Agile Alliance 2009 Board Elections: Candidate Statements

August 11, 2009 — The Agile Alliance Board of Directors comprises eleven members. At the annual members meeting, we will elect six new board members (to fill the vacancies left by existing board members stepping down or finishing their terms).

We would like to introduce you to the candidates who are standing for election. The candidates standing for election are well qualified to serve on the board and represent the agile community as it moves into 2010. Candidate Statements follow at the bottom of this page.

As a member, you have the option to vote for six candidates. You may vote at the annual members meeting on Tuesday August 25th or online.

If you are not able to come to the conference this year, please use our electronic voting mechanism. All members have received an email providing instructions on how to vote electronically—need assistance? Please email elections@agilealliance.org

Candidate Statements

Laurent Bossavit

France

I started programming in the eighties, made a living of it from the nineties on, and became interested in Extreme Programming in 2000. At present I’m a consultant, helping businesses and teams make sense of XP and Agile. I live in Paris, France. I have been serving on the Agile Alliance Board for two years.

It was the community’s support that helped me most when I started experimenting with XP. On mailing lists and at international conferences, I met many people who inspired me, some who became friends. Because I wanted more of that closer to home, I did what I could to grow the French Agile community: among those initiatives were a book, a local Practitioners’ Group, the Coding Dojo and the XP Day France conference. These initiatives have now found new leadership; I’m now working on new projects to further adoption of and research into Agile practice.

The Agile community is finding ways for software development efforts to deliver more value. Our guiding stars are feedback, transparency, small increments, high collaboration, among others. My intent in joining the Board two years ago was to help the Agile Alliance become still more aligned with those values. Some of our efforts in that direction have been internal, aimed at having the Board itself be a more effective team: increasing our “face time”, tuning our virtual stand-ups, and many other improvements. Some were more visible, such as reaching out to our members and local Agile communities on the occasion of Board meetings as we worked on a strategic roadmap. Others are not complete yet, such as improving the way our Web site fosters conversation with and among Agile Alliance members.

I’m running again this year as an opportunity to complete this work.

http://bossavit.com/thoughts/


César Idrovo
USA

Since late 2007 I have focused on community building, event organizing and philanthropy, all in an Agile context. A lot of communities already do a good job of fostering Agile education so my goal was to foster Agile adoption and help create a strong, self organizing and mutually supportive local community (in the San Francisco Bay Area).

With the opportunity to participate on the Agile Alliance board, I would firstly continue to help build communities that not only put on regular events, but that also offer regular clinics, come up with actionable guidance to members’ adoption challenges, and will actively increase the overall health of the local Agile community. Having contributed to such efforts as a coordinating committee member of BayAPLN.org, I realize that Agile adoption challenges can be widely different in each culture and context. I support the creation of chapters of the Agile Alliance to help identify local needs well beyond Agile education. I would also like to see them supported by the global resources that the organization has at its disposal.

Secondly, I would advocate for stronger support for the use of Agile software development to amplify the reach and impact of charities and non-profit organizations. This is achievable by delivering software through a community of local developers (for which Ed Kraay is my local guide in San Francisco), or at conferences (e.g. Bob Payne’s LiveAid Lab), or new apporaches that haven’t been invented yet. The Agile Alliance is in a unique position to foster these initiatives in a way that would allow us all to take part and create a highly viral wave of goodwill around the globe.

Biography

I started my career in 1996 in London as a software developer in investment banking. In 2000 I recruited a highly heterogeneous development team and promoted “continuous collaboration”. This resulted in pairing across skills and functions and the creation of a large number of software solutions, visibly outpacing traditionally-run teams with several times the budget. In 2003 I joined the team that formally introduced me to XP and Scrum theory, providing me with the missing pieces needed to make breakout performance a common occurrence. I helped this team apply XP and Scrum in practice and in 2005 used it to enable a complex business transformation in only five months. Later it took an army of developers three years just to re-implement enough functionality to migrate the same business to another platform. In early 2007 I moved to San Francisco as an Agile development manager at another bank.

It was in California that I developed a passion for Agile community building, helping to organize monthly events for BayAPLN.org. When the credit crunch hit me twelve months ago, I chose not to return to the UK to pursue gainful employment and instead devoted all my available attention to supporting this local Agile community. During this time we were able to grow attendance to our events from 20 to 70, we organized several special events with even larger audiences, we grew the community membership to over 300, we formally constituted BayAPLN, and we secured the first five sponsors. I have also been an organizer for the Agile Open California conferences for 2008 and 2009. Since January 2009 I have followed and supported Ed Kraay’s inspiration to create a local Agile Philanthropy chapter. I also collaborate with Joanna Zweig on the application of Group Coherence research to Agile project teams. We are writing a series of articles on this topic for the Agile Journal and developed a workshop that we are presenting at Agile 2009.

