Moving from Technical Debt to Technical Health

Everyone agrees that technical debt is a burden on software innovation that we would rather avoid, and certainly clean up whenever possible. However, in most organizations, people don't prevent technical debt nearly as much as they should, and they don't ever get the time to clean it up. Why, then, if there are clear incentives to deal with technical debt, is it a rampant problem?

In this session, we will focus on how to deal with technical debt on several levels, including the individual developer, the team, the software value stream, and the larger organization. While technical debt may manifest itself in a developer's IDE, the problem starts long before the developer decides to copy and paste some code, or creates an overly-complex and under-documented class. The pressures on teams and individuals to take on more debt than they should come from many sources. Therefore, the solutions to the technical debt problem must extend beyond the team.

 
4 favorite thumb_down thumb_up 0 comments visibility_off  Remove from Watchlist visibility  Add to Watchlist
 

Outline/structure of the Session

Structure

  • An overview of technical debt. Why a little bit isn't necessarily bad, but why more than that can be awful. We will draw on various concepts from software economics in this section.
  • The triumph of short-term thinking. We will play a game, Dice Of Debt, that demonstrates the importance of making long-term investments in reducing debt. This game is always a highly effective starting point for discussion of the reasons why people get stuck in the short-term thinking that increases debt.
  • The steps required to deal with it, and the costs of both remediation and non-remediation. For this section, we will draw heavily on the work of the Agile Alliance's working group on technical debt, of which the speaker was a member and contributor.
  • The distorting effect of technical debt on the team and the value stream. Cynefin and other theories of complexity will be elements in this part of the discussion. You may recognize the dysfunctions of your organization in this section.
  • The concept of using system dynamics to understand the forces that drive organization into building technical debt and what you can do about it.

As we discuss each of these dimensions, we will identify the strategies that have worked for teams fighting technical debt. For example, how can you use a simulation like Dice Of Debt, or the software economics of technical debt, to make a case to executives and middle managers that the investment in reducing debt is worth making?

AGENDA

  • Understanding technical debt as a concept, including its costs
  • Exercise: Dice Of Debt
  • Dealing with technical debt at multiple levels
    • Individual developer
    • Team
    • Organization
  • Sources of help
  • Q&A

Learning Outcome

  • Understanding of what is and what is not technical debt.
  • Deeper understanding of the systemic forces leading to technical debt and what you can do about them.
  • Practical techniques for addressing technical debt at the individual, team and organization level

Target Audience

Anyone who cares about building valuable software.

schedule Submitted 10 months ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal

  • Selena Delesie
    Selena Delesie
    schedule 10 months ago
    Sold Out!
    90 mins
    Workshop
    Advanced

    Agile transitions fail to provide adequate guidance on how a manager at any level fits into an Agile organization. What do you do now? What do managers do when teams are supposed to be empowered, self-managing, and self-organizing? Is there a place for managers in an Agile organization?

    YES! There is a lot for managers to do, though they might be different than what you did before. Agile is a whole new way of work for most managers, as it requires a particular style of leadership. Your role and responsibilities need to evolve to support the growth and success of the team. You must learn to coach, remove obstacles and model new styles of communication. 

    In this interactive session, Selena guides you on how you can thrive as an agile manager as you nurture and support your teams in transformational success. You leave with insights, techniques, and approaches you can readily apply when you return to work. Ready?! Come learn how to inspire, influence, and have an expansive impact in your organization .

  • Sue Johnston
    Sue Johnston
    schedule 11 months ago
    Sold Out!
    90 mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    The stereotype of technical professionals as inarticulate, socially inept geniuses inventing problems to solve is unkind and inaccurate. Yet the Dilbert image persists. So do jokes like the one about the engineer sentenced to death on the guillotine, who watches the instrument of death malfunction, then tells the operators how to fix it.

    Why do people make fun of engineers? Do people wired and trained to analyze and solve problems and focus on the mechanics of a situation frustrate those whose brains are wired differently? And how does the engineer’s way of dealing with individuals and interactions - that first value of the Agile Manifesto - sometimes get in the way of team collaboration and productivity?

    In this interactive session, we'll show a little empathy for engineers and other analytical folk whose neurological wiring makes them seem different from the rest of humanity. We'll also explore how those with the engineering mindset can develop their own empathy and consciously adopt behaviours that amplify their value to their teams and organizations, make them more effective leaders - and make their own lives easier by positioning themselves for understanding.
    Join Sue in a lively exploration of what can happen when engineers and technical professionals shift their mindset from solving problems to creating impact.

    You will leave this session with an appreciation of

    • How to make your ideas meaningful to others by taking their perspective
    • How shifting your language from "What?" to "So What?" helps people connect the dots
    • Why giving up the need to be smart may be the smartest thing you ever do
    • Techniques you can use to take someone else's perspective.
  • Liked Gillian Lee
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Minutes to Pin It: How to Get Your Whole Team Agreeing

    Gillian Lee
    Gillian Lee
    schedule 10 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    What if your team could share new ideas and make unanimous decisions in minutes?  

