Toronto Agile Conf 2019 - Tue, Nov 5

The Power of Design Sprints for Product Teams

Beginner Workshop

Today, product teams are under pressure to be more creative, innovative and delight customers sooner, but lack the knowledge and skills to know where to start. Agile product teams have frameworks and methods for rapid feedback, but generally lack real data from real users to make good business decisions. As product release cycles run long, team members lose enthusiasm and their focus on the customer.

As a tool, design sprints offer Agile teams an effective and transformative formula for testing ideas with real people, whether you're on a small team at a startup, or inside a large portfolio of projects at an enterprise organization. Within five days, teams move from idea to prototyping to better business decisions, ultimately saving time, effort, and energy over the long-run. Join Carlos Oliveira as he introduces design sprints for product teams, a process for rapid experimentation and learning that helps teams solve big problems and test new ideas in less than five days.

Originally created by three partners at Google Ventures, the process has been proven at hundreds of companies. Carlos has run dozens of design sprints for the Fortune 500 and firmly believes that product teams can benefit and harness the power of design sprints to focus their efforts and deliver more appropriate solutions to market sooner.

Target Audience

Project Managers, Digital Team Leads, Product Managers, Product Owners, Innovation Managers, Executive Leadership, UX Designers & Researchers, Software Engineers, Change Catalysts

  • [Talk] - Introduction to Design Sprints
  • [Hands-On] - Group Activity and Workshop
    • Framing problems and establishing sprint goals
    • Exploring options through ideation and sketching
    • Making better decisions with voting, heatmaps and straw polls
  • [Talk] - Prototyping and Testing
  • [Talk] - How to integrate sprints with agile teams
  • [Q&A]
Learning Outcome
  • Learn how design sprints can solve big challenges and help teams iterate on ideas
  • Understand the guiding principles behind design sprints
  • Learn ways to implement design sprints on Agile product teams
  • Understand how design sprints align teams with common goals and business objectives
  • Understand how design sprints help teams make better decisions with real data
Carlos Oliveira
Co-Founder and Partner

Carlos Oliveira is a principal advisor at adaptiveX, a product design and innovation consultancy. Carlos helps organizations achieve radical focus and create better products, faster, by using the latest in human-centered design, business strategy and modern agile principles.

Question for Speaker?
Please rate The Power of Design Sprints for Product Teams

Liberating Structures- rejuvenate your meetings

Beginner Workshop

Do you want people to feel part of a group/team or part of an activity? Then ensure that they are included and engaged. Do you find facilitating a large group of people unmanageable, people disengage? Try Liberating Structures with your teams and organization.

Liberating Structures, created by Keith McCandless and Henri Lipmanowicz, covers a set of easy to learn, yet powerful ways to collaborate as a team. It makes it possible to build the kind of meeting that everybody looks forward to attending and participating. Liberating Structures encompass microstructures that promotes collaboration and trust. It is known to foster lively participation in groups of any size, making it possible to truly include and unleash everyone.

Participants learn how to use these microstructures to simplify scrum meeting outcomes, help teams collaborate and become more productive.

Target Audience

Anyone interested in improving facilitation


The session is designed to work as a series of mini-workshops.

Introduction (5mins)

Introduction, what Liberating Structures is and how I have used Liberating Structures to facilitate large groups and scrum meetings. Share some of the Microstructures how a scrum master can use it to improve facilitation.

Activity 1- Opening-What I Need From You” (WINFY) (24mins)

1. Invite participants to ask for what they need from others to be successful in learning the LS (2mins)

2 Explain the process by describing the steps (3mins)

3. One by one, participants state their two needs to each of the other participants around the circle (5mins)

4. Addressing one participant in the group at a time, every participant in the circle repeats the requests made by him or her, then shares his or her responses (yes, no, I will try, or whatever). No discussion! No elaboration! (7 mins).

5. Debrief with What, So What, Now What? (7mins)

Activity 2- Ecocycle Planning is about exploring what it is that you’re keeping (but shouldn’t), and what it is that you aren’t (but should). 30 Mins

1. Introduce Ecocycle Planning (2 min);
2. Invite people to individually, and in silence, generate a numbered list of activities that occupy their time (2 min);
3. Ask people to work in pairs to share and plot the activities on the Ecocycle (3 min);
4. Invite the pairs to pair up to form small groups and have them share and finalize the placement of activities and write them on stickies (7 min);
5. Invite the small groups to put their stickies on the larger Ecocycle that they share with all the other groups (5 min);
6. Introduce 1–2–4-ALL to have the small groups to focus on activities for which there is a consensus among the groups and to reflect on the patterns that emerge out of the distribution of all the stickies. Ask: “What do we need to creatively destroy or stop to move forward? What do we need to invest in?”(5 min);
7. Invite the small groups to identify first-action steps or 15% Solutions that can help stop activities in the Rigidity Trap (5 min). Repeat for items in the Poverty Trap if there is time (5 min);
8. If there is time, invite the small groups to explore activities for which there is no consensus. When possible, identify first-action steps (5 min);

Activity 4-Closing Min Spec (18mins)

1. Explain what Min Spec is (2mins)

2. Participants, at the table, come up with a purpose statement (5mins)

3. Use 1,2 All to generate all must-do and must-not-do activities (6mins)

4. Invite the participants to reduce it to the absolute minimum needed to achieve their purpose (5mins)

Session Debrief (10min)

Ask them for group debrief- Takeaways (3mins)

Q and A session (7mins)

Learning Outcome

1. Experience how to engage meeting participants to achieve the desired outcome.

2.Learn how to string the microstructures to facilitate a productive meeting

3. Learn about the microstructures to use for scrum meetings

Kemmy Raji
Agile Coach
Kemmy Raji is an Agile Coach and Trainer. She has been embracing agile principles and practices for over 10 years. She has experience working in various sectors including but not limited to financial institutions and utility companies. Her vast knowledge has been put into coaching teams who work on large-scale product delivery projects. Kemmy began working within agile teams in 2010 and has never looked back. In the time since, Kemmy has worked with teams as a Scrum Master, Agile Project Manager, and Agile Coach at different organizations. Kemmy draws on her rich background to help other teams find their best path in creating great technical solutions for difficult business problems by finding the agile practices that work for them, whether that is Scrum, Kanban, or Lean.
Kemmy is also known for her active volunteering in the agile community both in her city of residence, Toronto and outside Canada. She is dedicated to making a difference in the workplace by inspiring teams’ passion for their work and coaching them to explore their hidden gems.







Yasmeen Baig
Agile Enthusiast

Yasmeen Baig CSM, ICP-ACC,ICP-ATF is an agilist with over 20 years of experience working in Information Technology in various roles. Yasmeen believes that having a growth mindset is intrinsic for working in an Agile team. She has over the years dedicated time in learning, adapting and improving her technical as well as soft skills. Learning is never ending adventure for her. She specializes in Coaching, Facilitation and Change Management.

She believes in giving back to the community. She is an active participant and contributor in the local and international Agile community events. She has also mentored new Scrum Masters and professionals who want to learn about Agile Software development.

Question for Speaker?
Please rate Liberating Structures- rejuvenate your meetings

Lean Innovation Thinking and the Agile Mindset

Intermediate Workshop

An end-to-end lean innovation framework unleashes the power of Agile by connecting the core principles with approaches leveraged from Design Thinking, Lean Startup, Business Model Innovation, DevOps and Test Driven . Lean Innovation holds the customer value stream at the core of all decisions, priorities and methods. Learning about the products, features and services that customers value highest in the most efficient manner drives this framework. Organizational operating models need to be focused on assessing the problem-solution-market fit. Only then will the ideas that we assume drive customer value be truly validated. This is not accomplished from one methodology nor a dogmatic adoption of several methodologies. By understanding the tools and techniques within a lean innovation framework, leaders and practitioners can make the correct choices of when and how to apply each component to their organization to minimize waste and maximize customer value.

Target Audience

Agile Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, Product Owners, Product Managers, Architects, Software Developers


We will start by summarizing the entire lean innovation framework, touching briefly on the core methods leveraged and the integration points. There are several principles that are fundamental to thinking in a lean innovation manner and that are required to drive change in the organization (e.g. outcomes over outputs, products over projects).

Then we'll explore deeper the concepts to leverage in the framework from the following methodologies

  1. Objectives and Key Results
  2. Design Thinking
  3. Business Model Innovation
  4. Lean Startup
  5. Agile (@ Scale)
  6. DevOps
  7. Continuous Testing

Lastly, we'll cover how this framework lends itself extremely well to organizations that are re-orienting towards a way of working that is Journeys and Platforms based. Within this section, we'll touch on the impacts to culture and institutional mindsets—in most cases, the greatest challenge to adopting lean innovation.

Learning Outcome
  1. Understanding of the way all the methodologies interact to drive customer value
  2. Appreciation for tool selection over procedural execution
  3. Ability to adopt components of the framework in your organization
Jason Kenney
AVP, Lean Delivery
TD Bank

A Business Transformation leader with 20 years experience in transformational change and process improvement across multiple industries with deep experience in financial services. As a leader of project managers, scrum masters and black belts, Jason has continually delivered annual benefits in excess of $5 million by driving improvements across Operational areas, including Technology, Finance, Accounting, Human Resources, Marketing, Logistics and Customer Service. Utilizing methodologies that include Lean Six Sigma, Agile, PMBOK, BPO and SDLC, Jason has driven measurable benefits in cost reductions, revenue enhancements and voice of the customer improvements, utilizing principles from Lean Startup, Design Thinking and Business Model Innovation. Jason has worked across international markets, leading teams to drive benefits across Europe, North America and Asia by championing standardization, leveraging best practices and creating process integration. 

Mark Cornwell
Question for Speaker?
Please rate Lean Innovation Thinking and the Agile Mindset

Rebuilding trust: fixing your organizational foundations

Intermediate Workshop

As leaders at any level of the organization, we sometimes make mistakes that break the trust we’re trying to build, especially when trying to introduce changes. In this interactive session, we’ll explore the kinds of behaviours that build or break trust and introduce a model for rebuilding relationships when trust is broken. We’ll use LEGO Serious Play to examine some real scenarios and consider how trust can be rebuilt (or further undermined!). You’ll leave with insights into how to foster trust in your organization and practical ideas about how you can grow as a leader.

Target Audience

Leaders and organizational change agents

  • Introduction: how relationships are tested during times of organizational change.
  • LSP warm up
  • Three rounds of building and sharing experiences:
    • Build 1: Think about a recent change (large or small). What steps did leaders in the org take that built -- or broke -- trust?
    • Build 2: During a major change, what would you recommend leaders do to address the needs of the people in the org? How might they help manage expectations?
    • Build 3: Describe a specific behaviour that builds or breaks trust. Then group, prioritize, discuss strategies for amplifying or dampening
  • Share and discuss the model: how many of these behaviours came up in your conversation?
  • Wrapping up - in your role, which of these steps/behaviours do you need to spend more time focusing on?
Learning Outcome
  • Identify behaviours that support or erode trust through sharing experiences
  • Apply a seven-step model to guide trust-building behaviours
  • Walk away with ideas for what behaviours you need to work on as a leader or change agent in the org.

Ellen Grove
Agile Coach and Trainer
Agile Partnership

Ellen Grove is a business agility coach, trainer, and organizational change agent with Agile Partnership. Based in Ottawa, Canada, Ellen works with organizations of all sizes in Canada and abroad to help them put Agile thinking and practice into action throughout the organization. Working with all levels from the C-suite to the delivery teams, Ellen favours experiential approaches for getting people to talk with each other about the things that really matter so that they can do great work together.  Ellen organizes Agile events locally and internationally and she presents frequently at Agile conferences around the world.  Ellen is a director of the Agile Alliance, an international non-profit association which serves the Agile software development community.


Mike Bowler
Agile & Technical Coach/Trainer
Gargoyle Software Inc.

Mike is an Agile and technical, coach and trainer who has been writing code for over thirty years and has been an active member of the Agile community for almost twenty. He blends his strong technical background with a deep understanding of Agile methods to help teams consistently improve how they deliver value to their customers.

Recognizing that all software is written and maintained by people, Mike also has a keen interest in human behaviour and the neuroscience of how people work, both individually and in teams.


Question for Speaker?
Please rate Rebuilding trust: fixing your organizational foundations

Business Improvement through Agenda Shift

Beginner Workshop

Many teams and businesses kickoff change initiatives focusing on the changes they wish to introduce - this is looking at the change from "left to right". The AgendaShift approach to change, developed by Mike Burrows, shifts this focus from "right to left"; first with the overall goals in mind and then developing an understanding of the obstacles in the way of achieving the goal.

This workshop is intended to give participants a broad set of tools for kicking off and seeing through a change initiative in their organization that aligns changes to clear business outcomes. In the workshop, participants will experience a set of change activities using AgendaShift that includes the use of techniques based off of: Clean Language, Improvement Kata, Story Mapping, Kanban, Cynefin, A3 Experiment Design and Systems Thinking.

Target Audience

Anyone in a leadership position.


Participants will go through a series of steps to develop their overall change plans. They will incorporate these plans in their own unique change canvas that they can take with them after the session.

Step 1 - "Remember the future!" Describing success from a future perspective.

Step 2 - "What's in the way?" Identify obstacles in the way of the desired future.

Step 3 - "Obstacles to Outcomes." Using clean language and sense making, obstacles are re-framed as outcomes.

Step 4 - (Optional) "Self-Assessment." Develop a sense of further outcomes needed based a self-assessment of the current state

Step 5 - "Outcome Mapping." Identify which set of outcomes need to be focused on first.

Step 6 - "Build Change Experiments." Develop a set of testable experiments to bring about the desired outcomes.

