Discuss. Discover. Learn.

Friday, September 9, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center
833 5th Ave
Des Moines IA, 50309

Open Space and mixer to follow at the venue



Brandon Carlson

A self-proclaimed nerd, Brandon Carlson works for Lean TECHniques, Inc., an IT consultancy that helps teams deliver high-value, high-quality products to market. Since starting his career in 1995, Brandon has been blessed with nearly 20 years of experience to remind him how much more there is to learn. Passionate about elevating the performance of the IT industry, he has helped numerous organizations from startups to Fortune 100 companies improve their product development and delivery systems. Brandon’s current interests include behavioral psychology and professionalism in the world of software development. He can be reached on Twitter and pretty much everywhere else on the web as “bcarlso”.

Jason Kline

Jason has over 20 years experience working in the technology industry, and specializes in helping companies continuously deliver value quickly by using Lean|Agile techniques. Currently an Enterprise Agile Coach and Trainer at SolutionsIQ, Jason splits his time between instructing classes, coaching Scrum and Kanban teams, and helping organizations transform. Prior to SolutionsIQ, Jason held engineering and Agile transformational leadership roles at Salesforce, Good Technology, and Nokia.

Jeffrey Davidson

Jeffrey Davidson has been exploring the boundaries of building world-class IT teams through leadership, training, and coaching teams and executives for over 20 years. A recognized expert in building agile software development teams, he has taught thousands and consulted with multiple Fortune 100 corporations. Jeffrey’s ability to blend strategic thinking, powerful questions, and experience makes him a desired coach when companies want to turn theoretical knowledge into real-world application.

Jeffrey’s goal is simple, he wants to help you and your team achieve greatness. Does that sound so hard?

Jodi Jones

Jodi Jones is an agile software delivery consultant and coach for Source Allies. She enjoys working with software development teams, and focuses on improving delivery using agile techniques.

She is a change enthusiast with a passion to make organizations and the community a great place to work for technology professionals. Jodi co-founded both the Des Moines Charity Hackathon and the Des Moines Agile conference, as well as organized internal company hackathons.

When not collaborating with her team, you will probably find her running on local trails or racing in her next marathon.

Kent McDonald

Kent J. McDonald uncovers better ways of delivering value by doing it and helping others do it. His 20 years of experience include work in business analysis, strategic planning, project management, and product development in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, performance marketing, human services, nonprofit, and automotive. He is active in the business analysis and agile software development communities helping people share stories about what does and does not work. He shares those stories at beyondrequirements.com in addition to presenting at and helping organize several local and international conferences.

Kent is author of Beyond Requirements: Analysis with an Agile Mindset, and co-author of Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility.

Joshua Carson

Joshua Carson is the API Evangelist for John Deere. He has worked with software teams for eight years. He focuses on how to learn as quickly as possible, getting different teams required to make software communicate with each other, as well as finding the root causes to whatever happens to be going on.

Joshua has been practicing various forms of Agile development for the past six years. As either a developer, tester, customer support, project manager, or any of the other roles required to make a working product, he has seen a variety of software projects from a variety of different views. He has seen how just getting the right people in the right place can make all the difference. His focus is on getting the people on the ground what they need to get the job done with as little overhead as possible.

Julie Chickering

Julie Chickering, Agile Advisor & Strategic Solutions Consultant, Agile Coach, Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), Certified Scaled Agile Program Consultant (SAFe® SPC), PMP, PMI-ACP, Accredited Kanban Trainer (AKT)

Julie believes that Agile practices are packed with potential — to enable business agility, and breakthrough results. A passion to empower customers to realize that potential is what brought her to Rally in 2008. She’s amassed a strong track record of helping organizations of all sizes in various industries successfully execute Agile transformations. Julie brings real-world experience working with people at all levels — executive, program, and team — to adopt and roll out realistic Agile strategies organization-wide.

