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2020 Events

National Small Business Federal Contracting Summit

Ariel Partners is very proud to have participated in the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce Small Business Summit at the US Senate Finance Committee Hearing Room. Senator Wyden of Oregon explained some new tax incentives that will help promote new Woman Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) and help them grow! #wosb #taxes #smallbusiness

National Small Business Federal Contracting Summit
Agile Governance and Oversight at Scale

Traditional duties of IT governance and oversight include auditing timely completion of milestones and phase gates and tracking progress versus spend. They place heavy emphasis on correctness and completeness of documentation, managing risks and tracking metrics such as earned value and escaped defect counts. With the adoption of agile methods comes the need to adjust governance and oversight accordingly. But what does agile governance look like? How does it differ from traditional governance? We will show that, in fact, agile methods offer governance and oversight a wealth of new tools and capabilities, enabling a more proactive and collaborative approach—which could ultimately lead to improved outcomes.

Our Presentation

We will briefly cover some recommendations for governance and oversight in each of the following key areas: scoping and planning, risk and stakeholder management, staffing, progress tracking, product design and build quality. Agile projects perform “rolling wave” planning, where business needs are fully elaborated just in time before they are implemented to minimize waste. On the other hand, agile projects must provide roadmaps and forecasts that enable their organizations to schedule and budget efforts, sometimes years in advance. Oversight bodies should ensure that such forecasts are based on sound statistical techniques (i.e. Monte Carlo simulations) and are updated regularly with the arrival of new data. Instead of synthetic quantities like story points, oversight groups should focus on real-world metrics like throughput, cycle time, and work in progress across the entire project, as well as on a per-team level. Oversight should look for early warning signs like working on too many items in parallel, assigning “stretch goals” for product releases, or lack of any formal mechanism to manage cross-team dependencies. We will cover examples that illustrate how agile methods enable a more proactive, collaborative, and ultimately more effective approach to governance and oversight.

Location: 650 Massachusetts Avenue NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC, Conference Room 3212.

Let’s do Agile Transformations the Agile Way

Have you seen or experienced agile transformations that were planned long-term, start-to-finish, and possibly with a plan? Maybe you have also seen agile transformations being “rolled-out”, top-down? How about agile transformations that focused on only on one aspect of agile, for example time to market? If so, you are not alone.

Why do so many organizations plan agile transformations in a traditional project management approach if the desired outcome should be agile? How can we expect teams to be feel empowered and self-organized if a specific version of agile is being dictated? Why are so many agile transformation challenged or have failed? Maybe because of exactly that.

Let’s talk about a practice to change that and introduce agility to a process that transforms organizations to agile. A practice that is called the Agile Transformation Kata. Let’s walk through the Kata together and see why transformations are never really complete, value driven and uses servant leadership as management style. While talking about the Kata, we will keep a close eye on the role of the Agile Transformation Coach.

Speaker: Jochen (Joe) Krebs

Jochen (Joe) Krebs is a Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) and an Agile Coach with Incrementor. Joe has delivered Scrum courses and workshops for over 10 years to thousands of participants world-wide. He is the author of the book Agile Portfolio Management and produced the Agile Transformation Kata. He had hundreds of guests on his podcast Agile.FM over the past years . As a coach, Joe has led several large organizations and start-up’s alike through a successful agile transformation using Scrum. Joe also launched a brand new certification program in the agile community called the “Certified Agile Transformation Coach – C-ATC).

2019 Events

Nov 14

Agile Day NYC
2019 Conference
Times Square, NYC

Now You See It! Observing Flow Using Kanban Boards

This two-part interactive workshop begins with a look at how to interpret Kanban boards and ask thoughtful questions so that you can improve the work of your teams. I will briefly review the Kanban Method, provide a few example boards and then proceed through a series of several short exercises that will give you an opportunity to review and interpret various Kanban board configurations with other attendees at your table.

Part two of the session puts the attendees in the driver’s seat to create their own board configurations. I will provide several business scenario exercises and ask the attendees how they would go about configuring their Kanban board given the unique system constraints for each scenario. We will start with a team-level board, then a multi-team board, and finally a strategic portfolio board.