Learning Outcome

Participants will experience a set of change activities using AgendaShift that includes the use of techniques based off of: Clean Language, Improvement Kata, Story Mapping, Kanban, Cynefin, A3 Experiment Design and Systems Thinking. They will leave the workshop with the skills to leverage some of these AgendaShift approaches in their organization.

Martin Aziz
Principal Consultant

Martin Aziz was the director of Agile Transformation at LoyaltyOne - Alliance Data.

He is currently a transformation consultant and managing partner of SquirrelNorth, based out of Toronto. Martin focuses on helping organizations develop improved business delivery capabilities through multi-disciplinary approaches including Kanban, Systems Thinking, and Agile methods.

He helps leaders at all levels in organizations (Exec to managers) with pragmatic and actionable support & guidance.

Martin is a Kanban Coaching Professional (KCP) and Accredited Kanban Trainer (AKT) and one of the founding organizers of the monthly meetup group Systems Thinking Toronto and Kanban Toronto.    @martinaziz

Question for Speaker?
Please rate Business Improvement through Agenda Shift

How large businesses can be Agile without frameworks or methodologies

Advanced Experience Report

We have seen so many Agile methodologies and scaling frameworks in the industry but even after rigorously implementing them, very few organizations are getting real benefits. True agile organizations are not big followers of these out of the box frameworks or methodologies rather we observed four key trends that has emerged to be the game changers:

  • Hyper-Decentralization
  • Data Intensive Decisions
  • Change as a non-event
  • Next-Gen Cross functionality

In this session, we will discuss the key emerging trends that are driving agility and how organizations can embrace them without the need for any framework or methodology.

Target Audience

Agile Coaches, Business leaders, Agile Practitioners, Senior Executives

  • What are the key emerging trends and how they bring agility?
    • Hyper-Decentralization
    • Data Intensive Decisions
    • Change as a non-event
    • Next-Gen Cross functionality
  • Examples of how they can be adopted for your situation
Learning Outcome

Using this session to discuss the exciting challenge we have in front us regarding -

  1. How can we achieve agility without going through the battle of frameworks?
  2. What are some key considerations and accelerators available?
  3. What are some potential pitfall you could face in your journey to implement these?
Tanvir Ahmed
Sr. Agile Coach
Rogers Communications

Agile Transformation coach, Lean sensei. Helping people and organizations unlock their potential and get better at what they do is why I wake up every morning and get going.

Helping organizations take agile to new and emerging domains. 

Question for Speaker?
Please rate How large businesses can be Agile without frameworks or methodologies

Is Agile a reality in IT Infrastructure Projects?

Advanced Talk

Over last couple of years enterprises have adopted Agile delivery for their technology-based projects in programming and development and now with the concept of end to end business agility there are certain participants in delivery which are not yet delivering in Agile way and one the most critical one is IT Infrastructure services.

In this session, we will review a type of IT Infrastructure project and elaborate gained benefits as a use case so that leaders and organizations achieve Business Agility.

The session will provide 10 minutes for attendees to share their experience or ask questions.

Target Audience

Organizational Leaders, Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, Change Leaders, Anyone interested in bringing Agility to IT Infra projects



1. Whats the current scenario in most of the IT Infra projects

2. Sample project use case

3. Adoption Outcomes

4. Q&A

5. Conclusion or Final Thoughts

Learning Outcome

1. Agile is an option for IT Infrastructure

2. Leaders start thinking of Agile to make business impact

Tushaar Sharma
Agile Coach

A motivated individual with core Agile values, Helping organizations to "Be Agile" and to take their delivery and customer satisfaction on to next levels

Marjan Pouran
Director, Agile Transformation
TD Bank Group

Executive MBA candidate, seasoned technology delivery leader in Agile methodologies with extensive experience in software development management and transforming delivery into Agile across different business sectors.

Area of expertise: Agile in Scale across Enterprise, Agile Transformation, Agile Development, Agile in Infrastructure Environments, Business Intelligence, web and Mobile development.

Question for Speaker?
Please rate Is Agile a reality in IT Infrastructure Projects?

How adopting an agile approach helped Finance & Risk group deliver a regulatory initiative

Intermediate Experience Report

CFOs in today's digital economy are looking to invest significant capital on data driven initiatives to deliver strategic analysis to business partners. However this is often reprioritized due to regulatory requirements.

This session is about how a large European Bank successfully delivered a large regulatory transformation program in 2017 using an agile approach. Driven by Finance & Risk groups and enabled by technology, incremental business value was delivered to Finance and Risk stakeholders.

The key challenges faced required an approach to handle evolving regulatory requirements, lack of trust and collaboration between Business and Technology, lack of knowledge and experience in the solution domain, integration of new technology assets to automate business requirements and an aggressive timeline enforced by the regulator.

As an Agile Coach on the project, my role was to help the Finance & Risk groups with the value stream mapping, formation of cross functional teams, developing an agile delivery approach, and provide training and coaching for the teams and leadership on adoption of agile principles and practices.

The successful delivery was largely due to business foresight to maneuver around typical IT challenges and instead adopt an approach using agile principles that put delivering business value over fixed scope. Through this approach, the clients were able to deliver the solution that addressed the immediate needs but this also position them to leverage for future regulations.

This talk will elucidate the backdrop, challenges that posed the business, the agile approach, culture and mindset that was adopted, and the resulting outcomes.

If you have thought of or thinking of adopting Agile mindset in a non-IT environment, this is the session for you. In this session we will share some techniques we developed and hiccups that we managed along the way.

By the end of this session, you will likely have gained some valuable insights that you can take back to your Organization and adopt agile principles and practices in areas outside of IT.

Target Audience

Risk/Finance Groups, Agile Coaches, Leaders, Executives

  • Intro [5 mins]
  • Backdrop [5 mins]
  • Challenges [10 mins]
  • Adoption of Agile [10 mins]
  • Learning & Outcomes [5 mins]
  • Summary [5 mins]
  • Q&A [5 mins]

Learning Outcome
  • How to harvest business value through a regulatory led initiative
  • How agile mindset can be adopted outside of the IT Organization to deliver work
  • Tips and techniques on the agile approach (Process Flow, Program Kanban Board, Dashboards, Ceremonies, etc)

Sriram Natesan
Sr. Manager
Deloitte Consulting

Sri is an Agile Transformation Leader within Deloitte and has over 10 years experience helping organizations in North America, Europe and Asia on their transformation journey.

Sri has helped teams and organizations deliver value to customers, and businesses to accomplish their goals. Sri has rich experience and perspective from leading transformations in multiple industries. Sri has coached teams, individuals and leaders in organizations on their journey to becoming more agile. An ardent believer in continuous learning and improvement, he seeks to find newer and better ways of working that help delivering outcomes and impact for customers.

He loves to attend meetups and events around Agile and engage in intellectually stimulating conversations with practitioners, aspirants and enthusiasts from around the world.

Sriram holds credentials Certified Agile Leader (CAL1), SAFe SPC, ICAgile certified Agile Coach (ICP-ACC), SAFe Agilist (SA), Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), and Project Management Professional (PMP) credentials.

Question for Speaker?
Please rate How adopting an agile approach helped Finance & Risk group deliver a regulatory initiative

NoEstimates at Scale in the US Federal Government

Advanced Experience Report

Come learn how our 3 teams, operating in a LeSS-style scaled model, experimented with a NoEstimates approach to development work and then adopted that as our way of working for a year in the US Federal government. Included in our story is a switch to Kanban, returning to Scrum, and eventually returning to pointing work. It has been a remarkable journey that I'm excited to share!

Target Audience

Ever wish you did not have to point or otherwise estimate work? Come learn about the experience our teams had over year without pointing!


Context & Culture of Experimentation

We’re working on a program at USCIS, a US federal agency. Within our product, we have 3 scrum teams, each ranging from 6-10 team members. Some of our golden metrics include:

  • Frequently deploying to production, 10+ times daily
  • Code commit to production in 20-30 minutes
  • Average time to acknowledge an incident ~1 minute

Our project has a phenomenal culture of experimentation. Our team has always believed that when we create an experiment with a well-formed hypothesis, and it has a good chance of failure and a good chance of success, we’ll be able to generate more information to learn from. Our conversations are constantly around asking questions like “what did we do well, what didn’t we do so well, and what did we learn?”

Conditions Leading Up to the Experiment

  • Pointing had become a stale exercise within our team (your's too?). Too often our backlog grooming discussions focused on the point estimates instead of the spirit of the work.
  • One of our developers was designing an experiment to bring renewed focus on the work and reduce the "Is it a 3 or 5?" debate.
  • Then a difficult release resulted in a number of issues with our partner systems. We had to act fast, so we decided in a day to abandon our Scrum-based approach and switch to Kanban. And with the unrelenting stream of incoming work, we took the first step on our NoEstimates journey.

Why NoEstimates Made Sense for Us

  • We had a strong, healthy culture of experimentation
  • We had a historical records that demonstrated our historical average work estimate was just above 3 points
  • Prior to NoEstimates, our teams:
    • Monitored flow via cycle time on 3 and 6 week rolling averages;
    • Managed In-Progress work with team-level WIP limits


  • Learn how we evolved our grooming process to focus on controlling the scope, content and common understanding of each piece of work
  • NoEstimates makes sense when you know the domain space
  • NoEstimates can work in Scrum
  • And why our teams made the decision after a year to switch back to pointing
  • Hear about challenges our 3 teams experienced and how each adapted in its own way
Learning Outcome
  • Our thoughts about when and how teams might consider experimenting with NoEstimates
  • Cycle time and WIP limits are great tools in any environment
  • Learn about our product team's LeSS-style approach to scaling
  • How a strong culture of experimentation allowed us to embark on this journey
Adam Parker
Agile Coach

An experienced professional with a passion for building and leading productive teams. After starting in the world of waterfall projects, a committed disciple of Agile, Lean and Design Thinking.

Experienced facilitator and effective public speaker. Delivered talks on Agile and Lean.

Experience working in multiple industries: Financial Services, Consumer Goods, Industrial Manufacturing, and Technology in Public, Private and Federal sectors.

Question for Speaker?
Please rate NoEstimates at Scale in the US Federal Government

How I learned to live another day, figured out why teams fail, and how that self-realization can help sustain teams

Beginner Talk

"Teams learn to live with one another, to improve over time, but sometimes they forget and try to cut corners. Teams can also live in denial (for a while). Eventually, they have to face up stuff they’re doing that comes back to impact then later.

For me, it’s a bit more serious. I learned first-hand how to recognize when I do that, and how to recover when I do. Call me motivated: I have diabetes, have to watch my diet all the time, and I like having all my limbs.

In this talk I’ll describe some common unhealthily team practices, including forms of denial, and their consequences." and what I learned from my personal journey to improve and help teams sustain

Target Audience

Anyone working in/with an agile team, anyone who shares passion for transformation




Coming into terms with reality

Motivation to change


Health Check


Learning Outcome

How, understanding the "why" behind any change and helping teams self-realize the need to change is important for sustainable change

Srinivasa Badrinarayanan
Enterprise Agile Transformation Coach

Passionate agile transformation coach, who discovered being agile by accident around 2007/2008 and never looked back. Industry experience include automotive, financial services, and retail.

Currently part of a huge transformation effort at Ford and learning something new everyday.

Happy to share whatever I have learnt anytime

I also teach mathematics for middle school students through a non-profit organization and a Mathcounts competition coach for a local middle school

Question for Speaker?
Please rate How I learned to live another day, figured out why teams fail, and how that self-realization can help sustain teams

Is your Agile Inclusive?

Beginner Experience Report

Agile is about keeping pace with change. Inclusion ensures we bring everyone along with us.

Agile initially brought a bunch of individuals cross-functional specialists together to work as a team. This cross-functional team was able to deliver complex products more quickly. The concept of diverse teammates looking at a problem and sharing their perspective from their skill background proved to be the ideal way in creating solutions that meet the needs of domestic customers.

As companies execute on their digital strategy, products are now global. Having cross-functional teams are no longer sufficient. Agile teams need to be cross-functional AND diverse to meet the needs of global customers.

In our talk, we will discuss the importance and competitive need to make your teams diverse. They will also share their experiences of integrating diverse members into the team.

Target Audience

Leaders, Team Members, Product, Scrum Teams, Coaches



  1. Our perspective on the power of agile
    1. solving for complexity in an ever-changing work
    2. Cross-functional teams collaborating is the best way to deliver for complexity and unknown (holistic solution-ing)
    3. Frequently inspect and adapt
  2. Amping up Agility
    • Data to prove it
      Team soloing gets multiple perspectives. Cross-functional thinking allows you to think of ideas holistically across different functions.
    • Cross-functional no longer sufficient. We need diverse backgrounds, diverse experiences, diverse talents to make good teams - super teams
    • Our definition of Diversity is not about equality, it’s about building high performance
    • For Diversity to happen we need an Inclusive environment
  3. Personal experiences of integrating diverse members and the successes
Learning Outcome

The learning outcome is that diverse teams deliver quality better. Attendees will learn the data to explain why to their organizations. Attendees will learn some strategies to create an inclusive environment to attract and retain this top diverse talent.

Dave Dame
Vice President, Enterprise Agile Leader, Digital Banking

Dave is a leadership coach, enterprise agile leader, and trainer with over 20 years of product management and leadership experience, which he leverages to drive large-scale transformation in complex organizations. Dave’s practice focuses on scaling change by building up high-performing teams through training & empowering workforces – over the course of his career he has trained over 600 professionals in product management, leadership, and agile delivery practices. He has worked with technology companies such as OpenText, PTC, and MCAP; in many cases improving delivery times by over 150%. Dave also spends a significant portion of his time coaching well-seasoned executives, and is very proud that he has played a role in the development of nearly 20 SVP-level and C-level executives. In his role as the Global Enterprise Agile leader at Scotiabank, Dave has built up an agile organization across 5 countries in North and South America with the goal of engaging technical and non-technical Scotiabankers across the organization to embrace agility and change.