Julie Urban

Julie has over 30 years in Enterprise Software and is an experienced leader of high tech development teams, a former Director of Engineering, and a joint inventor on 5 patents. She is knowledgeable in all aspects of development and delivery, agile methodologies, coaching, and collaborative leadership. She is committed to diversity with a focus on supporting Women in Technology and encouraging girls to embrace STEM. Currently at Veritas in role of Agile Transformation Coach, Scrum Master, and practitioner in the Agile Practice Group.

Keith Dahlby

Keith Dahlby is a father, web developer, Git enthusiast, language geek and seven-time C# MVP from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. By day he is CTO of HuBoard and Architect for the New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative; by night he once blogged with Los Techies, but now mostly argues on Twitter. His open source efforts include posh-git, a Git environment for PowerShell; and up-for-grabs.net, a site featuring open source projects looking to mentor new contributors. He's also a core contributor to LibGit2Sharp, used by GitHub for Windows and Git for Visual Studio. Keith studied Computer Engineering and Human-Computer Interaction at Iowa State University, and has spoken at developer events around the world. His talks have been described as "terrific!", "very interactive!", and "the best I've seen all hour!”.

Llewelyn Falco

Llewellyn Falco is an independent agile coach. He is a PluralSight author, international speaker and the creator of the open source testing tool ApprovalTests( www.approvaltests.com ). He spends most of his time programming in Java and C# specializing in improving legacy code. He also volunteers creating courseware and teaching kids to program ( www.teachingkidsprogramming.org ).

Matt Heusser

As the Managing Director of Excelon Development, Matt Heusser, consults, trains, and does software delivery while helping others do it. Probably best known for his writing, Matt is the lead editor of "How to Reduce The Cost of Software Testing" (Taylor and Francis, 2011), editor for Stickyminds.com, and recipient of the 2015 Most Popular Online Contributor to Agile at the Agile Awards. A 2014 recipient of the Most Influential Agile Test Professional Person Award (MAITPP) in Potsdam, Germany, Matt also served as the lead organizer of theSoftware Testing World Cup. He is a former of the board of directors of the Association for Software Testing and creator ofLean Software Testing family of methods.

Melissa Perri

Melissa Perri is a product consultant and speaker based in New York City. As the CEO of ProdUX Labs, Melissa does strategy and training for product management teams globally. As a practitioner and a coach, Melissa enjoys finding the best processes for her clients while tackling their toughest product problems with the team. She is currently writing a book called “The Build Trap” and launching a product management school online.

Nivia Henry

Scott Sehlhorst

Scott Sehlhorst is a product management and strategy consultant, who has been consulting in the high tech product space since 1997, first as a programmer, then analyst, and as the founder of Tyner Blain since 2005. Scott has helped companies from startup to some of the largest companies in the world; from a team launching at SxSW to mobile platform to global eCommerce systems. Scott often helps companies evolve as their development teams go agile. Scott is always helping companies discover and define the right products for their markets and strategies. Before getting into the software world, Scott was an electro-mechanical design engineer, with a BSME from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA.

Tim Gifford

Tim Gifford is a software delivery consultant specializing in Extreme Programming, Lean, Agile and DevOps. He has been producing software with teams for over 20 years. He’s been involved in projects ranging from small websites to scaled Agile adoptions at Fortune 100 companies. In 2001, he created one of the first social networking sites without realizing it.

As a Software Delivery Coach, Tim Gifford works with companies to transform their software from a liability and cost center to an asset and competitive advantage.

Tim Ottinger

Tim is a long-time programmer (since 1979), reviewer, speaker, writer. He has been active in many of the big changes in software over the past 36 years (including Design Patterns, Object-Oriented Design, and Agile software development).

In addition to his contributions in "Clean Code" and "Agile In A Flash", Tim's articles appeared in the C++ Journal, Pragmatic Bookshelf, InfoQ, CIO, and SmartBear.

Tim is one of the crew of experts at Industrial Logic, a premier agile consultancy, eLearning vendor, and thought leader. Here he joins with other industry experts to help people develop the skills that will make them awesome.

Tim muses about of his experiences and ideas on the Agile Otter blog and the Industrial Logic company blog.