Speaker: Craeg Strong

Craeg Strong is the CTO of Ariel Partners, a small IT consulting company based in Times Square. He is currently teaching public Kanban classes and coaching teams to adopt and mature Agile/Kanban practices in the NYC area. He has 25 years of experience in information technology, starting at Project Athena during his undergraduate studies at MIT. Mr. Strong has successfully instituted Agile and DevOps practices on large and complex commercial and government software projects, helping them to obtain new capabilities and realize significant cost efficiencies.

Mr. Strong leverages his experience as a hands-on software architect, trainer and agile coach to help remove the barriers that prevent organizations from adopting new technologies– such as cloud. Mr. Strong led a successful transformation of a major FBI Criminal justice program from a traditional waterfall lifecycle and manual intensive processes to lighter weight agile processes and full DevOps automation.

Agile Team Strategic Portfolio & Resource Mgmt: demo of a real working solution

Guillaume Marceau will present his innovative solution to portfolio and resource management: firepower. With firepower, Guillaume is able to allocate multiple resources across dozens of ongoing parallel initiatives, while avoiding over-committing and preserving the ability to adjust each week. Firepower enables IT to provide full visibility into the way IT resources are being allocated, so we can be sure that what we are doing matches the strategic business goals. Firepower runs on top of JIRA, and incorporates daily statistics so we know what people _actually_ worked on as opposed to what we planned to work on. At BrightPower, firepower has transformed the conversation between business and IT, helping to set expectations and enable IT and business to engage in meaningful strategic dialog. Firepower sharpened everyone’s perception and enabled them to focus on the most important initiatives. It communicates in a simple and visceral way how our limited IT resources are deployed, and the fact that adding another active task has to be balanced with reducing efforts elsewhere or adding capability.

We are super excited to see Guillaume demonstrate this solution, because too many times we have seen and lived the alternatives.

It doesn’t matter how agile specific teams are if management keeps jamming too much work into the system, they will not be effective they will spend too much time task switching. Also it doesn’t matter how reliably and with quality teams deliver software; if the expectations of management are so far out of line, they will still be perceived as not delivering.

Speaker: Guillaume Marceau

Since 2017, Guillaume Marceau has managed the software development team at Bright Power. He has succeeded at transforming teams into high performance, joyful engineering cultures that develop ground-breaking high-tech software, correct their course based on new data, and ship on time.

Prior to joining Bright Power, Guillaume served in technical leadership for different high-tech startups in New York and San Francisco: at Body Labs, Inc, using deep learning and body models, at Stellar using an energy efficient blockchain algorithm, and at Sefaira deploying Scala to bring building energy analysis to scale. Guillaume received the Best-Paper Award from the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) in 2011 and the Best-Paper Award from the Automated Software Engineering Journal in 2006. He participated in scientific research across many topics, ranging from securing the Linux kernel to bringing insights from signal processing to web programs, and on how to best teach programming.

Oct 4

Agile Camp NYC
2019 Conference
Jersey City, NJ

AgileCamp NYC: Now You See It! Observing Flow Using Kanban Boards

This two-part interactive workshop begins with a look at how to interpret Kanban boards and ask thoughtful questions so that you can improve the work of your teams. I will briefly review the Kanban Method, provide a few example boards and then proceed through a series of several short exercises that will give you an opportunity to review and interpret various Kanban board configurations with other attendees at your table.

Part two of the session puts the attendees in the driver’s seat to create their own board configurations. I will provide several business scenario exercises and ask the attendees how they would go about configuring their Kanban board given the unique system constraints for each scenario. We will start with a team-level board, then a multi-team board, and finally a strategic portfolio board.

Speaker: Craeg Strong

Craeg Strong is the CTO of Ariel Partners, a small IT consulting company based in Times Square. He is currently teaching public Kanban classes and coaching teams to adopt and mature Agile/Kanban practices in the NYC area. He has 25 years of experience in information technology, starting at Project Athena during his undergraduate studies at MIT. Mr. Strong has successfully instituted Agile and DevOps practices on large and complex commercial and government software projects, helping them to obtain new capabilities and realize significant cost efficiencies.

Mr. Strong leverages his experience as a hands-on software architect, trainer and agile coach to help remove the barriers that prevent organizations from adopting new technologies– such as cloud. Mr. Strong led a successful transformation of a major FBI Criminal justice program from a traditional waterfall lifecycle and manual intensive processes to lighter weight agile processes and full DevOps automation.