Question for Speaker?
Please rate Is your Agile Inclusive?


Question for Speaker?
Please rate Break

Engineering your (Business) Agility: The role DevOps plays in empowering modern agile software delivery

Advanced Experience Report

High-maturity DevOps teams are 10-20X more responsive to customer demands and 2X better in capturing business value. Additionally, their teams show lower rates of burnout and are 2.2X more likely to recommend their organization as a great place to work.[1] They also deploy 46X times more frequently and are 7X less likely to deploy defective changes.[2]

These are incredible findings... but undertaking a journey towards higher levels of DevOps maturity is NOT as straightforward as some consultants/literature/bloggers would lead you to believe.

It presents challenges for leadership, business, enginering and operations teams. It means changing nearly everything about how you build, test, deploy and operate software... It means taking risks.

In this session you will hear about how we supported a large (very familiar, yet unnamed) organization in taking this calculated risk, helping it realize superior business results from an investment in a DevOps enablement team.

We’ll cover how the team was built, what worked (and what didn’t), and how it unlocked a new level of business agility for the organization.

1 - Accelerate, Jez Humble

2 – 2018 State of DevOps Report

Target Audience

CIOs, CTOs, Business Leaders, Engineering Leaders, Agile Coaches, Technical Delivery Managers


Presentation Outline:

  1. Introduction
    1. What is DevOps?
    2. A lightweight intro to the mindset, processes and technical elements
    3. Framing the context of our specific implementation
  2. What does DevOps mean for my organization?
    1. What can it do for my business?
    2. What can it do for my technology / software delivery?
    3. What are some second-order benefits of applying devops?
    4. How much additional agility can it unlock?
    5. How to effectively sell DevOps and increased engineering effectiveness to management
  3. How do I know that I need DevOps?
    1. How to gather situational awareness?
  4. How to implement DevOps and Platform Engineering initiatives (our case study)
    1. Critical enablers
    2. Starting things right -- applying lessons from Amazon, Twitter, Netflix and Flickr
    3. Kicking things off
    4. Gathering situational awareness
    5. Building your DevOps maturity backlog
    6. Engaging your stakeholders and getting buy-in
    7. Building your team (skills, attitude and capability alignment fit)
    8. Measuring and demonstrating your success

  5. What does a day in the life of a Platform Engineer look like?

  6. Preventing a "DevOops"

  7. Gathering feedback and improving

  8. Q&A
Learning Outcome

Participants in the session will come away with a true understanding of:

  1. How to diagnose organizations for a need of increased DevOps maturity
  2. How to gather situational awareness, build a backlog and build a team for increasing DevOps maturity
  3. How to kick off a DevOps maturity initiative
  4. How to measure your success and materially improve your chances for success
  5. Some key lessons learned from our experience
Ashley Beattie
Agile Coach and DevOps Transformation Lead
Agile By Design

Hello everyone,

I'm Ashley -- and I am presently engaged as an Agile Coach and DevOps Transformation Lead at Agile By Design. 

My professional career really started about 12 years ago... And since then it's been a non-stop blast of learning and experience.  Prior to joining Agile By Design I was a Naval Officer (warship driver) and a technical founder of a few Toronto startups.

Away from the office I am usually nerding out on an AI course, fixing my car or playing music around town.

Looking forward to meeting and learning from you :)

Vladimir Vracaric
Question for Speaker?
Please rate Engineering your (Business) Agility: The role DevOps plays in empowering modern agile software delivery

Agile IA: future-proofing internal audit

Beginner Experience Report

Businesses in every industry are embracing innovation as an imperative to accelerate market responsiveness and deliver high quality products faster. With the velocity of business being faster than ever before, Internal Audit is evolving to be able to assure, advice and anticipate risk most effectively. In this session, we will discuss how Agile practices and principles can be applied in the realm of Internal Audit to deliver value efficiently by providing meaningful and timely insights, thereby improving the impact and influence of the Internal Audit function within the organization.

Target Audience

Agile coaches, Internal Auditors, Business leaders, Agile practitioners

  • The case for change - why should IA teams adopt Agile principles and practices?
  • What is Agile IA - an overview of how Agile can be applied to IA
  • Lessons learned - top pitfalls and what to watch out for
  • Case Study - sharing the story of a large Canadian organization
  • Key Takeaways - next steps and considerations for your organization's Agile IA journey

Learning Outcome
  • How Agile can be adopted and applied to IA
  • What are the key considerations and benefits
  • How to get started with Agile IA for your organization

Archana has extensive experience employing Agile delivery methodology on global business transformation and breakthrough modernization projects in the Banking, Insurance, Telecommunications and Healthcare sectors. She has worked closely with organizations on their Agile journeys, helping them achieve their Operational Excellence and enterprise agility goals. Areas of experience include: Agile coaching, operating model design, executive leadership alignment and training, Agile risk management, and Agile internal audit transformation.

Jeremy Wendland
Senior Auditor

Jeremy currently works within Audit Services at Manulife, who is now starting to adopt an agile auditing methodology. This new experience builds on his past foundation of external audit work experience in both Calgary and Toronto before moving into the Internal Audit function, first at a national grocery chain, now at Manulife.

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Please rate Agile IA: future-proofing internal audit

Time For What's Next

Beginner Talk

How can you make time for real innovation and improvement? How do you know what to automate or invest in? How do you escape process prison? How can you get everyone aligned to make a difference? How can you start to drive revenue from tech?

This talk introduces the one technique I’ve always returned to when I need to answer those questions and drastically improve teams I’ve joined and led. You can use it right away to understand, communicate and improve your work, team or organization - whether you’re a leader or new recruit.

Lean Value Stream Mapping (LVSM) is a software and tech focused version of a classic technique you can use right now, with materials you already have to discover opportunities, build and share your vision and save hours of toil every week so you can invest in what’s next.

Sprinkle it on your:
- Delivery/Data/Testing/Analytics/Logging Pipeline
- Developer/Customer Onboarding
- Environment Provisioning
- Failure Recovery/Incident Management/Support Triage
- Toil/Process of choice, you get it :)
…and start spending more time on what’s next

I’ve come to love and use Value Stream Maps after years of struggling to find time for innovation, rally buy-in and communicate ideas, issues and risks. They’ve helped me many times go from tearing my hair out (and I have the baldness to prove it!) to knowing exactly how to level up.

Target Audience

Team leaders, anyone looking for more time, speed and agility


I’ll cover:

  • Team challenges hindering innovation and velocity
  • Why Value Stream Mapping is valuable, easy and important
  • What makes up a Value Stream Map
  • How to run a Value Stream Mapping Session
  • How to use an Value Stream Map to dramatically improve
  • Results and ROI
  • Where to go for more information
Learning Outcome

Attendees will learn:

  • Why Value Stream Mapping is useful
  • How it's done and how you can do it
  • Where it applies
  • What challenges it addresses
  • Common outcomes and expected ROI

I'd like to see Value Stream Mapping performed in delivery teams at least twice a year to keep efforts aligned and optimized. My aim with this presentation is to provide a simple framework attendees can take away and perform either on their own or with their teams to level up.

Steve Pereira

Steve is a long time DevOps fan and organizer of Toronto's largest DevOps meetup and DevOps Days Toronto. He's been working in process automation since 2001, most recently a founding SaaS CTO and now founder of Visible ( helping teams improve visibility with DevOps. He advises a few early stage startups and loves to travel, speak and teach.

Question for Speaker?
Please rate Time For What's Next

Closing the Door on Bad Sprint Reviews: Open House at FreshBooks

Intermediate Experience Report

Do your team demos feel like everyone's just going through the motions? Is it a struggle to get people to show up? Do your sprint reviews serve the needs of everyone other than your team?

As an organization grows and scales, silos inevitably develop. Awareness becomes more difficult, then communication follows, and eventually even empathy for people in other silos becomes a serious challenge.

Reinvigorate the act of sharing by turning your sprint reviews into a team open house! I will walk you through over a year of research, iteration, and experimentation that led FreshBooks away from team demos and toward a successful new model for sharing knowledge.

By the end, you'll know how I enabled this change to happen, and you'll know exactly why. And if you think it's worth doing at your company, you'll know how to approach it too!

Target Audience

Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, Leaders in Product Development Organizations


Note: details subject to change, though the overall message will not

Stragglers, A/V difficulty, Introduction Buffer (5 minutes)

How do we share our teams' work with other teams, and the rest of the business? (2 minutes)

  • Why FreshBooks chose sprint reviews and software demos
  • Ways those were successful
  • Ways those created new pain

What led FreshBooks to try something different? (5 minutes)

  • Observing engagement with the existing meetings
  • Comments during team retros and safe conversations
  • Identifying which needs were not being met by existing process

What different things did FreshBooks try? (5 minutes)

  • Research and information gathering approach
  • First attempt: Show & Tell
  • Second attempt: Science Fair
  • Third attempt: Open House

How did it go? (5 minutes)

  • Open House success criteria, and performance against that criteria
  • Tradeoffs we embraced, and how to solve that kind of pain

What do I need to do to try an Open House at my company? (5 minutes)

  • What signs you can look for to know that current ways of sharing work aren't effective
  • How you can make a case to try a similar event
  • How you can go ahead and do it, even if you haven't got permission yet

Conclusion and Q&A (5 minutes)

Learning Outcome

Attendees will walk away from this session with the following:

  • An understanding of common problems with sprint reviews/software demos
  • Why those problems were addressed at FreshBooks with an Open House
  • What insights might lead you to go on a similar journey at your company
  • How to make that journey shorter and less painful than ours was
Terry Thrasher
Agile Coach

Agile Coach, international dodgeball play-by-play commentator, human enthusiast.

For 12 years I've been in software development as QA, Product, and now Agility.

My experience shows that investing in and enabling people means your process, product, revenue, and customer satisfaction will follow.

Question for Speaker?
Please rate Closing the Door on Bad Sprint Reviews: Open House at FreshBooks

How to Increase productivity of agile teams by implementing an often overlooked agile principle

Beginner Experience Report

Are you an agile advocate?

  • Do you feel that your Scrum teams are not productive?
  • Do you have an urge to make changes to your Scrum teams that will flip the switch and make them efficient?
  • Do you want to build a workplace that is functional and happy?

Are you an anti-agilist?

  • Do you think Agile is a glorified waterfall?
  • Are you attending the conference looking for strong reasons to join the masses on the other side?

This talk is designed for agilists and anti-agilists - hence the presentation is not aimed at converting you one way or the other.

At Leonardo Worldwide Corporation, we constantly aim to improve the efficiency of our Engineering teams. In this talk, we present to you the problems we experienced in our Scrum teams and how we overcame them by utilizing one of the often overlooked Agile principles.

This presentation is an experience report of our journey in building multi-faceted teams through mutual transformation. You will also hear from one of our engineers on their experience in being part of this transformation.

Experience reports are not promising without metrics. And hence we have gathered metrics to present the outcome and benefits of our transformation.

You will walk away from this presentation with clear guidelines on how to build teams that are exponentially productive and happier.

Target Audience

All - anyone keen to make improve productivity and efficiency of their Agile teams


The presentation will cover

  1. How we identified opportunities to improve efficiency of our Scrum teams?
  2. Two phase strategy on mutual transformation of Specialists to Generalists in Engineering teams
  3. Our experience - challenges and lessons learnt - in executing the Mutual Transformation program in our Scrum teams.
  4. Metrics that highlights the effects of mutual transformation.
  5. One of our fellow engineers sharing their experience in being part of this transformation.
Learning Outcome

Participants will learn:

  • How to look for opportunities to improve efficiency in Scrum teams
  • How to enable equal distribution of work in Scrum Teams
  • How to execute a mutual transformation program and broaden the skillsets of Scrum teams.
Lakshmi Baskaran
VP of Engineering
Leonardo Worldwide Corporation

Lakshmi Baskaran is a corporate leader, entrepreneur, and the mother of a wonderful five-year-old girl. Throughout her exciting career, she has built and managed high performing Engineering Teams for established corporations and startups alike. She is a global leader and has spent the last two decades of her career working in senior executive roles in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. 


Lakshmi is currently the VP of Engineering at Leonardo, a technology company based in Toronto, that helps hotels, hotel chains, and travel websites deliver better travel experiences online through industry leading technology solutions.  While Lakshmi continues to help Leonardo realize their goals, she is also chasing her entrepreneurial dreams. She is currently working on a startup that builds a platform connecting home cooks with food connoisseurs. After successful beta testing in Asia, she aims to scale the business globally. 


Lakshmi writes on Medium and Thrive about leadership, technology and parenting.


You can also follow her on LinkedIn

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Please rate How to Increase productivity of agile teams by implementing an often overlooked agile principle

Confessions of a former Agile Skeptic

Beginner Experience Report

"We have no shortage of great ideas. They get thrown into the mill, analyzed forever, chopped down to mere shadows of themselves, slotted into a roadmap for 18 months out, and clients don't see even these poor excuses for innovation for years. When clients finally do see the new features, they don't like them. Or they don't work. Do something!" - our CEO

Long a passionate proponent of elaborate system designs, a veteran business analyst suffers debilitating inertia in a growing software product company. The company goes through a successful agile transformation, the analyst has an epiphany, and becomes an enthusiastic agile advocate.