I am currently in the UK and will return to San Francisco in October to work for a boutique software consultancy. This opportunity will allow me to build Agile awareness for clients both as a member of delivery teams and as a coach/mentor.


Ken Collier
USA

I’ve been doing software development, and teaching software methods since 1985. My how things have changed in that time! I was a software engineer at Intel for awhile, and then was an associate professor of Computer Science Engineering at Northern Arizona University through the 90s teaching software engineering and business intelligence topics. Of the thousands of new ideas and concepts that I’ve learned in those years, the two most profound are object-oriented development and agile development and project management methods. These have had the greatest impact on making my life as a computer scientist better. I am now an Agile consultant and author, and I take pride in my ability to be a technical project lead; a solutions architect; a project manager; a trainer, coach, and mentor; and I can bridge the gap that often exists between technical experts and business experts. I am particularly interested in how organizations develop “Agile in their DNA” versus just adopting “Agile trappings”.

The Agile Development community has grown tremendously in the past few years. Many would argue that we have “crossed the chasm” and agile is now in the mainstream. This is both exciting and frightening. It is exciting to be part of such a significant improvement in our field. But I fear that, through misunderstanding and misuse, our values, principles, and practices may devolve into a set of overused buzzwords and catch-phrases; and that our community will become fragmented and diluted in the process. In other words I fear that, “agile as the latest magic bullet” has crossed the chasm, but that “agile as a different way of behaving” has not. The Agile Alliance is the right organization to help prevent this through education, knowledge sharing, networking, and dissemination of ideas.

My aim is to help the Agile Alliance remain at the center of our growing and increasingly diverse community. We have grown beyond just application development. Our community now includes business leaders, IT professionals, systems integrators, data warehousing and database developers, project managers, and the list goes on. The Agile Alliance should be the common thread that stitches this ever-widening group together so that newly emerging special interest groups do not become disenfranchised. A strength of mine is that I don’t have the answers to this figured out yet. I will be seeking input from all members of the Agile Alliance about how best to meet our diverse community needs and interests. I will strive to help the Agile Alliance find a sufficient balance between competing needs and limited resources so that it can deliver the greatest value to our community. I want to help the Agile Alliance continue to be the primary clearinghouse for accurate and relevant information about agile values, principles, and practices.


Esther Derby 
USA

I started my career as a programmer. We didn’t have “Agile methods” back then-but when I look back at the projects that worked best and were most fun, we were working in ways that looked a lot like Agile.

I’ve been observing software development for many years, and writing about it for the last 12 years. I’ve published over 100 articles and two books. My passion is around improving the work-life of teams-restoring pride and enjoyment to the work of building software products. Life is just too short to work on crappy projects that suck people dry and produce mediocre results.

My work often involves helping teams be more effective by managing workflow, adding engineering practices, and learning collaboration skills. I work the managers to bridge between managing a leader-organized team and a self-organizing team. When managers aren’t so focused on day-to-day task management, they can turn their attention to improving the work system, making it possible for everyone to do better.

Since the Agile Alliance formed, Agile methods have moved from the vanguard to more widespread acceptance. This evolution caused the Agile Alliance Board to re-examine its function and how it can serve those who are adopting Agile methods, expanding Agile practices, and exploring the Agile frontier.

I’ve been part of that effort for the last two years. We’ve gained clarity on our mission, and updated the way we work together as a Board. I want to continue to work on the evolution of the Board. I feel our two most pressing issues are to provide visible value to our members and to support the growing number of organizations who are adopting Agile methods without losing touch with our roots-or our aspirations.

“We support those who explore and apply Agile principles and practices to make the software industry productive, humane, and sustainable.”


Ola Ellnestam

Sweden

My professional career started out on a software and hardware support team, working for one of Sweden’s largest hospitals. Computers and software were considered tools at best but more often hindrance in ‘the real work’. This made me realize how good software really has to be to be useful and provide value to others than its creators.

As a member of the board I want to capture the energy from people new to agile. Combine that with the wisdom of others and give that back to the community. I also want to turn the attention to the cultural differences. Not only between countries but also between companies and organizations trying so very hard to succeed with agile. Because I believe you have to work with culture in order to change culture. And in order to change, you first have to understand why, and identify what changes are needed.

If one wants agile to spread, you will be more successful if the people who are adopting, using knows that contextual i.e the cultural and situational aspects are important. I want to be a part of looking into what culture means to agile and I believe that cultural diversity will help.