Jason Kline

10 Surefire ways to kill your Agile Transformation

No one sets out to fail when they embark upon an Agile transformational journey. Far too often however, the same failure patterns are visible, especially to practitioners who work with many organizations. In this interactive session, we will discuss the top ten most common anti-patterns that threaten the success of enterprise Agility. We will also generate insights about the root causes - why these patterns emerge over and over again. Following our session, you'll have the knowledge you'll need to diagnose these patterns, and some strategies for avoiding these ten mistakes you shouldn’t make.

Jeffrey Davidson

Fast Food vs. Homemade Agile: Uncovering Better Ways To Deliver Software

Are you hungry? Eat this pre-processed, fast food hamburger!
Still hungry? Add a large order of French Fries!

New to iterative software? Use Scrum!
Tired of Scrum? Use Kanban!
Got lots of teams? Use SAFe!

We know a healthy diet values natural foods over the simplicity and ease of fast food. Similarly, many agile techniques are much more valuable than the simple, fast food version of software development everyone is teaching.

Over the last 15 years we started relying on other people's best practices instead of developing better ways of delivering software. We are using solutions developed for a different team, in a different decade, in a different company, in a different industry. There is such a rich tapestry of ways to build software and we are stuck eating software's version of fast food.

This interactive session discusses a bunch of different Agile techniques and when they are useful. Then we will look at just how different agile might be if we picked only the most appropriate items. Lastly, you will work with a few peers to determine if you need to swap a few techniques, or even build a personalized version of Agile, specially designed to help with your situation.

Jodi Jones

Kent McDonald

What do Scrum Masters Really Do? And Do We Need Them?

The Scrum Master role is a foundational concept of Scrum, yet like everything else, the role and it’s value should not be fixed. As with everything else related to agile, the nature of the Scrum Master role, and whether it is needed or all, depends a great deal on context. As teams discover this, it leads to some common questions:

  • What do Scrum Masters Really Do?
  • Do we even need Scrum Masters?

  • Join Jodi and Kent as we examine the Scrum Master role and attempt to answer the above questions. We’ll share our experiences and give you a chance to share your perspectives with each other. By the end of the session, you'll have more insight into the Scrum Master role and how it applies (or not) to your situation.

    After all, the only consistent answer to the above questions is “it depends”.

    Joshua Carson

    Demos that Don't Suck

    Are you dreading your demo days? Have you seen more slides about 'working' software than you thought possible? Is everyone just checking their emails?

    Demos can and should be a valuable part of your projects feedback loop. They can let you know when you've discovered something great. They can let you know when you went too far into a bad idea. They can let you know just how far away you might be from something your customers need.

    How often are demos something that add all that value? What about even adding any value? This session will give you the tools you need to make demos that don't suck. Learn how to spot bad demos, what key things you need in your demos, and even a bit about how to make demos that can wow your stakeholders.

    Julie Chickering

    Modernizing Agile

    We are not practicing the same Agile we did 15 years ago. Agile at scale is mainstream. Thousands of companies are actively seeking information on how to scale agile effectively. There are many frameworks and techniques but they all boil down to a set of common principles. Agile done well involves teams, programs and portfolios in a way that aligns strategy and execution. It's important to apply a proper team foundation to build things right but without agile applied at the program and portfolio level all we may end up with is the wrong things built faster. In this talk Julie will discuss how to effectively apply Agile to your portfolios and programs to ensure you are also building the right things. Learn to create value, not just process.

    Julie Urban

    How Our Leaders Transformed to Lead Agile (or How I Learned to Shut Up…)

    One of the major success factors in an agile transformation is helping teams take ownership: the teams own the solution. This requires Leaders learning how and when to step back (and when to step up.)

    The Veritas NetBackup organization has tried agile transformations three times in the last seven years with the first two not succeeding and the third one going much better. The key difference has been the transformation of the Leaders to help teams take ownership as opposed to focusing only on the scrum artifacts and ceremonies. Moving from managers to Leaders is not an easy task. How did these Leaders learn? What did they learn? Join us to hear about NetBackup’s transformation story and some of the concepts and techniques that made the difference such as learning to be an enabler, how to ask questions and not give answers, and other tools.