This presentation is about misconceptions shed, lessons learned, and problems that remain to be solved in an organization still in its agile adolescence.

Target Audience

Business Analysists, Project Managers, Product Managers, and Developers who follow traditional waterfall practices, aren't happy with the results, are looking for an alternative, but aren't convinced that agile is it. Seasoned agile practitioners are also welcome, to provide moral support for the presenter.


The story of an agile transformation.

Growing pains

How our nimble and successful startup grew into a thundering waterfall organization, and the pain this caused for customers.

Search for a solution

We never intended to become THAT type of organization! How did it happen? How could we make things better? More controls! Everything we did to alleviate the pain made the waterfall louder.

How we became agile

We tried to become agile several times, and failed. Conway's law may explain both our early failures, and eventual success. We went over the falls in barrel, and survived.

Our way of working today

The waterfall became a series of rapids, and we have learned how to paddle through them. Our navigation skills include: Daily standups, regular backlog grooming, estimation, sprint planning, story detailing, tasking, working, testing, sprint demos…

What we've learned

Agile is disciplined. We share the knowledge. The team stands together. You have to work on a team to understand.

Learning Outcome

Attendees will leave with an understanding of our journey to agile, how our variant of agile works, and what problems we still face. This may help in the effort to decide whether to adopt agile.

Skeptics may leave somewhat less skeptical.

Questions will be raised, and not all of them will be answered. The presenter is expecting to learn from the attendees, too!

David Brayley
Director, Business Analysis

I have managed the design, development and implementation of automated solutions in many industries, for many years. I've worked in all stages of the software development life cycle from requirements definition through to application delivery and support, for end-users, for systems vendors, and with other professionals, mostly in Retail, Manufacturing and Health Care.

I'm a late but enthusiastic convert to Agile development.

I'm also an advocate for logical modeling. I look forward to the day when modeling technology will progress to the point that models will become solutions in themselves, and line-by-line coding of business applications will be a thing of the past. I'm not sure how this squares with Agile development, so it's my challenge to figure it out.

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Beyond Self-Organization: How To Energize People & Teams

Intermediate Talk

The Agile Manifesto says “Build projects around motivated individuals.” What? Motivated people are a prerequisite for Agile and Scrum! Without motivated, energized people, self-organization is a recipe for disaster. Scrum makes the level of function of a team very visible so it can be improved. Many of us face situations where teams are not 100% passionate and motivated.

In this hands-on workshop, you will learn how employee disengagement is a common challenge. We outline practical steps to diagnose and create experiments to foster a higher performance work environment. Of course, part of the path to success is understanding some of the key traps that kill motivation. Key topics include Theory X-Theory Y, Gallup Engagement, and Red List. Get ready to unlock your teams!

Target Audience

Managers, Execs, Team Leads, Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters

  1. Gallup Industry Research on Employee Engagement = Huge Performance impact
  2. Link to Agile via “Consciously Approaching Agile” model
  3. Exercise with Theory X-Theory Y to assess people and self.
  4. Exercise with assessing impact of “Modern Management” of engagement to understand challenge to overcome.
  5. Exercise with Gallup12 Questions to link to performance
  6. Applications of Gallup12 to team retrospectives
  7. Crowd-Source Agile Mindset Definition and implications for our own behaviour.
  8. Use resistance demonstration to illustrate the concept of Red List-Green List. Exercise to explore implications for team
Learning Outcome
  • Assess motivation using Theory X-Theory Y model
  • Awareness of key metrics for engagement (Gallup 12 Survey)
  • Able to identify key challenges needed unlock people
  • Identification of behavioural traps that kill motivation (Red List)
Michael Sahota
Organizational Gardener & Certified Enterprise Coach (Scrum Alliance)

Michael Sahota guides and teaches leaders how to create high-performance organizations. He has a proven practical playbook for leading change. His model for Consciously Approaching Agile™ guides the creation of a cultural and leadership context where Agile drives lasting organizational results.

As a Certified Agile Leadership (CAL) Educator, Michael teaches on a worldwide basis. His highly accoladed Certified Agile Leadership (CAL1) Training reflects his growth and capability as a leader. He has been traveling to India for the past 4 years in an intense study of personal growth and transformation for his own leadership path. He practices and models what he teaches to create transformative experiences. His upcoming trainings at 

Since 2001, Michael has been guiding success with Agile. Since 2010, he has held his Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) designation. In 2012, he published the ground-breaking book "An Agile Adoption and Transformation Survival Guide: Working with Organizational Culture". Michael has two books that are to be published this year: Emotional Science and Agile Leadership.

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Please rate Beyond Self-Organization: How To Energize People & Teams

Why 'Why' Isn't Enough

Beginner Talk

"We've held the town-hall to announce the transformation. We've distributed the buttons, mugs and t--shirts. We've even had every leader meet with their teams to roll down the transformation goals. And yet we don't seem to be making any progress?"

Does this sound familiar? How are the change initiatives in your organization going? Do they seem to be missing something but you're not sure exactly what?Many organizations launch change initiatives, like moving to agile ways of working by stating "what" the change will be. Very little time is spent explaining "why" the change is necessary. A critical success factor for any change initiative is a clear, simple and consistent "Why" for the change. Its raison d'etre. Simon Sinek popularized the phrase "Start with why". Start with why? Absolutely yes.

But don't stop there. "Why" isn't enough. "Why" is only part of the story. It's the middle. A good story needs a beginning and an end too. A coherent "Why" bridges the gap between start and finish.

This talk will share some simple yet powerful concepts and tools to help any change agent facilitate the telling of a good change story so that their stillborn or sluggish change initiatives start gaining momentum.

Target Audience

Change agents, leaders, agile practitioners


Here's the outline for the talk:

  • The power of ‘why’ introduced through Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle (5 mins)
  • The Marathon Effect and other reasons why people skip ‘why’ (5 mins)
  • Going beyond ‘why’ using Elise Olding’s simple “From-To-Because” construct (10 mins)
  • Evolving from a "top-down" to an "all-around" change story (10 mins)
  • The litmus test for an effective change story (5 mins)
Learning Outcome

Takeaways for attendees will include:

  1. An understanding of the key concepts underlying effective organizational change
  2. An appreciation for why people don’t leverage those concepts
  3. Experience with a simple tool for helping their organizations create a coherent and compelling change story
Frank Leong
Principal & Founder
Next Chapter Consulting Inc

Frank is a former technology executive with an extensive software development and services delivery background in both large and small hi-tech company environments. His passion is enabling change to deliver exceptional business value to clients through outstanding employee engagement and busting down silos. He is currently consulting on large scale Agile transformations in both the private and public sector. He is dedicated to change the world, one team at a time.

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Facilitating Agile Organizational Design With Full Stack Poker

Intermediate Workshop

The traditional approach to organizational design is a barrier if you want to grow an organization where smart people make amazing decisions that delight customers and enrich their careers.

This session aims to provides leaders at all levels of the organization with an introduction to a set of design tools that can help them create organizational structures that promote agility rather than interfere with it.

Using a game I call Full Stack Poker, I’ll facilitate a highly interactive dialogue where attendees will play the role of various organizational stake holders tasked with getting the right skills into teams responsible for delivering value.

Loosely based on the planning poker game, attendees will collaboratively select from a number of Team Engagement Patterns, collectively agreeing on an engagement model that lays out how teams can engage with support functions and other teams. Participants will also be able to estimate the amount of organizational complexity their teams will incur based on the Team Engagement Patterns chosen.

The session is aimed at teaching attendees basic concepts behind defining agile organizational structure through a highly engaging / hands on session.

Target Audience

Anyone interested in collaborating on a more effective engagement model across agile teams and support functions

  • The Challenge with Traditional Org Design
  • Myths behind Agile Teams
  • Agile Structure: The Edge, The Core, Context Boundaries, and Missions
  • Agile Team Engagement Patterns
  • Playing Full Stack Poker
  • Wrap Up / Key Learning
Learning Outcome

The session is aimed at teaching attendees basic concepts behind defining agile organizational structure and team engagement models through a highly engaging / hands on session.

Agile By Design

Over the last decade, Jeff has played a leadership role on a large number of enterprise-scale agile transformations, providing program management, operating-model design and change-management services. Jeff frequently blogs about and presents on lean and agile adoption, and is the author of The Lean Change Method, which guides organizations through the agile change through application of lean startup techniques. As the president of Agile By Design, Jeff continues his mission in life to help knowledge workers be awesome at what they do.

Jeff has presented at numerous conferences, has been nominated for a Brickell Key award, and is a founding fellow of the Lean System Society.

Sean Deschamps
Portfolio Lead
Agile by Design

Sean is a technically minded consultant who has applied incremental change methodology to successfully streamline, automate and transform entire lines of business. His work in a diverse set of industries has armed him with the skills to uncover systemic impediments and motivate positive behavioural change within organizations. Sean’s extensive experience in small business has fostered his adaptability as well as his tenacity—and his ability to discern when which is called for.

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Agile Outsourcing

Advanced Talk

Many agile talks are about the benefits of cross-functional teams and integrating them with your business and changing their structure to better align to the value delivery. And amazing things happen with you get all of this stuff working together. There are industries and organizations that can't do this. Not because they don't want to or that they are not interested in the modern ways of working, but because they don't have the skills in-house and the cost of bringing all of those skills into the organization are inhibited by constraints of one sort or another.

The use of contractors and outsourcing of IT development was a major push for many years as businesses focused on their core capabilities. Industries like government couldn't compete with the marketplace for IT skills and so turned to contractors to fill the needs in many organizations. Now, these same organizations feel they need to bring the modern agile ways of working to their organizations. So how do they actually get the benefits of modern agile ways of working and delivering products while continuing to use contractors for most of the work?

This talk will focus on 3 areas of achieving most of the benefits of modern agile work while continuing to use contracted work. First, how to decide what to outsource. The decision of which pieces or work to use contractors for is the most important. Second, how to actually hire contractors. The procurement process can be evolved to be more agile and to encourage finding contractors that will drive toward the desired collaboration. Finally, how to manage and work with contractors. The day to day grind of working where real delivery will be accomplished.

Getting benefits from an agile framework and delivery is important and can still be achieved when some of the work is outsourced and the importance of defining and finding the right contractor are vital to achieving the desired success.

Target Audience

Anyone who cannot do all of the IT internal or who sells IT to other companies


Introduction of myself

Overview of agile guidance for teams and team formation

What types of outsourcing make sense in an agile world?

Table exercise with different levels of outsourcing and finding benefits and issues based on the general agile guidance

Discuss exercise and what types of outsourcing make sense when

Procurement introduction

Partner exercise: Sell by telling what a great artist you are. Then sell by drawing to show what a great artist you are.

Discuss procurement exercise and how that applies to IT - what kinds of things can be done to bring this to your contracting activities

Managing contractors introduction and discussion with group discussion of metrics and what different metrics can mean and which are most valuable in measuring contractor performance.

Synopsis of when and how to outsource while still getting value from agility

Learning Outcome
  • What parts of an organization/IT development can/should be outsourced
  • How to find a good contractor when outsourcing is the right answer
  • How to get agile benefits when in an outsourcing relationship
Joshua Seckel
Specialist Leader

Joshua drives the the adoption of business, technical, and management agility both internally and at client sites. He is a Specialist Leader at Deloitte within the Government Practice. He previously led development teams with Agile and DevOps processes to respond quickly to the changing needs of a small startup customers, vendors, and partners. Joshua has worked across all areas of development throughout his career to implement and execute Agile programs within various Government agencies including the State of Washington, Air Force, Marine Corps and several Department of Homeland Security (DHS) components. He developed the first Program Accountability and Risk Management (PARM) approved Agile tailoring plan within DHS. 


Joshua was previously with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to drive USCIS to the forefront of modern development practices within the federal Government. His role was the Chief of the Applied Technology Division (ATD). ATD has a prominent role in the ongoing USCIS transformation to Agile and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) DevOps through Enterprise Architecture, Quality Assurance, Independent Testing, Agile Coaching, Change Control, and Strategic Vendor Management. He started a Federal Agile Birds of a Feather to bring Agile practitioners across the Federal Government together on a regular basis to discuss modern development.


In addition to his BS in computer science from American University, Joshua holds an MBA with a focus in Technology Innovation Management from Pacific Lutheran University. Joshua is an active participant in the Agile community, speaking regularly, including twice at both Agile 2015 and Agile 2016. Joshua is an ICAgile Expert Agile Coach and is active in mentoring other coaches to achieve this as well as serving on certification boards. Joshua is also a strategic advisor for the Government Technology & Services Coalition (GTSC).

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Uncertainty and your Brain: Handling Risk in an Agile Environment

Intermediate Talk

Everything we do carries some amount of risk, from getting out of the bed in the morning to skydiving. Even writing software is risky! How do we handle those risks? Are common approaches to risk management still applicable in the Agile world?

If you've ever struggled with how to handle risk on an Agile program then come join us to see why our brains make is react in a mostly risk adverse way, what we can do about it, and how Agile specifically addresses many aspects of software risk. Also, we will look at how an Agile program can live in harmony with enterprise risk departments.

Target Audience

Any team member, Scrum Master, Product Owner or other person who has struggled with risk management practices in software


Introduction 10 min

  • Live poll – brain myths
  • Cognitive Terms – basic terms and definitions including bias, heuristic, illusion, fallacy, paradox
  • Risk and your brain

Risk Concepts 10 min

  • What are common risks?
  • How do we approach software risk now? - transfer, avoid, reduce, alternative, accept.
  • Beware the dreaded black swan!

