15:30 - 17:00 - 90 Minute Sessions

Agile Jesters, Magicians, and Clowns -- Using the unexpected to move mountains and your team**
Adam Weisbart
Room: Oak Alley
Track: Rolling Down the River

Type: Workshop
Level: 2

Scrum is excellent at helping surface team and organizational dysfunction, but dealing with dysfunction can be uncomfortable. As an agilist, how do you help your team work through these newly voiced challenges?
 
Court jesters have a long history of helping give voice to uncomfortable truths, often speaking words that would have others killed. In the 1300's when the French fleet was destroyed by the English at the Battle of Sluys, the French king's jester told him that the English sailors "don't even have the guts to jump into the water like our brave French". This session will help you become an agile jester - speaking difficult truths with humor.
 
During this workshop you'll get hands-on experience using practical tools drawn from improvisational comedy, the art of magic, and clowning. Every agilist should have these tools in their bag of tricks.
 
Introduction [5 mins]
Overview of why having fun during your sprint matters, and how to have more of it.
 
Improv Games [20 mins]
Drawing from the presenter's experience as an Improv player and his work as an Agile Coach and Scrum Trainer, we'll work together in small groups to practice some games and techniques for problem-solving that participants can take back to their teams immediately.
 
Misdirection [20 mins]
Prior to becoming an Agile Coach, the presenter was a professional magician. During this segment of the workshop he'll explain how the art of misdirection can be used to focus teams on the results they'd like to see in the future. Participants will learn a retrospective format that's downright magical.
 
Clowning Around [15 mins]
Joking around is serious business. Jokes are funny because the punchline snaps our minds into a state we did not expect. This juxtaposition can be used to make people laugh, or leveraged to help your team problem solve. During this section of the workshop we'll explore how to help snap our teams into high performance.

**This is a 60 minute session.

Better SAFe Than Sorry: Understand the Strengths and Limitations of the SAFe Framework**
Giora Morein
Room: Elmwood
Track: Lagniappe

Type: Lecture
Level: 2

SAFe can be a powerful tool to help you scale agile faster, easier and smarter but you can also find yourself overwhelmed by the complexity of the framework.This presentation is intended to help guide you on your scaling journey. You will gain an understanding of the most common SAFe pitfalls that you may encounter, as well as address both the strengths and limitations of the framework. This discussion is intended to serve as a fully immersive look into the SAFe framework from the perspective as a transformation expert.

**This is a 60 minute session.

Converting A Successful FBI Program From Waterfall To Agile
Craeg Strong
Room: Belle Chasse
Track: Lagniappe

Type: Lecture
Level: 1

We have heard the reports of unsuccessful programs "rebooted" and rescued through the use of agile software development models.  And there is a wealth of information available on how to institute agile practices such as test automation and refactoring into Greenfield projects.  But what about a highly successful, longstanding, waterfall-based government program with over 2 million lines of code and 15 years of history?   How do you institute DevOps practices on a project that uses 100% Microsoft platforms?  How do you write automate tests and refactor mercilessly on a project where the majority of the business logic is written in SQL?  How do you deliver valuable software when the oversight framework requires you to maintain over 50 separate documents?    How can we institute Scrum while simultaneously undergoing CMMI level 3 Certification?
This experience report describes specific practices that we adopted during our two-year (and counting) experience transforming the FBI CODIS project to Agile.  Many topics will be discussed including sprint length, “technical” sprints, technical user stories, story point budgeting, paying down technical debt, instituting agile practices such as pair programming, responding to unexpected events, and others.  Each practice will be analyzed in terms of the cost versus benefits and when and how it may be most beneficial.  This talk attempts to provide context and insight into when and how specific approaches might provide the most benefit for legacy modernization projects or projects answering to skeptical oversight groups.
 