Finally I want people to know that there is no conflict in being passionate about software development, having fun at work and being productive. It’s rather the opposite. Good software with high value will flow out of organizations, with higher quality if the people doing the work are passionate, are having fun and keep on evolving.

Those values and aspects of Agile was what got me hooked! And that’s the message I want to continue spreading.


Cory Foy

USA

My passion lies in the community. I’ve founded or run several user groups across the country, participated or organized code camps and events (including the TDD Firestarter and Day of Ruby events in Florida). In addition, I’ve worked with the Scrum Alliance as their Global Community Liaison to bring a common voice to the community of Scrum professionals worldwide.

I am most excited by this position because of the chance to bridge the gaps in the communities we have. Too many times there is the feeling one must pick a camp – Agile, Scrum, Lean, APLN. But because of the duplication of efforts in some fronts, we miss out on the broader goal – to help people deliver valuable, high-quality software to their customers. Through my work at the Scrum Alliance, the Agile Alliance, and the reaching out to other communities, I believe we can foster change and find common ground while still delivering effective programs and working to further the goals set forth by the board.

My background is as both a software developer and coach. I currently lead a software team inside a large international organization and work closely with the executives and teams across the globe to better the way we write and deliver our software. In addition to my community contributions, I’m involved in the Software Craftsmanship movement, and come to the board as someone who is not a consultant but an employee working to bring change from the inside-out.


Israel Gat

USA

Agile to me is about finding my voice. For most of my professional career I was entrusted with developing and bringing to market large scale enterprise software systems. Fulfilling and rewarding that so doing was, rarely had I experienced the great excitement that comes from the pursuit of a bigger purpose. Over the past few years Agile has been giving me this extra gratification. I feel privileged and fortunate to participate in and contribute to a movement that has the potential to transform quite a few industries. My voice has been expressed in various speaking engagements, research notes by the Cutter Consortium, blog posts in The Agile Executive, and tweets under the handle agile_exec. I am primarily concerned with elevating Agile to the enterprise level, making certain Agile “islands” scale up, scale out and scale downstream. Moreover, I push toward devising business models that utilize the power of Agile instead of shoe horning Agile methods to fit arcane business designs.

As an Agile Alliance board member, I will focus on mainstreaming Agile methods with an eye toward making a significant economic impact. I share the concern Diana Larsen expressed in a recent Agile Roots panel: Agile as a term has crossed the chasm, but Agile as a method might not. The main obstacle IMHO is that our business fabric has not caught up with Agile methods. Software capitalization and Agile contracts are two good examples of areas which are not yet where they need to be. I plan to address both, and then some, if I get elected.

If we as a movement succeed in making Agile cross the chasm, the economics of software, of products in which software is embedded and of business processes that utilize software could change dramatically. As software is becoming pervasive, Agile software has the potential to become a low cost input in our economy. The macro-economic effect of this descending cost of software could be as powerful as that of the prosperity ultra cheap oil (as energy source) produced during the period 1908-1971. I am committed to doing my bit toward this worthy goal through the Agile Alliance.


Henrik Kniberg

Sweden

Q: What do you do?

I optimize, debug, and refactor IT companies. I write books and articles, teach courses, and do on-site coaching; sometimes alone and sometimes with incredibly inspiring people such as Jeff Sutherland and Mary Poppendieck. I still code on a regular basis, to keep in touch with the practical realities of software development.

Q: What is your background?

I’ve founded several IT companies in Sweden and assumed diverse roles including manager, coach, developer, and teacher. I travel regularly and my background is pretty international; I spent the first half of my life in Japan, the second half in Sweden, and who knows where I’ll spend the third half :o)

My approach to Agile software development and transitioning is illustrated in my books “Scrum and XP from the Trenches” and (forthcoming) “Kanban vs Scrum”, as well as dozens of presentations and articles available on my blog.

For more info see http://www.crisp.se/henrik.kniberg

Q: What is your take on Agile?

Agile is a great set of thinking tools that increases the odds of succeeding with software development. In the face of increasing hype, however, we need to remember that Agile is not a silver bullet, not a religion, and should not be preached. There are other great thinking tools out there as well (for example Lean and Theory of Constraints).

Those of you who have heard my presentations or read my material know that my perspective is practical and process-agnostic. Values and principles are very important, but sometimes people just need someone to climb into the trenches with them and help figure how to get started!

Q: Why run for the board?

My primary channels for helping organizations improve are writing, teaching, and on-location coaching. Being on the Agile Alliance board will open up another channel for me to help the software industry improve.

