2011-2012 Board of Directors Candidates
Esther Derby - United States - USA
I started my career as a programmer. Because I was good at finding and fixing problems in the code, my company promoted me to a management role (I know, the logic is a little whacky). Fixing management problems isn't much like fixing problems in code. So I turned my attention to learning about people, group dynamics, organizations, complexity & systems theory, and practical methods to steer a system.
Today, i bring my understanding of these areas to help companies improve their ability to deliver valuable software to clients, create humane and productive workplaces, and meet stakeholder needs.
I was initially attracted to agile methods because of the explicit emphasis on pride in work, collaboration, and human-friendly working conditions. I recognize a good work system when I see one.
I'm the co-author of two books, Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great and Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management. I've also published over 100 articles related to management, teams, and systems. I was one of the founders of the annual Retrospective Facilitators Gathering. I also helped found the AYE Conference, an experiential conference that explores human systems in action. I've worked on the Agile20XX Conference for several years. This past year, I was a stage producer (with Jukka Lindstrom) for the Collaboration, Culture and Teams stage.
I am standing for a third term as a member of the Agile Alliance Board of Directors. One of my accomplishments to date has been creating the role of Program Shepherd. In this role, I help people polish their ideas, clarify support for the Agile Alliance mission, and make a case for funding. The existence of this role has streamlined the process for people with good ideas who seek financial support from the Agile Alliance. This past year, I've acted as Secretary, dutifully keeping concise notes of Board decisions.
I've seen an evolution in the Board during my tenure. If agile methods are maturing and adapting, so is the Board. We are consciously shaping our role and our culture with the goal of creating a Board that is strong and sustainable. We are building a foundation that will enable future Boards to maintain momentum. I hope to continue this work.
Ola Ellnestam - Sweden
My professional career started on a software and hardware support team, at one of Sweden's largest hospitals. Computers and software where considered tools at best but more often obstacles to 'the real work'. This made me realize how good software really has to be to be useful to others than it's 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 the culture in order to change it. And in order to change, you first need to understand why, and identify what changes are needed.
I want to see agile values and principles spread and I think they will do so more successfully if the people who are embracing them knows that their cultural and situational aspects matters a lot. Looking into what culture means to agile and its adoption is one necessary step I believe has to be explored a lot more.
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.
Shane Hastie - New Zealand
I am applying to be elected to the Agile Alliance board in order to bring my skills, energy and commitment to furthering the work of the Alliance around the world.
I started my career in software development in 1982 where I found that working in small collaborative teams, using rapid feedback cycles, working closely together with my colleagues, having customers close at hand and showing our work to them regularly produced top-quality products that made our customers happy. I built a business using these techniques, delivering software in a number of industries from airlines to security to pharmaceutical to financial services around southern Africa.
In 1996 I returned to my native New Zealand and joined a company building software for the international marketplace. Here I was leading larger teams and working in distributed environments. My role evolved into leading teams, working as the liaison with customers and coaching teams to work effectively. We experimented with the RUP, then started reading about lightweight methodologies, we tried a variety of practices and found they worked so we looked further. In 1999 I read about XP and was hooked - this is what I'd been doing when I first started my career. We adopted XP and found it really did work for us.
In 2002 I changed roles and joined Software Education as a knowledge engineer, teaching others to apply the techniques I had learned over the years. This gave me fantastic opportunities to work closely with the thought leaders in the Agile space. I've been closely involved in bringing people like Alistair Cockburn, Jim Highsmith, Diana Larsen, Johanna Rothman, Craig Larman and many others to come and run classes and conference sessions in Australia and New Zealand.
I was instrumental in the formation of Software Education's Agile Practice, designing and building a suite of courses and coaching offerings that help organizations make an effective transition to Agile. We work with organizations large and small, helping them understand and make the cultural shift as they adopt Agile practices. I've also been closely involved in the formation of the Agile Academy in Australia, both in course design and delivering training courses.
We deliver training in agile concepts and practices for our customers as well as providing hands-on coaching, mentoring and ongoing support. We work with the teams and management to help them imbed the new ways of working and make the culture shift. I am also an editor for InfoQ’s Agile Queue (http://www.infoq.com/author/Shane-Hastie), the co-producer for the Working with Customers stage at Agile 2011 (http://submit2011.agilealliance.org/node/8696) and a contributor to the Software Education trainer’s blog (http://softwareeducation.wordpress.com/).
In the last year I have worked with the International Institute for Business Analysis as part of the team defining the Agile Extension to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, the set of practices and techniques that define the profession of business analysis. In this work I am looking to bridge the perceived gaps between "traditional" practices and agile practices. Helping individuals, teams and organisations understand the changes in the way we work is an important communication role for the Agile Alliance, and something I want to lend my voice to.
