Bonus Track (K) 2015
Bonus Track (K)

Session type: Bonus

Product Management Sessions and Biographies 2015

Product Management – 2 day track with 7 sessions


  • Continous Product Improvement – Melissa Perri,  ProdUX Labs, New York City
  • Agile in the real world: How 3D printing is enabling an Agile revolution for physical products – Emily Webber  & Amy Wagner
    • Ajay Sridhar – Valiantys – Agile in the Enterprise – A Case study on transitioning to SAFe 
  •  “Can Guinness help you estimate?” –David Lowe & James Wyllie Scrum & Kanban
  • Effective Customer Interviewing: How to use interviews to discover business value – Adrian Howard        Quietstars   (double workshop)


  • Shortening the goalposts – building a winning agile football team – Chris Clarke        The Guardian
  • Product Management    Finding the Joy in Agile Product Management  Erik Bjernulf        Tolpagorni Sweden
  • Flying the Flag for British Technology – The importance of community and content for the future of British tech – Rose Ross – TechBritannia
  • User Story Mapping for Fun and Profit (double workshop)   Lynne Johnson    & Charlotte Philippe      Zuhlke Engineering Ltd

melissaContinuous Product Improvement
Melissa Perri        ProdUX Labs

Continuous Improvement on the development side only solves half the problem. We end up creating efficient processes to develop products that users will end up hating. So how do we apply Continuous Improvement in Product Management? I’ll go over how Toyota Kata, Kaizen, and other concepts and techniques can be harnessed in product discovery to achieve business goals and satisfy user needs. All while creating a culture of experimentation and learning to support product improvement.

Continuous Improvement has long been encouraged in software development practices. It’s been used to solve engineering problems faster and focus work around learning. But what if we took the same processes that have made development so strong and applied them to Product Management?

During product discovery, we usually rush through the designing, speccing, and building processes without stopping to analyze if this particular idea is the right move for our products. Many Product Management roadmaps and processes don’t even include time to look at existing products and improve them. If we only do Continuous Improvement on the development side, we only solve half of the problem. We end up creating really fast and efficient processes to develop products that users end up hating.

In this talk, I’ll go over how you can use Continuous Improvement techniques in product discovery and iteration to create products that achieve business goals and satisfy user needs. We’ll explore how Toyota Kata can be used during product discovery to reach business goals. We’ll also look at how Kaizen in the whole product development team helps bring about a culture of collaboration, experimentation, and metric oriented results.

Melissa Perri is an experienced Product Manager and UX Designer from the New York City, where she has worked in various startups. Her core expertise focuses on integrating lean startup methodology into product and UX practices at existing companies and startups. She is a teacher in this area and enjoys helping other companies overcome their challenges using lessons from her experience. Having held positions in product management, UX design, and software engineering, Melissa is passionate about understanding all sides of the development cycle, and using it to help teams work together effectively to solve problems.




emilyamyAgile in the real world: How 3D printing is enabling an Agile revolution for physical products
Emily Webber  & Amy Wagner
@ewebber @amyeee

While researching their book, Minimum Viable book, Amy Wagner and Emily Webber have been uncovering the many ways people get things done. They have noticed a trend towards rapid iteration in the world of physical product design and hardware, as 3D printing becomes more accessible. This session will share case studies and techniques from a number of industries that show how physical product development is becoming more Agile.   

Amy Wagner and Emily Webber have been travelling the globe collecting stories from people who make things happen as they research their book, Minimum Viable Book. They have been talking to inventors, creators, builders, learners, strivers, doers and dive-right-in-ers.

Wagner and Webber deliberately spread their net wider than the Agile and software community in an effort to reach inspirational stories from people who are not constrained by popular methods or processes. The people of the Minimum Viable Book absolutely embody the values and principles of Agile – sometimes unknowingly – and come from a range of industries including teachers, aircraft designers, architects, craft beer brewers and product designers.