Sept 23

2019 AgileDC Conference
Washington, DC

Kanban Antipatterns: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

​This two-part interactive workshop begins with a detailed look at how to

In this interactive workshop we will examine multiple examples of Antipatterns observed in real-world Kanban boards. In each case we will identify the issues and discuss ways to improve the situation. We will review a number of better alternatives and see how the improvements map to the core principles of Kanban such as visualization, managing flow, and making policies explicit. Brand new to Kanban? Learning by example is a great way to get started! A long-time Kanban veteran? Come to see how many antipatterns you recognize and help firm up our Kanban Antipattern taxonomy and nomenclature!

Kanban is an extremely versatile and effective Agile method that has seen significant growth in popularity over recent years. Kanban’s flexibility has led to widespread adoption to manage business processes in disparate contexts such as HR, loan processing, drug discovery, and insurance underwriting, in addition to Information Technology. Like snowflakes, no two Kanban boards are alike. The downside to this flexibility is there is no well-known and easily accessible library of patterns for designing effective Kanban boards. Like Apollo engineers, teams are expected to design their board starting from first principles. Unfortunately, sometimes teams get stuck with board designs that may not provide the visibility and insight into their workflow they hope to see. Worse, some designs actually may serve only to obscure the situation. Working within the limitations of an electronic board can exacerbate the problem even further. Is all hope lost? Certainly not!

Let’s learn more about effective Kanban system design by examining what to avoid and why. Learning by example is effective and fun!

Humanizing Human Services with Technology and Innovation + YUMMY FOOD

For decades, the homeless crisis in major US cities has continued to worsen. Major US metropolitan areas now provide shelter for tens of thousands of vulnerable inhabitants every night. How can technology help “turn the tide” and improve this situation? Come listen to a fascinating case study about IT transformation at a major US municipal social services agency to better serve the needs of its most vulnerable citizens and help get them back on track. Utilizing agile, rapid application development and human centered design, the team developed solutions that have already had an immediate impact for the city and its citizens. Join us to learn how the team went from ideation to prototype to rollout of technologies in weeks instead of years—and discuss the lessons to be learned from this story of digital transformation.

Speaker: Michael J. Jabbour, DACM

Cynefin & Complexity: A Gentle Introduction

What do we really mean when we say that a problem is “complex”? Do we simply mean to say that a given problem is extremely complicated, or are complex problems something fundamentally different? We typically assume we are operating in a deterministic, ordered system where we can identify a cause and effect relationship, when in actuality we are often operating in a non-deterministic complex system, where these relationships can not be known in advance, if at all. How can we sense which context we are operating in and how might we act under varying degrees of uncertainty.

Complexity Theory is a term used to describe a field that is focused on the study of complex systems. Complexity science is not a single theory— it encompasses multiple theoretical frameworks, seeking answers to some of the fundamental questions about continuously changing, dynamic systems.

Cynefin is a framework developed by Dave Snowden and Cognitive Edge which seeks to help us “make sense of the world, such that we can act in it”. By understanding the fundamental differences between directed (ordered) systems and emergent (unordered) systems, we can modify our approach to match the context of the problem we are facing. The Cynefin framework takes a science-based approach to dealing with critical business issues, drawing from anthropology, neuroscience, and complex adaptive systems theory to improve decision making.

Complexity Theory and Cynefin have an undeserved reputation for being difficult to grasp. In this introductory talk, we will break down these approaches so that we can effectively use them to help us to better act under conditions of uncertainty.

Speaker: Jocko Selberg

Jocko Selberg is currently a Lean-Agile Coach with nearly 20 years experience in the industry. He is the co-founder of the NYC Complexity and Cynefin meetup.

Different Kanban Board Designs Can Drive Different Behaviors

This two-part interactive workshop begins with a detailed look at how to interpret Kanban boards and ask thoughtful questions so that you can improve the work of your teams. We will provide an overview of the Kanban Method and then proceed through a series of several short exercises that will give you an opportunity to review and interpret various Kanban board configurations with other attendees at your table.

After a short break, part two of the session now puts the attendees in the driver’s seat to create their own board configurations. We provide several business scenario exercises and ask the attendees how they would go about configuring their Kanban board given the unique system constraints for each scenario.

For those who attended our session at LKNA 2018 (Kanban in Action), this session is similar but with new content and updated examples. For those new to the session, come join us for a fun and interactive workshop where you get to explore Kanban designs in various contexts!