    Agile teams need to create and agree on many things such as a definition of done, a sprint plan, and what changes they’ll try in the next sprint based on the most recent retrospective.

    How often have you participated in a meetings where few decisions were made?  Or where the the loudest person in the room made most of the suggestions and dominated your team’s decision making?

    In this interactive workshop, we will practice coming up with new ideas using everybody’s suggestions and making decisions that the whole team agrees on.

    Learn and practice techniques such as Fist-of-Five, Decider Protocol and Resolution Protocol and Shared Visioning with Lego.

    Make group decisions faster, more aligned with the whole team, and more likely to result in follow-through.

  • Liked Jesus Mendez
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Behind the scenes of retrospectives

    Jesus Mendez
    Jesus Mendez
    schedule 11 months ago
    Sold Out!
    90 mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    Ben Linders said: "if you want to solve the problems that you are having, and deliver more value to your customers, you have to change the way you do your work. That is why agile promotes the usage of retrospectives: To help teams to solve problems and improve themselves!" 

    In this workshop, I will walk you through the reasons, concepts, phases, tips and tricks of behind the scenes of retrospectives, in a practical, engaging, fun and interactive manner.

    Are you ready for the challenge?  

  • toddcharron
    toddcharron
    schedule 10 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    Are you as powerful as you need to be? Do you over power the room and rub people the wrong way?

    Why is that? What if there was something you could do about it?

    In improvisation, in order to create realistic and compelling characters we study status. That is, how does how we carry ourselves impact our relationship status with other people and how does it change in relation to others?

    In this session, we'll explore status, and play with making ourselves more or less powerful. We'll then examine how this plays out in our work environments and how we need to adjust our status depending on which groups or individuals we're interacting with.

    You'll also learn the one status trick that will dramatically increase your chances of getting hired in your next interview.

  • Liked Mike Bowler
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Putting the Moose on the Table: Make your retrospectives more effective using LEGO SERIOUS PLAY techniques

    Mike Bowler
    Mike Bowler
    Ellen Grove
    Ellen Grove
    schedule 11 months ago
    Sold Out!
    90 mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    In order for teams to step into high performance. it's critical that they develop the practice of having effective conversations about what is and isn't working. Yet in practice, the retrospective meeting is often the least-valued of the agile events: team members feel that their retros are boring, repetitive, and superficial.


    In this workshop, we will teach participants how to design and deliver a really useful retrospective using LEGO SERIOUS PLAY. We'll cover the basics of this powerful facilitation technique, and give advice about how to build your own SERIOUS PLAY kit using pieces easily available at the local toy store. We'll also offer practical suggestions for how to design a retro that gets everyone talking (and building), and results in the team agreeing on action.


    The participants will leave with a powerful retrospective technique that they can immediately use with their teams.

  • Liked Joanne Stone
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Change is Hard : From Project Manager to Agile Coach and Beyond

    Joanne Stone
    Joanne Stone
    Mike Edwards
    Mike Edwards
    schedule 10 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    Do you ever think you have your career figured out, you're on the right career path, and suddenly along comes something like Agile and nothing seems right anymore? Yup, we went through that too! We were both excelling as Project/Program Managers, trying to help our companies do things better than ever. That's when we came across Agile, and our journeys have been forever altered. Join us to hear how our quest for helping the organisations we work for took us from a traditional PM role, to change agent, to Agile Coach and way beyond. Your journey can be a conscious choice rather than the series of accidents ours has been, even if your goal is not to become an Agile Coach, there is so many options available to you in your future which can help organizations thrive into a bright future. Hurry ... the world needs you!

  • Liked Blondeau
    keyboard_arrow_down

    De-scale your agile framework

    Blondeau
    Blondeau
    schedule 10 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Large organization have been eager to implement agile framework quickly. At what cost and who pay the most? In this session we will covert some basics to increase the chance of success of agile transformation. 

    Thinking and preparing the transformation is key. Having the right leadership and support and what does that mean is question that we will answer. 

  • Liked Mike Kaufman
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Drive & Motivation: How to Motivate Your Team

    Mike Kaufman
    Mike Kaufman
    schedule 10 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    You have a brand new team.  You inherit a pre-existing team, but one person seems a little unproductive.  Your team is in shambles.   You're a newly-hired manager and walk in on day one and want to impress your new underlings.  You're a Product Owner and just came back from a great session with the customer, ready to tell the team.

    What do all of the above scenarios have in common?  You are looking for ways to inspire and motivate your team members into action.  You want to drive them towards a vision you have.  Or you need to find a way to "deal with" that one "bad apple" in the team, so the whole team can be that much more productive and effective. 

