Announcing the Agile2015 Keynote Speakers

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Hello there. I am Paul Hammond, the Conference Chair for the Agile2015 Conference. It gives me great pleasure to announce the three amazing Agile2015 keynote speakers.

Collaboration and communication are the cornerstones of effective teams and successful projects. Teams that collaborate well can come together and achieve great things. They will overcome significant obstacles. They will create and ship amazing products and services. Teams that struggle to collaborate struggle to perform. With poor communication or difficult situations, interactions can be ineffective or break down completely. At best, delivered products or services will be uninspiring or underwhelming. At worst, there can be disastrous consequences.

The Agile Manifesto highlights the value of Customer Collaboration right on the front page. It further underscores the importance many times in the 12 principles. Diverse disciplines must work together daily. Face-to-face conversation. Self-organizing teams. Team reflection.

The Agile Alliance’s mission is to support those using Agile principles in making the software industry productive, humane and sustainable. Effective communication and collaboration are key contributors in all three of those goals.

The Agile2015 keynote speakers will weave together many threads through this important subject area. They will bring together diverse experiences, perspectives, skills and ideas on collaboration and communication. They will leave every conference attendee with both food for thought and actionable ideas.

So, without further ado, your keynote speakers for Agile2015!

Luke Hohmann

Luke HohmannLuke’s keynote is called The Difference Between Snow Flurries, Snowstorms, and Snow Falls. The agile values and practices we all hold dear affect all aspects of our lives. They don’t just affect our companies. They also affect our schools, our relationships, even how we choose to practice democracy.

Luke will show how collaborative, social, and serious games have blossomed into multidimensional frameworks. Many of these games have roots within the Agile community. These frameworks are making the world a better place in simple and profound ways. Often this is in no way related to software at all.

Luke grew up in a place which was cold and often had a lot of snow. A snow flurry is a lot of activity with no accumulation. Typically frustrating. A snowstorm is just a wreck. A snow fall is a nicer, more gentle accumulation of real results. Luke will use the snow metaphor to frame his subject. He will make distinctions between talking past each other (a snow flurry), arguing (a snowstorm) and true collaboration (a snow fall).

Finally, Luke will provide you with clear actionable advice on how you can improve one of the most fundamental agile practices – retrospectives.

Luke is the Founder and CEO of Conteneo, Inc. Conteneo’s collaborative frameworks and data analytics helps enterprises optimize decision making. They span areas of strategy, innovation, business agility and market research. Luke is also co-founder of Every Voice Engaged Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. They help citizens and governments tackle technical and wicked social problems.

Jessie Shternshus

Jessica ShternshusAs Agile Practitioners, we strive to make ourselves, our team and our delivery better. We can do this by being open to learning new ideas from other disciplines. Jessie’s keynote, Individuals, Interactions and Improvisation, will be fun and interactive. In it, Jessie will share stories and exercises from the world of Improvisation.

There are many parallels between agile team principles and the principles of Improvisation. Effective improvisers give their teammates unconditional support. They practice active listening and accept and build on each other’s ideas. Jessie will explore these ideas and more. She will help and guide you in making your agile interactions more effective.

Jessie founded The Improv Effect in 2007. Her goal was to help businesses reach their full potential through interpersonal-communication skills training. They use an array of experiential techniques to transform teams and organizations. These cover teamwork, creative problem solving, on-boarding, presentation skills, and product development ideation sessions. Jessie also recently published a book called CTRLShift: 50 Games For 50 ****ing Days Like today.

Jim Tamm

Jim TammJim’s keynote will challenge you to look at yourself through self-critical eyes. Entitled Want Better Collaboration? Don’t be so Defensive!, Jim will discuss skills essential for effective collaboration. In particular, he will focus on achieving success even during difficult interactions. He will show how your own defensiveness is a key factor in resolving conflicts and building collaboration. He will share practical tools designed to help you manage your own defensiveness.

For most of his career, Jim was a Senior Administrative Law Judge for the State of California. He had jurisdiction over public sector disputes in the workplace. He mediated over 1,500 labor disputes, including more school district labor strikes than any other person in the United States. For several years he was a member of a collaboration special task force. They designed and taught collaboration skills to highly conflicted public sector organizations. The project was wildly successful. It helped build trust, reduce conflict and create more collaborative working environments.

Jim is President of RC Group, LLC. He maintains offices in South San Francisco, California, Cuernavaca, Mexico and Stockholm, Sweden. He specializes in building cultures of collaboration within organizations. He also trains other consultants and trainers how to teach collaborative skills.


About the Author

Paul is a 25+ year veteran of the software industry, and a 15+ year convert to agile principles and practices for delivering software. He joined Zoopla in 2019 to lead their engineering team, after almost 3 years at eBay leading their European Product Development team, and nearly 15 years at Microsoft in the MSN and Skype product teams.

As a senior Engineering Leader, Paul's passion is growing and leading large geographically dispersed agile development teams. Together, Paul and his teams have shipped large-scale web, mobile and communications products that are enjoyed by hundreds of millions of users worldwide. He has also spearheaded agile adoption and long-term transformation of both his own and other product teams within Microsoft and eBay, and has coached and mentored colleagues and teams at other external organizations.

Paul has been involved with the Agile20XX Conference since 2007, and he had the privilege of being the Agile2015 Conference Chair.

This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They do not represent opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.

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