Speaker: Mark Grove

Mark Grove is an agile coach and Management Consultant with Excella Consulting and an ICAgile Authorized Trainer and Lean Kanban University Accredited Kanban Trainer (AKT). He coaches individuals and teams to continuously deliver value to the customer by embracing an Agile mindset while maximizing business performance and team potential. He provides coaching and facilitation expertise on a variety of Agile topics as well as creates and delivers training on a broad range of Agile subjects. Mark holds a Master’s degree in Information Systems and multiple Agile certifications from various certifying organizations.

Apr 9

XP/Agile Meetup
NYC

From Chaos to Collaboration: Inviting Leaders to Adopt Kanban

Agile adoptions are failing at a higher rate more than ever. Industry experience reports indicate that culture change is a major impediment for new ways of working to be accepted and creating a safe environment for sustainability. Many major consulting organizations are mandating and pushing bad practices on people instead of meeting stakeholders where they are at and inviting everyone to an alternative approach to cultural agility. As agile leaders of a global coaching team, we were responsible for a strategy to train and coach a large enterprise infrastructure and operations group to adopt a new agile way of working. In a little over a year, our global enterprise agile coaching team successfully championed and executed the use of the Kanban Method where the nature of the work was on-demand and transactional in nature. We will share our experiences inviting leadership to consider the new approach, how we co-created the strategy, launched the teams, organized an engaged community of practice, and created a safe space for experimentation, learning, and innovation to grow. The achieved outcomes focused on eliminating manual handoffs and dependencies, improving cycle and lead times, and drastically reducing demand for a sustainable and enjoyable flow of work.

Speaker: Tim Stadinski

Tim Stadinski is an agile leader with 24 years of digital entrepreneurial experience partnering with leaders at all levels focused on increasing employee engagement to implement cultural agility and continuous improvement in organizations. He started his career as a software engineer working for startups in the 90’s and was inspecting and adapting before we called it agile. He has diverse experience in Startups, Automotive, Renewable Energy, Insurance, Music, Publishing, Environmental, Education, Sports, Healthcare, Human Capital Management, Finance, and Internet markets. For the past 10 years, he has been working as an enthusiastic change agent who thrives in environments of ambiguity and uncertainty and passionately believes in a pragmatic, methodology agnostic, learn-by-doing invitational approach to sustain continuous learning and improvements in organizations.

March 26

XP/Agile Meetup
NYC

XSCALE – Descaling Transformation with XP + PIZZA!

Only 4% of agilists say Agile adapts to changing market conditions in the 2018 State Of Agile survey. Four Percent. And that’s the largest and longest running survey in the agile world. If XP embraces change, and 98% of agilists in the same survey say agile benefits them at a team level, the problem here is Scaling.

Scaling violates YAGNI, disconnects business and tech from customers, and destroys team autonomy. In this talk, XP pioneer Peter Merel – credited in Beck’s 1st XP book – explains how 3 Descaling Metrics and 4 Descaling Patterns solve Scaling and generate Business Agility, not Agile Bureaucracy. This isn’t turning back the clock to 1999 or just wishing real hard – it’s simple and practical. And you don’t need to fight SAFe, LeSS, DA or any of the frameworks to get it going. This works with all of them. Pedal, metal, rubber and road.

Speaker: Peter Merel

Peter Merel created the very first agile training game, the coffeepot game or “Extreme Hour”, and ran it at a plenary session of the very first agile conference, XP2000. Credited in Beck’s original XP book, Peter ran the second XP program in the world at GMAC over twenty years ago. He took part in formation of the original Alliance and Manifesto too. Having led multiple successful agile transformations, five years ago Peter began to teach a “Descaling Business-Agile Unframework” called XSCALE. A thriving Linux-style learning ecosystem of independent agile coaches and consultancies have grown up around XSCALE to covers the Americas, EU/UK, India and Australasia. Game Without Thrones is a key training game in “XSCALE Business Agility”, one of the three pattern languages that make up XSCALE.

