Written by Lynn Winterboer with contributions from Cher Fox and Katrina Starkweather
I [Lynn] had great experiences at Mile High Agile 2016 and want to share some of the things we learned with you. Once again, there were over 800 in attendance and the conference was abuzz with new and experienced agilists coming together to network and learn.
I came in the night before MHA16 officially started, for the speaker event. While there, Agile Amped Podcasts caught me for an interview. The interview focuses on my Mile High Agile presentation, Test Automation. You can check it out in an earlier blog post: Lynn Talks Test Automation
One of the highlights this year is that members of my growing company also attended Mile High Agile 2016! Katrina Starkweather, my marketing partner, and Cher Fox, our DW/BI partner, joined me for a day of networking and learning.
Here’s an overview of the sessions we attended and what we learned:
Keynote: Jurgen Appelo – Managing for Happiness
Jurgen packed this keynote with Dutch humor, audience participation, and useful tools for guiding teams toward happiness-fueled productivity.
Throughout the keynote, he asked the audience to vote on which aspect of the following three key points he was addressing – and made a data geek like me giggle with his “scientific” estimates of the votes: “I can tell that 37.6% of you agree this is an example of running experiments, not frameworks.”
- Run experiments, not frameworks
- Manage the system, not the people
- Focus on progress, not happiness
Some of the highlights of this session included personal maps, delegation poker, the 12 conscious steps to happiness, merit money, celebration grids, and many international examples.
Years ago I decided to spend the second half of my career only working with agile data teams because I love the data world and I want to see my peers in this amazing industry be happier and more successful. Jurgen’s work highlights key drivers in that life decision!
Jurgen has a number of books on the market and a new one coming out. For those of you new to Jergen’s work, I recommend the book, Management 3.0, and it looks like the new one will be a really useful resource as well.
Scrum Alliance – Coaching Clinic
I spent some time volunteering in the Scrum Alliance-sponsored Coaching Clinic. This is a wonderful resource to conference attendees – free coaching from a variety of experienced Agilists! I met with several people, and some of the interesting challenges we talked through included ScrumMaster career growth, agile testing practices, and the ever-present question about slicing DW/BI user stories into small pieces of value. I always enjoy these conversations and am grateful to participants for bring us their questions and concerns. – Lynn
Bob Galen – Creating Sprint Reviews that Attract, Engage and Enlighten Your Customers
Two things I appreciate in presentations are stories of how a technique or idea worked in ‘real life’ and an easy-to-review-later list of ideas I can leverage going forward. Bob gave us both of those, and I know I will be going back to review the do’s and don’ts of 14 sprint review patterns he’s noticed over the years. – Lynn
From Bob’s presentation, I really understood how important it is to practice, prepare and present your sprint review. It’s a marketing and sales tool that gives your team a chance to tell a story and leave a positive lasting impression. – Katrina
View Bob’s presentation here: Great Sprint Reviews: Patterns for Success
Pradeepa Narayanaswamy – Discover the Power of Pair Testing!
Pradeepa’s session provided deeper insight into the benefits of pair testing. A variety of pair testing combinations can create faster feedback and enhance creativity and learning, while reducing risk. Pairs explored include coder/tester, tester/tester, product owner/anyone, DevOps/agile team, IT/Business and also included stakeholders participating in the driver/navigator experience. – Cher
View Pradeepa’s presentation here: Pair Testing
Richard Lawrence – Finding the First Slice: How to get early value, learning, and risk-mitigation on every project
I wasn’t able to get to this session because I was volunteering in the Coaching Clinic, but I made a point of checking out Richard’s slides after the conference. Richard is well-known for thinking creatively about slicing organizational needs into small pieces of value, and this presentation continues that strength! – Lynn
View Richard’s Presentation here: Finding the First Slice
Mike Cottmeyer – Three Things You Need to Know to Transform Any Sized Organization into an Agile Enterprise
Mike focused, primarily, on one message, the three things he has seen as the most valuable aspects of transformation: You must have 1) a healthy backlog, 2) a healthy team and 3) working tested software to transform an organization into an Agile Enterprise. He said, ‘Anything that gets in the way of forming teams, building backlogs and producing working tested software is an impediment to transformation.’ – Katrina
View Mike’s Presentation here: The Three Things
Lisa Crispin and JoEllen Carter – Agile Testing to Build the Right Thing
I really enjoyed participating in this session. The small group story mapping exercise was collaborative and fun. The example mapping exercise took some rule revisions to master. I found the 7 production dimensions visual and discussion quite interesting and was grateful for Lisa and JoEllen’s insight into defining the differences between these options and requirements. – Cher
View Lisa and JoEllen’s presentation here: Agile Testing
Rachel Weston Rowell and Steve Neely – Improv: The Funny Thing about Agile
Observing this session was a blast! Rachel and Steve lead the room of agilists through team building improvisational exercises that ultimately mirrored how agile teams deal with changes on the fly. These exercises emphasized open, collaborative communication. I most enjoyed the ‘Yes…And’ exercise and have been working to practice it in my daily communications. – Cher
View Rachel and Steve’s presentation here: The Funny Thing About Agile
Brad Ewald and Lynn Winterboer – Test Automation: Agile Enablement for Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Teams
And, yes, Brad Ewald and I got to give a presentation as well. It was such an honor and we were happy to do it. Brad Ewald and I presented, “Test Automation: Agile Enablement for Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Teams” to a full room.
Brad is a data technology leader who has hands-on expertise in data architecture, integration, business intelligence, analytics, and large-scale customer databases. He is the DW/BI Solution Architect at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
The questions and comments from the audience are always an interesting and engaging part of any presentation. Our audience had several good questions, and some additional comments that I’m sure were useful for the whole group! – Lynn
View Brad and Lynn’s presentation here: Test Automation: Agile Enablement for Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Teams
Mile High Agile 2016 was a good investment. We learned a lot from the sessions and the vendors. We also met up with old friends and made new ones. The Agile Denver community is growing and it’s a thrill to be a part of it!