Event Details


We’re excited to be sponsoring the Toronto Agile Tour this year! Several of us will be speaking this year as well.

Timeless Leadership – Jason Little and Adriana Girdler (10:45am – 90 Min Workshop)

In 2001, Agile started as a simple set of 4 values and 12 principles designed to be a guide for delivering solutions to customers. Since then, countless frameworks, tools, certifications, and methods have emerged, with many promising to have the one right approach to make Agile work.

We need servant leadership…no wait, we need emergent leadership…no wait, we need agile management and agile leadership…no wait…

It’s no wonder today’s leaders and managers are confused about how to lead an agile organization. In this session, we’ll explore how to look at your organization through 3 different lenses and apply 4 timeless leadership capabilities used by great leaders from organizations like IDEO, Ford, and Ikea.

Attendees will walk away with a profile that describes their individual leadership style, along with how to know how to balance each of the 4 leadership capabilities that are timeless, tried-and-true, and not rooted in agile buzzwords.

Technical Debt is a Systematic Problem – Declan Whelan and Chris Chapman (1:15pm – 60 Min Talk)

You often hear technical debt described as a personal failing. Why didn’t you code with greater rigor? By creating technical debt, how could you have made life harder on people working in the code? More often than not, technical debt is the result of bigger, systemic problems.

Chances are, you’re not a bad person. You didn’t want this to happen. It’s the system, not you, that’s chiefly responsible.

In this talk, we will present some of the conclusions from the Agile Alliance’s technical debt working group, which has looked into the systemic causes and consequences of technical debt. While marginal amounts of technical debt will always accrue, that does not explain why substantial technical debt is a widespread phenomenon. The organization in which software development teams work is the much bigger culprit. Many systemic causes, such as deadline pressures, under-investment in skills, and even the unwillingness to measure technical debt, conspire to create a growing burden on software professionals, who would otherwise choose not to create this problem if given the opportunity.

Just as technical debt has systemic causes, the real cost of technical debt lies at the system level. The increasing drag on software innovation has effects not just on individual and team productivity, but on the software value stream, the portfolio, and the organization as a whole. Sometimes, the cost is obvious, such as the valuation of a start-up company’s code; other times, the consequences are far more subtle and insidious.

During this session, we will use the language and methods of systems theory to better come to grips with the causes and consequences of technical debt. Don’t worry if systems thinking is unfamiliar — we will cover the basics during the talk. We will also do an exercise in which you will create a simple systems model of your own challenges with technical debt, and discuss how this model should help you shape a plan of action for dealing with technical debt.

Ultimately, the goal of this session is to give you the tools to better deal with technical debt. Rather than blaming individual developers, you will be able to show the systemic sources of technical debt, and assess the relative value of addressing each of them. Rather than depending on technical measures to convey the costs of technical debt, we will help you to put the costs of technical debt in stark business terms.

Patterns of Incremental Architecture – Shawn Button and Chris Gow (2:30pm – 60 Min Talk)

In Agile you should start with the simplest thing that will give you value, and iteratively build on top of that. But how does that work with a Legacy Enterprise Application that everyone is terrified to touch? Or what if we need to build an application that handles millions of transactions a day? How can we make sure that our architecture will meet our needs two years from now, when we don’t know what the application will look like? And how does the process of architecture work in an Agile environment?

Join Chris and Shawn in this interactive session, as they explore these topics. Learn architectural patterns that allow you to evolve your architecture. Examine techniques to help you work with legacy apps and dependencies. Learn how good architecture allows us to manage technical risk. See how business and technical people can work together to build an incremental plan for your product.

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