Why is your Brain Freaking Out? (including games and examples) 15 min

  • Risk Aversion - why do we avoid risks?
  • Risk Tolerant - the conditions in which we are willing to tolerate more risk
  • Risk Seeking - teenagers and thrill seekers, what's up with their brains?

How Does Agile Address Risk? (handling risk is built into Agile) 10 min

  • Agile as a risk management strategy
    • Early learning - cone of uncertainty
    • Prioritization - Pareto principle
    • Iteration - cost of delay
    • Feedback - short and rapid cycles

How to Handle Risk in Your Agile Program 10 min

  • Organizational structure and your context - do you have a risk management department?
  • Real world examples of integrating Agile + Risk and the pros/cons of each.
  • Three suggestions and how to run them: Pessimist Day, Triz, Black Hat

Conclusion and Q&A 5 min

  • Summary review to wrap it all up
Learning Outcome

Understand how our brain reacts to risk. Explore what we can do with Agile approaches to get more comfortable with risk. Suggest several agile approaches that your risk managers can live with.

Wayne Hetherington
Agile Coach

Agile Enthusiast

Vivian Xu
Agile Professional
Independent Contractor

Agile Enthusiast

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Please rate Uncertainty and your Brain: Handling Risk in an Agile Environment

Stop complaining and start learning! Retrospectives that drive real change

Intermediate Talk

Good retrospectives (you know, the ones that actually lead to real change?) rest on three pillars:

* people,
* process, and
* follow-through

What makes retrospectives so difficult is that if any of these three pillars starts to crack, it's very difficult for the retrospective to be a success.

Ultimately, getting the right people in the room, utilizing a good process to facilitate the conversation, and following-through on the learning outcomes depend on having an organizational culture that encourages learning, transparency, feedback loops, and continuous improvement.

If this sounds like your company already, then great! This talk is not for you.

For everyone else, join me to explore how effective retrospectives can break a downward cycle of disillusionment and malcontent and transform you and your team into engines of learning and growth.

Target Audience

scrum masters, agile coaches, facilitators


[5 min] - Intro Game. We will play a little game to warm up the crowd, get everyone laughing, and engaged. It also serves to show how you can "set the stage" at the beginning of a good retrospective. The game involves an auction of a $20 bill. The catch is that while the person with the highest bid wins the $20, the person who ends up with the second highest bid will receive nothing, but will still have to "pay" their bid to the auctioneer (obviously no money will actually exchange hands). This sets up interesting incentives, and given the lack of time to think it through, usually ends up with a final bid over $20. It's funny, and it works every time.

[5 min] Intro. I will ask the group: "If you could only bring one agile technique with you to a desert island, which one would it be?" After hearing the responses, I will explain why I believe that the retrospective is the "right" answer (because you can discover the rest of agile via the retrospective, since retrospectives are a means to an end and an engine for learning and growth, whereas other agile techniques, like prioritized backlogs, sprint planning, etc, are ends in and of themselves).

[5 min] Good vs Bad Retros. Unfortunately, many retrospectives in the real world are simply opportunities for people to complain, and those retros rarely (if ever) lead to true continuous improvement opportunities. I will explain why that happens and how it creates a "Vicious Cycle of Retrospective Disillusionment" (bad retrospectives lead to more bad retrospectives, and it's hard to break out of the cycle once it starts).

[30 min] Retrospective Triangle of Success. Good retrospectives depend on three things: 1) getting the right people in the room, 2) following a good facilitated process to encourage participation and to focus on the most important topics, and 3) effective follow-through so that ideas turn into action. Here's a bit more detail on each:

People. I will spend 10 minutes discussing the issue of who you should invite to the retrospective in the first place. When is it appropriate to include management? Stakeholders? The PO? Getting the right people in the room is all about balancing the need for psychological safety (including only the people you already trust) with effective discussion (including people you might not trust who have valuable insights and ideas to share).

Process. I will spend 10 minutes going over how to use facilitation to encourage participation in the retrospective. In particular, I will briefly go over Diana Larsen's and Esther Derby's 5 phases approach. I will also discuss how rotating the role of the facilitator (both within the team and also across teams) can help spread knowledge and improve everyone's facilitation skills. Lastly, I will talk about when it's okay to not use facilitation at all (the 30-second "reflex" retro).

Follow-through. I will spend 10 minutes talking about why if you don't focus on follow-through, even if you have the right people in the room and follow a good process, your retrospective was a failure and waste of time. I will go over what you can do to encourage follow-through, namely: 1) use an experimental mindset instead of a "fix it" mindset, 2) if an impediment is outside your team's control, don't just complain about it, broadcast it to your organization and try to get help, 3) how to effectively "radiate" your learnings/hypotheses, action items, and impediments to the rest of your organization without fear of retribution. I will also go over how having someone regularly go over the organizational impediments coming out of retrospectives across teams can help retrospectives lead to organizational improvements not just localized team improvements.

[5 min] Closing. In summary, to break the Retrospective Cycle of Disillusionment, you need to get some small wins coming out of your retrospectives. Once people start to see how retrospectives really are leading to improvements, they will be more engaged in the retrospective process and more apt to participate. And the best way to do this is to get the right people in the room, to follow a good facilitated process, and to follow-through at a team and organizational level.

[5 min] Q&A. I will give participants the opportunity to ask questions.

Learning Outcome
  • How to create a safe environment for brainstorming, collaboration, and retrospectives
  • How to balance personalities within the group
  • When anonymous feedback is necessary… and when it’s not
  • The role of ongoing feedback in continuous improvement
  • How breaking the mindset around retrospectives can positively impact the ongoing employee engagement crisis
  • You will also gain an understanding of the pitfalls of traditional employee engagement tactics and how to overcome challenges associated with these efforts by deploying agile retrospectives to create a safe, honest and productive environment for teams to deliver their best work.
David Horowitz
Cofounder and CEO

David Horowitz is co-founder and CEO of Retrium. Retrium is the world’s first and only enterprise-ready platform for Agile retrospectives. Prior to co-founding Retrium, David spent nearly a decade between The World Bank and International Finance Corporation as a software developer turned Agile coach. While there, he experienced firsthand the importance — and difficulty — of effective retrospectives at scale.

In addition to Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Economics from The University of Maryland, David has a Master’s degree in Technology Management from The University of Pennsylvania and The Wharton School of Business. In 2013, he successfully founded and exited a movie search engine business.

David is married to his college sweetheart and is the father of three little ones. 

Question for Speaker?
Please rate Stop complaining and start learning! Retrospectives that drive real change

My Quest for Business Agility – the good bad and ugly of lean agile and DevOps transformations

Intermediate Talk

Are you stuck in an agile transformation? Are you chasing team velocity without seeing any business impact? Do you manage an 18-month long roadmap, committing to 25 OKRs and shoving new features down the throat of your customers?

Maybe it is time to rethink your approach!

It has taken me over a decade, to make the transition from improving manufacturing environments with Lean, to conceptualizing agility within software and hardware organizations.

Asking the hard questions required to create quality software, faster, often rubs people the wrong way…. but without those questions you’ll keep hiring scrum masters who end up being JIRA admins and going through agile motions without winning the true benefits of lean agile and DevOps – necessary to drive business agility.

In an age of disruption - the balanced mix of agile, lean, design thinking, lean start up, lean UX, OKRs and DevOps injected to high performing teams is crucial to business agility.

We discuss the essentials of successful change initiatives:

  • Digital transformation must be simple - Team agility without technical practices and continuous integration is wasted effort;
  • Scaling agility is counterproductive when the culture of team empowerment is not retained and focus on fast iterative feedback is missing;
  • Value stream mapping of your deployment pipeline without a plan for Toyota Kata of continuous improvement is just another one-off workshop; Success hinges on soak-ability!

Target Audience

Agile thought leaders, teams, product owners and anyone involved in a change initiative


Presenting progression of coaching and consulting experience - various industries - countries - showing the lessons learned - mistakes and blunders as well as successes - and ongoing building of knowledge through experience - leading to current work as agile coach

Discussing the challenges, client objective, solution and lessons learned

Based on culmination of work - as seen in the recent LinkedIn post that went viral - see link below.

Learning Outcome

Allow me to share Anchors of Simplicity, Mainstays of Scalability, Tell-tale Signs of Soakability, a journey across continents, numerous clients and many industries on a quest for business agility.

Michael Nir
Sapir Consulting US

Michael Nir, President Sapir Consulting US, is an executive agile Lean DevOps expert; known for his passion, creativity and innovation; His Masters in Engineering and, training in Gestalt balance his technical know-how with emotional intelligence. Michael inspires people and teams to change, experientially and emotionally, while climbing the hill AND reaching the summit.
The author of ten books on influence, consumer experience, and Lean Agile project management, Michael delivers practical skills gained from eighteen years of experience leading change at global organizations in diverse industries.

Michael's latest book, is an adventure graphic novel (Chickens Learn Lean), which embraces agile lean DevOps, being developed with an engaged community of contributors

Question for Speaker?
Please rate My Quest for Business Agility – the good bad and ugly of lean agile and DevOps transformations

An Introduction to Chaos Engineering as part of DevOps

Beginner Talk

Traditional testing approaches can’t predict all failure modes and hence Chaos Engineering is a discipline to simulate these failures and build better applications. It’s a way to fire controlled disruptions into a distributed system and then analyzing the behavior, identifying the weak areas & improving resiliency with automation. To add chaos using DevOps and build anti fragile apps is the need.

Target Audience

Developers, QAs, Scrum Masters, Tech/Solution Architects, DevOps Consultants, Agile Coaches

  • What ?
  • Chaos Engineering VS Testing
  • How & Why ?
  • Chaos Engineering & DevOps
  • Industry Presence
Learning Outcome

This session will elaborate on Chaos engineering and how it can be an integral part of the DevOps practices. This would emphasize on the advantages we would get from this and how this can be done.
Key takeaways:
1. What is chaos programming
2. Does chaos programming really helps
3. How it can be a part of Continuous engineering using DevOps
4. How to create disruption in the pre production environments and still function constructively.
5. Go or No-Go

Gurtej Pal Singh
Principal Consultant (Agile & DevOps)

A Focused,Facilitative leader working as an Agile Process & Engineering Coach who is passionate about building self organizing delivery teams and is a proponent of servant leadership.



Question for Speaker?
Please rate An Introduction to Chaos Engineering as part of DevOps

The Five Habits of Highly Effective Agile Organizations

Intermediate Talk

It's the classic leader's lament. Driving organizational performance in a way that delivers on business outcomes while engaging employees. A year after presenting this at TAC 2018 it is more relevant than ever.

Organizations have been deploying Scrum, SAFe, DAD, and a host of other practices in the hope of achieving better business outcomes. We all know that practices alone don't generate the kind of powerful results you need to succeed. The missing ingredient? We hear the word culture a lot. But it is really about operating norms, or habits and behaviors. What I've observed through dozens of transformations within my company and clients are 5 habits that the leading organizations all possess. When these 5 habits are ingrained, the practices fall into place, and performance starts to rocket.

In this session you'll learn the habits, and why they drive performance. You' also learn about the key questions you can start asking to encourage the habits to take hold in your team, or more broadly, in your organization. The path to performance is paved by changes in behaviors that are reinforced daily. Asking the right questions at the right time can be a powerful way to nudge behaviors in the right direction.

Having said that, it's not enough to create the conditions for new habits to form. Countless studies, including famous ones by Wolfram Schultz, neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge, have shown that a cue and reward on their own aren't enough to create a lasting habit. Only when your brain starts to anticipate a reward will the habit become automatic.

Target Audience

Change agents and leaders who want to improve organizational outcomes and performance


We will begin with an overview of the session and objectives. (5 mins)

Exercise 1: At your tables, identify the operating norms or habits that are holding back your organization's ability to be the best. We will summarize the output. (5 mins)

Introduce the Five Habits with some explanation of why they are the key, foundational habits.

  1. Improve Everything
  2. Focus on Finishing
  3. Real-time Cross Functional Communication
  4. Real-time Feedback
  5. Release as a non-event

We will also share examples of the habits in action. (10 mins)

Exercise 2 - Discuss the habits and determine how they could be applied in your organization. Pick the top three approaches at each table. Readout by table. (10 mins)

Techniques for encouraging the habits in your organization

We will share some of the things we have tried to help organizations implement the habits. Some worked better than others. At the heart of it is the crafting of safe questions that provoke different thinking, and therefore, different responses. We will share an approach for crafting meaningful questions. (5 mins)

Exercise 3: Discuss and build some safe, yet provocative questions. Review at your tables and then we will do a group read out. (10 mins)

Questions we've used

We will share questions we have developed and used with teams and leaders at different levels. In addition we will share some observations from our experience on which questions can be more effective and why. (10 mins)

Q&A + Recap and close the session (5 mins)

Learning Outcome

Learn the habits and the tools for embedding these habits

Raj Mudhar
National Director
Cloud Engineering - Agile and DevOps

Accomplished R&D director, consultant and change leader for large-scale Agile / Lean organizational transformation. 20 years of international experience leading teams in Asia, North America, and Europe. Solid record of delivering measurable improvements in organizational performance.  Skilled influencer, mentor and facilitator. Known for valuing people, innovation, continuous improvement, and exceptional service to customers.

Specialties: Lean + Agile Methods | Leading Change | Consulting & Advisory | Multinational R&D Project Management | Business and Technical Process Engineering | Strategic Supplier & Customer Management

Industries: Financial Services | Insurance | Capital Markets | Telecommunications infrastructure

Raj successfully implemented Agile methods and practices in:
- embedded software development
- hardware development
- product management
- portfolio management
- systems engineering | solution architecture
- operations and customer support
- finance and budgeting

Question for Speaker?
Please rate The Five Habits of Highly Effective Agile Organizations

From Team Flow to System Flow to Customer Flow: Practical Tools to Keep Valuable Work Moving

Intermediate Talk

"Early and continuous delivery of value" is one of the promises of a shift towards Agile, and one of the manifestations of that principle is the ability to keep work in a state of "flow": always smoothly moving and reaching its Customers. Flow can be observed (and managed) at multiple levels, but the flow that really matters is that which is perceived by the Customer.