Speaker: John S. Badgley

5-year Business Agility Coach: G5, Genesis of Chaordic and Exponential organizations. 10-year Enterprise Agile Coach, Facilitator: Leadership, Portfolio, and Delivery, 20-year Leader and Coach, Transformational Education with Landmark Worldwide, 20-year Portfolio of Web 3.0, Mobile, Social, and eCommerce Solution Delivery, A Visionary, Committed to Innovation, Gamification, and Real Change // Asst Professor/ Guest Speaker – New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, Guest Speaker – Agile and Agility meetup – Stevens Institute of Technology, Alfred University, Author, Speaker – G5 Movement for Personal, Career, and Business Agility success, Founder, Creator – Genesis: Lean Customer Generated Startup, Founder, Creator – Agile Fight Club, Game show host

Speaker: Minton Brooks

Minton Brooks is a business agility coach and executive consultant. He has supported organizational transformation initiatives within Fortune 100 companies for the past 19 years. Clients include IBM, Travelers, Ford, US Bank, Cigna, Wells Fargo, WellPoint, Merck and Aetna. Brooks is an accredited Kanban coach and trainer and an XSCALE business agility and product management coach. He has been an XSCALE Steward since October 2017.

Strangle Your Legacy Code (Interactive Session on the Strangler Pattern) & PIZZA

Given an ancient codebase that makes refactoring risky and expensive, how do you clear a path to continued delivery? The old wisdom says the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the next best time is today. But if you already have a gnarled old source tree, preserve your software investment by planting a Strangler: a pattern for reaping continuous value from your existing system while growing new functionality alongside it.
We’ll take a quick look at a Strangler, demonstrate the basics of Mob Programming, then split into small groups to test-drive new features into the system. You’ll leave with a powerful strategy for extending the useful life of working, valuable software — especially when it’s hard to change — and with a free bonus development practice to accelerate your team’s learning.

Speaker: Amitai Schleier (@schmonz)

Amitai Schleier is a software development coach, legacy code wrestler, non-award-winning musician, and award-winning bad poet. He publishes fixed-length micropodcasts at Agile in 3 Minutes, writes variable-length articles at schmonz.com, and contributes code and direction to notable open-source projects such as NetBSD,pkgsrc, ikiwiki, and qmail. Amitai’s ideas, prose, music, and puns have manifested atAgile Roots, Agile for Humans, CodeMash, Self.conference, pkgsrcCon, Pittsburgh Perl Workshop, NYCBUG, the International Rachmaninoff Conference, and the Alfred Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest.

Kanban Intersections: XP Practices (Story Splitting and Test Automation) & PIZZA

Lean and Kanban are not ends in themselves; they are great for shining a light on bottlenecks and enabling an efficient flow of work to deliver business value. But how do we deal with those bottlenecks, anyway? How can we prevent them in the first place? How can we analyze our requirements better so we can understand the business value that we are supposed to be delivering?

This is where good XP Practices come in!

We will talk about story splitting and test automation.

With lots of examples and lessons learned to share, we hope to spark a lively discussion.

2018 Events

December 10

XP/Agile Meetup
NYC

Craig Larman, Co-Creator of Large Scale Scrum (LeSS)

As the co-creator of LeSS, Craig Larman (with friend and colleague Bas Vodde), after a decade of working worldwide with large product groups in their adoption of LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum), organizations are starting to realize that the main goal of LeSS is not to enable traditional big groups to “meet their commitment” more efficiently. And they are realizing that LeSS is not “Scrum contained within each team, with something different on top.” It seems some scaling frameworks contain Scrum like a fire fighter contains a brushfire.

Then what is LeSS about? It is to see the ineffectiveness of traditional large-scale organizational design and to change it, by descaling with LeSS towards a simple model for multiple teams that optimizes for agility (flexibility), learning, and flow of value. It is figuring out how, with multiple teams, to apply the simple principles and elements of Scrum that encourage empirical process control, transparency, self-managing teams, and systems optimization.

But any structural change per definition challenges the status quo of middle-management and single-specialist positions, leading to the dynamics of Larman’s Laws of Organizational Behavior.

In this meetup Craig will explore descaling with LeSS.

Matthieu’s Playbook Tried & True Patterns for Kickstarting Scrum Teams New & Old

You recently completed a two-day training, and you are now a Certified ScrumMaster. There’s only one problem: what do you actually do next?

Part of the genius of the Agile Manifesto is that it doesn’t tell you exactly what to do. It gives you a resilient foundation of values and principles that is grounded in discovered truths, and then lets you figure out how to apply it. Scrum describes process a bit more, but still leaves a lot of open questions. Again, this room to adapt is incredibly powerful. However, at the outset it can be quite daunting. Even after going through Certified ScrumMaster training, new practitioners may be a little lost as to what exactly to do next.