One common theme that continues to emerge from people who are making hardware is the way advancements in 3D printing help teams to learn and iterate quickly and cheaply. 3D printing allows people to quickly test ideas without the large cost of change or economies of scale considerations. Through rapid and continuous development, Product Managers are now able to release, iterate and refine physical products faster than ever before.

In this talk, we will use case studies from the toy and aerospace industries to:

» Introduce you to the story of the Minimum Viable Book
» Explore the impact of 3D printing on industries that have been traditionally very slow moving and constrained by the cost of change
» Discuss how fast, physical prototyping benefits smaller companies by allowing them to react to user needs and take on the monopolies.
» Share the tips and techniques from those working with 3D printing in hardware.

Emily Webber is a London based Agile coach (formerly Head of Agile Delivery at GDS) who is passionate about organisational learning and communities.

 Amy Wagner is an Agile coach, currently working with the UK Ministry of Justice, and the innovative independent music publisher,



ajayValiantysLogoAgile in the Enterprise – A Case study on transitioning to SAFe

Ajay Sridhar – Valiantys
Why do traditional software teams fail to deliver in enterprise? What does it mean to be agile and why do teams need to be agile?

Ajay is an agile consultant at Valiantys, who has helped organisations transition to agile development – we have experience developing and implementing agile transformation projects using SAFe.

Our (Valiantys) unique approach to bringing about Agile transformation involves delivering a step-by-step transition program and a set of world class collaboration/project management tools built on the Atlassian suite.

In this session you’ll about
•    Our experience deploying SAFe implementation at an large enterprise company
•    Our lessons from what did and didn’t work
•    How our customers’ successfully transitioned from a traditional waterfall software shop to an organisation committed to the Agile manifesto
•    Organisational change from the top down – taking a more agile approach to product/portfolio management

Ajay is an IT Consultant with 10 years of experience in Software development. He started out working at Atlassian where he held several roles in Sydney, San Francisco & Amsterdam. In his last role he was the product lead/team lead for the DevTools group. He currently works for Valiantys as a principal consultant, where he helps organisations get the most out of their IT investment via continuous improvement and process transformation.

Ajay’s specialisation at Valiantys includes DevOps, IT systems and governance consultancy & agile transformation.  He has successfully coached teams on how to do agile development at SME and large enterprise organisations across a wide spectrum of industries – finance & banking, software houses, media companies and etc.



davelowejamespwyllie“Can Guinness help you estimate?”

David Lowe & James Wyllie – Scrum & Kanban

@bigpinots @jamespwyllie

Why do we feel the need to estimate? When should we estimate? What is the best method to calculate estimates?
 This interactive session will make you question your current thinking around the subject by looking at various methods (from Planning Poker to Monte Carlo simulators, calibrated instinct to the purely mathematical student t-statistic) and using examples ranging from the weight of a potato to the length of time we queue for coffee.

Predict, forecast, commit, guess, project, calculate, plan, size, expect.

We use so many words to describe the act of estimation, but why do we do it, should we do it at all and, if so, what is the best way of doing it?

Using interactive examples such as the weight of potatoes, queueing time in coffee shops, length of music tracks, cooking times and train travel, we will investigate the various methods for estimating through a set of real-life experiments.

We will question the pros and cons of methods that range from the subjective (e.g. calibrated instinct and Planning Poker) through to the more mathematical approaches (e.g. Monte Carlo simulators and student t-statistics).

 David is an agile and lean consultant, coach and mentor who focuses on helping individuals, teams and organisations work effectively using Scrum or Kanban. He has worked with all types of companies (from start-ups to traditional organisations) in a range of industries (including finance, fashion, government, travel, recruitment, automotive).

In addition, David is the founder of the London Agile Discussion Group, co-founder of Agile on the Bench, a co-organiser of London Lean Coffee, and is a trainer in Scrum and Kanban through General Assembly.

James has spent the last decade working in software delivery environments, learning, and bringing together the latest thinking to evolve the way his teams deliver software. He has been working in eCommerce for the last 5 years, and prior to that, he spent time on the software side of the gaming industry, working with some of the largest bookmakers in Britain and gaming operators in Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Malta.