Many organizations I meet are struggling with Agile adoption and need support. Yet, many people seem to think Agile Alliance is just a conference organizer. I hope to change that.

Q: How will you contribute to the board?

I have no specific agenda. What I bring to the board is passion and creativity balanced with a pragmatic, down-to-earth perspective. If nothing else, I hope to breath positive energy into the group.


Lasse Koskela

Finland

I’ve developed software professionally for almost exactly 10 years. The first couple of years on the job – and the ones programming for my own joy – I remember being excited about all the things I would learn. Then something changed. I signed up for bigger and bigger projects, projects that dealt with significant funds, systems that were referred to as being mission critical. Suddenly, I was in a world where everything was serious and everything was to be done by the book, following the agreed process and procedure. Developing software wasn’t that much fun anymore.

In hindsight, I can only feel thankful for having experienced those early years in my career as they were instrumental in making me look for smarter ways of writing code and developing software. I soon found the XP community, started practicing it as much as I could within a large corporation habituated to big process, and set on this path of promoting, evangelizing agile methods as an improvement over the reigning methods.

Early on during this journey, I founded the local agile user group, Agile Finland, and started organizing free-for-all seminars twice a year. Those seminars have since become some of the largest agile events in Europe with almost 200 participants. To my delight, the agile community in Finland has taken ownership of those seminars and has kick-started other activities such as the monthly Agile Dinner, Coding Dojos and, most recently, the Scandinavian Agile Conference.

I believe it is the very same energy and excitement I found from studying XP that I’m seeing in the Agile Finland, the London XtC, the XP Days, and other agile communities. It’s that energy and excitement that has made me so passionate about my profession and that passion is what Agile Alliance should strive to uncover in people and help them build on it.

The alliance is well positioned to reach all corners of this global community and there is a lot we could do – or do more of – to connect the various communities out there, to help in forming new communities, and to support those passionate individuals out there. The Agile Alliance is those individuals and those communities and supporting them in their goals and aspirations should be our primary goal and that’s where I see myself being able to contribute the most – in programs and collaborations aimed at supporting the growth and development of local communities.

BIOGRAPHY

Lasse Koskela works as a coach, trainer, consultant and programmer, spending his days helping clients and colleagues at Reaktor Innovations create successful software products. He has worked in the trenches on a variety of software projects ranging from enterprise applications to middleware products developed for an equally wide range of domains. In the recent years, Lasse has spent an increasing amount of time giving training courses and mentoring teams on-site, helping them improve their performance and establish a culture of continuous learning. When not working with clients, Lasse hacks on open source projects, moderates discussions at JavaRanch, or writes about software development — most recently a book on Test Driven Development. He is one of the pioneers of the Finnish agile community and speaks frequently at international conferences.


Alexey Krivitsky

Ukraine

I am from the new generation of developers. Started to love coding at the age of 15. In 2003 got a master degree in CS. Since 1999 I had worked as a Delphi/VB/Java/.NET developer, then a team lead, then a ScrumMaster, now as an independent Agile coach.

One long cold winter evening of 2007 I started the Agile Ukraine user group which now consists of more than 500 members. Since we had started, we managed to run a dozen of local conferences (Agile Gatherings) and Agile clubs.

Currently my focus lies in the start-up IT market that is being emerged in Ukraine and calls to be facilitated in terms of establishing transparent and lightweight processes and effective and open people collaboration. The current year of 2009 is going to be the hit in terms of Agile expansion in Ukraine and the overall Eastern Europe that we’re trying to make by giving birth to the first Agile Eastern Europe (agileee.org) conference to be held in my homelands in September.

I see two directions of my application in the Board.

Firstly, the mission of the Agile Alliance which is I believe to spread and support Agility in the World has a lot of common to what we have been doing so far in my region. Here where I am from, Agility is steps behind the US and other developed markets. Here it needs to be seeded and grown. It needs to get some sun, shadow and water. There are mosaic of regions in the World which do their own relatively small (but locally huge) effort in terms of evangelizing Agility. I believe those communities are to be supported and connected altogether to produce a stronger large ecosystem. We need to set up conditions where Agility can grow and naturally evolve, changing people daily habits and spreading out the new way of building products.

Secondly, during my daily work as a coach and evangelist I meet many people that have no idea what Agile means and what other ways of work are rather than commanding and controlling. My latest work proves that commanding and controlling is the root cause of waterfall thinking, cubic corporate cultures, functional teams and other indicators of inefficiency. Such unawareness is killing funds, good initiatives, relationship and natural human motivation. This is happening now, at the moment of writing. And there are a LOT to do in this regard.