Over the years, I’ve built up a set of simple, concrete practices that I use both to get teams started and to help existing teams that are having trouble. Recently, after helping three teams get up to speed in quick succession, I decided to write down these practices as a playbook. While I look forward to the day when these teams grow beyond my playbook and throw it in the trash, I have seen great results from starting with a small set of concrete practices. Come to this session and walk out with simple, concrete things you can do to get your team flying.

Speaker: Matthieu Cornillon

Matthieu Cornillon leads the Agile practice at Amplify, a Brooklyn-based education technology company partnering with teachers to help them do their nearly impossible and utterly essential jobs, by extending their reach, saving them time, and enhancing their understanding of each student.

October 22

XP/Agile Meetup
NYC

Let’s get this meetup (re)STARTED! Come for Pizza & Agile/Kanban/etc discussion

Let’s get this meetup restarted! This is an opportunity to steer the future for who will speak and what topics we will cover over the next few months

I think there are some interesting topics to discuss– lots going on now that agile has crossed the chasm and is well into mass adoption. Some thoughts I had:

Choosing an agile method: Kanban, Scrum, LeSS, Heart of agile, or what? Does a framework like Cynefin provide any guidance that may be helpful?
Automated tests: tips and tricks. How to reduce the pain. Balancing test coverage vs pain of maintenance. Feature testing, BDD, and other variants. New vendor offerings.

DevOps. IaaS and CI/CD. Different tools? Integrated? Dedicated build master?

Git, GitHubFlow, GitFlow, and GitLabFlow. Discuss…
Limitations of automated code migrations and CI/CD. Can schema migration reliably be automated?

How to deal with an agile implementation that has stalled or “failed?” Post-mortem analysis and brainstorming where/how to go from here.

Just to get things started I will present a talk I just gave at AgileDC on 10/25 for instituting Agile when you encounter resistance: highly regulated, heavy compliance, legacy software, etc.

Oct 15

AgileDC 2018
NYC

Faster Better Cheaper for a Highly Regulated Environment? Yes, we Kanban!

Is it possible to deliver software improvements faster and with better quality in a highly regulated environment? What if the organization only uses off-the-shelf commercial packages like SAP rather than custom software? Oh, and much of the team is still learning the ropes? And by the way, our business users are unavailable during monthly and quarterly close, and to top it all off whole divisions go off-line for weeks or months at a time during refinery “turnaround” events? How can we improve cycle times, if it sometimes takes us months just to figure out how to design a solution for a single request?

In this session, we will examine a case study at an energy company that needed to increase their speed of delivery and their level of quality, while at the same time controlling costs. They started to adopt Kanban a year ago, by visualizing their waterfall process on a board and holding a daily stand-up. However, cycle times were still unacceptably long, and the board did not change much day-by-day. Worse, the business was getting more impatient and the backlog of urgent requests was growing longer. The team was ready to take the next step and deepen their kanban implementation.

We will examine a number of improvements that were made and the impact of each one of them. Larger work items were broken down into user stories, enabling progress to be tracked at a more granular level and helping the team to break down difficult problems into smaller, bite-sized chunks. Defects were captured individually on the board so large items did not appear to “stall” for no reason. Time-boxed “Spikes” could be created to capture efforts required to identify alternatives and reduce risk in design or implementation. The kanban boards went through multiple iterations as we updated them to better reflect our new process.

2017 Events

May 9

Lean Kanban North America

Kanban Response to Sprint Zero at US Department of Homeland Security

Many new projects experience delays in the “fuzzy front end,” resulting in a compressed

In a federal government contracting milieu, once a procurement is finally awarded, the contractor is expected to instantly spring into action and magically “do the right thing.” time schedule, unrealistic expectations, and staff burnout. How do you start “sprinting” when you don’t know which direction you should be headed, and you haven’t even finished staffing up your team?

Scrum’s “Sprint Zero” is an altogether unsatisfactory answer (although it is now appearing in many government RFPs).

What techniques can help us get started?

automated kanban tools helped turn chaos into useful progress and ultimately into In this we will trace the evolution of a project for the US Department of Homeland Security from a vague idea to a completed prototype and see how personal kanban, aggregated personal kanban, kanban boards, physical boards talkandflow.