With a focus on work management, engineering practices and the interactions between teams, James has been able to help both software development teams and non-software teams to achieve a flow of work through their systems. A keen contributor to meet ups and co-organiser of London Lean Coffee (Holborn branch), James explores the challenges he faces with members of the London Agile and Lean communities, and shares his thoughts with the wider community through regular blog posts.




adrianhowardEffective Customer Interviewing: How to use interviews to discover business value

Adrian Howard        Quietstars    

@adrianh  Interactive workshop (no computer) – Double session

To build the right product you need to understand the people who use it. Agile values direct customer collaboration — but how do we get the best out of our time with the people who use our products?
 This workshop will show you how to get the most from your conversations with customers. In a series of mock interviews you’ll learn basic techniques, mistakes to avoid, and lightweight analysis techniques & synthesis techniques that work well with agile team.
Learning Outcomes:

* Why interviewing is especially relevant to agile and lean teams that value customer collaboration.
* How effective interviewing can be key to understanding business value.
* How to avoid common interviewing mistakes.
* Cheat sheet of interviewing tips you can use to keep information flowing.
* The importance of separating observations, insights & solutions.
* How to quickly and cheaply analyse interview results with your team.

The session will benefit anybody who has to talk to customers about a product or service they are creating.

This is an introductory workshop for people with no experience of interviewing customers or who have had problems when attempting to run or analyse interviews.

Adrian Howard is passionate about building effective teams and great products.You’ll find him working with startup and product development teams — combining coaching & teaching with hands on UX & development work.

With more than fifteen years experience working with startups, established businesses and agencies Adrian is an active member of the Agile, Balanced Team & Lean UX communities. He regularly teaches and speaks on integrating Lean, UX and Agile methods.

You’ll often find him ranting in a corner of the bar about how agile, business and user experience folk need to play nice together. Be kind and buy him whisky.



chris_clarke_profileShortening the goalposts – building a winning agile football team

Chris Clarke        The Guardian      



How the Guardian football team learned to move quickly in successive minimal steps, applied agile and lean methodologies to design, allowing a quicker release cycle.

Moving quickly in large organisations can be hard and often frustrating. The Guardian began work on it’s new, mobile first responsive football site in February 2014, with a tight timescale and limited resource. How did the team come up with a strategy of  Minimal Continuous Delivery  to design, build and release features quickly and frequently without losing sight of the big picture?

What interaction patterns were created to work across multiple platforms to contend with large amounts of sports data? And just how did the team contend with a product and newsroom environment at the same time?

Chris Clarke – A UX architect at the Guardian newspaper, Chris is currently involved in creating and launching the new responsive website. Previously he created digital products and services for Yahoo! Answers, the Huffington Post and Skype. With a long standing background in the web, as well as illustration and music, his focus is ultimately simple: Something that’s accessible for everyone.



ErikProduct Management    Finding the Joy in Agile Product Management

Erik Bjernulf        Tolpagorni Sweden


Agile intensify development and increase speed. The product management way of working is challenged and must change. Many PM’s find themselves overloaded with work. We have on the other hand found PM’s that are filled with joy and pride. What is their secret? What have they done that is different?
 We claim that there are three keys:
 1.    Defining strategic assets
 2.    Aligning the teams
 3.    Planning for success and failing fast   
The World is changing
Over the last five years the tech industry has changed drastically. Four megatrends are sweeping across the technology world:
•    Agile – all software development departments have been influenced by agile methods.
•    Servicification – The business model is changing for many organizations focusing more on the service not on the products.
•    Hard goes soft – All hardware deliveries have been supported by some software and often inspired by the “Internet of Things”
•    User Experience (UX) – Apple has made the tech world aware that you do not win the markets only with functions and features.
The first three trends change the development and have fundamental effects on the portfolio. Defining your UX and delivering on your promise is now business critical. Many of the changes have been embraced by the R&D departments and Agile working methods have been introduced.
Product management is responding to the initiatives taken by R&D. We argue that Product Management must take a lead to really create the products and services that our customer will love and that will deliver massively profitable products.