This talk will explore the meaning of "flow" at various levels (teams, systems of teams, and end-to-end Customer workflows), and the practical techniques organizations can apply to move from one level to the next, and as they do so, streamline and smooth out delivery of value to their Customers.

Target Audience

Delivery Managers, Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Team Members

  • Value, Flow and Balance: what do we mean by each, and how are they connected?
  • Flow at different scales: teams, systems of teams, and end-to-end Customer Workflows
    • What does it look like?
    • What are the common barriers at each level?
  • Evolving understanding of flow: Prototypical evolutionary path in an organization's ability to manage flow
    • milestones and evolutionary triggers: from rudimentary understanding of the work, to recognizing there's a "customer" somewhere, to becoming aware of end-to-end value streams, to develop the ability to shape demand and manage quantitatively
    • Practices that enable evolution at each stage
  • Managing and guiding evolution:
    • Management, Leadership and the "white space"
    • "Delivery Reviews", the (almost) magic catalyst for change
Learning Outcome

Participants can expect to leave the session with:

  • Better understanding of what to look for in order to determine how well their organizations are equipped to manage flow today.
  • A toolbox of practical ideas to try in order to increase the level of maturity of their teams and organizations when it comes to better management of flow.
Fernando Cuenca
Principal Consultant

Fernando started as a developer in the early 90s (C++ used to be his best friend), discovered Extreme Programming in the early 2000s, carried the “dev manager” title for a brief period, and became a full time Agile Coach by 2009. Since then, he has worked for organizations in various industries (such as Finance & Banking, Oil & Energy, Marketing, Correctional Services, etc.), coaching teams to better understand the way they do work, introduce technical engineering practices and help them improve their processes incrementally, drawing from the Agile and Kanban bodies of knowledge. His focus these days is working with leadership “above the team” to better manage the end-to-end flow of work in ways that yield better, systemic results. He holds a degree in Information Systems Engineering, and a Kanban Coaching Professional accreditation from LeanKanban University.

Question for Speaker?
Please rate From Team Flow to System Flow to Customer Flow: Practical Tools to Keep Valuable Work Moving

Scrum to the Left of Me, Kanban to the Right, Here I am Stuck in the Middle with You

Beginner Talk

There seems to be some confusion (not to mention strong opinions!) about when to use Scrum vs. when to use Kanban. At times purists on either side have drawn the lines and set up camp in an almost warlike approach, making it difficult to wade across the middle battlefield of information without stepping on metaphorical land mines or getting peppered with judgmental opinions, rhetorical quips or social media blasts.

In this session we will explore a case study of a department within a financial institution that is currently experiencing a transformation to Agility using both Scrum and Kanban. By the end of the session I will provide evidence of meaningful actions the department has taken and outcomes they have achieved to help move their team and organization ahead on a path to greater Agility.

Target Audience

Teams that are struggling to deliver, to collaborate with other teams, that have dependencies, that don't have visibility where work comes from or goes to, and/or that suffer from overburdening.


This presentation/discussion will use the following approach:

  1. Problem Statements - Dependencies, Overburdening and Unpredictability
  2. A Quick Compare and Contrast of Scrum and Kanban
  3. How Scrum and Kanban Can Coexist (examples, diagrams, pictures)
  4. Next Steps

NOTE: At the end of the workshop I will provide a link to downloadable electronic copies of the presentation.

Learning Outcome

A brief and balanced overview of Scrum and Kanban, including the deltas and overlaps that happen at a team and at an organizational level.

An attendee will learn:

  • Where Scrum works and struggles.
  • Where Kanban works and struggles.
  • How Scrum and Kanban can work together.
  • How teams can use this information.
  • How organizations can use this information.
  • What options exist.
  • Where to go for more information and learning.
Jerry Doucett
VP Training Services - Enterprise Agile Coach and Professional Trainer

An Agile advisor with over 28 years of hands-on experience in software and process development initiatives. Currently facilitating public and private classes and workshops, and also serving as an Agile and Lean Consultant and Coach for several enterprise Agile adoptions.

My approach is to provide advice to individuals and organizations on four key success pillars: cultivating in-house expertise and knowledge on Lean and Agile practices, defining enterprise implementation and change strategies, building coaching and training programs, and developing collaborative, long lasting relationships between Business & IT partners.

Primary Mandate

To provide actionable advice and guidance to leadership and delivery team members in the application of Agile and Lean approaches, and foster an environment of collaboration, continuous improvement and learning.

Key Career Goals and Outcomes

  • To be an integral part of a successful, high-performing, collaborative team that consistently delivers valuable solutions.
  • To help organizations and teams discover innovative ways to continuously improve and deliver value faster, and in doing so absolutely impress and delight their customers.


Continuous Improvement, Coaching and Mentoring, Team Collaboration, Business Agility, Scrum, Kanban, Lean Startup

Question for Speaker?
Please rate Scrum to the Left of Me, Kanban to the Right, Here I am Stuck in the Middle with You

Leading Transformations that Matter: Agility Is Not the Point

Advanced Talk

What is the goal of an agile transformation? How do we define success? What changes? What stays the same? What assumptions have we made about why we need to transform and how we go about it? What if, in our consideration of these questions, we discover that agility isn’t the point, but something deeper? What if we’re focused on changing the wrong things first?

For the past several years, respondents to the State of Agile Survey have consistently identified their respective organizational culture as a major impediment to the adoption of agile practices. Accordingly, if we accept the well-established observation that culture follows structure, transformation efforts need to begin with re-examining our thinking about how we lead and manage organizations.

In this session, participants will engage in an idealized redesign exercise to examine the thinking and theory that shape transformations while revealing the changes that can be made by senior leadership in cooperation with their people that will encourage agile-like behaviours to emerge at all levels of the organization and improve the quality of their transformation efforts.

Target Audience

Anyone involved in leading or participating in an agile transformation, especially those in senior management or higher.


Open Session (5m)

  • Introductions and contact info
  • Quick polling questions to gauge attendee experience and knowledge with transformations

Define Our Thesis (Aim of the Session - 10m)

Warm-Up Questions:

  • Are you in favour of teamwork? Y___ N___
  • How is teamwork achieved?
  • What does transformation mean to you? What changes? What stays the same?

Establishing our Argument for Transformations that Matter:

  • Agility is not the aim or purpose of an agile transformation
  • Agile transformations are not changing what matters most in an organization, eg. true cross-organization teamwork, joy in work, pride in workmanship for managers and staff alike
  • The prevailing theory of management and transformations limits their efficacy because they hold the most meaningful elements of the organization constant while changing how teams do their work.
  • Escaping this orbit requires transformation of the way we think about organizations and how they are led and managed.

Proposed Solutions to Our Thesis (30m)

  • Exercise: Vision Therapy Trip Report - Exploring the “Me” to “We” organizational culture continuum.
  • Ten meaningful changes to enable meaningful and purposeful transformation
  • Now what! Where to start!

Summary of Key Learning Points and Take-Aways (5m)

  • Review: Why is agility not the point of a transformation?
  • Review: What is the theory of the prevailing mode of management?
  • Review: What countervailing theory have we proposed to promote meaningful transformations?
  • Review: What is the “Me” to “We” organizational culture continuum?
  • Review: What is one thing that I can start doing tomorrow?

Q&A (10m)

  • Take 2-3 questions, or more if time permits.

Close Session (1m)

  • Where can you learn more?
  • Contact information
  • Suggested reading list
  • How to reach us via #SystemsThinkingTO
Learning Outcome

Attendees should exit the talk understanding:

  • Why agile transformations clash with the culture that is created by the current mode of thinking around leadership and management of organizations and people.
  • Understanding the “Me” to “We” continuum of organizational culture.
  • Where to direct transformation efforts first to have the greatest impact throughout the organization, not just in software delivery departments and teams.
  • Options for improving the quality of leadership and management, irrespective of their role in the organization.
  • Why it may be better to help leadership and teams learn to improve together first before embarking on an agile transformation.
  • It's ok if agility isn't the point.
Chris Chapman
Agile Coach
Derailleur Consulting / LeanIntuit

Chris is a veteran consultant with 14 years’ experience as a developer and team lead/coach. Over his career he’s worked on mainframe systems, desktop applications and enterprise scale web based solutions. Through it all he’s maintained a strong passion for helping teams to realign the work they do with how they do it by applying lean and agile principles and frameworks like Scrum, XP, Lean, and Kanban. 

Chris is the owner & president of Derailleur Consulting, Inc. and an agile coach with LeanIntuit.

Robert Pragai
Solutions Delivery and Integration Manager

My sports background fueled my desire to not only work in and lead teams, but to continuously understand the dynamics between individuals and teams. That desire with guidance from some amazing coaches and mentors allowed me to hone my skills and instill confidence that by truly  identifying causes of dysfunction, you can turn teams and individuals around to reach their potential.

For more than 10 years, I have been a part and led a vast array of teams ranging in size and dynamics in various sectors (IT, security, financial, hospitality, retail, and medical) from local to national level both in Canada and USA.

The experience and knowledge that I have acquired and demonstrated, are allowing me to be more proficient to coach, mentor or lead a team and/or individuals to reach their goal(s) and potential.

Question for Speaker?
Please rate Leading Transformations that Matter: Agility Is Not the Point

You Need to Change - Start Here!

Advanced Workshop

Your team has hit a plateau in their performance and is no longer improving at the pace you are used to. You, as their leader, are racking your brain to determine what the issue might be. What would cause such a team to stall out. Have you considered that the cause might be you?

The level of consciousness of an organization cannot exceed that of its leader. (Frederic Laloux). Enabling your team to reach ever higher levels of performance requires that you do so first. In this workshop, we will guide leaders through the Immunity to Change framework developed by Robert Keagan and Lisa Lahey and demonstrate how the Immunity Map can be used to catalyze change in your leadership. Participants will practice using the Immunity Map to identify areas of improvement, limiting beliefs, assumptions and behaviors that are holding you and your team back from higher performance. You know that you need to change. Now’s the time. Start here!

Target Audience

Leaders who want to get their teams unstuck and moving towards high-performance.

  1. Introductions - 2 minutes
  2. Exercise: Table True / False - 3 minutes
    1. Each table discusses the examples provided where the current state seems to be impossible to overcome and determines if the statement is true or false
      1. Examples: weight loss, quitting smoking, heart patients changing behavior in order to live, etc.
  3. Exercise: Table Discussion: What are the reasons that it is so difficult to make lasting change - 2 minutes
  4. Presenter Reveal: What are the reasons that it is so difficult to make lasting change - 3 minutes
  5. Introduce Immunity to Change - 5 minutes
  6. Exercise: Individual Reflection: Where do you see immunity to change in the world and/or in your own life - 2 minutes
  7. Exercise: Share your thoughts with a partner - 2 minutes
  8. Keys to overcoming your immunity to change - 5 minutes
  9. Exercise: Card Sort: Determine if the challenges on the cards are “technical” or “adaptive” - 5 minutes
  10. Understanding technical and adaptive challenges - 3 minutes
  11. Normalize the fact that we all have behaviors that can be improved - 1 minute
  12. Create safety: The following activities require introspection on behalf of participants. Take a few minutes to create a safe space for participants to share openly. - 4 minutes
  13. Individual Reflection: How are your behaviors limiting your team’s performance? - 4 minutes
  14. Exercise: Share your thoughts with a partner. How are your behaviors limiting your team’s performance? - 4 minutes
  15. What is an Immunity Map - 2 minutes
  16. Column 1 Setup - 1 minute
    1. Individual Exercise: Complete the first column of the immunity map - 4 minutes
    2. In Pairs: Share your first column - 3 minutes
  17. Column 2 Setup - 1 minute
    1. Individual Exercise: Complete the second column of the immunity map - 4 minutes
    2. In Pairs: Share your second column - 3 minutes
  18. Column 3 Setup - 1 minute
    1. Exercise: Complete the third column of the immunity map - 4 minutes
    2. In Pairs: Share your third column - 3 minutes
  19. Column 4 Setup - 1 minute
    1. Exercise: Complete the fourth column of the immunity map - 4 minutes
    2. In Pairs: Share your fourth column - 3 minutes
  20. Forwarding the action - 5 minutes
    1. Individual Reflection: What are the implications of your discovery here today?
    2. In Pairs: Share the implications
    3. Facilitated Discussion: What next steps do you intend to take?
  21. Closing - 2 minutes
Learning Outcome
  • Describe technical and adaptive challenges
  • List the components of an Immunity Map
  • Use the Immunity Map template to walk yourself through an adaptive challenge that you’re facing
Brock Argue
Enterprise Agile Coach
Superheroes Academy

Brock Argue takes a holistic approach to agility – recognizing that all aspects of the business benefit from the application of agile values and principles. His style of facilitation creates an environment in which high-performing organizations can emerge. Brock’s work includes agile transformations at Digital Oilfield, ADP and Benevity. As a member of two volunteer teams at the Scrum Alliance, Brock seeks to support the ongoing development of coaches as they seek to transform the world of work. Brock is a Certified Enterprise Coach℠ (CEC) and Certified Team Coach℠ (CTC) through the Scrum Alliance and has received professional coach training through ICAgile and CRR Global.