2016 Events

October 2

Agile DC 2016

Behavior Driven Design Workshop

Behavior Driven Design (BDD) is a new, exciting approach to developing software that has been shown to reduce rework and increase customer satisfaction. While other testing tools focus primarily on “are we building the thing right?”, BDD tools attack the problem of software directly at its source: “are we building the right thing?” By retaining all the benefits of automated unit testing, while extending them upstream to cover requirements, we cut the Gordian knot of risk and complexity to unleash hyper-productivity.

Why is BDD so effective?

  • As a form of Test driven design, BDD helps produce frugal, effective and testable software.
  • As a development tool, BDD frameworks like SpecFlow provide many convenience functions and are pre-integrated with powerful libraries like Nunit and selenium to make writing tests a snap.
  • As a collaboration tool, BDD helps ensure the “three amigos” (tester, analyst and developer) sync up – ahead of time.
  • As a facilitation technique, BDD enables product owners to efficiently provide the team with concrete examples that clarify the true intent of a user story and define the boundaries.
  • As a reporting tool, BDD captures functional coverage, mapping features to their acceptance criteria to their test results, in an attractive hierarchical presentation.
May 17

Lean Kanban North America 2016

Bringing DevOps to an Entrenched Legacy Environment

Innovative Silicon Valley companies like Etsy leverage DevOps and Continuous Delivery practices to achieve new levels of automation and agility, shrinking development lead times and deploying to production many times each day. However, many companies struggle to implement these practices for the legacy systems that run their core business. To make matters worse, the agile community offers relatively little practical guidance for implementing DevOps practices in legacy environments. Fortunately, the Kanban Method provides a practical way to gradually evolve these core systems towards DevOps nirvana—without turning your organization upside down, and even if you don’t have a massive budget.

Through a case study involving a criminal justice system for a US government agency, we will examine how the Kanban method helps us identify and remove the barriers that prevent us from implementing DevOps automation for legacy systems. Just as importantly, Kanban provides the means to measure the efficacy of our efforts, prompting us to course-correct when necessary. Both technology-related and human-related concerns will be addressed. We will review some interesting examples using the Microsoft technology stack, and these lessons can be applied to Java, LAMP, MEAN, or any other set of technologies. The end result is better quality and collaboration and faster delivery of value to our stakeholders. Perhaps it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks, after all.

2015 Events

October 28

NY Municipal IT Council

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks: Agile for Legacy Systems

Agile software development methods are now well established in many commercial organizations and are starting to make inroads into government contexts. There are reports of software development projects using Agile methods that achieve significantly higher levels of productivity and quality compared with projects that used traditional methods. When it comes to brand new “start from scratch” software projects, a wealth of information, advice, training, and literature exists to help guide practitioners and speed them along the path to agility. Unfortunately, most such publicly available resources have relatively little to say when it comes to legacy systems. However, there is a small but growing amount of evidence that agile practices can yield compelling benefits for legacy projects—even those that have been previously successful using traditional methods. Our experience suggests that agile practices need to be customized and introduced in a different order into a legacy project. This presentation provides an analysis of the differences between legacy projects and new software development and the implications for the adoption of agile methods.

July 8

Lean Coffee Kanban Meetup

An Unexpected Journey: Improving A Scrum Implementation with Kanban

Over the last five years, Scrum has made significant advances and is now the best-known and most popular Agile framework by a wide margin. However, in recent years Kanban has emerged as an alternative to Scrum. Many companies are attracted to Kanban due to the promise of a flatter learning curve, easier adoption, and wider applicability beyond just IT to other parts of the company. But – is Kanban really an alternative to Scrum? And what is Scrumban, anyway? This talk describes our experiences transforming a mission-critical criminal justice program for the Federal Government from waterfall to Scrum, and how the Kanban Method has given us the tools to address some significant challenges to our Scrum implementation. This talk should help you answer some important questions such as:

  • Within the Agile framework what exactly is Scrum, Kanban and Scrumban? What are the similarities and differences?
  • What criteria should be used to choose an Agile method?
  • How do we get started?
  • If we run into obstacles, what techniques can we apply to help move forward?
  • Why should I consider a physical board if I already have a tool?
  • I know about visual boards, so does that mean I already know Kanban?
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Copyright 2020 Ariel Partners. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2020 Ariel Partners. All rights reserved.