Target Audience
1. Anyone working with legacy code
2. Anyone working with pre-existing projects
3. Anyone working in large company or govt environment
4. Anyone trying to implement DevOps for Microsoft platforms
5. Anyone working with oversight or other groups that may not have converted to Agile yet

Getting Your Agile Team from Good to Great!
Brad Swanson, David Hawks
Room: Magnolia
Track: Jazzin' It Up

Type: Workshop
Level: 1

Many teams are good at practicing agile. Not many are great at BEING agile. We will explore what holds teams back and techniques to overcome the roadblocks. The speakers will each present a Pecha Kucha talk describing concrete techniques to build a great agile team. Pecha Kucha is a high-energy format where the presenter shows 20 slides advancing automatically every 20 seconds. 
 
In this hands-on workshop, participants will collaborate to identify the characteristics of a great agile team, the biggest challenges they’ve encountered, and identify specific solutions. You will learn techniques to:
* Help your teams become more focused
* Maximize outcomes with the least amount of output
* Raise your team’s level of Craftsmanship
* Emphasize Principles over Practices
* Stop Starting and Start Finishing

Mission Command: Scaling Product Management in an Agile Organization
Sean Dunn
Room: Rosedown
Track: "Throw Me Something Mister!"

Type: Lecture
Level: 2

Medium-to-large organizations with multiple teams, products and portfolios often struggle with how to leverage the power of Agile teams while keeping the organization aligned and moving in a consistent direction. Traditional Product Managers and executives often fall into the trap of controlling portfolios through detailed phase gates, hampering agility and missing fleeting market opportunities. The author asserts that the problems faced by Product Managers are not new -- the military has the same problem, and a 200-year-old solution. The author leverages his 12 years of experience as an Army Officer to explain how the concept of "Mission Command" can be adapted and applied to product management in an Agile organization. The author proposes a "Product Manager's Battle Procedure" that decentralizes control and enables good economic decisions to be made at the lowest levels. He identifies some cultural and structural impediments to be avoided.

Power Games**
Richard Kasperowski
Room: Fountain
Track: Lagniappe

Type: Workshop
Level: 1

Power: it's everywhere. Power is an important cultural dimension, defining how we relate to and interact with each other. What are your organization's power structures? How does it feel to be at the top or at the bottom?
 
We'll explore power relationships using games drawn from Augusto Boal's _Theater of the Oppressed_ and _Games for Actors and Non-Actors_. A series of warm-up activities de-mechanizes participants and opens them up to explore freely. We proceed to a game called Colombian Hypnosis (details below); Colombian Hypnosis lets us explore using power over each other to force someone to act in a manner he didn't anticipate. We culminate with a multitiered variation of Colombian Hypnosis that simulates the power hierarchy of a typical workplace: a CEO at the top hypnotizing (exerting power over) two EVPs, exerting power over four VPs, exerting power over eight directors, exerting power over 16 managers, exerting power over 32 workers, etc., until everyone in the room is engaged in the power structure.
 
After each activity, we discuss how it felt to exert power, how it felt to be powerless, how the activity is similar to your work situation, etc.

**This is a 60 minute session.

The Agile Planning Mindset: estimating and forecasting a release with a real backlog
Peter Green
Room: Melrose
Track: Hop On a Streetcar

Type: Workshop
Level: 1

Relative estimation is a big mindshift for many developers that have been doing time estimates for years (and being repeatedly punished for guessing wrong). Deriving a release plan based on velocity (which is based on those relative size estimates) is an even bigger shift for many Product Owners. This session will walk attendees through a series of quick exercises that, after dozens of iterations with real classes, I have found teach relative estimation in a way that gets developers completely out of the business of mentally converting story points to time and back again to story points to derive their estimates. The key is visual grouping, and attendees will work a realistic product backlog through affinity estimation, planning poker, and release forecasting using velocity. Finally, we simulate actual sprints and talk about what it means to "respond to change over following a plan", with a chance for Q&A about the various techniques and their pros and cons.

Your Stories Are Too Big!
Chris Sims
Room: Jasperwood
Track: "Throw Me Something Mister!"

Type: Workshop
Level: 2

A common problem for scrum teams is user stories that are too big. When a user story is too big, it is harder to understand, estimate, and implement successfully. This experiential session will give you hand-on experience with 4 techniques to split the large stories in your backlog into smaller stories. You will work in small teams to break some big user stories into smaller user stories.