Brock provides coaching, mentoring and certification programs to individuals and organizations as the co-founder and coach at the Superheroes Academy (

Erkan Kadir
Enterprise Coach
Superheroes Academy

Erkan Kadir is a co-founder of the Superheroes Academy, a coaching organization that's set out to level up the skills of agile practitioners worldwide. He is a Scrum Alliance Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC), Certified Team Coach (CTC), Certified Organization and Relationship Systems Coach (ORSCC), and an IC-Agile Certified Coach (IC-ACC). Erkan leverages 15 years of experience developing software, managing, and leading organizations to help grow a diverse range of clients from teams and organizations to family systems.

Question for Speaker?
Please rate You Need to Change - Start Here!

So what happens after you fail fast?

Intermediate Talk

"Fail fast" is only half the bumper (or laptop) sticker; and the other half isn't "fail often".

"Fail fast" isn't an invitation to engage in Pyrrhic victories or outright losses. In this talk I'll share how failure can be used as a ratcheting mechanism to increase the probability of long term success. I will draw upon not only my experience, but also the audience's, to elicit the kinds of failures that are worth seeking and those that are worth avoiding.

Target Audience

Software Architects -- who want to learn how to make meaningful mistakes

  • Introduction
  • Activity: what's "failure", anyway?
  • Impact of failure
    • Resources spent before failure is made
    • Resources spent to detect failure
    • Resources spent after failure is detected
  • So what is "fail fast"?
  • The art and science of satisficing
  • Activity: how would you design to fail in these scenarios?
  • Documentation - the power of story-telling
  • Summary: the successful way to fail fast
  • Q/A
Learning Outcome

At the end of the presentation, an attentive and engaged audience member would be able to:

  • Distinguish between advisable and inadvisable ("smart" and "silly") ways to fail
  • Design ways to fail smartly in situations small and large
  • Detect when a silly way to fail is under foot
Saleem Siddiqui
Principal Consultant

Saleem Siddiqui is a software developer, practitioner, and trainer. He has delivered software for organizations large (multinational banks, pharmaceutical companies, and government agencies) and small (5 person startups). Lately, his focus has been organizational metamorphosis through microservice architecture -- using tiny software to cause large changes over time. Saleem enjoys that his work takes him the world over, and often writes and speaks about his experiences (occasionally in 3rd person).

Question for Speaker?
Please rate So what happens after you fail fast?

How to Help Your Non-Software Colleagues Adopt Agile

Intermediate Workshop

Exciting news! Colleagues from a non-software department, function, or business unit are interested in adopting Agile, and they have turned to you for advice!

While you’d like to help them, you realize that copying your Agile practices for software/IT won’t cut it. Maybe even a popular process framework (name starts with “S”) wouldn’t be right for their work. They are already starting to use Agile bits – boards, stickies, sprints, and standups – but you’d like to help them go further and enjoy a context-specific Agile implementation that will transform their world.

What you need to do is help them design their implementation based on Agile values and principles. While you don’t have to be a process expert, you do need to have the right conversations. And, you need to discuss the Agile approach in a way that empowers your colleagues to make suitable choices, without being tied to any prescription, tool, or so-called best practices. Come to this session, led by the author of “The Agile Mind-Set” and the forthcoming “Agile for Non-Software Teams,” to learn how to facilitate a rigorous, collaborative, empowering set of activities for successfully customizing Agile to their context.

Target Audience

Experienced and/or passionate Agile practitioners in software/product/IT who are helping increase business agility


I have been coaching, training, and guiding organizations toward intentional Agility for ~15 years. More and more, I get asked to help outside of software/IT, and I get to see how people in those areas try to go agile on their own.

Based on these experiences, I have put together a facilitated sequence of activities for designing Agile implementations outside of software/IT. It is the subject of my almost-ready third book, “Agile for Non-Software Teams: A pragmatic path to making it work for you.” My process accommodates, but does not require popular frameworks if they are indeed appropriate. The activities involve collaborative workshops and 1-on-1 conversations that normally span multiple weeks, as people digest the information. My aim in this session is to empower the attendees to carry out that process on their own.

This session is aimed both at non-software folks who want Agile and at software agilists who are being asked to help their colleagues. Having presented at TAC many years, I assume most of the audience would be of the latter type and have designed the session accordingly.

In the session, I will take the attendees through the sequence of activities. We will spend a few minutes on each workshop/conversation: I will explain its purpose, give examples, and share my favourite process for conducting it. If the subject of an activity is likely to be familiar or obvious to the attendees – such as elicitation of objectives and success criteria – we’ll only spend 2-3 minutes on it. For trickier or less familiar conversations, we’ll spend an additional 5-10 minutes on mini-exercises to give the audience some practice.

I presented this session at Agile 2019 this month. 200 people attended, and rated the session as 4.6/5 (the response to “Would you recommend this session” was also 4.6).

Learning Outcome
  • Outline the first conversations you must have, and how to conduct them, for an Agile implementation that works
  • Empower your colleagues to make Agile-minded choices without being tied to any prescription, tool, or so-called best practices
  • Facilitate a rigorous, collaborative set of activities for successfully customizing Agile to a given context
Gil Broza
Agile Mindset and Leadership Coach/Trainer
3P Vantage

Gil Broza can help you increase organizational agility and team performance with minimal risk and thrashing. Dozens of companies seeking transformations, makeovers, or improvements have relied on his pragmatic, modern, and respectful support for customizing Agile in their contexts. These days, several of the world’s largest organizations are having him train hundreds of their managers in technology and business (up to VP level) on practical Agile leadership. He is the author of The Human Side of Agile and The Agile Mind-Set. Get a taste of his approach at

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Supporting Mental Health with (Agile) Teams

Beginner Talk

Mental Health is a rising concern across our society, one which workplaces are now starting to grapple with the impact of. How does our work affect us, and how can building strong teams support our mental health?

Target Audience

Anyone working on a team who wants to understand more about how mental health affects them.


Approximately 45 minutes presentation followed by Q&A.

Learning Outcome

Defintion of mental health

How mental health applies to Agile teams

Model that helps define how mental health factors affect you, and how they affect the other members of your team

Alex Orchard
Sr. Developer
Intelliware Development

Alex Orchard is a software developer and team leader at Intelliware Development with a personal interest in mental health, counseling, and social support.

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Your Agile Leadership Journey: Leading People, Managing Paradoxes

Intermediate Workshop

When the people of an organization embark on their quest for increased agility, they are essentially begin working on the opposite side of a paradox that has been ignored. Often times, though as they take their journey, they begin experiencing the downside of now ignoring the the traditional, control-based approach and there is an outcry to revert. A dilemma is created.

What are these paradoxes? Well, the first four you encounter are described in the Agile Manifesto’s values. If one could have both sides of the “over” statements easily, we’d take them. Successfully maximizing the appropriate upsides of each side of these values while minimizing the downsides becomes a swinging pendulum to manage. This becomes key to leading others in your organization. If you are a manager, team leader, or executive trying help your organization get traction, then this session will provide some new insights into how to balance change with stability.

These four values are just the start of the paradoxes that will emerge as you take your journey. This workshop will help you use a technique called Polarity Management to help manage the upsides and downsides of this balancing act so that you can lead people effectively. Once out in the open, dilemmas created with a swing one way or another become easier to handle and perhaps can even be avoided.

Target Audience

Executives, managers, and coaches that feel they take unnecessary steps backward in their transformation efforts.


This workshop is designed to provide a problem-solving/systems thinking technique to help leaders understand and manage paradoxes that may emerge within their organization. I’ll also point out not every problem they encounter is a paradoxical dilemma. You can find out some basics on Polarity Management here: or

The flow of the workshop (from my experience in giving this has been given a few times now):

[5 min] Present: Welcome and open by describing what a paradox is

  • Opposites on a spectrum with upsides & downsides to each
  • What is not a paradox – something where there is no upside to an alternative
  • Why as leaders we should care – recognizing it’s not binary, binary swings cause churn; reducing churn helps people through the changes they will be making
  • Upsides and Downsides - these plus the spectrum form the Polarity Map
  • We’ll start with the Agile Manifesto’s values as our first set of paradoxes to explore

[20 min total] Exercise: Table groups work together to identify the paradox within one of the Manifesto’s values; the Value itself will constrain the spectrum and thus the space to be examined and thus the space to be explored more openly. I have the participants exploring the upsides of the left-hand of the value statement as the usually understand why they want agility. This also makes the downsides of the right easy to understand as that is what they want to get away from... Then I have them think some of the upsides they may lose by over emphasizing the left-side. Then finally downsides that can occur with over emphasis of the left.

Here's a short, incomplete example:
Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation; this is the spectrum. So an upside of the left - we have tested software being deployed regularly meeting business needs, one downside of the right would be taking too long to create a document and not getting a feature completed or inadequately tested. One upside of the right - having some documentation that describes the rationale of a programming or design choice made so that people know why the developer coded what he did. One downside of the left, the developer goes on vacation, the person he paired with gets hospitalized, and something that was developed 3 months ago needs to be changed due to new acceptance criteria. We end up redesigning the code, but went through all the prior choices with little insight from the prior effort.

I'm being somewhat conservative on my timing here as it may take a bit for people to get into the latter part in particular... My hope is that I actually end up with some extra time, so a longer Q&A session could occur at the end.

  • [2 min] flow of exercise and instructions
  • [4 min] Upsides of Left-hand side
  • [4 min] Downsides of Right-hand side
  • [4 min] Upsides of Right-hand side
  • [4 min] Downsides of Left-hand side
  • [2 min exercise slack time]

[10 min] Debrief

  • What did you learn?
  • What are some of the downsides of having the pendulum swing too far right?Examples?
  • Now how about too far left? Examples?
  • What antidotes to these downsides did we find in the opposite upsides?

[5 min] Present: Describe how organizations or groups/teams move through paradoxes from a Polarity Management viewpoint; downside problems become signals to add in some of the upsides of the opposite end of the paradox.

  • These can either be managed or unmanaged, with a preference towards managed
  • Constant learning through these movements

[15 min] Exercise: Table groups identify –

  • [ 2 min] Instructions
  • [5 min] When a downside on the right was experienced and what the reactive upside on the left for this was. Explore how long was spent in the downside before moving.
  • [5 min] When a downside on the left was experienced and what the reactive upside on the right for this was. Again, explore how long was spent in the downside before moving.
  • [2 min exercise slack time]

[10 min] Debrief

  • What insights did you gain?
  • What movement to an upside was totally reactive? How far did you swing? How long did you spend in the downside before moving to the upside?
  • What movement to an upside was at least partially if not whole proactive? What differences were there in the swing and time spent in the downside?

[10 min] Exercise: In your table groups for your paradoxical value - Identify signals that may allow you to proactively handle these activities as opposed to simply being reactive

  • [2 min] Instructions
  • [2 min] Identify signals that could be used to indicate when downsides are occurring.
  • [2 min] Identify actions to take based on those signals that move you to the upside proactively and smoothly.
  • [1 min exercise slack time]

[5 min] Debrief

  • What did you learn about signals you can look for..?
  • How can you use them?

[5 min] Exercise: In your table groups - Examine the Agile Principles, see what paradoxes may grow from these, either from within a principle or across principles also considering how organizations tend to do work.

  • [1 min] Instructions
  • [3 min] Identify one other paradox you see that perhaps grows out of the Manifesto’s principles. Identify the spectrum to be managed.
  • [1 min exercise slack time]

[5 min/remainder] Debrief & Closing

  • What are some other paradoxes people see?
  • [1 min] Jot down to yourself one thing you will do differently based on what you learned
  • What questions do you have?
Learning Outcome

Recognizing the paradoxes within an organization’s Agile Journey

Applying the Polarity Management technique to understand and manage them effectively

Understanding how to depict your paradox using a Polarity Map

Paul Boos
IT Executive Coach

Paul Boos is an IT executive coach helping executives, senior managers, and teams transform their software development thinking and how to effectively lead them. He also serves as the Agile Alliance's Program Director for the Agile Coach Camp Initiative. A passionate learner, he has continued to help those learn better ways to coach and lead people inside the Federal Government and  software industry.

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Overcoming Dys-functional Programming. Leverage & transcend years of OO know-how with FP.

Intermediate Workshop

Interest in Functional Programming has exploded in recent years. If you are an experienced OO developer, your design techniques and coding practices can easily get in the way of FP success. It certainly did for us! Fortunately, there are ways to leverage what you already know, to allow you to take advantage of the powerful tools FP can provide.

Join Declan and Shawn in this interactive session. Experience how FP can improve your existing code and simplify your design. Explore the joys and challenges of improving your Object Oriented skills with Functional Programming.

Target Audience

Experienced developers who are new to Functional Programming


This session was presented previously at deliver:Agile 2019, as a 90 minute session.

In the session the OO programmer is introduced to FP by the showing, discussing and refactoring of code.

The talk format was as follows:

  • 10 - What is FP, define terms
  • 30 - Refactoring existing code with FP - live coding exercise where code is refactored using FP techniques
  • 30 - FP and OO design - discussion with code samples (and some live coding) of use of FP within, or instead of, OO design
  • 10 - Discussion of the challenges and benefits of FP, and discussion of the learning path
  • 10 - Questions

The session was well attended and reviews were excellent. A sample comment from a well-known Agile coach: "I'm very selective about which talks I go to at conferences these days. Yours was the best of those I attended this year, and it really helped put FP into perspective. I thought it was just for Big Data projects, but I see it differently now."

Declan and Shawn both have many years of presentation experience, including speaking at the Agile Toronto conference.

