Upcoming Learning Events in Dallas – Dallas TechFest, Certified Agile Leadership class

Dallas TechFest is tomorrow! There is still time to register and get excellent content focused on Modern Architecture, virtual reality and AWS and Azure (http://dallastechfest.com). Plus, an Open Space room to discuss the burning issues YOU want to talk about. Ticket pricing includes full conference, light breakfast and a food truck lunch.

And later in June, Bob Galen will be in Dallas teaching his Certified Agile Leadership class. This is a new class/certification with the Scrum Alliance, and it’s focused solely towards leadership understanding and practice of effective agile principles. The class is scheduled for June 21-23 in Dallas, and there are a few more seats available. More information can be found at http://rgalen.com/cal-certified-agile-leadership


Developing Your Facilitation Skills

I’ve been talking to a number of Scrum Masters recently, specifically about their retrospectives.  They don’t know how to handle the group dynamics comfortably or how to design a fun yet productive meeting or how to deal with the issue that no one wants to bring up.  And as I talk with them about ways to address these, I remember my own path as a Scrum Master and how I grew my facilitation skills: I had experience facilitating meetings from college, I took training workshops after I graduated, and I read and applied what I read intently for each retrospective over a couple of months.  Planning and executing retrospectives became part of my craft, and I am thankful that I learned it because it has paid off tremendously in helping teams and Scrum Masters get better.

If you want to develop your facilitation skills, the Agile Coaching Institute is offering its Agile Facilitator class in Dallas on November 12-13.  It’s a wonderful course that provides techniques and practice–I attended it last year and came away with some new ideas on how to plan meetings that has been really beneficial!  For more information about the course, please visit the Agile Coaching Institute website.

Special Agile Events Coming to Dallas in March 2015

We’ve highlighted some upcoming agile events during our monthly meetups, and I know it can be difficult to remember the details later (especially the URLs).  Information about two special events coming to Dallas in March 2015 is below:

The first event is the Coaching Agile Teams class by the Agile Coaching Institute on March 4-6, 2015.  This three-day class is for experienced Agilists who wish to dramatically increase their overall agile coaching skills, including in the areas of Teaching, Mentoring, Facilitation, and Professional Coaching.  Results in a class certification in Agile Coaching by the International Consortium for Agile within their Agile Facilitation and Coaching track.  Counts as 21 SEUs by the Scrum Alliance.

The second event is Scrum Day for Professionals by Scrum.org on March 27, 2015 at the Addison Conference Center.  Join Scrum.org’s world-class experts for a day of face-to-face learning!  Participate in advanced panel discussions and sessions with experts who’ve been there.  Gain insights into agile practices you can employ immediately, and network with other professionals over complimentary breakfast, lunch, and snacks.  If you have any of the Scrum.org’s Scrum certifications (PSM, PSPO, PSD), you can receive an extra $150.00 discount on your registration fee.


Learning to be a better Facilitator and Coach

Transitioning to agile requires people to work differently and making the transition to become a great Scrum Master or Agile Coach can be difficult.  Attending a Scrum Master class is the beginning of the journey for many.  For those who wish to further their journey and deepen their skills, the Agile Coaching Institute offers intermediate level classes.
I am SUPER-EXCITED to share that Lyssa Adkins and Michael Spayd from the Agile Coaching Institute will be coming to Dallas the week of June 9th offering two of their classes: the 2-day Agile Facilitator and the 3-day Coaching Agile Teams.  You can sign up for one class or both, and registration is online at http://www.agilecoachinginstitute.com/class-schedule/ 
This is an incredible learning opportunity for agile practitioners, and I look forward to attending the classes myself.  The Agile Coaching Institute does offer certifications, which are explained in this video:

About the Agile Facilitator class:
The Agile Facilitator is for experienced Agilists who wish to dramatically increase their facilitation skills in general, especially as applied to Agile ceremonies, collaborative events and other team “moments of truth.” The workshop will focus on professional facilitation skills and techniques as applied specifically within the Agile context.  While mastering facilitation skills in the Agile context will require both time and practice, our class will allow you to:
  • Gain an in-depth and practical understanding of a wide array of techniques practiced by professional facilitators.
  • Understand and practice the art of collaborative meeting design, including the importance of smart preparation that will reduce overall cost and increase the effectiveness of your meetings.
  • Practice techniques for skillfully facilitating core Agile meetings and ceremonies with playfulness and a collaborative spirit, while still focused on key deliverables.
  • Gain rich, well-delivered feedback on your growing facilitation skills
  • Give you ideas for designing meetings in which the team interacts with the team so they can do the heavy-lifting.
  • Understand how to address some of the dysfunctional behaviors you see preventing your team from achieving maximum success.
  • Learn how to define, discuss, and ACHIEVE consensus with the team for faster and better decision making.
  • Come away with your own facilitator self-development plan.
About the Coaching Agile Teams class:
Coaching Agile Teams is for experienced Agilists who wish to dramatically increase their overall agile coaching skills, including in the areas of Teaching, Mentoring, Facilitation, and Professional Coaching. Further, the class covers basics of team dynamics, team startup/reset, the individual change cycle, helping people through agile role transitions, and working with team conflict. The course is highly interactive and experiential. While mastering agile coaching skills will require both time and practice, our class will allow you to:
  • Understand and utilize the four key Skill Areas and four Knowledge Areas applied by the best agile coaches (ACI’s Agile Coaching Competency Framework)
  • Practice techniques for deep listening and asking essential, powerful questions.
  • Practice the distinction between coaching and mentoring and know when to apply each most successfully.
  • Observe a live, professional coaching demo on a situation in the agile context.
  • Understand how to address some of the dysfunctional approaches to conflict  team’s sometimes develop.
  • Understand a model for human change and a method for working with such change
  • You’ll walk away from the course with your personal coaching improvement backlog – a tangible plan you can use to thoughtfully improve your coaching when you’re back on the job.

