Tag Archives: Agile Alliance

The Top 10 Impediments You Avoid at OnAgile

Some of you may recall that this is my first year serving on the board of the Agile Alliance and … OH MY … have I been busy.   In my typical go-big-or-go-home style, I’ve taken on chairing our first ever virtual conference, OnAgile, alongside the almighty Declan Whelan. This year’s theme is “Navigating the Future: Emerging Technical Trends and Practices”.

I like to think of OnAgile as the world’s most convenient Agile event … and you can’t put a price on convenience, right?. In fact, there are many an impediment to avoid by attending a virtual conference and OnAgile is no different. With that in mind, I have for you “The Top 10 Impediments You Avoid at OnAgile”.

  1. Experience an amazing speaker line-up without having to get up from your cushy ergonomic chair or even leave your plush 10,000 thread count bed (if you choose to stay in bed, beware laptop burn which would create a whole other impediment). It’s like having the likes of Martin Fowler, Gene Kim, and Liz Keogh over for lunch, except you get to control their volume and even mute them on occasion.
  2. No need to miss your morning stand-up … unless of course you really wanted an excuse to.
  3. No need to beg your boss to fly you across the country to attend a live conference.   In fact, you are doing him a favor … better yet, you are doing the company a favor. And, at the cost of a couple extra-large pizzas, you could always choose to foot the bill yourself and avoid talking to your boss altogether.
  4. No pat down from the TSA because you forgot to leave your Snoopy toe nail clippers at home.
  5. Clothing optional! That’s right! So you missed laundry day because you were in flow for 12 hours on your latest side project. No clothes, no problem! Go commando for all we care. However, if you will be experiencing OnAgile from your office, we strongly encourage the use of clothing.
  6. No waiting in line to ask a question behind that guy that brought along his 10,000 lines of “dirty” code for Uncle Bob Martin to “clean” up.
  7. So your all-too-diligent ScrumMaster has you already booked to groom the backlog on May 14th. Don’t fret! You don’t have to experience OnAgile live to experience OnAgile. All of the speakers’ presentations and content remain available to you to access over and over again for up to 90 days.
  8. With a front row seat to OnAgile, there’s no chance of getting caught next to that guy that came straight from an all-nighter at the conference party.
  9. No more racing to get to a conference room to see Jez Humble before it fills up. Trying to convince the volunteer that you are fine to stand the whole time never quite works out. At OnAgile, everyone gets in to see the speakers.
  10. With a super-modern virtual conference platform displayed on your monitor, you will look plenty busy when your boss stops by to give you a new assignment or your spouse asks you to take out the garbage.

If you are interested in avoiding all of these impediments and then some, be sure to register for OnAgile 2015 at http://agilealliance.org/programs/onagile-virtual-conference/. The event will be live on May 14th and then available in a recorded format for 90 days thereafter.

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Coming Down Off The Agile 2014 High

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I’m just now finding time to blog after coming down off my Agile 2014 high.  In one word, Agile 2014 was filling … a week full of knowledge, introductions, and yes, food.  Oh, and I Tweeted my ass off!  I gained a few new followers and even met some old ones (although the guy that showed me my pic on his phone did kind of creep me out a bit).

I was thrilled to meet …

  • The Agile Alliance (Global) board as well as the Agile Alliance Brazil board (well, except Samuel who sadly couldn’t make it due to visa issues) … Very awesome people with good hearts and a strong passion for all that is Agile.
  • The man himself, Mike Cottmeyer of Leading Agile … Somewhere along the way he became somewhat of an Agile celebrity in my mind because he is such an up-and-coming thought leader in the space and I must have watched his “Blending Scrum and Kanban to Create an End-to-End Agile Enterprise” on loop when we were trying to figure out how to scale.  I’m even more thrilled that he is going to bring his Agile 2014 talk to the Tampa Bay Agile Meetup in October.
  • Mr Zombie Project Management, Derek Huether  … Finally!  We’ve been Twitter buddies for a while, but it was a long time coming to finally meet since we missed each other at Agile 2012 in Dallas.  I missed his talk on Personal Kanban on Friday, but I’m a firm believer that every time a Kanban goes up, an Agile gets its wings.
  • Diana Larsen, author, keynote speaker, and an altogether extraordinary human being … This woman knows how to have a good time!  I not only got to see her dance on stage and at the conference party, but I also got to spend a few quality moments, just her and I when we were waiting for the conference party.  Not to mention she co-authored the “Agile Retrospectives” book which has been an extremely good resource for getting us out of the retrospective rut.
  • 6 people from sister companies … Valpak is one of the many companies that are part of Cox Enterprise.  I was surprised to meet fellow Cox siblings from AutoTrader, Kelley Blue Book, and Manheim Auctions.  In fact, one of the Manheim Auctions guys actually gave a talk on Monday of the conference.

A few of the takeaways and observations I had from Agile 2014:

  • Apparently there is something called “naked planning” but you actually keep your clothes on … go figure!
  • I’m not crazy after all … WIP Limits at the Portfolio Kanban level are crazy-impossible.  Instead, I learned about something called “WIP Limits by Conversation” at Pawel Brodzinski’s talk on “Successful Evolutionary Change of Portfolio Management” which is essentially what we do here at Valpak (yeah, us!).
  • Commitment is still alive and well!
  • A common theme I heard was about the need for executives to get more engaged in Agile.   No, it’s not just that thing your teams do to be more productive … it is so much more!  Executives have an important role in Agile and it is about time they step up.
  • Apparently, SAFe is a 4-letter word to some folks; SAFe, as in Scaled Agile Framework.  The SAFe debate is hot right now! There was a lot of debate around whether or not SAFe is the Agile anti-Christ due to it’s very detailed structure.  I’m happy to say that I’ve taken a very pragmatic approach to implementing SAFe here at Valpak, as should everyone.  Use what you want and disregard the rest.  Do what works for you and your organization.  There is no one-size-fits-all Agile!  In fact, our implementation of scaled Agile is more a blend of SAFe and some Mike Cottmeyer inspirations.
  • There are indeed #womeninagile!  And, I’m happy to be one of them!  There was definitely a good showing of womankind at the conference.  I hope to see this continue and meet more of my fellow Agile sisters.
Even though you can't see it very well, that's me holding up my Agile 2014 badge that says "Board Member"

Even though you can’t see it very well, that’s me holding up my Agile 2014 badge that says “Board Member”

I can’t forget to mention the most awesome news of all! I was elected to the Agile Alliance Board of Directors for the 2015 to 2017 term.  After spending a week getting to know the rest of the board members, I know I have much to learn but I feel I have equally as much to contribute.  I am super excited for what the next few years will bring!  In fact, I’ve been jotting down ideas left and right and couldn’t help myself but pitch them now, even though my term doesn’t officially begin until January.   I’m on this train for 3 years, so this means I will definitely be seeing some of you at Agile 2015 in Washington DC.  Until then … May your Agile be fun and fulfilling!