Erik Bjernulf has been working with product management for more than 15 years. Electronics, software, services and hardware. He held senior management positions with P/L responsibility as well as leading global R&D organizations.
He was the program manager for Bluetooth and GPS solutions at the Infineon Technologies Connectivity business unit. Consultant for telematics solutions.
He is active in the ISPMA (International Software Product Management Association) – creating and maintaining the reference framework and certification training syllabus.
Erik is a regular speaker and trainer at Agile and Software Product Management events.
He is currently a Partner at Tolpagorni Product Management, Stockholm-Sweden



  • This is agile? – Letitia Fearon – Lloyds of London
  • Ajay Sridhar – Valiantys – Agile in the Enterprise – A Case study on transitioning to SAFe
  • Flying the Flag for British Technology – The importance of community and content for the future of British tech – Rose Ross – TechBritannia


Rose outside Digital Jersey FVTechBritannia – Flying the flag for British technology. The importance of community and content for the future of British tech.

Rose Ross, Co-conspirator, TechBritannia

@Rose_at_O  @TechBritannia




lynnejohnsonFile 27-07-2015 18 05 19User Story Mapping for Fun and Profit

 Lynne Johnson & Charlotte Philippe        Zuhlke Engineering Ltd    


Interactive workshop (no computer)    Double session


 The secret is out! The long awaited book, User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton, has arrived. One of the nifty things in Jeff’s book that I especially liked was how he engaged the reader through playing the ‘getting out of bed and off to work’ (aka the ‘now’) game. After many years using story mapping in projects and a version of this game to help teams learn how to create Story Maps for products, I would like to share my wisdom in a workshop with you.    “The secret is out!

The long awaited book, User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton, has arrived. We finally get inside the head of the man who coined the phrase ‘Story Mapping’. One of the nifty things in Jeff’s book that I especially liked was how he engaged the reader through playing the ‘getting out of bed and off to work’ (aka the ‘now’) game. You are taken through the exercise of writing down on post-it notes, what you did from the moment you woke up until you were off to work. After many years using story mapping in projects and a version of this game to help teams learn how to create Story Maps for products, I would like to share my wisdom in a workshop with you.

The workshop dives deeper into the ‘now’ game to learn all the aspects of user story mapping.

1.    Introduction
2.    Building your personal ‘now’ map
3.    Break into Groups to merge the ‘now’ maps
4.    Walking the activity backbone
5.    The altitude metaphor
6.    Writing real Stories : not template Zombies
7.    The ‘what if’ game : slicing the map to create product releases
8.    Minimise output to maximize outcome : how products change the world

No matter what experience you have in product development or story mapping, this workshop is for everyone. By the end of the session you will have a clear understanding of the different types of user tasks, user personas, product release planning and how to write better stories. For those with no story mapping experience, you will realise that you already knew how to story map and have everything you need to build your own product maps. For those of you with story mapping experience you will understand how the ‘now’ game can fast track your story mapping sessions. Most importantly, you will learn how story mapping helps teams to understand their users, have a common understanding of what a product needs to do, and what they collectively need to do in order to build the right product.

Lynne Johnson – Senior Agile Project Manager at Zuhlke Engineering Ltd. Software Engineering, education in the 90’s London, a fashion model in Europe through the 80s, fashion label owner, hotelier, born in Seattle Washington, USA, Agile evangelist and EcoWarrior.

Charlotte Philippe – Senior Agile Software Engineer at Zuhlke Engineering UK. Born in Brussels, with a master in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Belgium and another in Computing – Artificial Intelligence from Imperial College London. Working mostly with Scala and Java and always a big supporter of Agile methodologies. Currently tech lead of a team on a British Government Multi Digital tax platform.