    But how do you do this??   Come and listen, and experience first hand, some simple experiments that will help you figure out how to inspire and motivate your team members.

     

     

  • Liked Mike Kaufman
    keyboard_arrow_down

    You won't believe this ONE SIMPLE TRICK to solving ALL your problems!

    Mike Kaufman
    Mike Kaufman
    schedule 10 months ago
    Sold Out!
    90 mins
    Workshop
    Beginner

    Are you stuck?  Have a problem you just don’t know how to resolve? Need to find some clarity?  We all go through the same process when beset by problems.  Most of us just aren’t aware of it and so don’t know how to get out of it.  Let’s have a conversation about taking ownership of your problem and finding real solutions. Come learn about the built-in process going on in your head and how you can leverage that to owning what you want, living with freedom, power and choice.

    As a bonus, you'll walk away with one small but powerful gift, guaranteed to work!

     

  • Liked Mike Kaufman
    keyboard_arrow_down

    The White Bead Experiment

    Mike Kaufman
    Mike Kaufman
    schedule 10 months ago
    Sold Out!
    90 mins
    Workshop
    Beginner

    The White Bead Corporation is looking for Above Average Employees for expanded production.  On the job training provided.  Earn bonuses!  The White Bead Corporation is a proud producer of shiny, perfect, white beads. We work hard to meet our customer’s exacting demands and won’t settle for anything less than perfection. We need Willing Workers who are Above Average Employees to handle this rigorous task in an inspiring environment. Apply within.

     

    Come watch, and participate, in the classic experiment made famous by Dr. Deming. Let’s explore the link between typical management techniques, human factors and overall quality.

  • Liked jasonlittle
    keyboard_arrow_down

    How to Interview and Hire an Agile Coach

    jasonlittle
    jasonlittle
    schedule 10 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Workshop
    Beginner

    "We seek and Agile Coach/Project Manager to enforce our Agile best practices. The ideal candidate must have the ability to walk on water, magically change all organizational processes, convince executives to just be Agile, and install JIRA. The ideal candidate must be PMP, BsC in Engineering, CSM, CSP, CSPO, PSM I, II and III, SAFe 4.0, MBA of All The Things and other relevant certifications as dictated by our HR department."  Did your Agile Coach end up being a dud? While Agile has largely crossed the chasm, the art of Agile Coaching is one of the most mis-understood roles in the industry today which is why we end up with job postings that cram so much detail into their description . If the coach is helping the team improve, what do the managers do? How do you measure the effectiveness of your coaches? Should Agile Coaching be a permanent structure in your organization, or a temporary one? In this session we'll dymystify Agile Coaching and give you practical tools to figure out the best way to interview, and hire, coaches for your organization.

  • Jeff Kosciejew
    Jeff Kosciejew
    schedule 11 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Panel
    Advanced

    What's the best way to structure an organization? What's the best way to build and align teams?

    Join a panel, which includes Chris Chapman, Mike Kaufman, Peter LePiane, and Geoff Beers, for a discussion and Q&A of what these experienced coaches have seen work, and not work, in various sized organizations. We'll look at organizational design, department design, and team design. We'll dive into the the benefits and pitfalls which come with the coordination and collaboration impacts of these design choices, and frameworks that have been used in various designs.

    And we'll explore starting points to consider for getting started, since we'll find there are no silver bullets for success!

  • Jeff Kosciejew
    Jeff Kosciejew
    Lee Ellott
    Lee Ellott
    schedule 1 year ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    In this interactive session, we’ll explore how each of us views the world differently and how our perception is shaped by everything we've previously experienced. Through magic, illusions, and an interactive exercise, Jeff reveals the ways our perceptions and biases influence our reality and how our individual realities are unique.

    Discovering your distinct personal perspective by understanding how biases impact how we make sense of the world around us, we can learn to better understand others. We can gain insights which inform our interactions with customers, colleagues, and competitors.

    You'll leave this session with an appreciation for working with others, and approaches to team problem solving in our complex world. No magic spells required.

  • Liked Joanne Stone
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Leaders: What do I do next?

    Joanne Stone
    Joanne Stone
    Mike Edwards
    Mike Edwards
    schedule 10 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    So your organisation is shifting to use Agile. The teams get lots of support, and the executives really want product to be delivered faster, better and cheaper. You get why the benefits would be good if only you can figure out how to lead the teams in the right way. You're still getting pressures to deliver from above, and your teams are telling you to leave them alone given their coach is telling them to be self organising. It's called being in the frozen middle layer. Join us and start to learn the new set of leaders arising from this chaos. We will be sharing how Leadership is an important component of a successful Agile Transformation, how your behaviour will impact the outcome, and learn some tactics for leading Agile Teams.