Coming from the Southern Hemisphere I bring an international perspective from a region where agile methods are gaining traction. I am a pragmatist, not wedded to any one brand or style of agile. I endorse and embrace the values and principles that underly the agile movement, and want to share my passion through working on the Agile Alliance board.
Diana Larsen - USA
Partner and Senior Consultant with FutureWorks Consulting LLC
Bio: As co-founder of FutureWorks Consulting, LLC, I partner with clients in the software industry to create, guide, and fortify resilient workplaces and improve project performance. In addition to consulting with and coaching leaders on adopting Agile work systems, I lead team, project, and whole system processes for collaborative thinking and planning. I co-authored Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great! and co-founded the International Retrospective Facilitators Gathering and the Agile Open Northwest conferences.
My interests include complexity and systems thinking as applied to human systems, including focusing on self-organizing team development, leading in the Agile enterprise, implementing processes for continuous improvement, and influencing organizational change. I’ve experienced bootcamp with XP teams, completed Scrum Master training, and drawn on my experience with Lean processes in high tech organizations. In addition, I’m intensely involved applying Lean Startup principles and practices to a new venture. As a life-long learner, I’ve became an Innovation Games® Facilitator, and learned to help others gain skillful fluency through accelerated learning,
I served as a member of Agile Alliance board of directors for one term from July 2004 through July 2006 and for two more terms from July 2007 to the present. In my last two terms, I’ve been a member of the board’s executive committee - first, for three years as chair, and this year as treasurer.
Among other contributions to the field, I’m currently serving as a stage producer for Agile 2011, on the coordinating committee for Agile PDX user group, as a board member of Agile Open Northwest NPO, as director of the Adopting Agile program, and on the annual organizing committee of international Retrospective Facilitators Gathering.
During my time as an Agile Alliance leader, the organization has engaged in adaptive planning processes, recommitted to its purpose, consolidated and refined its infrastructure, and redesigned and updated its website. While work and improvement opportunities still remain in each of the previous areas, it’s time to increase our activities beyond North America and Western Europe. We must continue to reach out to our international members, local leaders, and corporate sponsors to balance discovery of what members want and need with providing products and services to support and encourage the passion for Agile around the globe.
Past experience taught me that involvement in a leadership role in professional organizations conveys benefits to me and to the community of practice. I’d like to continue to contribute as a board member of the Agile Alliance for another two years.
Rebecca Parson - USA
The Agile Alliance is uniquely positioned to evangelize for the spread of Agile principles outside their traditional realm of software development. Agile principles are being successfully applied in areas like data warehousing and business intelligence, enterprise architecture, and data centre operations to name just a few. As we saw with the adoption of Agile in software development, the adoption in these new areas has some challenges. I often hear the statement "Agile is ok for (insert role x here) but doesn't apply in my role as (insert role y here)". There is still much work to be done to extend the reach of agile, not only to other parts of IT organizations but also to other parts of businesses. The focus of my efforts, however, and those of the Agile Alliance, continue to be in bringing the value of Agile principles to the critical work of developing, delivering, supporting and enhancing IT systems to serve the needs of businesses, customers, and society.
I believe there is still a great deal of innovation and development needed in the scope encompassed by the Agile Alliance. A great example of innovation in this area is the current emphasis on Dev-Ops and Continuous Delivery. This exciting area draws strongly from the core of Agile principles, and I would like to work with the Agile Alliance to support the expansion of Agile principles to other aspects of software developing, including areas such as experience design and portfolio management.
While we must foster innovation in this area, we must not forget the needs to continue to expand the education and support for early stage practitioners. We are not yet at the stage that Agile methods are routinely taught in colleges and universities. Indeed, there is increasing attention being focused on the curriculum in colleges and universities relating to software development. As enrollments in our discipline decline, we face increasing pressure to understand how to attract and retain talent in our industry. I believe that Agile principles and methods, as well as working in an Agile way makes our industry more attractive than the stereotype. We must work to ensure that these methods become more broadly visible so that we can continue to attract talent to our industry.
I believe the Agile Alliance is in a strong position to advance each of these areas, and as such, I am pleased to be running for a position on the Board of Directors. I bring to this nomination over 30 years of experience in software development, spanning a broad range of applications, industries, and sectors. After working for 10 years, I returned full time to graduate school to earn a PhD. I took a post-doctoral position at Los Alamos National Laboratories, where my research included object-oriented parallel and distributed computation, programming languages, computational biology and evolutionary computation. I taught programming languages, algorithms, theory of computation and machine learning for four years before returning to the private sector. Since late 1999, I have been working as an architect for ThoughtWorks, eventually accepting the position of Chief Technology Officer.