As a member of the Board I am eager to share my knowledge, skills and vision for the sake of the new awareness Agile can bring to people work and lives.


Diana Larsen

USA

After a dozen years of helping technical professionals and their organizations design cross-functional, team-based, work processes to improve their performance, I learned about Agile methods in 2000. Agile hooked me when I attended my first XP immersion week in 2001. In the years since, I’ve studied many Agile methods, processes, and practices exploring how they dynamically work in concert for organizational and team success.

In my consulting work, I seek and accept opportunities to provide consulting and training services to numerous teams, and managers, who want to adopt Agile or who practice Agile and want to get better. I collaborate with outstanding colleagues and wholeheartedly associate myself with the Agile Alliance’s focus on making the software industry more productive, humane and sustainable and on showing individual passion for improvement and delivery.

In the last eight years, I’ve contributed my knowledge and experience to the community in many ways: by speaking at conferences, by helping to organize our local user group, by organizing smaller conferences, by writing books (working on the second, again) and shorter pieces, and by serving on the board of directors. Most recently, I’ve served as chair of the board.

In the role of board chair, I’ve relished the chance to participate with a group of accomplished, engaged board members; to interact with Agile Alliance members in many parts of the world; and to represent the organization’s values at a variety of events. With the help of very hard-working staff, we’ve accomplished more in the last two years than anyone expected.

If elected to a third term as a member of the board, I will continue to offer inspiration, participation and direction to increase the board’s effectiveness as a group that both works hard and sets policy. We need to renew our intentions to walk-the-talk of Agile, whenever possible, and challenge ourselves to find the match between who we purport to be, what we do, and how we comport ourselves while doing it. We need to look into the future to anticipate how the Agile Alliance can meet member and industry needs through the Agile 20xx conference and other programs. We need to continue to sponsor smaller focused conferences to serve the needs of Agile practitioners with distinct and special interests. We need to join with allies among those who also see the potential for productive, humane and sustainable workplaces for everyone involved in developing and delivering valuable software to those who need it. I look forward to doing my part. http://futureworksconsulting.com/what-we-know/who-we-are


J.B. Rainsberger

Canada

I would like to continue participating on the board of the Agile Alliance in order to work in a few key directions. Agile certification has heated up again as a topic, and I would like to continue working through and with the Alliance to find an appropriate way to lead in this area: while I have shown my disdain for typical certification efforts through agilecertificationnow.com, I believe the time is right for an acceptable certification mechanism that the Alliance can feel comfortable endorsing, and I’d like to continue to help the Alliance move in the direction of finding that mechanism. I have also observed the board’s work over the past two years and would like to continue to help it keep things simple. We’ve all felt the temptation to complicate matters and often need someone to remind us to use the tools and techniques that we teach others. Finally, I’d like to influence the Alliance to fund programs that advance the goal of bringing business and technical practitioners together, such as helping technical people present at business-oriented user groups and the other way around. While I had no part in approving the Functional Testing Tools program, because it arrived on the scene before I did, I’d like to encourage people to propose programs of that style that focus on bringing more systematic, visible practice to activities that many still see as either poorly done or black art.

What makes me so qualified?

In addition to completing my first two-year term on the board, I’ve contributed to the agile community since 2000, when I began by answering thousands of questions in the JUnit and XP mailing lists. I now act as a practitioner as well as a mentor to individuals, teams and organizations. My early work involved specializing in test-driven development and its effect on design, culminating in the book JUnit Recipes which I completed in 2004. Since then my experience and research have expanded in three principal directions: the entire concept-to-cash cycle, the social and psychological aspects of agile software, and helping business people better appreciate the goals of agile concepts.

When I wrote my own money-making software in 2005 I learned how tough it can be to decide on minimal marketable features, but also how much more clearly one can decide on “just enough software” when one has clear goals for the project. This informs both my personal practice and my work with others. Also, I have explored the teamwork and communication aspects of agile software over the past five years, including aspects of the developments of Satir, Lencioni and Cialdini in my work with others. In addition, I began helping business people better understand the goals of agile software delivery with my Introduction to Agile Through the Theory of Constraints, which shows how basic principles in theory of constraints and lean manufacturing directly motivate the most common agile software practices. I find this helps business people see agile as a natural extension of good business practice, rather than a programmer’s revolution against the oppressive tyrannical corporate overlords.

I have attended XP and agile conferences since 2001 and presented regularly at those conferences since 2004. I helped organize five north american XP Day conferences and have started helping spread the word and organize Code Retreat events. The agile community honored me with one of the first two Gordon Pask Awards in 2005.