Laura Howley



Location: Portland, OR


Certified Scrum Product Owner
Certified ScrumMaster

Groups I belong to

Portland Agile and Scrum Group


Laura Howley rated the article, "Instinctual Drift"


Laura Howley is a Certified ScrumMaster and Product Owner with the Scrum Alliance and has been actively practicing Scrum for over six years. At Agilex she works with a range of clients at both state and federal governments, helping build Scrum teams and coach organizations to healthy agile practices and then scale those practices across the enterprise.

Laura comes from a project management background in publishing and marketing at web startups and the fortune 100 bank, JPMorganChase. She was introduced to Scrum in 2007 at Danube Technologies and was profoundly moved by its effectiveness, its simplicity and its attention to the people elements of project management. In practice, she couldn't imagine a better way of working. Danube incorporated the principles and practices of Scrum into all elements of its operations from software development to sales. Learning from the practices that were so successful at Danube (acquired by CollabNet in 2010), Laura now helps other organizations transform their workplaces into fully Agile operations. Laura is especially interested in working with organizations that desire to spread Agile practices beyond software development, creating purposeful, effective and successful organizations in which autonomy, purpose, delivery and a welcome attitude toward change are valued across the entire organization. 


Work experience

Agilex, Agile Coach
December 2012 - Present, Chantilly, VA, United States
Agile Coach for clients in the government sector. Currently working with a team of Agile Coaches at a State agency, focusing on implementing continuous improvement practices at the portfolio level.

CollabNet, Agile Coach
December 2011 - December 2012, Portland, OR, United States
I develop and deliver comprehensive training sessions that educate customers on agile values and practices. I listen to the myriad questions customers raise about how to enact agile practices and help guide them to a potential starting point for implementing Scrum. I find Scrum to be the most effective pathway for teams and organizations to discover and benefit from agile practices. My approach to Scrum is to present it as a framework to problem-solve, rather than manage. I teach the concept of embracing agile values as the goal to an agile transformation, rather than a perfect implementation of process. Full-time Scrum Team Member since joining the CollabNet Training team in 2011.

Danube, Account Manager Sales and Services
September 2007 - December 2011, Portland, Oregon, United States
My role, at Danube (acquired by CollabNet in Feb. 2011) included both selling our agile tool, ScrumWorks Pro and selling our Scrum training services. In both capacities I learned why agile, how agile and most importantly, how NOT to “go agile.” In my four years in this role, I talked with customers all over the map, from household names in the technology business, to start-ups, government agencies , web service companies and even manufacturing. I learned that every company, large or small, has more in common than they are unique. I learned that organizational problems primarily stem from people problems. I learned that people’s behavior has more impact on a project’s success than any technical difficulty currently surrounding the problem. After spending hundreds of hours on the phone and in-person with prospective and existing clients, I learned that agile is mainstream and has become a worldwide business objective, but companies have no idea how to get there. I had the opportunity to witness true agile success and serious failure at all kinds of organizations. I learned what works and what doesn’t. Commitment to change is key. Danube implemented Scrum in every aspect of the company, from the development team to the sales team. As a sales team member, we worked in 1-week sprints, in which sales initiatives were written as user stories and maintained in a backlog, managed by our Product Owner. We agreed that 50% of our time would be allocated to unforeseen customer needs and client research each sprint. We knew from the outset that opportunities and interruptions would be a significant aspect of every sprint. We also knew that if we didn’t spend time examining our practices and customer interactions we wouldn’t grow as a company. We held team retrospectives every week, and longer retrospectives with business stakeholders, quarterly to examine direction. The sales team regularly attended the development team's sprint review's in order to share feedback we heard from customers. Full time Scrum Team Member for 4 years.

JPMorgan Chase, Project Manager - Jumbo Lending Marketing
May 2002 - September 2007, Portland, Oregon, United States
Project Manager for large-size lending (Jumbo) group serving Oregon and Washington. I developed and executed marketing initiatives to capitalize on a growing network of clients in need of large-lending services in the area. Planned initiatives and negotiated budgets between the VP in Oregon and headquarters in New York. Implemented several online marketing initiatives (email newsletters, landing pages, banner ads, etc.) increasing web presence from essentially zero web representation in the area in 2002 to a significant increase in search results., Project Manager, Assistant Website Producer
January 1998 - April 2001, Portland, Oregon, United States
Responsible for creating web content for a financial research start-up, that had been successful in print publication and was looking to expand reach. I managed projects that turned existing material into categories of educational content customers could access online. I researched and wrote original content for the website and eventually moved to the web production team, responsible for creating and posting banner ads, creating the weekly newsletter and managing the database of recipients. True to start-up nature, I also assisted production of the weekly radio program, conducting customer interviews, editing clips and posting radio content on the website.