes a much more philosophical and holistic look at the deeper values that should be cultivated in group that could be bestowed the Agile tag.

 

 


Gus Power

“how are we doing?”: managing requirements and customer expectations

The supporting principles of the Agile Manifesto (http://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html) state that the “highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software”. This session takes a tongue-in-cheek look at how these principles can be easily overlooked when applying common Agile practices and attempts to reconnect requirement and expectation management to the design and development process.


Toby Parkins

Tales from the Whiteboard.

So why are we interested in this Agile stuff? To help understand and explain some of the real reasons why Agile works I’m sharing a collection of true stories and real hands on views from the software coal face.

The real explanation to why Agile works has to come from real experiences, stories and past projects. This talk will include a number of short stories from a business perspective including “Killing the Clients Project”, “Charging Clients for Quotes”, “How to Reply to a Tender” as well as a more in depth view of “Why Scrum is Right and Wrong” and sharing our own in house approach “Least Important Last”.

These short tales will provide insight into my personal experiences both from a hands-on approach as well as an over arching view point whilst being involved in many Agile projects within 2 companies who both aim to incorporate Agile philosophies in to their day to day practices.

 


Discussion Workshops


Belinda Waldock of Oxford Innovation
(with Simon Gill of Oxford Innovation & Uzma Bozai)

Discussion Workshop : Taking agile mainstream

Over the past 12 months following the success of the agile programme which worked with Cornish software businesses, Belinda explains how the Grow Cornwall programme has worked to introduce the concepts of agile and lean start up to mainstream Cornish businesses.  She will explain how they used agile and lean practices on their journey and the creation of the Start Up Planner and its results.  This session will end with an open discussion on taking agile to mainstream businesses.