Learning Outcome
  • principles and practices that work with both FP and OO
  • learning path to becoming a better FP developer
  • things to watch out for as an OO developer when applying FP
  • refactoring techniques to move OO code to an FP style
Shawn Button
Agile Coach

An expert in agile development practices, Shawn Button is an agile/lean coach with the proven ability to help individuals, teams, and enterprises adopt better ways of working. Shawn believes that any team can do great things—with the right leadership, mentorship, and support. His passion is helping teams find their full potential, while helping to transform the system they are working in. Shawn is part of LeanIntuit, a group of passionate coaches who help people and companies work in better ways.

Declan Whelan
Agile Coach

I help teams and organizations expand their technical excellence in ways that work for them.

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We learn the most when things go wrong - leading leaders to #extremeOwnership and #noBlame culture

Beginner Talk

If I had a dolar for every time, I heard a CEO, product owner, scrum master or a manager complaining about their teams not caring enough about projects, other team members and users ...

If I had a dolar for every time, I heard a leader asking for advice on how to stop "blaming games" and "political bureaucracy" in his/her organisation...

We learn a lot about an organisation, its culture, and real values not during the times of enormous profits, successful product deliveries or CEO monthly motivational speeches but during the times of greatest struggles. We learn and find out who the real leaders are in moments when everything goes wrong, and everyone is making excuses and finger-pointing at other members or external factors. No one is to blame, and no one knows whose fault was the latest issue? The horror stories of firing employees on the spot, tearing down teams, bullying and threats are familiar to all of us.

I genuinely believe that it does not have to be this way. I believe that there is a more effective way of leading the organisation, teams, and individuals. We have the most extraordinary opportunity to improve, make an impact and improve when things go wrong.

We just have to change our approach to blame and ownership. Together we will learn how to reconsider your leadership skills and how to use them to accomplish team mission effectively. I want the audience to experience what extreme ownership means for them and what it means to be entirely responsible for all possible outputs. Participate in a challenge to create a team with a #noBlame approach to their mistakes. At the same time develop teams where psychological safety establishes an environment where uncomfortable conversations and creative conflict solutions can thrive.

I want to share impactful lessons learned from building teams and company that tries to behave differently in moments of failure. How we started to appreciate opportunities created by accidentally removing production database, what we learned by forgetting to communicate with each other or follow agreed processes, and what happened when we declined to do a very profitable project. How we are seeing signs of people owning their projects entirely, taking responsibility and changing others around them. How we train leaders on all level of organisation and how we share more and more responsibilities with them. Experience our approach to blame concept and #noBlame culture we champion and value.

Target Audience

Leaders, Executives, Managers, Scrum Master, and Agile coaches

  • Consider what is an impact of poor leadership for organisations and teams
  • Introduce failure as an opportunity to improve
  • Introduce #extremeOwnership concept for leaders
  • Experience a detailed view and practical lessons of leadership effectiveness, dealing with under performers, believing in your mission, leading your subordinates and your bosses and managing your own ego
  • Learn how to grow leadership skills in your organisation and team
  • Introduce #noBlame concept, practical application and impact on culture
  • What to do on Monday on your return to the office?
Learning Outcome

Learn what it means to be an effective leader

Learn how to improve your leadership skills by understanding what extreme ownership and responsibility means

Learn how to embrace and train leadership skills within your organisation and team on all levels.

Learn how to build #noBlame teams that embrace tough conversations, conflicts and failure

Kaminski Pawel


I am an experienced CTO trying to help create startup unicorns while building the most amazing team of people in north India. The idea is to use lean startup methodology to build companies and ToC to build teams.


CTO, Team Leader, Scrum Master and system architect with extensive knowledge of agile process and methodologies. Interested in delivering value to business, integrating different departments personnel into one highly-effective team working towards a common business goal. A good leader who can work strategically in the best interests of the company as a whole.

For last eight years involved in building and managing agile teams. Responsible for recruitment, mentoring and leadership. Enjoy a challenge of creating a technology driven business from early concept to profitability by working with smart, creative people, latest technologies, lean thinking and agile processes.

Over six years Ruby and Ruby on Rails development as a lead software engineer, usability specialist and solution architect.

Entire software development process experience from requirements gathering, choosing suitable technologies and hardware, designing systems architectures, coding, testing, deploying and final solution releases to customers.

My web development portfolio includes working in different industry sectors and company sizes, ranging from a small start-up company (TradePlayer Ltd, ChoiceOdds), to a middle sized well established business (Citysocializer, Codeweavers) to large worldwide companies (MFGlobal) and second biggest business directory in UK (TouchLocal), where I gained a thorough understanding of the different approaches to the software development processes within these different businesses. Currently breaking the rules at uCreate to create a different team constrained only by their own imagination.



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Non-Techies Guide to Agile Engineering Practices - Learn the fun way!

Beginner Workshop

Building the right thing and building it quickly! How about building it the right way?

"Sometimes it pays to stay in bed on Monday, rather than spending the rest of the week debugging Monday’s code.” – Dan Salomon

Is your delivery team delivering Spaghetti code, all complex and tangled up? Want them out of bed on a Monday and working on Lasagna code, all structured, well defined and layered?

Starting out introducing Agile engineering practices is difficult. What is it? Where do you go? How do you start?

In this session Agile Engineering practices, concepts and philosophies will be introduced. Through structured exercises, attendees will demonstrate the following agile engineering practices:

  • Test Driven Development (TDD)
  • Pair Programming
  • Continuous Integration
  • Refactoring

Through this highly interactive hand on workshop, you will learn the concepts and develop an understanding of Agile engineering practices in a playful way without touching a single piece of code.

Target Audience: Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, Executives, Managers, Agile Leaders and Scrum Teams.

Target Audience

Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, Executives, Managers, Agile Leaders and Scrum Teams


Session outline as follows:

The session uses accelerated learning techniques, and is highly interactive, based on the 4C’s approach described in Sharon Bowman’s Training from the Back of the Room. Each Agile Engineering Practice concept will be explained and learnt using the 4C’s approach below:

Connection Activity

  • Participants will be provided a thought-provoking question related to a specific engineering practice and to be discussed in pairs or groups.


  • Introduction into the engineering practice concept and the history e.g. Pair Programming

Concrete Practice

  • The participants will be provided a Lego exercise to be completed in a time boxed specified.


  • Debrief on learnings of the engineering practice concept practiced.
  • Q & A
Learning Outcome
  1. You will be able to explain what Agile engineering practices are.
  2. You will be able demonstrate Agile engineering practices.
  3. You will be able to apply tools and techniques on coaching your organisation on Agile engineering practices.
Sunny Dhillon

Sunny began his career developing software professionally in 2000 working with a start up after graduating in a Masters in Computer Science. In the nearly two decades since, Sunny has developed software in many different industries including investment banking, retail banking, e-commerce and health care.  Major projects have included implementation of PayPal for Best Buy Canada and developing Web & Mobile applications including online banking for 300 Credit Unions across North America.  

In 2007, Sunny began working in an agile team with Scrum and XP practices and has never looked back. These years in agile development provided many experiences creating industry-leading systems by aligning technical expertise with business value through agile practices. In the time since, Sunny has worked with teams as a Scrum Master, Senior manager and Agile Coach at different organizations.

In addition to Agile practices, Sunny has also coached and lead Lean initiatives to help organizations eliminate waste, helping teams to become more productive and delivering more value to customers. Sunny loves to coach and teach both Technical and Business agility principles using the latest Brain Science research to make learning fun, interactive and hands on over traditional PowerPoint slides presentations.

Sunny is a strong believer in continuous learning through reading, experimenting and conversations. He will often been seen at Agile Conferences and currently a organizer and co-facilitator at a number of the Agile Meet Up's in Toronto.

Sunny is Certified Scaled Agile Program Consultant SAFe SPC 4,Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Certified Scrum Professional, Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) and Lean Greenbelt Certified
(Lean Sensei).

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Specification By Example: Why It’s Hard, Why It’s Worth It, and How You Can Get Started

Intermediate Talk

Suppose someone from support drops by your team with a question. No one on the team can remember exactly how that feature from the last release works. The document you created to guide development is out of date. Jira tickets lack detail. The developers start digging into the source code for answers.

There has to be a better way. There is. Itʼs called Specification by Example.

Hear the story of how a sceptical Product Owner and an experienced Agile Developer used Specification by Example to radically increase shared understanding and team collaboration.

In the second part of the session, everyone is invited to use our toolkit to build a plan to introduce Specification by Example to your own team.

Leave empowered to educate your team and others on why and how to get started.

Target Audience

Agile Coaches and Agile Team Members (Product Owners, Testers, and Developers)

  • Introduction and Agenda (5 mins)
  • What is Specification by Example? (10 mins)
    • Relation to the Agile Test Quadrants
    • Adoption according to VersionOne State of Agile Survey
    • Driver for Cross-Functional Team Collaboration
  • Common Blockers to Successful Introduction of Specification by Example (5 mins)
  • Our success story using Specification by Example on our last project (15 mins)
    • Organized as a Timeline
    • Activities that helped our team
    • Resources used
  • Toolkit for participants to start Specification by Example (20 mins)
    • Distribute index cards with Common Blockers, Potential First Steps, and Adoption Milestones.
    • Individuals, pairs, or colleagues use the provided toolkit to build their own plan to start Specification by Example.
  • Close Activity/Share (5 mins)
Learning Outcome
  • Participants will learn what Specification by Example is and how it can help their teams
  • Participants will leave with concrete steps to help their team start implementing Specification by Example to level up their collaboration
  • Participants will be directed to the best resources to help them succeed in implementing Specification by Example
Diana Dickson
Product Manager

I am a Product Manager at Nulogy. 

Alistair McKinnell
Agile Coach / Developer

Alistair McKinnell has been writing software since the days of punch cards. After reading Kent Beck’s Extreme Programming Explained in 1999 he realized he had found his people. These days Alistair works as an Agile developer and Agile Coach at Nulogy. Alistair is a builder: building software, building teams, and building organizations.

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It All Starts with a Question, a Powerful One!

Beginner Workshop

We enjoy having conversations. Who doesn't? We are social animals after all. We like to know more about each other's stories. It is a feature built-in by default. As coaches, it is vital to use this basic instinct to our advantage. The easiest way to influence people is to have a conversation with them. You can use it coaching, mentoring, transformation, or just building a relationship with them. Can you imagine any of the above not to start with a conversation? I can't!

Conversations are two-way streets. The easiest way to have a two-way communication is to ask questions. Questions can be dumb, unrelated, out of ordinary, crazy, or even beautiful. Can they be efficacious too? They can! An excellent communicator knows how and when to use Powerful Questions to make any conversation a mighty one.

Powerful Questions generate curiosity in the listener and stimulate thoughtful conversation. They are usually thought-provoking and challenges the underlying assumptions. Powerful Questions, if asked in the right tone and body language, generates creativity and new possibilities.

Is it hard to ask Powerful questions? It might be. It is not that easy, and indeed not natural for everyone. The good news is that it is something that can be learned, and relatively very easily.

I invite you to join me for a workshop on Powerful Questions. In this workshop, I am going to help you build your muscle to ask more Powerful Questions. I will give you an easy tool to make your questions more powerful, and conversations more enriched. Asking powerful questions will help you build bridges with people, you would become more empathetic with them, and do not be surprised you are going to listen more. Some of the characteristics of a great coach, one might say! Don't you agree?

Target Audience

Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, People Managers, Leaders


Session - Scenario 1 - Demonstrating different Question techniques

There will be scenario simulations. In these scenarios, I am going to ask a volunteer from the audience to have a conversation with. In the first round of conversation, I am going to show the importance of body language. The second round would be about the tone of the question that is being asked. The third round would be about the same scenario but asking a different question. One is a question that starts with Why and is personal. And the other one is a question that starts with What and is going deep. Then I ask him/her to pick which one he/she preferred.

Then I would ask the whole audience to pick one of the questions. By standing to the side of the room that the question is being presented.

Then I am going to talk about the one that most picked is an example of a powerful question.

Section 2 - Powerful Question

Then I am going to ask the audience to go through an exercise defined by Deborah

It has two rounds, one is silent priority ordering and the next round is as a team. Then I do a debrief.

Section 3 - Powerful Questions and its Pyramid

For 10 minutes, I am going to talk about the Question and its power, its different dimensions (scope, construction, and assumptions) and how one can transform a question into a powerful one. Also, will be going to talk about the using of it, and when to use it.

Section 4 - Practice what they learned.

In groups of three, I will ask them to identify themselves as question Asker and storyteller. The storyteller is responsible for telling a story. I am going to introduce them with them pause and rewind coaching technique. The question Askers are going to ask questions. And whenever they have a question to ask, they will pause. Show the question to the other question Asker, and try to make it more powerful. And ask the more powerful question.

Final Debrief

In the final debrief, I am going to summarize what they learned. And how they were able to practice asking powerful questions. Any last minute question will be answered as well.

Learning Outcome

In this session, you would learn
• How to avoid very bad Questions
• What defines a powerful question
• The three dimension of a powerful question (Construction, Scope, and Assumptions)
• how to become self-aware of yourself not asking a powerful question
A practical technique to practice powerful questions (pause and rewind)

Shahin Sheidaei
Agile Coach & Entrepreneur
Elevate Change Inc.

Shahin is the founder and principal coach of Elevate Change Inc. Shahin is passionate to elevate organizations and people to their utmost potential. Offering over 13 years of experience, Shahin has strong expertise in applying Agile and Lean principles to organizational and personal transformations. He has research & development experience, mid-size level engagement, as well as engagement with top names such as TD Bank, Scotiabank, Telus, CBC, and SAP. He heavily believes in the value of communities; In his spare time he leads the Agile Lunch community and advocates others building strong communities.

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