Upcoming Meeting and Giveaways!

via Kevin Geary

via Kevin Geary

I was fortunate enough to meet Peter Saddington in Nashville at the Agile 2013 conference, and a few of our members and I enjoyed his session on “The Science Behind High-Performance Teams” so much that we invited him to present the same topic to DFW Scrum.  Not only did he say yes, but he’ll be coming to Dallas in person to teach a Certified Scrum Master class and is giving away some goodies to DFW Scrummers!

Peter loves giving away free stuff. He will be giving away:
– Copies of his book The Agile Pocket Guide – http://amzn.com/1118438256
– Apple Gift Cards!
– One lucky winner gets a free pass to his next public Certified ScrumMaster Course in Dallas – A $1300 value!

You can find Peter Saddington in Dallas every other month doing public courses in Dallas. His next courses are October 10/11 and December 5/6 – https://dallas-scrum.eventbrite.com/

EXTRAS for Dallas Scrum Participants:
– All participants in the Dallas Scrum Meetup can get a 40% discount on Dallas Certified ScrumMaster Courses! Type in the code “dallascsm001” in the coupon code field – https://dallas-scrum.eventbrite.com/

Wondering who is this generous guy?

PETER SADDINGTON owns a successful research and analytics consultancy and has been integral in multi-million dollar Agile Transformation projects with some of the biggest Fortune 500 companies, including Cisco, T-Mobile, Capital One, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Primedia, and Cbeyond. He is a sought-after speaker at many industry events and is a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). He has also received three master’s degrees, one of which is in counseling, and provides life-coaching services in addition to his consultancy.

CSM Training in Dallas

I think that our group is a great place to get distilled information on upcoming training for Scrum in DFW. While we may not know all of the training that takes place here, it can be daunting for anyone to find a single place for training opportunities. There are a great network of Scrum Trainers who we have experience with, can recommend, and love to support. They also assist DFW Scrum by providing free seats to our group, which is a really awesome way to kick-start any Scrum training.

In September, Jim Schiel of Artisan Software Consulting will be conducting a CSM class September 26-27th in Irving. Fellowship Technologies has offered to host the event to ensure Jim can provide the training at a great cost coupled with the great experience that Jim brings to the Scrum. Jim was actually my trainer for CSM back in 2008, I still have the notebook where I took notes and his class is still one of the best I have seen for learning Scrum and becoming a great Scrum Master.

Jim is a Certified Scrum Trainer with a strong background in enterprise level Scrum installations and agile development in a regulated environment. He worked at Siemens Health Services for 23 years, where he worked initially as a developer, then as a manager for 16 years, eventually playing a leading role in creating one of the largest Scrum software development implementations in the world. Starting in 2005, Jim pioneered the use of Scrum with his development teams and, as the practice began to spread, took on a coaching role, planning and executing the implementation of Scrum and XP practices across six products, seven development sites, and over 1,200 developers. As a business process engineer at Siemens, he helped identify, document, and implement best practices for the software development that maintained the organization’s ISO-9001 certification and satisfied FDA medical device requirements.

Jim is a “first-generation” Certified Scrum Trainer and has been training Scrum Masters since 2005. He received his initial Scrum Master certification from one of the co-founders of the Scrum method and was also certified as a trainer by the same individual. Jim has taught and coached over 1,000 Scrum Masters, Product Owners, and Scrum Teams from California to Finland since receiving his certification.

Jim is also the author of Enterprise-Scale Agile Software Development, a book that can help many of our larger companies learn to scale Scrum to the enterprise level.

Register here or request more information

The Agile Triangle

Jim Highsmith presented to DFW Scrum on July 26, 2011. We are grateful for his time and energy to come by and educate us on the true Agile Triangle and how to balance cost, scope, and schedule (which he ascertains are actually constraints, not foundational pieces of the Iron Triangle).

At DFW Scrum, we strive to concentrate on various “bands” in Scrum. The process is small and simple, and relatively easy to understand. Doing it… well that is another story altogether. Scrum says “start with a backlog, prioritize it, estimate it, commit to a piece of it in a sprint, deliver potentially shippable product in the end, look back on ways to improve, rinse and repeat”. I also add that our job is to make our organization/customers happy along the way with transparency (which is another post for another time). However, those pieces have logistics all their own and our topics try to focus on each of those pieces to guide us in the actual practice.

Jim Highsmith focused his presentation on value in the backlog. This means trying to ensure the business can actually quantify the user stories in value points against the development teams’ story points (cost). He brought a wide array of knowledge focused primarily on managing the projects (either from a PM or Management/Executive stand point).

One of the great points that stood out for me was the fact that Gantt Charts and traditional project management focused on following the plan with minimal changes while trying to juggle Gantt chart tasks and dependencies against the reality of what is taking place. The Agile leader however focuses on adapting successfully to the inevitable changes and focusing on value to the business over the traditional Iron Triangle notions of Scope, Cost, and Schedule.

Another highlight of his presentation was The Gap’s business value dials (their metrics for measuring their success). These metrics focus as much on quality and software development indices as they do on market value and quantitive measure of how much the feature is bringing to the bottom line. I think businesses need to hold our Product Managers more accountable to the features they are prioritizing by backing those features with quantitative market value points. Jim highlighted that he had come across very few companies who actually do that.

At the request of our group, I have posted Jim’s presentation:

Beyond Scope, Schedule, and Cost (The Agile Triangle)

If you have any further questions, feel free to email them or post them on our discussion board, we will try to get them answered. Our next MeetUp is now scheduled. Come join us Aug 16 at 6:30PM.