The leadership of a massive software project is like being the mayor of a bustling city. A city with streets crawling with cobras willing to harm you and your customers. Ed Wisniowski reviews the cobra effect or the law of unintended consequences and how it impacts your delivery of value. Using a simple game, Wisniowski illustrates the cobra effect in actions. Using real-world examples, he demonstrates how performance measurement changes behavior. Participants get to discover which types of behavior deliver value to the firm and which do not. Fighting cobras in your organization will be more natural after this session.

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About the Speaker(s)

Ed Wisniowski is an experienced software development veteran.  He has spent the last fifteen years of his career working as both a full time employee and consultant.  As he has come through the ranks as junior developer to Architect, he as seen the good, bad, and ugly of how software projects are managed.  In 2009, he was first exposed to Agile and SCRUM methodologies and he has acted as an evangelist for this new software development approach ever since. In 2010, he completed his MBA with his dissertation talking about Agile vs. conventional software methods and using Chaos Study information showed that projects which used agile approachs had twice as much chance of success than standard waterfall approaches.  During his academic journey, he tried to synthesize his professional experience with his academic work focusing project management and leading software teams.  The combination of professional credentials and experience makes him a formidable scrum master. In 2013 he earned his Certified Scrum Master matching professional certification with his professional experience.  He was then hired by R.R. Donnelly as an Architect and Scrum Master.  At Donnelly, he has served as an example of how to properly run a scrum team.  He has helped teams develop good practices and deliver shippable product each sprint. His philosophy has always been guided by the Agile Manifesto and the principles of agile.  He is also motivated by the five agile values; Courage, Respect, Focus, Openness and Commitment.  To work on a software project is to be committed to excellence.  Software is one of the few things manufactured today which is made by hand.  This means that you have to be a committed craftsperson to take the nebulous vision of the user community and turn it into working software which solves real world problems. Courage and Focus are also required to produce software in an Agile fashion.  It is the responsibility of the Scrum Master to remove distractions because without focus it is nearly impossible to concentrate enough to write quality software.  It is also important that developers concentrate on meeting sprint goals rather than worry about ancillary issues.  This is where courage becomes important.  A developer needs to be empowered to say things like “…this is not a realistic deadline,” or “…this code needs to be refactored to improve performance.”  Without courage, software developers become nothing but short order cooks hammering out code with no rhyme or reason. Finally, I find that respect openness are also necessary to generate a high functioning Agile team.  The members of the team should be empowered to share both good and bad news with each other and management.  This means that there are no surprises good or bad.  This makes it possible for leadership to be more proactive instead of reactive to situations which crop up during a project.  I also think that respect is important.  This is because team members work with each other in rather intimate circumstances and in order to do this they should be able to trust and respect each other.  I liken a good working software team to a well-functioning jazz band; the team members can improvise, keep the beat, and compensate for each other when necessary.