    Keith Dahlby

    All Teams Are Distributed

    We hear it all the time: face-to-face communication is best. Co-located teams are more collaborative, more productive, more manageable. Pair programming is more efficient than code review. Mob programming—literally the whole team around one screen—may be even more efficient. This session won't try to argue that these statements aren't true in the moment, but rather that these optimizations achieve a local maximum. We will explore the limitations of co-location, and discuss distributed communication patterns that can help even mostly co-located teams achieve their global maximum.

    Llewelyn Falco

    Knowing what bad code looks like

    You don’t need to be a mechanic to know something is wrong with your car. And you don’t need to be a programmer to know if something is wrong with the code.

    This session will focus on training you to have a ‘sense of smell’ for bad code. So you can increase the serendipity in your explorations by having insights into which sections of code are particularly error prone.

    Let’s take a look at how quickly we can instill some design sense into fresh minds using Sparrow Decks. Sparrow decks are a rapid succession of 50-100 examples in a 3 minute burst. They allow the pattern recognition portion of the brain to spring in gear and do what it does best.

    Matt Heusser

    Agile-Test Evolution: Changing Test Strategy Over Time

    After years of consulting and conferring with teams from Activate to Zappos, Matt Heusser has seen more that how teams test - he has seen how test strategy changes over time to support more ambitious development approaches.

    That vantage point gave Matt the opportunity to put together a playbook - a guide to the recurring patterns of success, and failure, that he has for teams on the page of continuous improvement. Teams that moved from heavily documented process to light, to executable examples and exploration, and, for some, one-piece flow and continuous delivery tend to experiment with technique — some techniques seem to work, and others, not so much.

    Come benefit from the experience of others as we discuss a move to a fluency model for Agile-Testing, with real examples. Take home ways your team might evolve … and perhaps a few things to avoid.

    Melissa Perri

    Designed to Learn

    Over the past few years there’s been a push in the product development world to “make products that people love”. While many companies focus on having the best design and the greatest experience, they are still missing the most important step in product development – learning about their customers.

    The popularity of Agile and Lean has sparked discussions about getting software out faster to users. At the core of this has been the Minimum Viable Product. Unfortunately, many people still do not understand the MVP. Some see it as a way to release a product faster. Others are scared of it, viewing it as a way to put broken code on your site and ruin products.

    The sole purpose of Minimum Viable Product is to learn about your customers. This step that has been so overlooked and yet it is the most essential part to creating a product your customers will love. The more information you can uncover through experimentation, the more certainty there is about building the right thing. In this talk, Melissa will go over how to design the most effective product experimentations to learn about your customer, their problems, and how to solve them. She’ll explain how to get the rest of the organization on board with this method of testing, and how to incorporate it into overall Product Strategy.

    Key Learnings
    What are the misconceptions of an MVP
    What the goal of an MVP really is
    How to do effective product experimentation
    How product leaders need to change their styles to coach experimental teams

    Scott Sehlhorst

    Problem Framing and Characterization

    As agile product managers, two of our challenges are to make good decisions around what is genuinely "good enough" for an MVP, and how to incrementally deliver a progressively "better" product. It is rarely as simple as 'this feature, followed by that feature." More commonly, the need is to deliver progressively better versions of solutions to particular problems. How do you know which problems are "must have" problems, and which are problems where incremental improvement makes sense? Then overlay this from a perspective of knowing what your market requires and what may differentiate your product from your competitors.

    Tim Ottinger

    Intro to 4 Values of Modern Agile

    We have at the seen teams evolve in line with original agile principles and modern technologies to be more exciting, more capable, more helpful, and ever more lean.

    At the same time, other organizations have evolved their agile practice away from the original values and principles through a series of compromises, until it has become a lifeless set of formalities.

    We realized that the most deeply, impressively agile teams we know seem to have connected on four values.

    They make people awesome, deliver value continuously, and experiment and learn rapidly. These challenging changes are only possible because of the safety that permeates their practices and culture.

    Come for a re-think of agility and a challenge that may transform your experience of software development.